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The Soup that keeps on Giving

As a non-meal planner, I don’t spend my Sundays writing lists. I’ve never taken one to the grocery store and so I usually forget at least six things when I come home. I stare at those women with the coupons filed neatly in the organizers and I wish I could be like them.  Alas, the problem is always the same: How do you know what you need until you actually see it?

But this week is different. This week I’m incentivized to save. To cook for my family every night. To keep us out of restaurants. To show my children that I can be economically prudent when it comes to eating in.


Because this week…I want the above pair of Frye boots (Frye Paige Tall Riding Boots, $348).

…and these aren’t cheap. These aren’t even on the economic radar despite my astronomically high income as a freelance writer. These are so far from being ‘needed’ that there needs to be a budget cut somewhere. And that cut is going to be dinner. Sorry kids. Frye Boots trump bountiful meals that vary in color and nutritional value.


After doing some basic calculations, I’ve figured out that for around $12, I can get at least three dinners and six school lunches out of one chicken. That saves me….let’s see…approximately $287.50 in meals for three days which means I only need like $60 more dollars for these Frye Boots! I know what you’re thinking: “You spend $287.50 in three days for food?” No, but I didn’t major in math either. Stop focusing on the $287.50 part and look at the fact that you can feed your entire family lunch AND dinner for three days for $12!! That’s a brilliant accomplishment. And a brilliant accomplishment is worthy of aforementioned boots!


Okay, so how to do it. Since everyone in my family is sick right now, it’s perfectly appropriate to couch my savings in the form of Chicken Soup. Just the smell of it cooking on the stove is worth $50 alone. Throw in another $10 for the medicinal benefits and I think I’m there!

Everyone I know has their own recipe for chicken soup. But mine is better. So if you want to stick with your family recipe, be my guest. I’m not offended. But if you want the best chicken soup (and chicken salad) in the world, try this. A special thanks to Roslyn Goldberg for taking me on as an apprentice when I was ten.

Chicken Soup and Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • One roast chicken
  • One or two onions (you can save $.39 if you only use one)
  • Few stalks of celery
  • Bag of mini carrots that come back home in lunch box every day
  • Parsley (fresh is better)
  • Dill (fresh is better but dried is okay)
  • One Potato (diced)
  • S&P (Kosher salt, please)
  • Few Garlic Cloves
  • 2-4 heaping (and I mean heaping) TBSPs (not that I’m measuring) of powdered chicken stock (I use Telma or Carmel)

Directions:

  1. Rinse chicken.
  2. Put in pot and fill with enough water to cover chicken.
  3. Boil and throw out water (I do this to clean all the junk off chicken).
  4. Add more water to pot just enough to cover chicken.
  5. Add quartered onions, celery, potato, carrots.
  6. Put in as much parsley and dill as you want.
  7. Throw in a few whole (peeled) garlic cloves.
  8. Three pinches of S&P.
  9. Add powdered stock.
  10. Bring to a boil.
  11. Once boiling, immediately turn to low and cover. Let simmer for at least four hours.
  12. Turn off stove and let it cool before putting in fridge.

Now, here’s the fun part. You don’t want to lose any broth in the process because it needs to keep its currency value!

  1. Grab another pot and put a strainer inside so it sits on top.
  2. Dump the soup into the strainer (chicken and veggies will still be in it).
  3. Carefully take the chicken out of the strainer and put in  another bowl. Throw away bones.
  4. Remove carrots and put them back into your soup.
  5. Now, mash the rest of those veggies in the strainer. Push ‘em down. Let those juices flow!When you’re done you can toss them or if you like a thicker soup, puree in blender and put back in soup. Serve with noodles. Remember to skim fat off top after refrigerating (but don’t refrigerate until fully cool). Freezes GREAR.


For Chicken Salad

  1. Chop chicken coarsely and add a dash of S&P. Add a scoop or two of Mayonnaise. (If you live in Georgia or Alabama, add the entire jar of Mayonnaise).
  2. Throw in some chopped raw celery if you have any left.
  3. Should make approximately 5-8 sandwiches depending on how high you pile it up!
  4. Visit Zappos.com.
  5. Enjoy boots.