“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass… It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”- Vivian Greene
Can we all agree that a tasty broth is what makes a good chicken soup? Don’t rush for the big can… sometimes the better buy is in the smaller cans. Often our .99 cent store will have brand name broths 2 for .99. Remember, we’re making a buck go for a long ride here… every pinched penny helps! Broth should set you back $3.75 or LESS. Less is best! Put your pot on your stove, adding your chicken broth, turn your heat to medimum… we’re just getting started! Fill your large can up with tap water just over half way and dump it in your pot too. Or add 3 small cans of water to your pot. Such a small amount of water wont kill your favor but will help to streach this recipe a little more.
There are many choices when it comes to onions. Onions could be their own post all together! I wont waste the money on an expensive onion, unless I’m making onion rings, blossoms or I really need a sweeter special flavor. This soup requires a plain cheap ol’ onion. I favor yellow as the sales are wicked for them and really we want that hearty flavor. Cheap onion? .69 cents or less. Rule of thumb: tennis ball or smaller sized onion. I like about 1 cup to get tossed into my broth. Let your broth and onion simmer and grab…
In college, you may not have use of a fridge. Pre crushed garlic would not do you any good if you couldn’t make use of the whole container over time. It’s less than $4 to purchase but it will drive up the cost of one pot of soup. There is an art to working with fresh garlic but don’t be afraid to buy a clove and go to town! Lawry’s garlic salt will help to enrich your flavor too. I LOVE garlic so naturally it belongs in my soup. If it doesn’t float your boat, that’s OK too. Going sans garlic will only take a flavor layer away. Not everyone is quite so garlic passionate as I. I’ll forgive you but if you’d like, add a healthy teaspoon for garlic to your onions and broth in your pot. We’re making flavor here!
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and Garlic Salt are my kitchen staples. Yes, you can find knock off brands that will do for a little cheaper but Lawry’s by far is the BEST of the best! Of course we need a little pepper too. Forgive me, I’m a dash of this kinda lady so exact measurments hurt my soul. Best I can do for you here my darlings is to explain “shake counts”. I left to right, shake my pepper 3 times. My broth will be lightly sprinkled in little dots. Garlic salt and seasoned salt get 3 shakes each too. Less is more to start… we’ll be savoring the flavors in a few and will add more if it begs us to.
Now turn up the heat until your pot comes to a boil. Let your ingrenience have a flavor party for the next 10 minutes while we prep the rest. This allows everything to fall in love and blend together. Yum! There’s love in everything we do!
I call it cheating because it cuts your process in half. You can find chunks of fresh chicken in your deli section of some stores or buy one of their whole roasted chickens and chunk it into your soup. They also sell canned chicken but I find that it is more expensive and less tasty to use canned. Your chicken should cost less than $6.
Baby carrots are great to just toss right in. Shreds are awesome for those that don’t love a lot of carrot in one bite. Shreds are the more expensive choice $1.98. Baby carrots and whole fresh carrots run neck and neck in price at .99- $1.35. You may also use a can or two of canned carrots. The canned carrots don’t have the same texture. Baby carrots are slightly sweeter. I’ve used all and lived to tell about it. ;) I happened to have a bag of shreds. If using whole carrots, peel 2 larger or 4 small carrots and cut them into carrot coins and toss them into your pot. Careful that they are not super thin or huge pieces. Think that we’re going to be eating it with a spoon not a fork and knife.
Celery tutorial: No one wants those blasted strings that eating celery brings! I grab 3 pieces of celery, wash them, break the bottom off by putting pressure from the inside out. When I say inside… picture celery as a u shape. Your going to turn your u into an n and then keep pulling, allowing the strings to slide right off the backside. Repeat the u n thing at the top at well. Cut your celery into your desired size. Again big chunks are not easy to eat and super small pieces won’t give the color or texture we’re looking for. Cut it how you would like to eat it and you can’t go wrong. Add your celery in too!
You can stop right here and let your soup sit and cook down together, reducing your heat just slightly over medimum. Enough to keep your pot bubbling away still. OR you can add two more veggies that we find to be a comforting familler flavor.
Parsnip and Parsley
Parsley and parsnips make my matzo ball soup, which is exactly like chicken soup but with an extra yummy ball made from matzo meal. Jewish Penicellin… the cure for all. I have dreams about my Mother in Law’s matzo ball soup! I could live on it, swim in a vat of it and be happy for the rest of my days. What does she do that I didn’t (besides make perfect matzo balls so light and fluffy while mine are like hockey pucks)? Parsnip and parsley. It adds such rich layers of flavor! I grab 1 parsnip for .99 or less, chop 5 big chunks out of it and toss it into the pot. I’ll add a palm of my hand size amount of parsley as well. Parsley is usually under .99 for a huge bunch. Your going to fish out both your parsley and parsnip before serving. I’ll add stem and all, makes it easier to find later on. A little parsley left inside the soup when serving is totally fine. Parsnip is a bit bitter to bite into so I make sure to nab my pieces out after everything has cooked down. Adding this step will only enhance a good thing. Leaving it out is fine too, you’ll live but you’ll feel guilty about it.
Here’s the big tricky part. Are you scared yet? You shouldn’t be, my 10 year old can do this by herself… you can too.
Let your pot cook away for about 20 minutes. Nothing in there sticks so don’t worry, stirring often is not a requirement. The tricky part is just making sure your veggies are done. At the 20 minute mark, take your ladle or spoon and pull out a large chunk of carrot, celery and broth. Try it. Your teeth should be able to cut through it like butter. If you feel like it’s too firm, you’ll be cooking it another 10 minutes anyways. How is your broth? If it has the rich flavor you desire, your good to go. You may find the need to add another shake or 2 of your spices right now. I caution you to not go too heavy. You may always add to your own bowl but perhaps others arn’t the pepper or salt person your feeling at the moment.
If everything is just the way you like it. Remove your parsnip and parsley and add your noodles.
For the frugal penny pincher… look no further than Top Ramen for your .25 cent noodle option! Sure an egg noodle looks lovely but a Ramen Noodle isn’t half bad either. I crack my brick of noodle into four pieces and drop it into my pot. If you feel like you need to add another can of water because your broth is shrinking, do so now.
Your soup is done as soon as your noodles are ready!
Make this a meal served with a favorite crouton or loaf of bread. You can get a cheap french, italian or bagette from most markets. Heck, a nice slice of toat will do beautifully!
Now you can’t say you can’t cook. This is a totally dump it and heat home cooked meal. One pot of soup will last all 6 of us a couple of meals. It cost less than $15! Impress your dorm peeps. Make this for your sick boyfriend/girlfriend/loved one. Lift your spirits and make your space smell wonderful. Make $15 feed you for DAYS! Remember, when we cook we must do it with all the love and care we can muster and it will show in the finished product. A heaping cup of LOVE put into everything you do will always be the ingredient that made all the diffrence in the world!
That’s why Grams soup tastes so special and why my kids love mine too… Love, tradition and practice.
I find comfort when under diress to retreat to my kitchen and then forceably feed everyone and the mail man who walks through the door. Making chicken soup is like a beautiful waltz that I could do in my sleep. The repetitive motions, the swirling smells of each and every indredient filling my nose and breaking down all that ails my heart. The finished product is a gift that I share with my family. Something that brings us together, allows us to fuel our body, mind and spirit around out kitchen table. I charish the moments when I can look into these sweet faces over the rising steam of a big bowl full of comfort.
Yes Kenzie, I would love nothing more than for you to be the keeper of the soup. The time will come when we too will pass the torch. Through her simple words I learned that even though I am a work in progress and still trying to find what gives my soul comfort… My life, who I am and our family traditions are what comforts my family.
If my life’s legacy is bringing comfort (and soup), it was worth it.
Hugging our kiddos extra tight tonight. Grateful for this life we have together.
Be good to each other, we only get one shot at this life, make it count!
Dancing in the Rain… again,