lesson 2: you need to make soups & stews…and get a slow-cooker.


Organic on $50/week Budget

If you are bold enough to try to keep your grocery bill at $50/week and aim to eat organically, I recommend you invest in a slow-cooker.

Lesson 2:  If You Want to Eat Organic on a Budget, Soups & Stews are Probably a Good Idea.

Soups or stews are a good low-calorie, cheap, nutritious and filling meal. 

However, most canned soups are filled with sugar, excess salt, and a myriad of things I don’t want to eat  (e.g. cornstarch and whatever potato flakes are).  

But if you make your own they can be a nutritious way to stay on budget.

Not only are soups & stews warming on a winter’s eve, for some reason, whether your mother was a soup-maker or not, they make us feel all cozy and filled with gooey love inside.

If you have a slow-cooker (also called a crock pot) soup or stew is a breeze to make for dinner. You can put all your ingredients in the crock pot in the am and come home to a wonderful smelling home and a ready-made dinner.

English: Chef Pepín Slow Cooker

crock pot (slow-cooker)

If you are someone who gets home pretty late and/or hits the gym after work and is starving upon arriving home, this could be just the thing to keep you on a healthful track.

You can make soup out of almost any vegetable.  It’s also a good way to make a meal out of a hodgepodge of vegetables dying in your fridge.

What vegetable do you like? parsnips?  squash?  carrots? peppers?

pick one.  make a soup.

Have kale, barley and black beans hanging out in your kitchen?  Google “kale, barley & black bean stew”.

Google any vegetable you like or see on sale in the store and put the word “soup” or “stew” after it and I guarantee you’ll get at least 10 recipes of varying difficulty.

Make it even easier and google “slow cooker _____ soup”

I do a consensus of the recipes and take what I like and leave the rest.

A vegetable curry is another great money-saving option.  You can just throw a bunch of vegetables in a slow cooker with curry, add some coconut milk at the finish and boom!  Dinner.

soup party

(Photo credit: numberstumper)

Usually when I make soup or a stew I have dinner for the next 4 nights. Sometimes my concoction is so good I eat it 4 days in a row.  But sometimes I don’t want cauliflower soup 4 times in one week.

Mostly I freeze half and pop it in the fridge for when I do want it again.

I probably use my slow cooker every week.  My two go-to soups are sweet potato soup & split pea soup.  I can get 3 organic yams for about $5 and a cup of organic split peas for less than $1.  Both soups probably come in between $8-$10 for 4 servings.

Sweet potato soup takes care of my sugar cravings and split pea soup takes care of my hearty salty meaty cravings.  Also my Mama used to make split pea soup every winter.  Though mine is much healthier as I leave out the ham hock, it tastes very close to the soup I loved as a child.

I usually make my stock with leftover vegetable scraps I keep in the freezer, saving me from buying expensive stocks.

Right now I have a “cream” of cauliflower broccoli soup in there because I found “2 day old” cauliflower at the farmer’s market for $1/head and bought 2.  I also bought a huge head of broccoli.  I froze the florets until I was ready to make a soup and then I just popped them into the slow cooker with onion, leek, garlic, herbs, and cashews.  I added coconut oil, and a little coconut milk at the finish.  

Delicious.

I recently made a  vegetable curry that didn’t come out very well.  I think I cooked it for too long and the broccoli was mush.  Did I throw it away?  Nope.  I emulsified it with an emulsion blender and added more coconut milk.  It made a lovely curried soup!

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