Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homemade Chicken Soup- A Really Frugal Meal!

We had roasted chicken for dinner the other night which came out awesome. I decided, since I am somewhat getting back into my cooking groove, to use the leftovers to make homemade chicken soup.

Yesterday morning, after breakfast, I took as much meat as possible off of the chicken carcass to use in the soup and put it into a bowl in the fridge. Then I proceeded to take all of the skin off of the carcass- why you may ask? Because I decided to go all out and make my own chicken stock.

I threw the chicken carcass into a large stock pot along with a quartered onion, a couple of bay leaves, carrots and celery ends and then filled the pot up with enough water to almost cover the chicken. I simmered the chicken for I don't even know how long- I suppose you just kind of know when it is done. The smell that emitted from that pot made my house smell wonderful!

I set up my straining contraption which consisted of a small pot and a colander with a paper towel in it (you can also use cheesecloth which is probably way better but I didn't have any on hand- just make sure you change the paper towels out frequently). I scooped out the large chunks of chicken and vegetables with a large slotted spoon (hence the Target bag- I have so many Target bags in my house that I am starting to this I have a problem) and then slowly poured the rest of the chicken stock into the colander to strain the smaller pieces of food out.

Here is what my chicken stock looked like after straining. I let it cool on the kitchen counter for awhile and strained off as much fat as possible. Then I put the covered pot into the fridge until I was ready to cook.

Cooking time! I put the pot on the stove on medium-low and added the chicken meat that was in the fridge, chopped celery, chopped carrots and salt and pepper. I let the soup simmer for awhile until the carrots and celery were tender (there was that wonderful smell again). I added cooked egg noodles and let it all simmer for a bit longer while my rolls cooked in the oven.

Here is the final product- it was simply delicious and we only had a little leftover which I had for lunch today. Both of my kids liked it and my husband loved it so I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. Now that it is getting colder out I will be making a lot more soup- maybe next time I will make a double batch and freeze some.

I don't really know what the actual cost of this meal was but the chicken we used was about five or six dollars (on sale for .79/lb) of which we were able to use use for two meals including the soup, the carrots and celery were from a meal last week and were about to go bad, the onions were something I had on hand, the bay leaves were already in my pantry and the egg noodles were free from a sale awhile ago. So in other words it was really cheap. A great tip I have for anyone who want to start making their own stock is to save chicken carcasses, carrot ends, celery ends, onions, etc. in a big freezer bag in your freezer, this way you will always have the ingredients you need on hand and won't be throwing anything away.  

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