Yummy Vegetable/Minestrone Soup!

I know, I know I have a really great track record for blogging on average once every 2 months. How do y’all manage the anticipation between each post?! (For the 5 of you that might actually still follow my blog- Thanks for sticking around and… hi mom!) In all seriousness, I am going to make more of an effort to start writing more frequently and get you up to date on what’s happening in my life (ex: as far as you know, I am still single in the good ol’ BR. Boy, are you in for a surprise!) …and what I’m cooking/baking/eating…because let’s be honest, that’s much more interesting than most other things I might have to say.

ANYWAY, I’m back at it today because I wanted to share an extremely easy recipe that I made for lunch recently that I thought y’all might enjoy. It’s packed with lots of veggies, protein, and was pretty cost efficient which made it taste even better in my opinion. I’m not one to ever totally throw the grocery budget to the wind, but I have also been known to get caught up in a good grocery shopping session when the produce stands are set up just right. (Am I the only one who finds grocery shopping therapeutic?)

After too many inconsistent weeks of spending and saving,  I finally broke down and made a meal plan with a set budget in mind. I even gave myself a challenge by setting the budget lower than what I could have allowed for. Do I know how to have fun, or do I know how to have fun? I ended up spending a bit more than my ‘challenge’ budget, but I also got some super deals on lobster, sirloin, and several staple items we use regularly in our house. Both lunches and dinners were set up and executed perfectly. I don’t think we had eaten that balanced in a long time and everything was delicious! It all was going according to plan…until Sunday night arrived and I had completely forgotten to meal plan again…fail!

When it came time to prepare lunch on Monday I only had one option: get creative. I wanted to get the most out of the previous week’s grocery trip expenses and avoid letting any food go to waste, so I surveyed the kitchen and pantry and whipped up this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as James and I did! It was/is perfect for a cool Fall day 🙂

IMG_2254     IMG_2252

VEGETABLE/MINESTRONE SOUP

What’s needed:

  • 1 28oz can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh cut green beans
  • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh yellow squash
  • 1/4 cup diced frozen or fresh green peppers
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach (I would have used more, but this was the last of what we had!)
  • 4 stalks organic celery chopped
  • 4 whole carrots chopped
  • white or yellow onion chopped (amount to your liking. I cut a slice ~ 1/2 inch thick)
  • Optional: pepperoni slices cut up. I used about 1/4 package of Applegate Farms Natural Pepperoni. Yum!
  • 32 oz chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp bacon lard or grassfed butter
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to liking

*James brought home a rotisserie chicken, so we ended up carving the chicken and adding it to the soup. You could do the same, prepare your own whole chicken, or even use cubed or shredded chicken breast.

Instructions:

  • In a large pot melt lard over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5-7 minutes.
  • Add chicken stock, followed by remaining vegetables and pepperoni if using.
  • Add olive oil and spices
  • Cook for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Finally, add in pre-cooked chicken, reduce heat to low medium, and let cook for 5-10 more minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

IMG_2259

Without the added chicken

With the added chicken :-P

With the added chicken. YUMMY!

With the added chicken. YUMMY. :-P

With LOTS of  added chicken. YUMMY 😛

We were able to get 4 meals out of this soup (including second helpings for dinnertime because this pregnant lady currently has the appetite of a high school boy-watch out!) I love how a little creativity helped us to make the most of our budget AND allowed us to have delicious meals. I definitely will be making this again!

Here is the breakdown of what I spent, so y’all can see if this works for your grocery budgets too! Keep in mind that I used only a portion of each package of vegetables, pepperoni, and chicken, so the price would be even less than what the receipts will reflect 🙂

PUBLIX:

  • Fresh Organic Baby Spinach: $3.99
  • Fresh Jumbo White Onion: $1.18
  • Fresh Organic Celery: $2.69
  • Fresh Organic Carrots: $1.29
  • Frozen Cut Green Beans: $3.19
  • Frozen Diced Green Pepper: $1.59
  • Frozen Yellow Squash: $1.89

COSTCO:

  • Organic Chicken Stock (32 oz): $14.11/6, so approx. $2.35 for 1

EARTH FARE:

  • Applegate Pepperoni: $4.99
  • Organic Whole Peeled Tomatoes: $1.89

TOTAL: $25.05

Approx. Cost per serving (2 servings for 4 meals): $3.13

Again, this reflected cost is actually even a high estimate because the receipt price doesn’t reflect the amount of each ingredient actually used. WOOP WOOP! Gotta love shopping smart! Clean eating CAN be affordable! 🙂

 

 

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