|Vegetable and Chicken Soup|
On the one hand, I’ve never forgotten my budgeting days right after college when I truied to spend just $1 per dinner. Food was much cheaper then, but my New York City salary was equally low--just under $100 per week. I ate meat every night because that’s how I was raised.
On the other hand, I’m now older, wiser and more adventurous. I know I won’t die or become malnourished if meat isn’t on the menu every day. In fact, eating an amount of meat the same size as a deck of cards—a guideline in general use—seems way too much, although it’s just 3 ounces.
I eat a lot of vegetables, potatoes, grains and bread, and that’s the key to making so many meals out of a $5 or $6 rotisserie chicken. Here’s what I do.
Instead of serving the whole chicken, I cut the breasts into thin slices and the rest into bite-size pieces. Then I use the cut-up chicken to make the following:
* 2 Sliced Chicken Sandwiches
* 4 Tortillas stuffed with chicken, grilled bell peppers, grated cheese, guacamole, lettuce and salsa
* Vegetable and Chicken Stir Fry
* 3 Chicken Reuben Bagels
* Chicken Salad
* Fresh Vegetable and Chicken Soup (see recipe below)
If I get sick of chicken during the week, I’ll freeze some of it and use it later for the stir fry and soup. They taste just as good with defrosted chicken.
Vegetable and Chicken Soup – serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a soup
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil1/2 cup diced carrots1/2 cup diced celery1/2 cup diced onion1 teaspoon bottled crushed garlic1/2 teaspoon ground thyme1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon black pepper1 cup water + more if needed1 8-ounce can tomato sauce1 medium diced zucchini1/2 cup sliced mushrooms3/4 cup cooked barley, rice or small pasta1/2 cup cooked chicken pieces
Put the oil in a medium pot and begin heating over high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and stir for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the thyme, salt and black pepper and stir. Add the water and tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Add the zucchini and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, or until these vegetables have softened. Add the barley, rice or pasta and the chicken pieces and bring the mixture back to a boil over high heat. Add more water if the soup seems too thick. Serve immediately or set aside until needed.
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