The Graduate Wife is delighted to announce a new series featuring budget & time friendly recipes for you and your family! We hope these posts bring many a happy belly. If you would ever enjoy submitting just send us an email!
Written by Tori – a current graduate wife
As a trained chef, mom “on-the-way”, and the wife of a graduate student, I feel I have a great responsibility to feed myself and my husband delicious, healthy meals, and spend as little money as possible on groceries! I love to use coupons and get freebies whenever possible, but depending on where you live, I realize that isn’t always easy. I find myself in a huge internal debate every time I stand in the meat section, wondering if I should buy the organic chicken (yes, I should), or buy the chicken that’s on sale- I mean, I have spent hours matching up coupons with store sales, haven’t I? I can’t spend $12 on a few chicken breasts and ruin all my hard work, right? (I haven’t come up with a good answer yet).
Sometimes when I leave the store and my master coupon scheme hasn’t worked as well as I had planned, I feel like crying. Is that normal? Either way, I feel like I am not even capable of doing my job well (don’t even get me started on what happens when I “overcook” dinner!).
I like to imagine that I am not the only one that feels this way about shopping and cooking. Because of that, I am sharing a delicious, simple, and budget friendly Chicken Noodle Soup recipe. Chicken Noodle Soup isn’t the most glamorous or exciting meal, but it is such a comfort food: perfect for all you graduate wives far from home.
This recipe and the prices are not precise, as I don’t write them down. Keep in mind that the amounts are estimates, and I was cooking for 2 only.
Here’s what you need:
- Chicken: I pulled two breasts right out of the freezer – – $2 (you caught me- it’s obviously not organic)
- 4-5 cups of Chicken Broth or Stock – – $ Free! (See below*)
- Noodles of your choice: ½ a box – – $1 (Can be free, easily, if you have a sale and a coupon!)
- 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
- ½ of a yellow onion, diced
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt, pepper
Total: less than $5
Step 1: Place the whole chicken breasts in a pot of water and boil for 15 minutes or until cooked (no need to thaw). Remove from the water, and chop or shred with a knife and fork. Set aside.
Step 2: Boil the noodles in a fresh pot of water until almost done- it’s good to leave them a bit firm and let them finish cooking in the soup!
Step 3: Heat your chicken stock in a pot on medium heat; to a simmer (either store bought or homemade*)
Step 4: Dice the onion, carrot, (a stalk of diced celery if you have it- I was all out) and garlic. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat, and add the onions and carrot and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Sautee the vegetables until tender, and then add the garlic (always add the garlic toward the end of cooking, as it burns easily)
Step 5: Add all ingredients together in the pot of chicken stock, let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, and voila!
~If you have a can of peas or corn, toss them in at the end!
Serve with toast or crackers
*When I buy chicken, I often buy bone-in chicken breasts. They are always cheaper than boneless/skinless breasts, and I use the bones to make homemade stock.
When you get home with the chicken, slice the meat off of the bone, and add the bones to a pot of water, just deep enough to cover. If you have a carrot, a stalk of celery, half of an onion, and a bay leaf, toss them in, too. No need to chop anything. Cover this pretty mixture with a lid, and let it gently simmer on low-medium heat for a few hours. The longer it simmers, the richer it will taste- but be careful not to let it boil dry! This should be a gentle process.
I store the broth in plastic containers in the freezer and pop them out when I’m ready to cook!