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Soup: A Cheapskate's Favorite Frugal Food

I've never met a cheapskate who doesn't love soup. That's because frugal folks know that soups tend be both filling and inexpensive and are a terrific way to use up little bits of leftovers and other random ingredients you have on hand.

A number of cheapskates I know (including me!) keep what we call a "soup sack" in the freezer at all times. A "soup sack" is a large plastic bag which is the repository for smaller plastic bags and other containers full of assorted leftovers that can be assembled into a tasty soup on short notice. My soup sack currently contains some stock rendered from the remains of our Thanksgiving turkey, smidgeons of various cooked vegetables we never quite finished and a baggie full of rice leftover from some Chinese carryout we enjoyed over the holidays. I foresee some turkey-veggie-rice soup on the Yeager menu in the near future.

Find more soup recipes.

Fittingly enough, January is officially National Soup Month, so cheapskates everywhere are firing up their stoves - and crock pots - and turning out some tasty soups to celebrate. Here's one of my favorite soup recipes, compliments of Joyce Yeager, my Mom (AKA "The Mother of All Cheapskates"), which is as delicious as it inexpensive and easy to make.

Savory Honey-Hamburger Soup with Vegetables

  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 2 carrots - chopped
  • 2 stalks celery (with tops) - chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper - chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) whole tomatoes - slightly crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of each: chili powder, basil, oregano
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Hot tap water as needed

Sauté onion in olive oil for five minutes, then add all other raw vegetables (including the garlic) and the hamburger and cook for five more minutes. Add the tomatoes and the tomato sauce to the pot. Combine all of the spices in a blender and blend together thoroughly, then add to the soup along with the honey. Add hot tap water to thin the soup to desired consistency. Cook over low heat for one hour, then remove from heat and allow it to sit (covered) for at least one more hour. Reheat before serving and correct for salt and pepper. This is one of those soups that tastes even better if you serve it a day or two after you've made it.

Wishing you a happy National Soup Month.   Bon Appe-cheap!

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Photo credit: bark via Flickr.


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