Category Archives: Soup

What Happens When You Overfill a Crockpot with 5(ish) Ingredients

Do you have any idea how hard it is to start off a post? Normally, I just start with “Hi!” or “Hello!” But that seems so bland. And I shouldn’t be bland for a cooking blog, right?


Anyway, hello! Or something.

A couple days ago, I made a variation on my usual Chicken Soup. This time, I made it in the slowcooker. And with a bit too much of (almost) everything. It is excellent!

And it only need 5(ish) ingredients.


  1. Chicken. I used a package of drumsticks, and a package of thighs. So, call it about 15-20 pieces of chicken. This was more than my poor slow-cooker crock-pot could hold. Oh well. It was quite tasty! And I have a lot of leftovers! Some of it didn’t get completely submerged, so it turned into roasted chicken rather than boiled. (Not too much, though.)
  2. Onion. I’m guessing I used about a pound. It probably would have been about 1.5 regular sweet onions. However, the place I went to buy food is awesome, and I got about 3 pounds of onion in 2 onions. So, I used about 3/4 of one onion. Hence, guesstimating about a pound.
  3. 1 Tablespoon of salt
  4. 4 cups of water.
  5. Carrots. (About 1/2-1/3 of a pack of baby carrots…?)
  6. Optional: A sprinkling of lemon juice.


  1. Lay the onions on the bottom of the crock pot.
  2. Remove as much of the skin as reasonable from your chicken. This helps make your soup not too greasy. It may also help you stack more in vertically…
  3. Pour on the salt
  4. Pour in as much of the water as you can. Be sure to hit the salt, so that the seasoning will be absorbed in all the soup.
  5. Wedge the carrots on top. If you can get them into the liquid, that will help flavor the soup. So, try for that insofar as possible.
  6. Cover, and cook on low for about 10-12 hours. (This gives you a really rich, excellent broth!)
  7. Enjoy. (And maybe freeze some of your leftovers so that they don’t go bad in your refrigerator. Depending on how many people you’re feeding with the soup.)
Overfilled crockpot of chicken soup
THIS is what to much of 5 ingredients looks like. 🙂
Very thick chilled chicken broth.
You can tell it’s good, because it gels QUITE nicely.

I accidentally made savoury Jello, and it’s good.


So, the other day, I decided to make chicken soup. It turned out nicely. It turned out so nicely, in fact, that it turned to jello when I refrigerated it. (That’s apparently one of the signs of a really well-done chicken stock. It has something to do with getting all the flavor from the chicken bones, and chicken bones being a common basis for gelatin and stuff.)

But, yeah. It made a good soup. And it can be reheated from its jello form into soup. So, here’s the recipe.

Chicken Soup / pre-Savoury-Jello


  1. 3-4 pounds of drumsticks. These should be really inexpensive. (I paid about $0.69  a pound.) I actually initially made the soup because I wanted the drumsticks. The fact that the soup turned out so well was an added bonus! This ended up being about 12-14 drumsticks. (I’m not entirely sure. I miscounted a few times. And it doesn’t really matter…) Price (rounded): $3
  2. 1 medium sweet onion, sliced. Call it about $1.
  3. Carrots. (I used about a third-bag of baby carrots, since I eat those for snacks anyway, and didn’t want to deal with peeling and chopping and stuff.) Call it about $0.50
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Water.
  6. (Optional: some lemon juice, other seasonings.)


First some pre-instructions.

  1. Remove the skin from some of the drumsticks. (Semi-optional. This makes it a bit easier for the skimming later on.)
  2. Slice the onions.

In whatever size pot you have that will hold your ingredients and let you fill it with water so that it won’t boil over…

  1. Place the drumsticks in the pot.
  2. Cover with water. (Make sure the drumsticks are all covered.)
  3. Put in onions, carrots, and salt.
  4. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.
  5. Skim the surface as you go. (Lots of stuff from the skin and stuff will come up to the top. It increases the chance of boil-overs.) Be careful to leave the onions and carrots in.
  6. Let it continue to boil until the chicken is fully cooked. Yes, some recipes call for it to simmer. It probably turns out better. I don’t know. But this is what I’ve done, and it still tastes good. And it gets done in generally between 20 and 40 minutes. You’ll know it’s either done, or close to being done, when the meat starts falling off the bones.
  7. If you’re like me, let it continue to boil for another 3-5 minutes, just to be extra sure.
  8. Remove the chicken from the pot, for easier access to the broth.
  9. Skim the fat and stuff. (Or wait to do that the next day after it’s refrigerated, and have a really rich soup that night. My default. Especially as I do skim some of the stuff with a large spoon as I go.)
  10. Serve it up, and enjoy. Depending on how much water you use, you should get at least 4 meals out of it. And lots of snacks with the drumsticks.
A pile of chicken drumsticks.
This is (part of) what $3 can get you. 🙂

Easy Vegetable-Bean Soup


Sorry it’s been a while. I’ve been grad-student-ing, and I haven’t had time to really keep track of stuff or discover new recipes or things like that and write them down. But I did discover / make a tasty soup the other day. I’m not entirely sure how much it cost, but I’m sharing the basic recipe.

The broth

This is something that can be used for basically any soup variation you can think of. I use the Chicken Better than Bullion stuff. I made about 6 cups of broth, so 2 heaping tablespoons of the Chicken Stuff, and six cups of water, on the stove. (I used the heaping measures, since I knew I was adding liquidyish stuff to the broth that would dilute the original.)

To that, I added about a can of tomato paste. (What can I say? I really like tomato!) An alternative is a can of stewed tomatoes. Or you could do both.

Note: I added a bit of salt to this broth. That’s in part because I really like salt, and because I was using the low-sodium Chicken Stuff.

Boil this in a soup pot. Or start to heat it and add the other stuff while it’s heating.

The seasonings and “stuff”

Seasoning: What I did the other day was I added parsley, basil, and some ground clove. It worked well.


  • Vegetables
  • 1 C Rice
  • 1 can of beans (Drained, rinsed. I used black beans.)

For vegetables, I used what I had on hand. I think that included an onion, a zucchini, a couple large sticks of celery, and a few handfuls of baby carrots. This is super flexible, though. And be aware that your onions will probably end up really mushy if you boil them for a while and cut them too fine.

After it boiled, I turned the heat down and let it simmer for as long as the rice was supposed to cook, stirring at random intervals. I actually put the rice in early on, and then added the vegetables as I was done chopping them. (Harder veggies, like carrots, went in first. Then the others. Really, though, those are extremely flexible if you don’t mind mushy vegetables.)


When I had the soup, I just sprinkled some white cheese on top. Ok, so I actually put a handful of shredded mozzarella, a cut-up babybell, and a torn string cheese at the bottom of a bowl, reheated the soup to about boiling, and then spooned the soup over the cheese.

I like cheese.

Other options that would have been great to include would be chicken. Or chicken with cheese. (Given that I used clove, the white cheese worked better than cheddar would have.)

So, yeah. I think that was a generally inexpensive recipe, and it lasted me for a week of lunches. I hope you enjoy!

Easy Vegetable & Rice Soup

Hello, readers!

I have recently been using variations on a type of soup for my dinners. And sometimes lunches. Because I’ve made a very easy, inexpensive recipe that’s fairly flexible, fairly tasty, and fairly filling.

Easy Soup Recipe

I love this recipe, in large part because it’s inexpensive in both money and timePrep time: about 5-10 minutes, tops. Cooking time: 20-45 minutes. Total: less than an hour until you get a hearty, delicious soup. 🙂

Necessary Ingredients (makes about 4-6 servings.)

  1. 6 cups of water (free)
  2. 2 TBSP of either chicken or beef “Better than Bouillon” (BtB) (About $1 if you get it from Amazon, so call it about $.2/serving.)
  3. 1 small can of tomato paste ($.3? So, $.07/serving?)
  4. 1 onion ($.50-$.60? I dunno… $.10-$.12/serving)
  5. 2 carrots ($.2, so $.04/serving)
  6. 2 celery sticks ($.2? $.04/serving)
  7. 1/2 C rice (Negligible.)
  8. Beans (Optional. I use black beans or pinto beans.) ($.95, so $.2/serving)
  9. (optional) some almonds, pecans, or (I haven’t tried this one yet) walnuts. (This makes it a bit more expensive. But I use about 1/3 of a cup for the entire recipe, so it’s still not that bad.) (I am not going to include the price here.)

Optional spices

The prices here are mostly negligible.

  1. Freshly ground pepper to taste
  2. Cinnamon to taste
  3. Prepared Mustard (I use Beaver’s Hot and Sweet when I use the beef BtB)
  4. Parsley to taste
  5. Basil
  6. Oregano
  7. Salt (not needed with normal BtB)
  8. Cheese. (Either white or cheddar, or white cheddar.) ($.5 or $.6/serving.)

Total cost: about $.65/serving. (Not including the price of any bread you choose to have with it. But that’s also fairly inexpensive, and probably costs no more than about $.10/serving. So, call it about $.75/serving. Not bad!)


  1. In a soup pot, bring 6 C of water to a boil
  2. While water is boiling, slice onions, carrots, and celery. Add to the water at any point in time.
  3. When water is boiling, add the 2 Tbsp of BtB, the spices, and the can of tomato paste. Stir until BTB is dissolved, and tomato paste is well incorporated
  4. Add the 1/2 C rice, stir.
  5. Reduce heat as much as possible, as though you were cooking the rice. Cover, and let sit for at least 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the rice from sticking.
  6. (Optional) After about 15 minutes, heat the beans you will want in your soup.
  7. (NONOPTIONAL). When soup is done, serve into bowl. (If including beans in order to get the complete protein, or whatever it is, combine the two sets now.)
  8. (optional) If using cheese, now’s a good time to add it in. My personal favorite combo is a combination of the “babybell” cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, and Romano.
  9. (Optional) Heat some french bread (or other starchy bready thing) to go with.
  10. (completely nonoptional) Enjoy. 🙂

Hello from The Student! (And Tomato Bisque)

Hi there, everyone!

First, a bit about me. I am a brand new Ph.D. student. That means that I’m leaving the luxurious life of an undergrad (where all my meals and living expenses were taken care of by a combination of the cafeteria and my parents) and entering the dark scary world of paying rent, paying other bills (INTERNET!), and… cooking for myself! (Gasp!)

And all this on a graduate student budget. So, cheap.

And there’s very little out there about eating cheaply but tastily.

Trust me. As I started doing the research last year to find out about budgets and stuffs for graduate students, I did a lot of Google searching. And I found very little of interest. All right, there was some stuff on there about how to still survive as a vegan/vegetarian/health-nut/etc. on a budget, but I’m not any of those!! I happen to really like eating tasty things (like cookies and things with butter), but there wasn’t much info on doing so cheaply which I could find.

So I’m aiming to fix that. I intend to make food that I like (insofar as I can without sacrificing internet or coffee) but (hopefully) inexpensively. At the very least, realistically. Odds are high I’ll end up just cooking up a thing of Mac & Cheese for dinner a few times when I’m running tight on my budget, since it’s cheap and I love that stuff. (Taste of my childhood! Yay!)

But I digress. I’m talking about the blog, and how hopefully this will help someone. 🙂

To start off with, I’ll share what I made tonight.

Tomato Bisque Soup and Chicken for about $2 a serving.

(Makes 2 servings.)

(Yes, I made some assumptions and did some rounding here in my estimations.)

Inexpensive tomato bisque soup with other tasty stuff.
Yup. That cost something around $2.00 for materials. Plus or minus a bit.

Yeah, I know… I need to work on my food photography skills. Sorry.

But this was really good. And surprisingly filling. And easy!

Ingredients (and approximate price.)

  • 1 can of Campbell’s tomato soup. ($1 from the local dollar store.)
  • About 7/8 of 1 can’s worth of milk. (Call it about 1 cup? Maybe 1.5 cups? Regardless, if a gallon of milk costs $5, then a cup would cost about 30 cents. So, between $0.30 and $0.50. Being generous.) (Cost so far: $1.50 for two servings.)
  • About 1 Tbsp of Half & Half. (Or, the rest of the can.) (Cost: less than $0.10.) (And yes, I know- this is not a true bisque because of the lack of true cream. It still tastes good. 🙂 )
  • Parsley and basil.
  • 1 Tbsp butter (I bought in bulk. Less than $0.10.)
  • 1 Tbsp onion (I’m not sure on the cost of these.)
  • Salt.
  • 1 Chicken Breast. This is where some of the real expense, and guessing, comes in. The chicken my roommate and I purchased was at about $2.20 a pound. I think the breast I got out of the freezer was no more than 3/4 lb. But suppose it was a $2.00 chicken breast, which would be about .9 pounds, or almost half a pound per person. This is up to you, after all. That puts the total cost at about $3.70 for two servings, or $1.85 per serving, leaving a bit for extras.
  • Extras: Spinach and Cheese. I got a bag of spinach for $1.99. We used a few leaves- CERTAINLY no more than 1/10 of the bag. So, $0.10 per serving. I also purchased a bulk thing of Mozzarella. (I love shredded Mozzarella! It’s one of my favorites. 🙂 ) I think I put about a tablespoon in. By my estimations, that would put it at call it $0.10. $1.75 + $0.10 + $0.10 = $2.05. But that assumes that all the “less than $0.10” expenses were, in fact, $0.10. And that 1.5 Cups of milk at $5/gallon were used. It’s also still pretty  close to $2.00 a serving. (Less, if you don’t add either the spinach or the cheese. MUCH less if you use less than half a pound of chicken per person, which I am quite sure I did!)


Cut chicken into smaller chunks, and cook until done. (I did not season it.)

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cook onions in 1 TBSP of heated butter until translucent. (Do not brown them.)

When onions are about done, pour the can of soup into the pan. Instead of using water as the instructions would have you do, use the milk and half & half instead. Stir. Add a pinch of dried basil, a pinch of dried parsley, and salt to taste. Stir until heated.

Chicken and tomato bisque soup on a budget
Chicken and Tomato Bisque. (The amount of chicken I put into my bowl.)

Once the soup is heated and the chicken cooked, remove from heat. Get a couple of bowls ready, with a few spinach leaves and chicken in each bowl. Ladle soup into the bowl, on top of the spinach. (There should be about two bowl-fulls of soup.) Sprinkle some cheese on top, and enjoy!