"A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Family Meals under $5 - Italian Meatball Soup

I realize soup doesn't sound like something you'd want to have in the middle of the summer but with the thunderstorms and cooler weather we've been having up here in the Pacific Northwest, soup sounded good.

One frugal skill I've learned is to check the discount section of the various departments in the grocery store. I mentioned the bakery in my last post. This week I found a good deal on ground Italian pork sausage in the meat dept. This is a good place to look before you buy your meat. Packages are often marked up to 50% off. Just make sure you check the dates for freshness and use or freeze the meat right away.

Italian Meatball Soup - $3.86
French bread - $0.88
Sauteed Zucchini - free

Total - $4.74

Italian Meatball Soup
3 qt water
8 beef bullion cubes - .64c
1 lb Italian Pork Sausage -$1.59
3 eggs - .33c
1 t salt
1/2 c bread crumbs - free
1t dried oregano - free
1 T oil - .02c
1 onion, chopped - .27c (free)
2 cloves garlic, minced - .08c
3 c chopped fresh spinach - .50c
3 carrots, chopped - .27c (free)
2 stalks celery, chopped - .16c

In a large stockpot, dissolve bullion in water. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile beat eggs in a bowl. Add meat, bread crumbs and seasonings. Form into balls and drop into boiling stock.

Heat oil in skillet and saute onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Add to soup and cook about 20 min or till meatballs are done. Add spinach and cook 2-3 min more. Season to taste. Serve with the french bread and sauteed zucchini.

The zucchini was from our garden and just sliced and sauteed in oil and seasoned with salt & pepper. If you don't have zucchini in your garden maybe you'll be lucky enough to have someone give you some on National Sneak some Zucchini on you Neighbors Porch Night, August 8th (tonight).

There are a few things to note in this recipe. First I never buy bread crumbs, that's why their listed as free. My children don't like to eat the ends of bread and consequently leave them out to dry. Instead of throwing them away I put them in the blender and grind them up into bread crumbs.

The oregano is listed as free for two reasons. One is that I have some in the garden and use that. The other is that when I run out of what I harvest from my garden I buy my herbs in bulk at the health food store or in the health food or bulk section of the grocery store. The cost is really infinitesimal so I don't list it. I promise to post about buying herbs in bulk in the future. You won't believe the difference in price.

I put free next to the carrots and onion because for this meal I had my little ones run out to the garden and pull some carrots and an onion. I realize not everyone has a garden or has these veggies in their garden so I listed the price of each and included it in the total. My total for this meal was actually $4.20

Live less, Live more

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