Stretching Your Food Dollar: Satisfying Soups and Stews

Looking for hearty, delicious meals that fits your food budget? Something really tasty to cheer everyone up on a gloomy winter day? Try fragrant soups and stews: Easy to make with ingredients you may already have; fills the house with tantalizing smells; gives your family an delicious hearty meal of veggies, protein, vitamins and minerals. A great way to use left-overs; stretch your food $$ with beans or lentils instead of costly meat. Stews become soups by adding more liquid or soup becomes a stews by using less liquid. Any way you like, the warm hearty flavor satisfies and comforts.

Start with basic veggie soup:

  • Chop an onion, some celery and a couple of carrots. Cook in a tablespoon of olive oil until the onion is soft. Include some garlic if you want.

  • Add a few cups of veggie or chicken broth and bring to a boil.

  • Add "hard" veggies like parsnips, cauliflower, leeks or turnips. Season with your favorite spices. We recommend a bay leaf and a pitch of thyme.

  • Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes until the vegetables are slightly soft.

  • Add soft vegetables like greens, broccoli or peas in the last 5 minutes.

  • Taste, season and enjoy!

More protein? Add protein-rich beans like chick peas or lentils or

cooked chicken or beef for the last 5 to 10 minutes before serving. No left-overs? Buy beef chuck or chicken thighs on sale. Add to the broth, cooking for 20-30 minutes before adding veggies.

Toss in a can of tomatoes for more flavor and nutrition.
Soup or stew, this is a meal you can play with to satisfy everyone's taste. Delicious warmth, a taste you like, hearty nutrition with a big dose of vitamins and energy.

PLUS more $$ left in your food budget!



RECIPE: Pinto Bean and Andouille Sausage Stew From Eating Well - Makes 8 servings


  • 1 pound dry pinto beans ** See note below

  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil

  • 12 ounces of Andouille sausage or Italian sweet sausage

  • 2 cups diced onion

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

  • 1 cup each of diced red and green pepper

  • 1-3 teaspoons chile pepper (serrano or jalapeno)

  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

  • 1 14 oz can of tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

  • 2 teaspoons of grated lime zest and juice of ½ lime


  • Place beans in bowl, cover with 3 inches of water and soak over night or for 6 hours

  • Heat oil in large casserole or Dutch oven. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally (7-10 minutes) Remove sausage and store in fridge.

  • Add onions and garlic cooking until soft. (3-5 minutes) Add peppers to taste. Cook until mixture is soft (3 minutes).

  • Stir in paprika. Add tomatoes.

  • Drain the beans. Stir in beans with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add sausage with salt and pepper. Continue simmering until beans are very soft and start to break apart. About 30 minutes. NOTE: Add more water if bean are dry. Stir in lime

** If you don't want to cook beans use 3 cans of beans or 6 cups of cooked beans. Add enough water to make an easy eatable stew. Heat to combine flavors. (Skip long cooking time) Add lime.


TIPS: "Souping up" Soup

  • Add leafy greens to soup at the end. Cook just enough so the greens wilt.

  • A teaspoon of corn starch dissolved in a about 1/3 cup of broth can thicken your soup. Dissolving the corn starch before you stir it into the soup prevents lumps.

  • Use beans instead of chicken or beef for good protein without extra fat. Beans give you fiber for healthy digestion, help reduce blood sugar AND save you $$.

  • Add cooked rice or noodles to your soup for a heartier dish. Cook separately and add at the end so rice and noodles don't get "mushy."

Dippers for Soup:
Got some stale bread? Toast it up. Cut it in finger size strips and serve with soup. Delicious dunked into soup.

For a crunchy side dish, try fast and easy Carrot, Beet and Apple salad. Shred or cut into small pieces 1 large beet, 3 carrots, 2 apples. Mix with 1 tsp olive oil and 3 tsp apple cider vinegar. Tangy, crunchy full of healthy nutrition.



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