I am trying hard not to complain about the snow that has been coming down all day. At least it isn't sticking. . . much. . . yet. hahaha I try to remind myself that every snowstorm we get puts more water in the mountains, to supply our needs in the summer. So I am making my home cosy, warm, and inviting by baking bread and making homemade soup. I had part of a leftover roasted chicken, so I simmered the carcass with water, a little salt, and chunks of carrot, onion, and celery. I added just a dash of vinegar. It helps leach a little calcium out of the bones for added nutrition, and you don't taste it in the final soup. After simmering for a couple of hours, I strain the solids out of the broth. I add fresh, chopped carrots, onion, and celery, and cook until tender (the veggies simmered with the bones don't have much flavor left). When the veggies are tender, I add seasonings, leftover cooked veggies I have stuck in the freezer for just such an occasion, and the bits of meat I have pulled off the bones. Then I add a few fine noodles. The result is a big pot of soup for just pennies, and making use of a few things that might otherwise been thrown away.
I am remembering a conversation with another young mother years ago. We had similar sized families, and seemed to eat similar type meals. She spent considerably more money on groceries than I did. As we compared our habits, the main difference I could see is that when a meal was over at her house, she put any leftover food straight in the trash can. I tried to make the best use of leftovers as I could. I was amazed at the difference it made in the compared food budgets. All these years later, it is still a motivating story to me. I find it takes very little effort to make use of many of my leftovers to stretch my food budget, and I happily make the effort.
My latest project aimed at stretching our food budget has been making pots of soup to use for lunches. About once a week I take leftovers and maybe a bit of meat, and make a nice pot of soup. Since my DH is home most days now, I needed to provide a lunch for him. He was used to taking those microwavable pop-top can/bowls of soup to work for his lunches. (His idea, not mine, lol He refused to take anything to work that needed to be returned home, and liked that the soup could just sit there until he decided he wanted it.) I decided that if I made soup once a week, we could have soup or leftovers from dinner for our lunches, and it would be much cheaper than trying to keep a lot of sandwich meats on hand. It has worked out extremely well. If I happen to run out of leftover bits of veggies for our soups, I also have diced veggies from the garden that I dried last summer, and the garden will be producing in a couple of months. This is a habit I intend to keep.