Nothing Warms You Up Like Chicken Soup

I’ve got specials from four stores today – Aldi, IGA, Kroger and Marsh. And the sales are for four different periods – Wednesday through Tuesday for Aldi, Monday through Sunday for IGA, Thursday through Wednesday for Kroger, and Thursday through Sunday for Marsh. Not that that’s anything new. I’m sure you’re already aware of it. Just thought I’d mention it.
Marsh has their pork combo packs again for 99 cents a pound. That’s about 10 -15 pounds of chops, roasts and ribs. It’s a great price, but you have to buy at least $25 of other stuff to get that price, and there’s a limit of two combo packs. It’s still a pretty good price, even if you do have to pay a bit more for the other things. But watch how much more you pay for the rest. Perdue boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.99 a pound in the family pack. 28-ounce to 29-ounce cans of tomatoes are ten for $10, or $1 each. I didn’t see that you have to buy ten items to get the special price, but watch for it when you check out.
I got a flier from IGA this week, so I’ll include their sale prices, too. They have stores in Ellettsville and Bedford. Probably not worth a special trip out there, but if you happen to be out there anyway, you might want to check them out. First, they have some special deals that are only good on Friday, December 6. Large eggs are 99 cents a dozen, with a limit of four dozen eggs. Idaho potatoes are $1.99 for a ten pound bag, and I didn’t see anything about a limit on them. Bacon is $3.99 for a 24 ounce package. And finally, whole boneless center cut pork loin is $1.49 a pound, limit of two roasts. Again, the sale on the eggs, potatoes, bacon and pork loin is only on Friday, December 6. The rest of their sales are from Monday, December 2 through Sunday, December 8. Boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken breast tenders are $1.99 a pound. Onions are 99 cents for a three pound bag. Some canned vegetables are 39 cents a can, with a limit of ten cans. Peas, corn and green beans were pictured. Shredded cheese is $1.47 for an 8 ounce bag.
Aldi has four pounds of oranges for $2.49, which is by far the best price I’ve seen so far this season. Eggs are $1.29 a dozen, limit of 6 dozen. Ham is still anywhere from 99 cents a pound to $1.49 a pound.
Kroger has boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs for $1.97 a pound and various cheeses – shredded, bars or singles – for $2.99 for 12 to 16 ounces. It’s a good price for 16 ounces, not so good for 12 ounces. Boneless pork loin is $1.99 a pound. Cream cheese is 10 for $10, or $1 each for 8 ounces. I checked to see if they still have the Swai nuggets I wrote about a few weeks ago, and they do. The regular price has come down, too, to $1.29 a pound.
As you know, I usually only talk about meats, eggs, veggies and dairy. In part that’s because that’s the way I eat, but mostly it’s because I have no idea what the regular price on most other things is, and what’s a good deal. I’m making a couple of exceptions this week on things that seem to be a better than usual price, but please use your own judgment on them. Don’t take my word that the prices are good. Marsh has four pound bags of sugar for 99 cents a bag, if you spend at least $30 on other stuff. There’s a limit of two bags. Sugar is $1.47 for a four pound bag at IGA, and flour is $1.59 for a four and a quarter to five pound bag. Flour at Aldi is $1.39 for a five pound bag and sugar is $1.49 for a four pound bag.
There really aren’t any great meat specials, but since Kroger, IGA and Marsh all have boneless skinless chicken breasts (and thighs, at Kroger) for $1.97 or $1.99 a pound, I was going to go with that. But then I was sitting here watching the rain turn to freezing rain, and listening to the forecast of 6 to 10 inches of snow, and thought soup sounded awfully good. I started changing recipes to use the boneless, skinless breasts, but the bony pieces are really lots better for soup making, because you can make the broth as you go. So I’m going to use the ten pound bags of chicken leg quarters from Walmart again. I didn’t check when I was in there on Thursday (it was a mad-house with everyone stocking up before the storm), but I’m assuming that they’re still $5.90, or 59 cents a pound. At least, that’s the price I’m going to use in costing out the recipes.
Half a bag of the leg quarters, roughly five pounds, should give you enough chicken and broth for at least two big batches of soup, maybe more. I'm going to assume that you're only cooking half the bag to use in these recipes, though you can always cook them all. The other half can be roasted or fried or cooked however you like, or you can make a double batch of chicken and broth, or you can freeze the other half to cook later. Whatever. A ten pound bag of chicken can be a bit intimidating, and I want you to be aware that it doesn't have to be.

Start by making STEWED CHICKEN WITH CHICKEN BROTH.  You'll want to take the skin off the chicken first and make GRIBENES, or CHICKEN CHIPS, with it. That's scrumptious bits of crispy baked chicken skin. Save the bones after you've cooked the chicken and taken the meat off of the bones for the soup, and use them to make BONE BROTH. You should end up with about five cups of meat that you've taken off of the bones, about two quarts of the Chicken Broth you made while cooking the chicken, and another quart or more of Bone Broth. Not bad for a $2.95 investment!

Seems like folks everywhere make chicken soup. As I look at the three recipes I have for you today, they seem sort of similar. The big difference is the seasonings. MEXICAN CHICKEN SOUP has Mexican-ish seasonings, with cumin, coriander and jalapenos. TURKEY CREOLE SOUP is Creole-ish, from around Louisiana, with green pepper and tomatoes, and parsley, thyme, bay leaf and basil. I know, it's turkey soup, but chicken will work just as well. The third recipe, MULLIGATAWNY SOUP is based an Indian-ish recipe, or at least a recipe that the British brought back from India after Anglicizing it.
This first recipe, MEXICAN CHICKEN SOUP, is really a chicken tortilla soup, without the tortillas. You could add them, if you wanted to. Cut a small package of small tortillas in half, then cut each half in thin strips. Add the tortilla strips with the broth and chicken. Or a generic chicken soup can be made by leaving out the jalapenos, cumin, and coriander, and using parsley instead of cilantro. I don’t know how much jalapenos run, but assuming they cost 25 cents and you’re using homemade CHICKEN BROTH, then a batch of this will cost about $3.75 and will make four servings of over 2 cups each at about 95 cents each. Add a wedge of lettuce with two tablespoons of dressing to each serving, and top each bowl of soup with 2 tablespoons of sour cream and a fourth of a cup (1 ounce) of shredded cheese and it comes to just a tad under $1.50 per serving. Avocados are 49 cents each at Aldi this week, so you could split one among the four servings for just twelve and a half cents per serving.
TURKEY CREOLE SOUP, or Chicken Creole Soup for our purposes, has the classic Creole seasonings of green pepper and tomatoes, and parsley, thyme, bay leaf and basil. A batch of this soup, which will make over eight cups and serve four generously, will cost about $4.50, depending mostly on how much you have to pay for the pepper. I figured a dollar, which may be high. That leaves $1.50 for something to go with the soup to round out the meal. You could do a salad and salad dressing, starting with half a head of lettuce (about 55 cents) and adding other ingredients like carrots and celery and onion until you reach the $1.50 limit. Not that you have to spend all of the $1.50 per person, of course! You could probably pick up a cucumber, and serve it either in ranch dressing, or sour cream, or vinegar. Some devilled eggs would be good with this, too, and would increase the protein considerably. There’s only two cups of meat for four people, which is a bit skimpy, though I increased it from the single cup that the original recipe called for. Eggs are $1.29 a dozen at Aldi, so you could have up to 3 whole eggs each if you wanted to. Or you could use a few eggs for garnish on the salad. Or you could serve some fruit for dessert. A two pound bag of pears is $1.49 at Aldi this week, oranges are $2.49 for four pounds, and apples are $1.99 for two pounds. You should be able to give each person a whole piece of fruit for dessert and still keep it under $1.50 per person, or if you bought a couple of different kinds, you could make a fruit salad for this meal and serve the rest of the fruit later.
The final soup today, MULLIGATAWNY SOUP, is an Anglicized (or Westernized) curry soup from India. The British brought it home with them when they returned from serving in India, back in the days when India was a British colony. It’s one of those basic recipes, like chili here in the States, that has lots and lots of variations. The main things seem to be chicken, apple, and curry powder. It’s traditionally served over rice, but I increased the chicken and vegetables instead. You could certainly serve it over rice if you wanted to. Like the Turkey Creole Soup, this should cost about $4.50, but it will make about twelve cups of soup. I’m still going to call it four servings, though you could get six out of it if you wanted to. A salad would go well with it, or fruit. See the Turkey Creole Soup recipe for suggestions. A dollop of yogurt would be good on it, too.
All of these recipes could be served over or with rice, but, as you know, I don’t eat the stuff and I don’t include it in my recipes. Instead, I’m going to give a recipe for CAULI-RICE, which is a rice substitute that is used a lot by folks who don’t eat grains. Now, don’t turn up your nose at it until you’ve tried it! Yes, it’s made out of cauliflower, but because it’s not overcooked it doesn’t taste like cauliflower. And because all of these soups are spicy (not necessarily hot, but with strong seasonings), even if it did taste a bit like cauliflower you wouldn’t know because the spices would cover the taste. Try it, and see for yourself. Don’t let the rest of the family know that it’s not really rice and, after they’ve eaten it and enjoyed it, ask them what it was. You know as well as I do that if you tell them ahead of time that it’s cauliflower they probably won’t eat it!