In my previous post about how to make cheap, tasty, and easy meals so you can skip the expensive meal plan at college, I described how to cook a whole Chicken with a simple, sweet spice rub. However, with the cold of winter still upon us, the perfect meal for those snowy nights is a hearty, hot soup.
My solution to making a delicious soup on a budget is a basic, bean based Minstrone. While a pound of ground beef can be substituted for some of the beans, I actually prefer it vegetarian. The soup does not have much in the way of broth, but it keeps you plenty warm, and makes for great leftovers when it is reheated.
The first step is to prepare the beans. You can either purchased canned beans, or if you’re really looking to save some cash, you can get dry beans in a bag. To prepare dry beans for cooking, soak them in water overnight, drain and rinse them, then cook them in simmering water for about an hour. Don’t forget to add a bit of salt (or if you’re adventurous, Adobo) while they simmer.
Now for the actual recipe:
3, 15 oz cans of beans, drained (or about 1 cup of dried beans)
1, 15 oz can of green beans, drained (or 1 lb bag of frozen green beans, steamed i the microwave)
3/4 cups of uncooked pasta. I prefer elbows.
1 30 oz can (or 2 15 oz can) of diced tomatoes, undrained.
3 cups of water and 3 beef boullion cubes (or 3 cups of beef broth)
Bread, my favorite is a simple french loaf from the grocery store’s bakery.
Add the tomatoes, water, pasta, and boullion cubes to a pot and heat to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the pasta is cooked. Add the beans and mix to combine, then allow to heat through, about 10 minutes. Serve with bread.
This recipe is quick, tasty, and makes six to eight servings for the average college male, meaning it could feed you for nearly a week if you ate smaller portions. The best part is that the total cost is a bit under $10 in my area, making it incredibly economical. Hopefully you enjoy this soup as much as I do, and feel free to experiment with the seasonings or adding extra veggies, as the recipe is quite amenable to experimentation.