Thursday, April 8, 2010

Unexpected expenses and Chicken Noodle soup!

It never fails, huh?  Just when you think it couldn't get any worse financially, it happens ..
The inevitable ..
It strikes when you least expect it ..

Unexpected expenses!


We had four within weeks of each other and what can you do .. you can either laugh or cry and I decided to choose the first!  Usually, things like this bother me but, I chose to see beyond the dark of the issues at hand.  In the course of a month, these things happened:
  • I came down with the stomach flu .. missed 3 days of work, doctor bill and medication.
  • Got rid of the broken down refrigerator with limited freezer space and invested in a new stand up freezer from Sears.
  • Doggies!  Blacks had an ear infection, Spots had a skin infection and both needed medications, rabies shots and deworming.
  • The car stopped running and found we needed a new fuel pump.
When someone came up with the adage, 'When it rains, it pours', they weren't joking!  So, things have been spread pretty thin around here but, we've managed somehow.  Thankfully, we were pretty lucky a generous coworker of mine had her hubby check out the car and tow it to the mechanics for us.  I dug around for hidden money (gift cards are a blessing when they have a $1 or two left on them), cashed in a rebate check for $6.27 and broke out our spare change just until the silly Dutch guy gets paid.  Thankfully, we had a stocked pantry and a few items in the freezer to nurse off of until we get a full paycheck again (and even when that happens, it's back to the mechanic for a few more things needing fixed on the car).  And for Easter (things like this only seem to happen to us during the holidays), we were blessed with a huge tasty ham from a very generous and selfless friend of ours to which I was truly grateful!

Once I started feeling better during the stomach flu phase, I felt like some homemade Chicken Noodle soup.  Now mind you, I save the carcasses from a rotisserie chicken I buy from the Wal*Mart deli when they have them marked down 2 for $5.  I bag them up and put them in the freezer.  On occasion, I'll bag up a whole chicken instead of picking all the meat off it just for the heck of it!  So ..

In a soup pot full of water, add one whole chicken plus a carcass
and begin boiling.
I put them in frozen because I don't think it makes a
difference whether they're thawed or not.
The marinade in the rotisserie chicken makes all the 
difference in my broth being rich and flavorful.
Keep adding water to your pot if the water level starts
getting too low.

After boiling for what seems like an eternity, or in most cases,
3 to 4 hours, remove the chickens and begin straining
the broth.  I use a colander lined with coffee filters
over a big bowl to catch all the tiny bits of bone 
and junk that collects while boiling.

The strained broth goes back into the soup pot along
with 4-5 boneless and skinless chicken breasts and
continue to cook until breasts are cooked through.
Remove breasts and cut up or tear into strips when
cooled and add back into your broth.
Once your rotisserie chicken has cooled down enough
to handle, strip the meat off of it and add to your broth.
Whatever meat you don't eat, save it for another use.
We only eat the breast meat on most occasions so,
I'll take the remaining meat and freeze it.  Once I get enough
gathered up, I add cooked macaroni or rice,
peas and cooked carrots and give my dogs a special
dinner to break the monotony of their canned dinner.

Take 4 stalks of celery, 4 carrots and a large onion,
cleaned and chopped up.
Add them to your soup pot.

Don't get rid of the celery leaves, they are delicious
and add much needed nutrition to your soup du jour.
Keep cooking for another hour or until veggies are tender.

The silly Dutch guy bought these one time by mistake
and had been sitting in the freezer for a while.
I thought they'd be rather tasty in my soup.
You could use any noodle, homemade or dry.
I like to add about 3T. dried parsley during this time
and cook until your noodles are done.

Look at that bowl of rich and tasty goodness!
There's something to be said about home cooking
even when cheating with an already cooked chicken!

What to do with all the left over celery when you don't own a refrigerator?
Chop up the remaining stalks, spread them out on a baking sheet
and freeze.  Once they're frozen, put them in a ziplock freezer
bag, remove as much air as humanly possible and return to
the freezer for future uses.  Foods like celery, green pepper,
onion, etc. that are just going to eventually be cooked can be
frozen and added to your recipe since they soften up during
cooking anyway.

And I can't end my post without acknowledging one of the
newest additions to the Manintveld family.
This little guy, along with his bigger brother, were adopted
from Aldi a couple months ago for $9.99 each.
They have made our little family pretty happy lately!

And on that note, I hope you find much happiness despite the sad and the bad and the mad ..
Dwelling on the negative only wastes your time .. find something to fix that in a positive way!


  1. what an awesome post! i learned a lot. oh blogging deidra, how i've missed thee!

  2. I know about the unexpected expenses all too well. Our dogs have been in and out of the vet more than I could have imagined this last month. Ugh. Sounds like you are getting through though the slump brilliantly though.

  3. I love your chicken soup method! Those rotisserie chickens can be a great value, but there is always a lot leftover in my house. Fabulous idea for an easy chicken soup that saves time and money!

  4. Mmmm looks so good. Chicken soup heals me.

    ~jan @

  5. Oh geez. I've had some of those times where you wonder if it's ever gonna stop!! And it always seems to happen when things are stretched already.

    Hi! Stopping by from Rachel's virtual soup swap to visit. I posted a link to a sausage and sweet potato soup. I love chicken noodle and there's nothing better when you are feeling under the weather. I save bags of bones too. I can't believe the people who just throw those away!! I was digging in my big freezer for a bag of frozen broth today and had to chuckle when I saw a big bag of carcasses and parts I had labeled "chicken junk" LOL. :) I am also a fan of Reames - love chicken with Reames noodles!

    Nice blog!


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