Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Almost-Free Lunch

Free or nearly free food works very well for me! How about you? :) For more great Works for me Wednesday tips, head over to Rocks in my Dryer!!

I just got finished making lunch for tomorrow. And I am amazed at how little it cost me for what we'll be having. Just a little background.....I purchased a Honey Baked Ham recently with a half-price coupon (my other blog has details). We had that ham for New Year's and for several days afterwards. When we got toward the end, I took off what I could to freeze, then decided to boil the bone with some veggies to make a nice stock. I was absolutely AMAZED at how much meat I got off the bone after it was boiled - I thought I had cleaned it well!!!

Anyway....tonight I defatted all the nice ham stock and put up 3 freezer containers full (had to do some re-arranging but I fit them in!). Then I took the rest of the stock and started preparing tomorrow's lunch. Into my crock pot went:

8 c. ham stock (no real cost as most people just toss that bone)
1 lb. yellow split peas (.65 bulk)
3 diced carrots (.37)
1 stalk of celery (stalk was .48, so about .06)
A handfull of the ham I pulled off the bone I would have thrown away (considering that free, too)
Salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary (negligible)

So, I have this full pot of split pea soup that cost me about $1.08. This will easily be lunch for 2-3 days! I'm going to have my kids try it to see if they will eat it, and if so, this will become a regular menu item. I'm interested to see how it turns out with the ham stock and in the crock pot - never done it before. But I figure if it comes out terribly, I'm only out a buck! ;-) I suspect it will be just fine.

If you're wondering why this would be posted on my Leftovers blog, it's because the ham bone would be considered waste by many people. It would normally be tossed - in fact, I have tossed them in the past. But I thought I'd try boiling it and getting some nice soup starter for the winter. I ended up with enough meat and broth for a few more family meals, which I think is really cool! So, it's sort of like leftovers, and it's definitely a way to save money!!!

I will post a review of the soup experiment sometime after lunch tomorrow. DH is actually excited about it - he hasn't has split pea soup in years! :)


  1. This reminds me of my chicken and noodles or chicken and dumplings. I buy bone-in chicken breasts and fillet them myself. There is always a lot of meat left on the bones. I just freeze them until I have several, then simmer them to make stock. I get all the meat I need off them for soup or dumplings. Like you, I consider it an almost free meal, because the bones were "scrap" leftover from whatever it was I made with the chicken int he first place, while the noodles or dumplings cost just pennies.

    Let us know how the soup turns out!

  2. I throw those ham and chicken bones away...hangs head in shame, but I'll think again next time.

  3. I am so cold right now (49' in Phoenix)! I'm craving soup and this sounds fabulous!! I've never tried yellow split peas. I'll have to pick some up at Sprouts next time I'm there.

  4. I've never tried yellow split peas either! I hope your kids will eat it and it will beceme a regular for you. Very creative.

  5. I love split pea soup and that sounds just yuuuuummmmmy! Great tip!

    Come visit me today at The Goat

  6. I love almost-free soup! I do this with a turkey carcass whenever I roast one. I will have to try it with ham bone and yellow lentils new to me; I usually use green)
    Thanks for the tip

  7. I hate to admit that I usually throw away the bones without making stock from them. This sounds like an easy way to use them. And so frugal! Thank you.

  8. Thanks for linking up your soup recipe! I have a ham bone with meat in the freezer right now and do like to make split pea soup. I have never used the yellow split peas before - might have to try that.


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