Thursday, April 4, 2013

College Kid Soup

College is a really exciting time in a person's life. Often it's the first time someone has lived on their own. They have no curfew to follow or really any other rules for that matter. They are exposed to a whole new group of people they wouldn't have met otherwise. And they are busy studying what will become their future.

But like many things in life the good does come with the bad. Because while college really is great, there is no denying one simple fact.

College kids are dirt poor. Like work three part time jobs and still barely have enough money for food poor. Buying good nutritious food isn't a top priority, because who can afford it anyways? Pizza, Chipotle, McDonald's...they are all more affordable, right?

Well I'm here to give you some education. A life lesson to college kids and adults alike.

Never will you save money eating out every day.

Sure the Dollar Menu seems like a great option but you're paying a dollar per serving (which isn't really that impressive) and you get no leftovers. Wouldn't it be easier if you could just grab your lunch out of the fridge on your way out the door instead of having to stop at a restaurant?

Insert soup. Basically the easiest thing on the planet to make and probably the cheapest. All you need is a simple formula and the different combinations are endless. If you're living in a dorm you just need to find a kitchen.

A kitchen and $3. 

I make a variation of this soup every week and it for lunch every day. Because I too am a poor college kid. I'm not in school anymore, but when your internship pays you less than $2 an hour, you have to become resourceful.

The recipe is very basic:
You dump all this into a pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the rice is done. That's it.

And even better the recipe makes roughly 10 servings so each cup of soup costs about a $0.25. Suddenly that dollar snack wrap from McDonald's doesn't look so impressive now does it?

If you're feeling extravagant you can substitute beef or chicken for the beans or some fun grains for the rice like quinoa or farro. Also if frozen vegetables aren't your thing you can use any fresh vegetable you like.

For my soup this week I used this combination:
  • Black Beans 
  • Canned Tomatoes 
  • Frozen mixed vegetables 
  • Quinoa 
  • Shredded Brussels sprouts and jalapeno
  • Chili powder, cumin, minced garlic, cayenne, unsweetened chocolate, brown sugar
And it was delightful. I'd love to hear your soup combos that you've tried in the past.  Because goodness knows I'm not the only 20 something strapped for cash looking to eat on the cheap. Even if you're Bill Gates sometimes saving a dollar on the grocery bill isn't such a bad thing.

Plus let's not forget the money you'll save down the line on your medical bills if you eat soup every day instead of that McDouble. I know your health as a 65 year old isn't on your mind when you're in college. But maybe it should be.

Just something to think about while you slurp your soup.

College Kid Soup Suggestions
  • white beans, tomatoes, frozen spinach, rice, garlic and dried basil/oregano 
  • garbanzo beans, tomatoes, frozen green beans, penne and dried basil/oregano
  • lentils, tomatoes, frozen cauliflower, rice and curry powder 
  • kidney beans, tomatoes, frozen stirfry mix, rice and ginger powder 
  • black beans, tomatoes, frozen corn, rice and chili powder

What I'm Listening to Today
Fortunate Fool: The New Amsterdams
My Love Has Gone: Josh Rouse
Love the Lie: Jf Robitaille


  1. YES. Oh man, this is taking me back to my grad school house, where I lived with six roommates and made SO much soup it was unbelievable. Also soda bread and broccoli with peanut sauce and curried eggplant and cheapo faux-enchiladas. It was kind of awesome. :)

  2. SO true, preach it! I just read your "about me" are you still studying to become an RD? I am too, small world! I have two years left (including internship) to be ready for the exam.