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bite the budget

From Chicken Soup to Chicken Dinner

Cooking on a budget can be tricky. Is nourishing our families with healthy, filling meals and saving money at the same time a realistic goal?

At the end of the day, we all want supper on the table. We want our families to eat, and we want the food to have some nutritional value. But it’s a difficult balance because often it’s the junk that’s cheap, while the good stuff is expensive. We all lead busy lives, and running around looking for the cheapest ingredients is not for everyone.

However, all is not lost! With a bit of creative thinking, it’s definitely feasible to prepare wholesome meals for a good price. The ideas presented here are easy, tasty, and inexpensive. Are we up to the challenge? Well, let’s see…


Have you ever wondered what to do with all the chicken from your soup? It seems a waste to throw it all away.

Here are some ways to reuse the chicken without anyone noticing where it came from.

Whether you use quarters, wings, carcasses, or all of the above, you can make a delicious dinner from your leftover chicken. Add a nice, hearty side, and you’ve got a well-rounded meal.


Easy Chicken Wings

This isn’t even really a recipe. Just take the chicken wings from your soup, smother them with your favorite sauce or seasonings, cover, and cook for about 45 minutes.

You can practically eat the bones in these. They retain some chicken soup flavor, which adds to the flavor of the sauce. And because they’re double cooked, they’re incredibly soft!

Homemade Shawarma

This is a great and easy way to use chicken from the soup. Once the chicken is shredded, it takes 5 minutes or less to put together. Serve with pita, Israeli salad, and any toppings you desire.


  • 1 lb (450 g) shredded chicken
  • 1 onion, diced or sliced
  • 3 heaping Tbsp shawarma spice mix (recipe below)
  • oil, to coat

Once your soup is cooled, shred the chicken into small pieces. Mix the chicken and onion together in a large pan. Mix in the shawarma spice and coat with oil.

Grill or bake for 30 minutes, uncovered, on 350°F (175°C). Check and mix periodically. The chicken should look slightly golden and the onions somewhat cooked when done.

Alternative method: Fry the onions in a small amount of oil. Add chicken and spices. Cook until slightly browned.

Shawarma Spice Mix

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika (I use sweet)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp salt

Note: 3 Tbsp of this mixture is enough for 4 generous portions of shawarma, but I just throw the whole lot in. The amounts can be adapted as necessary.

Tip: If one soup doesn’t contain enough chicken to feed your family, shred the chicken, then freeze it, and keep adding to your collection until you have enough.


(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 865)

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