It's been quite a while since fleshing out my collegiate aspartions, such as they were, but I've lived a financially austere lifestyle on more then one occasion and this here's just the ticket to keep a few coins in your pockets on a cold winters night.
Given this is meant to be a recipe, and not an essay on ecumenical politics, I'll endeavor to keep the witty banter to a minimum thus making it easier to get your grub on, toot sweet. Enjoy!
Step 1: Shopping List Extraordinaire
1X Canned sliced white potatoes *no salt added (.88 cents)
1X Chicken bouillon packet *Sodium free (1.50 for a package of 8- approximately .19 cents a piece)
2X Non-dariy creamer packets (swiped from your local eatery on the sly. Why? because it tastes better that way)
1X Pad of unsalted butter (you can substitute with 2Tsp any other type of oil; besides olive- as it makes things taste funky.)
2Tbs water to account for fluid reduction during cooking (just in case)
Salt and pepper to taste. (I personally love Micky-D's salt and pepper packets if your on an extreme budget. Accept no substitute.)
Pro tip: If you hadn't notice a bit of theme with that whole: no salt added, Sodium free, unsalted bit. The reasoning behind that, is to avoid the compounding saltiness you'd get otherwise. That, and I've got high blood pressure.
Step 2: One Pot Wonder.
For the sake of me, I'm making this on my stove top, but this could just as easily be made on a hot plate or in a microwave. All the ingredients are ready to eat as they are but to adequately combine them in such a way as to garner the illusion of civility they've really got to be warmed up.
Open the can and dump the contents into your "cooking vessel" in their entirety. The liquid from the can serves as the base of your soup, waste not want not.
Turn your stove-top on medium heat and add the two tablespoons of water to account for reduction as we go ahead and add the rest of the ingredients into the mix.
*If using a microwave you're going to have to play it by ear. For my microwave two minutes seems to be just about right to get things hot enough that they combine properly
Step 3: "Liquor Before Beer..."
Okay, so there's neither liquor nor beer in this recipe (although....). Hopefully you catch my meaning. It's all about the order in which you do what, that determines the outcome.
With your pot set to simmer the first real ingredient your going to add is the chicken bouillon. The brand I've always used is Herb-ox because the flavor to cost ratio is pretty stacked in the favor of flavor and that ain't hey!
Next up to bat is the Non-dairy creamer. It doesn't have to be non-dairy really, but you can't argue with the shelf life. I don't know that it adds anything to the flavor department necessarily. But it does make the soup more ascetically pleasing and they say; "You eat first with your eyes." If you add this at the same as the bouillon it tends to clump and after the oil, forget about it...
Lastly comes the oil, if you've got butter, more's the better. I'm using coconut oil as that's what I happen to have. It doesn't add anything by way of flavor like butter does, but it adds fats to the carbohydrates and that's a good thing. It also tacks on about another 100 calories.
Let it all simmer for a spell till the potatoes start falling apart around the edges and Volià! Your done! Let it cool to your desired temp and enjoy. Check the next step for ways to gussy it up a scosh.
Step 4: Gourmet, Say What?!?
The following are just a few things you could add if you wanted to take things from stick to your ribs good to, actually want to eat fantastic.
Parmesan cheese: Packets of this stuff can easily be liberated from your local pizza joint and being a hard cheese the shelf life tends to be pretty decent. After all, it's not like Italian restaurants the world over are buying in small batches from artisanal cheesemongers on a weekly basis. No they're buying in bulk, that stuff had better last!
Aged Cheddar: If you've got the budget, a wedge of aged cheddar can go a long way towards enlivening your culinary endeavors, an even longer way masking your faux-pas.
Pro tip: Be careful of the two cheeses above; both are strong flavors and could easily ruin an otherwise perfectly editable meal. You've been warned!
Precooked frozen Italian sausage: If you split these and remove the meat from it's casing the crumbles come out being mighty tasty. Just be sure it's a savory sausage, maple and potato... Not my idea of a good time.
Chives (as seen in the cover photo): Onions and potato, a classic combination. I personally always like to keep dried chives on hand to add that oniony flavor to soups stews and deviled eggs. Seriously try it!
Hopefully you got a kick out of reading this, if not... Eh, that's what the comment sections for. Favorite, follow, vote and make; or don't, it's a free country. Thanks for reading! Cheers y'all and happy making!