"When the economy gets tough, the tough get economic!"
My peasant ancestors survived harder times than these by not wasting anything, and that especially applied to food. From pigs they used "everything but the squeal" so why did I discard perfectly good food like bones, scraps and wobbly bits? It's both disrespectful to the animals which give their lives that we might live, and (more to the point) not at all frugal.
I offer as an exercise in frugality, as well as in conservation and even in spirituality (See ancestors! I'm following your path!), bone soup.
I started with a roast chicken, minus the part we eat. As I gnawed the meat from the bones, I tossed the bones into a crockpot.
(The crockpot cost a few buck from a thrift store. It's dirt simple and doesn't use much electricity to run, much less than a stockpot on a stove, because it doesn't transmit its heat through a burner. Anyone frugal needs one of these!)When I got a critical mass of bones and wobbly bits in the crockpot, I searched the fridge for things to add. In went the limp remains of last week's celery, also some carrots and an onion. I avoided peeling; after all, the peels have nutrition too! I like to cut things up with kitchen shears, but many people prefer a paring knife.
Sometimes I have a little leftover rice or bread from takeout or a restaurant doggie bag, but this time no luck. That's o.k.; the randomness of the soup adds to the charm. I dumped in some dried beans (very economical in bulk!) and the last dried pepper pod of summer.
From the freezer I tossed in a few peppers; they were in the freezer because we buy them in bulk, and the last couple always get a little soft. When the last few start drooping, into the freezer they go, to wait until the next soup. (BTW every part of the pepper goes in, including the seeds. Why bother coring them when the seeds are perfectly edible?)
For this week's soup, I happened to have some spare chicken thighs to toss in. Next week, maybe it'll be tofu, or whatever was on sale.
Once I'd added enough liquid, I turned the switch and went about my business. The next day, we had a soup that was tasty and nutritious, featuring less waste, more food, and best of all - not that much work!
Give it a try, my frugal friends: bone soup will please your palate, your pocketbook, and your ancestors!