Hello, my name is Lonnie Sundermeyer and I am an active member of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Gainesville, Georgia. We are also known as the St. Michael’s Conference. We are a strong, dedicated group of men and women who have been called by God to help those who are going through tough times. We do this without judgement, we are only to love and assist those in need. These volunteers are the most wonderfully kind and caring people I have ever been privileged to work with.

I am a Wife, Mother, and Grandmother. I have three grown adult children and five very precious grandchildren, ages nine to nineteen. I have also been a caterer, nurse, author of a cookbook and have done a lifetime of volunteering. Plus, I absolutely love to cook!  So, my friends, hopefully I can help you with preparing simple, low cost meals that are nutritious and delicious for you and your family.

I understand this isn’t always an easy task for you; you may have a full-time job and don’t have that much time to prepare a meal when you get home from work, PLUS you are exhausted. I am not superwoman, but I will do my best to help you!

It’s cold outside, the flu bug is working it’s havoc on everyone, so SOUP seems the ideal starting point for us. It’s simple, and very inexpensive, and it goes a long way. First of all, there are shelves of many brands of canned foods to choose from. Do you know that, generally, the most expensive foods are on the higher, eye level shelves?  The least expensive canned foods are usually on the lower shelves, where you have to bend down to get to them.  Plus, my friends, they are not well-known brands to us, BUT they are made by the same well-known companies that make the more expensive canned foods. When looking for the least expensive, but just as good canned foods, shop the lower shelves. Check it out.

CHICKEN TACO SOUP

This recipe came from a good friend, who got it from a friend, who got it from a friend.  Therefore, it’s a tried and true recipe from friends with no definite origination and it’s very good and very filling.  It’s a dump it in the pot and let it go kind of recipe!! High in protein and good vegetables. This can be doubled easily and frozen for a later time, too.

1 can of beans (black, pinto, or mixed pinto and navy or navy)

1 can of corn

1 can diced tomatoes (plain or Rotel, you can also find a less expensive type of the Rotel )

1 package of  Ranch Dressing Mix (dry)

1 package of Taco Seasoning Mix (dry)

1 medium onion, diced

2 cups water

 The recipe calls for (2 large cans of Chunk Chicken, drained), however, buy a whole chicken (Publix sometimes has them as Buy 1/Get 1 free), roast it or boil it with some seasonings, what you don’t eat that night, use the remainder to make the Taco soup the next day. Use the broth from the chicken you cooked in place of the water, just make sure it is 2 cups of broth.

Place all ingredients in a crock pot ( if you have one) and cook  for five hours, OR you can place it in a large pot on the stove on simmer for about five hours. Put it on early in the day and go about your daily chores while your soup simmers and fills your house with wonderful smells. 

I sometimes double the recipe and mix black beans and the can of navy and pinto beans.

Serve with crackers or crunchy tortilla chips.  It is delicious! 

Fresh fruit served for dessert will be wonderful or use canned fruit without a lot of sugar. Try to keep your meals well balanced too.

Preparing something one day and using the leftovers the next day is a good plan, but what’s great, is that the second day it is entirely different. To get good at preparing your meals means planning your meals ahead of time.  Make a calendar with the meals you will fix for the week. When you plan out your meals, then you can make a grocery list of the all ingredients you will need to prepare them.  I know people who will prepare a whole week’s worth of food in one day. Yes, that takes time, but it really saves you so much more time and money!!!

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