Since I moved out of my parents’ house at the end of last year I’ve been more cautious than ever about spending money on every day essentials like groceries, gas, and other household necessities. My partner and I used to buy lunches 3-4 times each week and pick up dinners quite often as well, so our food budgets were being slashed on the regular. However, now that I’m following in my mom’s footsteps of acting as a conscious consumer, I try to save as much as possible. Especially with food prices as expensive as they are due to inflation, using up all of the ingredients we have in my house is crucial. One of my most recent cooking favorites is making my own homemade chicken or veggie stock. Of course the Costco 12 pack of chicken broth isn’t that expensive, but it’s even cheaper to make stock from scraps for free! When I want delicious chicken stock, I use the leftover bones and cartilage from a Costco rotisserie chicken (which would be amazing in my old leftover soup recipe) and as for a vegetable-flavored one, the process is even more exciting to me (am I getting old and boring?)! Every few weeks or so I roast a giant batch of vegetables on sheet trays to have yummy veggies for salads, pastas, stir frys, etc (here’s a recipe for my roasted favorites). Whenever I have vegetable scraps, I keep all of the skins, cores, ends, etc from any and every vegetable and I put them in a gallon Ziploc in the freezer. After a month or so, I’m left with at least one or two hefty bags stuffed with old, frozen veggies that are prime for simmering. When I’m ready to make my savory veggie stock, I chuck all of the icy pieces in a large stock pot and top it with water. I make sure to liberally season the water with kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, chili flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, and bay leaves (feel free to add whatever seasonings you personally love) and I bring the mixture to a boil. Once rapidly boiling, I lower the heat to a low-medium and I simmer the pot of goods for 4-5 hours. I strained the mixture through a colander and a fine mesh sieve to make sure no seeds or gross pieces are leftover. The vegetable stock will be rich, savory, complex, and absolutely ready for any additional veggies or meats to toss in. And look, you made over one gallon of stock for no extra chunk of change! My perfect vegetable soup recipe is up next!