Groceries from the 99 Cents Only Stores.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #dothe99 #99obsessed #CollectiveBias

Looking for healthy meal planning ideas while saving money on fresh produce? Stay on budget with this turkey meatball vegetable and rice soup made with homemade vegetable broth using fresh produce from the 99 Cents Only Stores.

A variety of potatoes on display at the 99 cent store.

Happy New Year! It’s that time of the year when everyone is recovering from the holidays and making plans to replenish their bank accounts. For some of us, it’s a time to start planning healthier meals to lose those extra pounds that were gained during the holidays. Trust me, I know because I’m right there with those folks.

A few days before the new year, my husband experienced a minor heart attack that scared us all. Thankfully we caught it in time and he was able to get the medical attention he needed right away. Since then, our eating habits have changed dramatically. This partnership with the 99 Cents Only Stores couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m excited to show you how the 99 has helped us start the new year off right with fresh produce for the best price.

Groceries from the 99 Cents Only Stores.

One of the reasons I love the 99 is that they always have fresh, affordable produce every day. I always find something new, too. As a matter of fact, after one of my visits to the 99, I had to return the next morning because I had forgotten something and discovered that there were new items that weren’t there the day before.

Groceries from the 99 Cents Only Stores.

The 99 has everything you need to eat fresh and healthy on a budget no matter what your daily routine looks like.

They have all the supplies there to help you get started while easily staying on your budget. For example, you can pick up a set of food storage containers in different sizes and colors to help you organize your snacks and meals for the week. Having them ready to go will help keep you away from the drive-thru if you get hungry on your way home from work or end up working extra hours.

Groceries from the 99 Cents Only Stores.

Another idea you can try is to make large batch meals and freeze them using those containers. Something I like to make at home is a large batch of chicken or vegetable broth and freeze it for later. Because the vegetables are so cheap, I can buy more, stay within my budget, and still get two to three meals out of the same bags of vegetables. It also allows me to control the amount of sodium in the broth, and I end up with more broth for less than what I’d pay for it from another retailer. I’ll share a recipe for vegetable broth in a bit, so keep reading!

Groceries from the 99 Cents Only Stores.

Having the option to buy fresh food on a small budget is such a relief. Especially now that we need to make sure we eat better every day in the new year. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll save when you compare their prices to other retailers. Trust me on this! I actually did some note taking while I was shopping at another grocery store. I price checked some of the same items and of course, the 99 beat their price every time. Some items were even cheaper by two or three dollars! I love that I don’t have to bother looking at an ad to save money.

Recipes For a Small Budget.

Now, I know I promised you a vegetable broth recipe already, but I want to also share a turkey meatball vegetable and rice soup recipe that I made with my vegetable broth. They do take some time to put together if you make them on the same day, but at least you’ll end up with a meal for that day, and a nutritious broth base to use throughout the week with the rest of your meals.

The great thing about both these recipes is that you will find everything you need at the 99!

So let’s get started with the vegetable broth recipe, shall we?!

Carrot, celery, tomatoes, yellow onion, garlic, spices prepped for a vegetable broth recipe.

Buy enough vegetables for the week, but don’t just get home and put everything away in the fridge and call it a day. It’s best to do your shopping on a day that you know you won’t have too much to do. Sunday’s usually work well for most people.

When you get home, rinse and organize your vegetables. Start by chopping off all the tips and ends of the vegetables.

I like to cut off the ends and tips right away to give me somewhat even pieces of carrots and celery to use throughout the week for dinner and snacks. I store them in plastic containers in the fridge. They’re already washed and ready to use and I can even use some of them to peel and slice for snacking and packing lunches.

For the vegetable broth recipe, I boiled the following ingredients on medium-low for two hours:

  • 7 quarts water (edited 1/9/2019 to add: for a more concentrated broth, reduce water to 5 quarts)
  • 1 whole yellow onion (root ends cut off, cut into quarters, paper skin on)
  • 6 large garlic cloves cut in half
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups carrots (chopped ends and tips, roots cut off)
  • 3 cups celery (crown base and top of stalks)
  • 2 1/2 cups tomatoes (cut into quarters = about 3 tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme

If you’re not ready to make your vegetable broth, store the end scraps in the freezer in a plastic bag or in a freezer safe container until you’re ready to make it. When you are ready to make your broth, start with cold water. You don’t have to wait for the water to start boiling to add the vegetables. Just put everything into a large pot, turn the heat on to high and wait for it to start boiling. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue boiling for two hours.

Vegetables boiling in a pot to make vegetable broth.

When it’s done, strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and store the broth in airtight containers or plastic ziplock bags. I prefer to use containers because they stack easier in the refrigerator. Just be sure to leave some room for the liquid to expand if you are freezing them right away. The containers in the image below are from the 99 Cents Only Store and came in a pack of 8. I used four of them to save ten cups of broth to freeze and set aside the rest of the broth for a turkey meatball vegetable and rice soup that I’ll be sharing next.

Four plastic containers filled with vegetable broth, stacked on top of each other.

Turkey Meatball Vegetable and Rice Soup with Homemade Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth.

Use the broth in your soup recipes, to make rice, gravy, mashed potatoes, stews, or anything else you typically use broth in.

For the Turkey Meatball Veggie and Rice Soup, start by combining the following ingredients together.

  • 12-ounce package ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, shredded
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large egg

Ingredients for turkey meatballs with zucchini.

Heat two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large pot. Use a melon baller or cookie dough scooper to make equally sized meatballs. Drop them into the pot one at a time, moving quickly so you can start turning over the first ones as soon as possible. You might even have to cook them in two batches.

Turkey meatballs being cooked in a dutch oven pot.

Cook them just enough to give them a sear around the surface of the meatballs. They don’t have to be fully cooked yet.

Set the meatballs aside and add the bottom halves of three chopped scallions to the pot.

Save the top halves of the scallions for garnishing the final dish later.

scallion onions chopped on a wooden cutting board.

Add one can of whole or diced Roma tomatoes to the pot as well. If you are making this soup the same day you’re making the broth, use the tomatoes from the broth. Smash and break them up in the pot.

Tomato being added and stirred into a pot.

Next, add 1 cup chopped carrots and 1 cup chopped celery. Stir well to combine.

Chopped carrots and chopped celery being added to a pot of soup.

Add 8 cups vegetable broth to the pot and bring it all to a boil. Keep it on a low boil for at least ten minutes.

Vegetable broth being poured into a pot of soup.

After ten minutes, add 1 cup chopped zucchini. Boil on low another five minutes.

Turkey meatballs soup in a serving spoon.

Finally, add:

  • 1/2 tsp garlic parsley salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup loosely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped scallions.

Continue on a low boil for another five to eight minutes or until the zucchini are soft and cooked through but not soggy.

Taste test to see if you need more salt or garlic salt. We are currently on a low sodium diet so this recipe is very low in sodium.

Serve with lemon wedges, freshly chopped cilantro and scallion onions.

And just like that, you’ve got a delicious healthy meal for dinner and some vegetable broth for your next meal.

Head over to your local 99 Cents Only Stores to get all the ingredients you will need for both these recipes. The 99 has all your favorite name brands like, Kraft, Las Palmas, Herdez, and Kikkoman just to name a few, at prices that can’t be beat anywhere else.

Grocery store shelves with condiments.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me what you would make with all this fresh produce and a refrigerator stocked with homemade vegetable broth?

Vegetable Broth Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 18 cups
Author Stephanie Chavez

Ingredients

  • 7 quarts water
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into quarters, roots removed, skin on)
  • 4 cups carrots, chopped tips and ends
  • 2 1/2 cups tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 cups celery
  • 6 large garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Instructions

  1. Start with cold water. You don’t have to wait for the water to start boiling to add the vegetables. Put everything into a large pot, turn the heat on to high and wait for it to start boiling. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue boiling for two hours uncovered.

  2. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and store the broth in airtight containers or plastic ziplock bags. 

Recipe Notes

Broth will be good for 3-4 days if stored in the refrigerator, or 4-6 months if stored properly in the freezer. 

For a more concentrated broth, reduce the amount of water to 5 quarts.

Turkey Meatball Vegetable and Rice Soup

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 12 ounce package ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, shredded
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp exrta virgin olive oil

For the soup

  • 1 20 oz canned tomatoes
  • 3 scallions, chopped, bottom halves only
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp garlic parsley salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup loosely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped scallions.

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs. Mix well. Heat two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Use a melon baller or cookie dough scooper to make equally sized meatballs. Drop them into the pot one at a time, moving quickly so you can start turning over the first ones as soon as possible. You might even have to cook them in two batches.

    Cook them just enough to give them a sear around the surface of the meatballs. They don’t have to be fully cooked yet.

  2. Set the meatballs aside and add the tomatoes and bottom halves of three chopped scallions to the pot. Save the top halves of the scallions for garnishing the final dish later.

    If you are making this soup the same day you make the broth, use the tomatoes from the broth. Smash and break them up in the pot.

  3. Add chopped carrots and chopped celery. Stir well to combine.

    Add vegetable broth to the pot and bring it all to a boil. Keep it on a low boil for at least ten minutes. After ten minutes, add chopped zucchini. Boil on low another five minutes.

  4. Add remaining ingredients to the pot, continue simmering on low another 5-8 minutes or until the zucchini is soft and cooked through but not soggy.

Recipe Notes

Taste test to see if you need more salt or garlic salt. We are currently on a low sodium diet so this recipe is very low in sodium. Serve with lemon wedges, freshly chopped cilantro and scallion onions.