Invest in some red chili flakes and some bay leaves. 1/4 tsp of chili and one bay leaf with make a big difference to any stock. Even just one fresh tomato will add lots of flavour when slow cooking, because there is a lot of flavour in the skin. Alternatively use a squeeze of tomato puree. An ALTERNATIVE to salt is chinese five spice or severn spice or curry powder. Note that these contain their own salt. Kallo make stock cubes that are very low in salt so they are more suitable for use with curry powder etc. You can't ever go far wrong adding mixed herbs. If you add lots of dry spices it will add some bitterness so you will need a source of sweetness. Fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, peas, carrots and sweetcorn will add sweetness to a dish. Mustard seed (which will dissolve during cooking) can be used as an altenative or with chili. Wine or wine vinegar is another thing worth experimenting with. Cheap chicken is very tastless. Healthier alternatives are ... Lean lamb. (available from Sainsburys) Turkey (cheaper and full of flavour) Venison. (frozen venison is affordable and is cheaper than fresh lamb) Prawns ( try a bag of prawns, with a fresh chili, a stock cube, 1pt of water, a bay leaf, some mushrooms, some corriander and some green veg. Different varieties of chili have different tastes so experiment) Beans. There are wide variety or tinned beans available that can be used as a filler if you are little short on meat. Pork Loin Steaks - Provided you trim the fat off which is easy, this is an affordable moderately healthy red meat if you are on a budget. Frozen fish. - Another budget food are blocks of frozen fish. Coley is the cheapest but it needs the most help. A roll or to a frozen chopped spinach is another useful addition to a stock. It is also a useful source of iron that you may not be getting enough of if you are living on chicken. =================== A soup is a lazy persons cooking sauce, so if you fancy cheating just add a packet soup to you meat, with some water and voila you have a meal. If you like it, look at the soup ingredients and it will give you some ideas.