I've even bought pasta, canned goods and other items at estate sales, where everything -- including the contents of the kitchen cupboards -- must go.
Here's what I ate
|Oatmeal and tea, daily|
|Scrambled eggs with diced ham, bagel and cream cheese, banana|
|Tuna sandwich, carrots, pickles, coconut bread pudding|
|Chicken-vegetable stir-fry, carrot sticks, orange, yogurt with homemade jam|
|Tomato soup, bagel with cream cheese, banana|
|Chicken salad sandwich, pickles, carrot sticks, banana|
|Ham, fried potatoes, peas, banana, two cookies|
|Homemade spaghetti sauce over tricolor pasta, steamed carrots, canned pears|
|Roasted chicken thighs (two), rice, peas and carrots, orange|
|Chicken, rice, vegetable and bean stir-fry, orange, two cookies|
|Taquitos, pinto beans with salsa/yogurt sauce, applesauce, M&Ms|
|Meat loaf, baked potato, corn, dried plums, Butterfinger bar|
|Scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, toast, banana, two cookies|
|Pinto beans with salsa/yogurt sauce, cornbread, dried plums, rice pudding|
|Meat loaf, fried potatoes and onions, corn, dried apricots|
|Oatmeal and tea, daily|
|Homemade chicken-vegetable soup, crackers, banana|
|French bread pizza, peas and carrots, homemade yogurt with rhubarb|
|Chicken salad sandwich, corn, carrot sticks|
|Ham, potato salad, corn, canned pears|
|Tricolor pasta salad with tuna and vegetables and yogurt-dill dressing, fruit cocktail|
|Chicken-vegetable soup, cornbread, banana|
|Egg salad sandwich, carrot sticks, dried plums, M&Ms|
|Tuna sandwich, carrots, pickles, banana, rice pudding|
|Meat loaf, potato salad, peas, banana|
|Scrambled egg sandwich, carrot sticks, dried plums, bread pudding|
|Chili over rice, cornbread, dried apricots|
|Steak, baked potato, corn, canned peaches|
|Chicken-vegetable soup, cornbread, dried plums, rice pudding|
|Chili over rice, flour tortilla, canned peaches, bread pudding|
Rule No. 3: Cook strategically, too
I baked a slow cooker full of potatoes and turned the leftovers into potato salad and fried potatoes. The spuds were fried in chicken fat skimmed off the soup stock. If I hadn't done that I'd have needed some other medium, but this was free (and there's still some in my freezer).
The stock was made overnight in the slow cooker from the pan juices and bones from the roasted chicken plus some vegetable-cooking water from my freezer. It became four servings of soup with the addition of less than 50 cents' worth of pasta, beans, frozen veggies and spices.
Canned stock can be expensive -- and salty. This was free, i.e., made of things that might otherwise have been tossed. You can also save odds and ends of leftovers to make "garbage soup."
A soup supper is a cheap supper. Cornbread (one bowl, easy) or biscuits will stretch it quite nicely, so make a double batch some weekend and freeze it in dinner-sized portions.
Rule No. 4: Cook once, eat a bunch of times
I also cooked two cups of dry pinto beans in the slow cooker. That's about 57 cents' worth, bought at a warehouse club two years ago (they've since gone up to 68 cents a pound).
The resulting five cups of beans were used three different ways:
- Added to the soup and stir-fry.
- In a pot of chili the second week (frozen until then).
- With a sauce of homemade yogurt and salsa, once as a side dish and once as a main dish.
Meatless meals are usually much cheaper, so why not institute a Meatless Monday at your place? Do an Internet search for recipes, using keywords such as "fast," "easy" and "vegetarian."
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
I save the broth from all my meat/chicken cooking. I also use Ramen noodles in place of rice sometimes for a stir fry. I put slivers of leftover meat, veggies on top and Ramen noodles becomes much more healthy. Using a whole chicken leads to many meals as you suggest. Homemade dumplings (flour, egg) added to soup or gravy can give variety in place of bread. The catch to paying less for food is
to know how to cook using simple ingredients, and utilizing leftovers in clever ways. Beans are cheap, and can be used in rollups, on top of salad, on toast,in soup, endless applications w/o just living on beans. They fill you up, and have lots of iron and B vitamins.
The only kind of beans I'll eat is green beans (childhood trauma, Same with chicken-even worse. You might think it's silly but I can't get around it-and I've tried). Any substitutions? Send to my screen name at msn dot com. I continually look for money-saving foods/recipes but have to steer clear of the above.
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