Monday, February 12, 2007

Making Do on Mondays: Stretching the food supply

There are many ways of saving money when it comes to meals. We've talked about "cop-out" dinners before, menu planning, useful sites etc. But here are a few simple tips just to get you to think frugally with the food you have on hand.

No more buying broth!
~When you have a whole chicken to cook, boil it. Save the water... take out your chicken when it's done and add peppercorns and onion peels and other such flavorful additions. Let it simmer for a while, partly covered. Let it cool when you think it tastes good enough, and save it in a jar or in a tupperware in the freezer.
~Buy bulk broth powder from your local health food store. There are usually a few types of broth: chicken, vegetable, beef, etc. When you go to the cupboard for broth, make it with boiling water instead. You only need a teaspoon per cup or so.
~Make your own flavored "stock" for soups and such by simmering vegetable peels and peppercorns... add paprika, salt and pepper to taste.

Save the Leftovers!
~When you go to a party and they're getting rid of all the food, ask if you can take home all those veggies! If you already have a fridge full of veggies, put them in the freezer and use them for soups later. If your fridge is veggie-less, well, eat them fresh!
~Don't throw away the dregs of a dinner that can be made into a whole soup! The other day I had about 1 or 2 cups of a chicken-rice-potato meal I had made for lunch. It just wasn't the type of meal I wanted to eat again in that form. -So I saved it. The following day I threw it into a crock pot with half a can of tomatoes, salt and pepper, an onion and as much water as was needed.
~Meat is expensive, if a recipe calls for a pound of ground beef; use 3/4 pound, especially in pasta sauces or casseroles where it won't affect the AMOUNT of food you have too much. Fry up all the meat and save that little extra bit in the freezer. Keep doing this until that extra meat has added up to it's own pound or so. You'll have what seems like a free pound of (already cooked) meat to throw in an easy spaghetti sauce or so for a busy day!

Drink more water!
~So many people spend oodles of money on juice! You don't need to drink lots of juice. You really need water. Eat fresh fruit and drink water.
~If you are a juice lover, (I certainly am! I'd drink juice all day.) dilute your juice to make it stretch. Or if you can't bear that, drink a cup of water before you pour yourself some juice... that way you aren't likely to drink as much.
~Also, buy frozen concentrates instead of already-made juice. It's drastically cheaper and then you can add as much water as is bearable. I've been doing this lately. It's more freeing to be able to drink juice without seeing the dollar signs in your head...

Don't throw it away.
~Save any dregs of food left in the pans, ie the extra oatmeal, the extra rice, etc. Freeze it and use in muffins and such. Muffins taste great with added oatmeal.
~So there are a few sliced apples left on the plate. So the babe didn't finish the banana... etc. Save it! Use the fruit in banana bread, or defrost and sautee with sugar for the crepes! Or freeze those chunks of fruit to use in smoothies; all you need is fruit, yogurt, juice or ice according to your tastes. You get the idea.
~After dinner, when there are still some steamed green beans or carrots in the bowl, save them and add them to a pasta sauce...



one of us :: 7:55 AM :: 0 Comments