Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cheap Meals

For all of you that are wondering how I am doing on the budgeting, I am still surviving. I wanted to share some cheap meals for all of the people that feel poor like me at times. I think this is my favorite cheap meal. Right now it is cooking in the oven. Today I found chicken for 30 cents a pound (you heard me right!). So when I make this I cook about a pound of chicken. I got carrots that were selling at seven pounds for one dollar and potatoes that was 80 cents for a ten pound bag. It's really simple to make. I take about four or five medium sized potatoes, four large carrots, I peel them and dice them. Toss the chicken, potatoes and carrots with oil and herbs (today it's dill and garlic). Bake it in the oven until the internal temperature of the chicken is over 165.

If you like warm stews try putting all of the ingredients into a crock pot and adding an onion, a cup or two of water for the stock some bread dumplings. For my bread dumplings I use about a cup of flour, a tablespoon baking powder, a eggs and a couple spoonfuls of milk. The batter should be thick. When the stock starts to simmer add dollops of the batter to the top of the stew. Cover and let cook until the dumplings are fully cooked (about an hour).

A way to cheat to make those creamy mashed potatoes that can go with whatever. boil the potatoes, drain the water and add that nasty powdered milk that you never use. I add salt too.

Pasta! I see past on sale at times for 50 cents a pound. This may be the reason that so many people with big families have casseroles all of the time. I like the good old fashion family spaghetti sauce, my hubby would rather have something else.

Learn how to make all sorts of beans. This is how I make lentil soup. I made this for one of my friends that offered to baby sit and then the next time that she was over she was trying to make it. Soak the lentils overnight. I use a half a pound for the four of us. Drain off the fart water the next morning lol. I cook this is the crock pot because I feel like it's better if I don't have a chance to burn dinner. Add what ever greasy meat you have like: ham, spam, bacon, pork, chicken legs, or chicken thighs (don't over do it with the meat, it is just to add flavor). I add a couple carrots, a onion and some garlic. if you want more green in your soup you can add spinage, zucchini or chopped green onions. I like it when the soup has a Creole flavor so I add a spoonful of Cajun seasonings.

If you get eggs for cheap and you have extra bread that is going to go stale try making a strata or bread pudding. Their are so many different variety's of strata's. Sausage is cheap. You can make a breakfast strata with that bread, some eggs and some sausage. Or you can put some brockley in there with some ham and have it for dinner. Top with a bit of cheese, bake it in the oven and voila! Your eating leftovers and you didn't even see it coming.

If you buy corn chips, Campbell's soup has some good recipes to use up some soon to be stale chips. Just a can of cream of mushroom soup, some salsa, tomatoes, onion, sour cream, those chips, some leftover cooked chicken, in a casserole topped with cheese. It's like a creamy enchilada. Yumm. It's even good to eat the leftovers with chips because the leftovers do get soggy.

Crazy Chinese that is really American. Last night I made some sweet and sour pork and it taste like McDonald's sweet and sour sauce. It was a bit disturbing. There was a can of pineapple, one pound of pork, two table spoons of ginger, on third cup vinegar, one third cup sugar, and a third cup of corn starch, oh and a clove of garlic. I just stirred it all up in the crock pot again and let it cook in there because I was lazy and didn't want a gazillion dishes. Made some rice to go with it. We had it with broccoli on the side instead of bell peppers.

Just to let everyone know I just recently learned how to bake. Not because I wanted to because I felt like I had to. Cakes are cookies were the first step. Then it was the harder step of making bread. To make bread if you get the packets of yeast it cost about 30 cents a loaf, if you get a box or a jar it cost even less. I got a pound of yeast for four bucks and I pit in pint size jars and stuck it in the freezer. It now cost less the a dime for a loaf of bread because we also get our flour in bulk. It cost three bucks for a loaf of bread at the grocery store. I just did the math for you.

Maybe once a week I will just randomly put a menu up for everyone to see to help motivate me to stick to a budget. All of the things that I have made in the past week are less than a two dollars for the whole meal to feed a family of four. I know that we are not the only people that are hurting so it may help others get ideas for some meals to feed their families.

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