Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On the Subject of Breakfast Foods: Muffins - Low Cost and Versatile

Breakfast muffins are a low cost menu item which can be prepared in quantity and frozen until needed. Muffins may vary from savory to sweet and can be prepared from a master mix allowing for bulk purchases of many ingredients.  Stay tuned for breakfast recipes - muffins and more.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Teach Your Kids to Cook

Some of our best memories with our older children, now college aged and on their own, are from time spent in the kitchen.  Living in multiple states, and in overseas countries on various military assignments, having the stabilization of familiar family meals and traditions was important.  Teaching them to cook those meals was important too.  It's important that our children learn the basics of cooking so they can pass on those family favorites to their kids and keep traditions alive....and well of course feed themselves without having to live in restaurants and on fast foods! 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pork and Bean Casseroles

Pork and beans are a fantastic staple to keep on hand when the grocery budget has taken a hit. They can be a main course meal or a side dish. You can even buy them in the gallon sized can, make three different casseroles and freeze two to cut the cost even further. One of our favorite things to do with pork and beans is to make beanie weenies. The kids love them and just a pot of beanie weenies with a pot of rice makes dinner for my bunch. Everyone makes theirs different I am sure but this is how we make beanie weenies.

If you are looking for more than just a can of beans with hot dog pieces try adding these ingredients:

For a sweet version of the dinner meal add any of the following:
  • A small amount of brown sugar
  • Vidalia onion, chopped and sautéed before adding
  • Ketchup
  • Cheese
  • Honey

To make Barbeque Beanie Weenies add:

1/4 cup BBQ sauce
Chopped Onion
2 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard

Don't forget to cut the hot dogs in to small enough bites to avoid a choking hazard if you are feeding small children.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Using Leftovers

Using leftovers from one meal to prepare another helps keep food cost low and cut the grocery budget. Sometimes it is useful to even prepare extra of certain portions of a meal to use in another meal simply because it saves time as well as the energy it takes to cook the item. A good example of this would be making a double batch of mashed potatoes. Cook one portion to go with the meal for today, and an extra batch to use for shepherd's pie or loaded potato casserole. Double the batch of cornbread for tonight's dinner and use the leftovers to make cornbread dressing later in the week.

Cutting good cost often just means staying out of the store. It's easy to spend to much when you go to frequently. Plan what you need, get it and get out of the store. I try to go in with a list and stick to it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but I always try.

On the leftover item use, how about broccoli potato soup?

1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
3 tablespoons margarine
2 cans evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon pepper

Melt margarine in soup pan. Sauté onion and carrot until soft.
Add milk, salt, pepper, and broccoli
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes
Do not let boil. Add mashed potatoes, stirring frequently to mix with liquids.
Simmer for 15 minutes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What's on your Meal Plan?

In order to think about reducing grocery costs, you really have to think about planning meals. I know for me, going into a store to grab something for tonight's dinner usually means I wind up buying other things I really didn't need. The number one way for me to cut grocery costs is to just stay out of the store! Meal planning doesn't have to be difficult. In a simple form it can just be jotting down what's going to be for dinner in the empty block on the calendar. Doing this for a weeks time lets you think about what you don't have on hand before you make your grocery trip. It also let's you think about what you have on hand that needs to be used up.

If you bought to many bananas last week and they are going bad, this week you may be eating banana muffins for breakfast. Maybe you have some of last night's taco meat left and need to remake it to another meal, or there's to many mashed potatoes left from the last meal. Leftovers can help reduce your grocery bill for this week if you find a way to serve them so you are not repeating the same meal taste to often.

It's Monday and that means the new week is off to a start...what will you have for dinner this week? Grab a pen and survey the cabinets, fridge and freeze and develop a plan. As the week goes on, I'll post a few ideas on how to use leftovers you may have on hand.

For today thought, here's an inexpensive ground beef casserole you can try.

Hamburger Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 cup water
1 16 oz. jar salsa
2 cups uncooked pasta, elbow mac or shapes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
Cook beef in skillet until brown; drain.
Stir water, salsa, uncooked pasta and salt into beef.
Heat to a boiling; reduce heat.
Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender. Stir in sour cream; cook just until hot

My kids love this one and it reheats easily for lunches too.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Adding Cabbage to the Meal Plan

Cabbage is a very inexpensive vegetable here year around. As a kid I remember eating cole slaw and occasionally smelling the sauerkraut cooking but I never thought of eating cooked cabbage. Fast forward to my military days and I encountered people eating cabbage soup for a diet plan. I tried it, didn't lose any weight but the soup was ok. Then when I married the other half he mentioned cabbage and bacon. That was ok too and we still eat it occasionally. So upon arrival here I thought, I'm not so sure cheap cabbage is going to help since it isn't that appetizing. I was wrong. Add a little ground pork, soy, garlic and a variety of seasonings and you would be surprised what cabbage can taste like. It can even be the basis a a few casserole type items you can add to a meal plan for not a lot of money. The embedded widget below gives information on cabbage casserole, why not try one out?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Filipino Lechon

Today we drove to a close by city where the specialty is Lechon. The place is called La Loma Lechon in Quezon City. We've still not found the camera charger since we took Christmas vacation so we were not able to make pictures this time.

Lechon is the Spanish word for pig and in LaLoma you'll see store after store of roasting pigs (the whole thing) on a wood stick over a charcoal fire. The pits are large enough to hold 10 or more pigs roasting at the same time.

We bought a few kilos to bring home, and have enjoyed them as a late lunch already. We'll use the leftovers for some sandwiches and maybe make soup or beans with the bones. Hopefully we'll make another trip back for some pictures but for now, you can see them on the Pinoy Travel Blog.