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.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Taco Rice

When we were in Japan, we bought a rice cooker and began the part of our dinner life that still stays with us 15 years later. The rice cooker is amazingly still going strong and yes we still eat rice most evenings for dinner. In combination of a TexMex and rice style, we enjoy taco rice. I captured how we make this meal in a How to document on Mahalo where I have been writing for a couple of months.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010