Making Dinner on a Budget

Are you finding it more and more difficult to feed your family with ever-rising food costs and all the health experts screaming at us to eat healthier? Who can afford to go to the fast food joints these days? Not us, even if my band would allow me to eat there.

So, I'm planning ahead a whole lot better. We're eating less meat, and less expensive cuts when we do. No one will die if they don't have beef every night, even if I do have a husband who believes that "Real Food Says Moo!" He'll live a lot longer this way, if I don't kill him myself for his comments.

So from now on, here's my plan:

1. Sunday-- Breakfast for Dinner. Eggs, Pancakes, Sausages, Bacon, Biscuits, and many other Egg dishes will be featured. DH can survive quite well on frittatas, quiches, and egg casseroles if I feel like working that hard. Eggs are inexpensive. Add veggies, cheeses, and a bread for those not on low-carb diets, and you have a meal fit for kings.

2. Mondays-- Beef. Mondays are often hard days for my DH. Monday is when you have to get back in the work routine after a lovely weekend. So, I'll pamper him a little with a beefy meal. A pot roast, a ground beef dish, or even a fancier Flank Steak Roll-up like I posted the other day. Sure, I have to cut it up extra fine or make special arrangements because of my band, but it's worth it!

3. Tuesday is Meatless Meals-- Not necessarily without protein, meatless meals can be with Spam, beans, leftover meats, or simply truly Vegan, depending on the mood. This could also be the day I use up some leftover bits, or have my famous Seven Year Stew, made from the "pot liquors" of all the veggies I cook, plus bits of beef roast I save over time. It's a basically free meal! For instance, I'll be making some chicken drumsticks for lunches, and I'll cook the wing tips for chicken broth. Add a bit of leftover rice and/or some other ingredients like frozen veggies, and you have Chicken Soup or Chicken and Dumplings. Yum! Now think of those leftover meats in the fridge. We always have a piece of chicken left, or one lone pork chop. Why not chop them up and make a stir fry?

4. Poultry-- Yep, Chicken is always cheap. I don't bother with those dry and expensive breasts. It's not that big a bother to use thighs instead, or cut up a whole chicken, which is infinitely cheaper. Now that I'm a bandster, I throw my portion of meat into the food processor and grind it up to bits before cooking. Often, this means I can enjoy the same recipes as my family.

5. Pork-- Pork may have been going up in prices, but a judicious selection at the store can mean a decent meal! I can pick up a pork loin roast and feed my family for less than $2 each. Beat that, McDonald's! So what if I have to do a little cutting up? I have a sharp knife. Again, as with chicken, I can grind my portion up in the food processor.

6. Mustgoes on Friday-- We always end up with a few orphans in the fridge by Friday. I never worry about the selection, and even if there was a problem, there's always a salad or stir fry to finish things off. There's no excuse for science experiments lingering in the back of the fridge, ever. Everything must go, or it's to be bagged and frozen for a meatless meal, a soup or stew, or something. Get it out of the fridge before it goes bad. While you're at it, give those shelves a wipe-down with a mild bleach solution to kill any lingering germs.

7. Saturday Soups/Crockpot-- Did you find some things in the fridge that deserve an encore? Have soup or stew, make or buy some biscuits, and throw together a salad. You're too busy on Saturday to cook, right? This is your day off too! Throw it all in the slow cooker and get out of the kitchen! My budget can afford an extra meat once in awhile, or maybe I'll hit a sale. Who knows? I can tell you ladies this, I am not hanging in the kitchen on Saturday!

Comments

Band Groupie said…
Love this! We're having a LOT more leftovers these days...guess who used to eat them all?! Need to learn to cook less.

I'm so glad you posted your link...I didn't have it on the new laptop and it doesn't come up with you're avatar.

I'm off to look here for some crockpot recipes!!! Thanks!
Lena Austin said…
I'll be having a lot more crock pot recipes, usually posting on Saturdays from now on.

When I'm on a deadline or know I'm going to be going crazy all day, the slow cooker saves me every time.

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