Monday, 3 November 2008

Fighting off the Credit Crunch

Here is an audience participation post.

In these "credit crunching days", many people are having to cut back. However, you can only turn off so many lights, cut back so many miles driven, stop drinking quite so much, and who can do without their telephone or Internet? (Well, certainly not me...)

One place we are probably all guilty of splurging is food. Let's face it, we make a resolution to eat at home more, but still our grocery bills seem to get higher and higher. This is resulting in some very creative, "CC" meals. What have YOU done to reduce your grocery cost without sacrificing flavor or nutrition?

I'd like to know what you are making for your family (or having if you are not the cook) to fight inflation. What is your favorite budget meal? I want recipes!!! I want shopping lists!!
Here are the guidelines:

1. Easy to prepare (under 30 min is good, but not required)

2. Low in cost

3. Fairly nutritious

4. Easily freezable for leftovers or use in another meal

Think you can handle this?

Post your responses in the comments section. If you are not using a meal of your own, link to the appropriate page for credit to them.

I'd like to fill my freezer for those dark winter nights when I'm too flippin lazy to cook (as opposed to now, when I just don't want to, lol)

I'm looking forward to submissions!!


Renee Daniels said...

I saw the below link on a friend's blog. I haven't checked it out yet though!

The musishian said...

1. Macaroni & cheese, tuna and peas. It's not the tastiest thing in the world, but it's filling, nutritionally balanced, super-easy to make. If made with limited amounts of butter or margarine, it's healty.

2. Cargo Bay rice and beans from

Large saucepan with lid
Wet and dry measuring cups

1 cup dried, split lentils, any color
1 cup instant brown rice
16 oz can black beans
3 cups chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1-4 Tablespoons curry powder, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Put rice and lentils in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add coconut milk and brown sugar to rice and lentils. Add the black beans, including the liquid in the can. Add 2 cups of the stock to the pot. Add curry powder, salt and pepper. Heat to boiling, uncovered, sirring often. Once the mixture reaches a boil, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add a little bit more chicken stock if mixture starts to get too dry.

Uncover pot, add tomatoes and liquid. Cook for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and add more salt or curry powder if needed.

3. Leek and squash soup with beans and greens. from

1 package frozen butternut squash
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only (can sub 1 large onion but leeks are really yummy)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or other full-bodied, flavorful vinegar
1 can of pre-cooked white beans
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Handful of greens such as spinach or beet greens (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Microwave squash puree per package directions. Meanwhile, chop leeks and add to large saucepan with butter, and a teaspoon of salt. Sautee leeks on low heat for 5-10 minutes until soft and just starting to brown. Turn off heat and add the sherry vinegar. Stir briefly so the onions absorb the vinegar.

Add 2 cups stock to onions, stir. Drain can of beans, add to pot. Add thawed squash puree. Add greens if using. Stir to combine. Turn heat to medium and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soup is combined and greens are tender. Taste and add more salt if needed. Turn off heat and stir in cream. Serve with crusty bread or croƻtons if desired. Serves 4.

Shayna said...

I try to have all my meals come in under $10 (for 6) but it can be a challenge. I freeze a lot and use recipes from Fix, Freeze, Feast and also recently found this blog:

The musishian said...

Buying a whole chicken, boiling it all day on a lazy sunday, using the meat for stuff during the week.

Freezing the stock and using it for quick soup with baby carrots and froz chicken breasts in the crockpot as needed.

Shayna said...

This is a cheap side dish and as good as the box stuff!

* Exported from MasterCook *

Rice A Roni

Serving Size : 2-3

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/2 cup raw spaghetti -- broken into 1" pieces
3/4 cup raw white rice
14 1/2 ounces broth
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

In a skillet, saute broken spaghetti pieces in butter over medium-high heat stirring constantly, until the spaghetti begins to brown.

Add rice, stirring until the rice is well coated with the butter and the spaghetti browns a little more.

Carefully pour in broth. Reduce heat to medium.

Simmer until liquid is absorbed.
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NOTES : Made 4/08, very good! Shayna Used instant brown rice, I do not think a long grain rice would cook in time. I used 2 bullion cubes with 2 cups of water and 1 cup of rice. Would need to make more for 4 people.

Shayna said...

This is another good one, would probably freeze well, but we never have enough leftover!

* Exported from MasterCook *

Crockpot Ham and Potato Soup

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
* 3-1/2 cups peeled -- diced potatoes
* 1/3 cup chopped celery
* 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
* ¾ cup diced ham
* 3-1/4 cups water
* 6 chicken bullion cubes
* ½ t. salt
* 1 t. pepper
* 5 T. flour
* 5 T. butter
* 2 cups milk

Stir all but milk, flour and butter into crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, check tenderness of potatoes. 20 minutes before serving, melt butter in a saucepan, add flour and gradually add milk, stirring constantly over med heat until thick. Stir mixture into crockpot. Let cook 15-20 minutes more.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
NOTES : Made 10/08. Very good! Could add corn towards the end. Shayna

Shayna said...

This is an under $4 meal, but I don't usually have fresh veggies, but I think you live close enough to the co-op to round them up:

Shayna said...

Here is another from and soups almost always freeze well!

Carrot and Pasta Soup

8 cups homemade chicken broth
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
3/4 cup small pasta (the smaller the better!)
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Put the sliced carrots in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and cover, simmering for 8 minutes.

Add the pasta and cook uncovered until done (however long your pasta needs to cook).

Stir in the herbs and the Parmesan. Serve with extra grated Parmesan at the table, if desired.

Shayna said...

From Mommy, what's for dinner:

Tuscan Beef Stew

1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can condensed beef broth
1/2 cup apple juice
2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into chunks
3 large carrots, cut as desired
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
32 oz canned cannellini beans (white kidney beans) rinsed and drained

Put all ingredients except beans in crock pot on low for 8-9 hours. Add beans during the last 10 minutes before serving.

I didn't have the white kidney beans so I'm using black. We're gonna eat in a bit, I think it'll be good :)