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Old 02-05-2014, 11:56 PM   #1
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Healthy Cooking on a budget!

I thought I'd share. I am a bit of a health nut, not only am I calories, fat, etc conscious but I hate chemical in my food! But I am in alaska so my budget and overall options have me a bit limited. We don't have a whole lot of organic up here, so I do what I can by making jus about everything from scratch... Seriously everything. I know exactly what is in it and I can control the calories.

So, the tips... I feel you can use these any where and probably cheaper than me! First and foremost whether your budgeting, watching what you eat or both... PLAN!!! It doesn't take that long and you can plan as far or as not so far ahead as you'd like. I plan my husband and my meals about a week in advance. I typically plan to cook every other da, so I make enough for 4 servings. I hardly ever waste... EVER! I hate wasting it is throwing money away... And wasting all the hard work I out into a meal :-) I work with my husband (you can with your kids, my parents did!) I ask if he's craving anything, or if there is something we haven't had in awhile. Then I take what he says, if anything and PLAN MY MEALS AROUND THE SALES. Now DO NOT fall for the sales trickery! Only buy it if you need it! That is why you're planning after all :) Stay on track. If you don't feel like eating the meal you planned then use what you have and switch it!

Now tips for keeping it healthy. This is a bit hard because my husband hates chicken! And beans! And most potato! And loves cheese and pasta and beef... Ugh! So I make things like tacos with low fat beef, fajitas and I use lettuce as a wrap instead of tortillas. I make risotto with barley and no cheese, I'll bake instead of fry, and use bulgur (my secret amazing ingredient that I'll put in another post) to fluff things up. Spend a little extra for the organic where you can and make from scratch as much as possible. I make all of my lunches on Sunday or at least all of the pieces. For example, this week I had chicken caesarean salads! So I prepped the chicken, bulgur, and homemade Cesar dressing on Sunday.

Tips
Plan plan plan
Plan around the sales
Don't let the sales trick you into buying things you do not need!
Work with your family to plan
Take your time, prep, think, enjoy!

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Old 02-11-2014, 06:06 AM   #2
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Very good ideas. I too try to avoid additives and junk, and cook mostly from scratch. And yeah, I'm a sale shopper!
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:31 AM   #3
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Barley rissoto?
I'd like to see a recipe for that. I love barley and I love rissoto.
I might add the Parm though...
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:16 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reminder that planning is the best money saver when it comes to food! I work full time with a schedule that is inconsistent so when i have time to cook, I make enough to freeze extra main dishes or parts of a main dish (i.e., lots of meatballs, some for a gravy application and later for spaghetti with meatballs...or chicken one day and freeze cut up leftovers for a quick pot pie another day) It saves time and planning.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
Barley rissoto?
I'd like to see a recipe for that. I love barley and I love rissoto.
I might add the Parm though...
I've made both of these.

Chef Michael Smith | recipe | Barley Risotto with Bacon

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/he...alth.html?_r=0 (I made it with edamame and broccoli)

If you haven't tried the purple prairie barley, it is soooooo much better than other barley. It has more texture and doesn't get "slimy." I cook the purple barley after soaking it for a good 24 - 48 hours (changing the water once, adding fresh hot water) in my rice cooker. If soaked for 48 hours, it takes about an hour in the rice cooker.
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:39 PM   #6
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I don't plan very far in advance. I'm more of a "what am I in the mood for" when it comes to meals.

But cooking and planning for leftovers is a money and time saver. A vacuum sealer and freezer space helps.

Shopping sales is the way to go. Yes don't buy it just because it's on sale but if it's something you will eventually use go for it if you have storage space.

Having a variety of options on hand is always helpful.

I'm not so worried about organic but from scratch over processed is high on my list.
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:43 PM   #7
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I like to cook what I'm in the mood for but I'm never disciplined when I do it that way... I pretty much have zero self control :) so I try to help myself with planning, otherwise everyday I'm in the mood for Phad Thai with lots o peanut sauce or of course any if your good 'ol American casseroles :)

The barley risotto was super easy but I will confess that I googled the recipe because I have only just started working with barley. I am not familiar with how it cooks and less willing to experiment until I know it better.
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Old 02-16-2014, 03:03 PM   #8
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I pretty much have zero self control

You and me both.


Planning would help me put I'm not that kind of person. I figure I save what I can by shopping the sales and having a bunch of stuff on hand.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
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You and me both.


Planning would help me put I'm not that kind of person. I figure I save what I can by shopping the sales and having a bunch of stuff on hand.
Same here, we both have different ideas what we want for dinner. I let Shrek decide most of the time, give him a call before I come home and he tells me what he is in the mood for and if I need to stop at the store, I do. So, I keep lots of sale items on hand, too.
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