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Old 11-30-2011, 01:12 PM   #11
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OMG! Thank you for these suggestions and good wishes! We've always donated to food banks, but never went to one. We might call for this situation, though if we have to.

I live in Connecticut where groceries are insanely expensive, but i just saw 12 chicken legs for $2.42 at Stop&Shop! That's 2 meals.

I never made dried beans before. But I love them cooked the way my mom used to make them. I will try your recipes and try a batch over rice on the weekend.

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Old 11-30-2011, 01:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DebLynn View Post
OMG! Thank you for these suggestions and good wishes! We've always donated to food banks, but never went to one. We might call for this situation, though if we have to.

I live in Connecticut where groceries are insanely expensive, but i just saw 12 chicken legs for $2.42 at Stop&Shop! That's 2 meals.

I never made dried beans before. But I love them cooked the way my mom used to make them. I will try your recipes and try a batch over rice on the weekend.

Don't wait on calling the food bank!

Call now while you still have some options.

This is a once in a lifetime situation for you but it's an everyday situation for the folks at the food bank.

Make the call!

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Old 11-30-2011, 01:24 PM   #13
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These are some meals that I make when things are running low in the bank account:

Potato soup: diced potatoes, celery, onion, milk, and butter

Casseroles: Tuna Noodle, Chicken and noodles. They also make a nice lunch the next day.

Pasta dishes: I can get a box of pasta for less than a dollar, and two big cans of whole tomatoes for around $2. I toss the tomatoes in a pot with the juice, add some spices, and let it cook down into a nice sauce. If it isn't thick, I add some of the starch from the pasta water.

Breakfast for dinner

Mac & Cheese

Here is a website that has a lot of ideas to get you going. $45 Emergency Menu for 4 to 6 | Hillbilly Housewife

A church may be another avenue to help you get some more food on the table. Talk with some of your family and close friends, you may find that you get a dinner invitation with leftovers sent home!

Also, I find that praying helps. When things have been the tightest, that is when I have relied on the Lord the most, and I have to say he has always provided.

Good Luck!
Happy Cooking!!

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Old 11-30-2011, 01:29 PM   #14
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You have a lot of good suggestions. Don't forget the food bank!

We will be thinking of you and your family and pray that things get better for you very soon.
I can resist anything, but temptation. Oscar Wilde
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:30 PM   #15
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some really great ideas here.

most supermarkets near me have a cart or table just past the produce aisle with packages of marked down produce. it's not the freshest stuff in the world, but if you look carefully you can get some decent things at an unbelievable price. large bunches of grapes, or peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, bananas, root veggies, and so on, with each package under $2.
since i feed my birds a lot of fruit and veggies, i pick up a couple of things every week from that table to save a few bucks. again, not everything is worth it as some is only a day or two away from spoiling, but other packages contain things that may have a few blemishes but are otherwise good to eat.

for actual meal ideas, two of the least expensive things that we cook are linguini in clam sauce, and a chicken and veggie stir fry with rice.

for the linguini, all you'll need is a little butter, garlic, a few cans of inexpensive chopped clams, grated cheese, and linguini. you can easily make enough for 4 large portions for $6 or $7, right around your budget.

The next time someone asks what you did this past weekend, squint really hard and say, "Why, what did you hear?"
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:06 PM   #16
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I think there's a good reason you keep seeing potatoes on the list. They're the classic filler-upper, along with rice. (It's said that rice is the only food everyone can eat every day and never tire of. I haven't tested the proposition yet.) And I figure that, if you have more time than money, it's worth working out interesting/satisfying meals that don't feel like end-of-the-month menus. One suggestion was home-baking bread. I think that's a good one. For most folks, warm, fresh-baked bread feels like a luxury, and you hear them say things like they could make a whole meal of it. But it's true. Flour is inexpensive and doubly so in larger bags. I think I could live on fresh bread and potato soup for a while.

For that matter, nothing says pizza has to have expensive cheese (or any cheese, for that matter). Flour is cheap. Canned tomatoes are cheap. It doesn't take much cheese to feel like a complete pizza. And some inexpensive ground pork makes it a meat pizza. And digging into about an 18-inch pizza doesn't feel at all like the wolf is at the door.

Sure pasta's cheap. But what's the thrill in buying and cooking pasta? It's just flour and water or eggs. Homemade fresh pasta? Another luxury and cost almost nothing.

And, hey. I know around here it's grits and just corn meal. But it's just as well to call it polenta and cook it long with milk and add a bit of cheese or top it with a mess of that ground pork cooked up and thickened with flour.

That said, do check the food bank, but call (2-1-1 will have the information), because many food banks have particular times or days when they feature perishables, like fruits, fresh meat, and vegetables.

And this may or may not be to your taste and inclination. We have a friend who, by choice, not necessity, regularly haunts the back of a local Whole Foods and picks up tons of good vegetables being thrown out merely because the outer leaves and such are a bit beyond the look they want in the produce bins. What she and her husband don't eat goes to the animals.

But overall, I think that when you fall on these times, it's at least as important to feed your head as your stomach. Make the attitude not "all I can fix for that much is this." Make it, "Look what you can fix for this!" It's really, really important to feel, at least for a while, that things aren't so bad, if we're eating this good. An awful lot of people would be thrilled to have $65 to spend on food. We'd probably all do well, from time to time, to see just how good we can eat on very little.
"Kitchen duty is awarded only to those of manifest excellence..." - The Master, Dogen
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:21 PM   #17
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I didn't see anyone mention it, but apply for food stamps, your hubby can do this. It's usually easy to do, and in some places, even on-line. They treat you with dignity and are there for just such cases as this.

If you can't see the bright side of life, polish the dull side.
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:26 PM   #18
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There really is some wonderful advice on this thread! I've been in your position before and I approched it as a challenge that I was determined to conquer; and I did! I honed a recipe for Southwestern Bean Soup during that time that you might like to try:

1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can kidney or pinto beans
1 c. frozen corn
1 can broth (chicken, veggie or beef)
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin
1 t. salt
1 T. brown sugar

Just combine it all and let it bubble for awhile. If you happen to have cheese, sour cream or tortilla chips, they make a great garnish but it's definitely good as-is.

Bean and cheese quesadillas are cheap if you go light on the cheese and/or get it cheap.

Whole chickens were my friend. I could get 2 meals out of it for our family of 5 (3 small children) and then made soup from the carcass.

Oh, also, you might check out the Hillbilly Housewife website. She has "emergency" menus created to fit very tight budgets.

Hang in there!
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:29 PM   #19
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Homemade flour tortillas are easy to do. No special equipment needed. Also, if you don't have time to make bread, homemade biscuits are easy and inexpensive to make. You can "make" buttermilk by adding vinegar or lemon juice or cream of tartar to the milk. Not having $ to spend as one wishes on groceries does usually force a person to become more creative. Our local butcher has "dog bones" (beef) that are inexpensive or free. I roast these and make beef stock.

With Christmas approaching, a lot more people are going to food pantries. Don't delay, they can run out of food as well.
I've got OCD--Obsessive Chicken Disorder!
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Old 11-30-2011, 05:35 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Zhizara View Post
I didn't see anyone mention it, but apply for food stamps, your hubby can do this. It's usually easy to do, and in some places, even on-line. They treat you with dignity and are there for just such cases as this.
Absolutely, food stamps. Because I am only one of three residents in the building that have a computer, and I have worked for our state government in the past, I know my way around the system. So I have helped many of the residents apply right on line. You can get the information of what documentation you need, fill out and print the application, and fax everything to their offices. The fax number is there on line with all the other information. If your priinter does not have a fax, you can go to any UPS, FedEx or Copy company and for a small fee they will fax it for you. In this state, they must respond within 30 days. You will probably not even have to go there in person. In fact, they prefer that you don't have a need to do so. I have been on food stamps for more than four years now, and have yet to meet the worker that has my file. I haven't even talk to that person on the phone. In this state, along with your land line phone, they now consider a cell phone a necessity. So you will need proof of a phone, utility bills, (lights, heating, gas, medical, etc.) We (residents of my state) are also allowed to have the cost of an auto included in necessary expenses. (How else can you look for a job.) I receive $168 a month in stamps. And that is for a single person who receives subsidized housing. (Elderly) If you have a home computer, I would suggest you only print out the necessary pages of instructions. Ours is 12 pages long. And you won't need to print out the whole application either. Some of it is for care of an elderly person living in the home, disabled child, disabled veteran, etc. Look the application over carefully. It is usually in Adobe form and you can see the pages before you print them out.

I wish I could be there to help you out with the process. Unfortunately, because you are now the main breadwinner, you will be listed as 'head of household'. "OUCH" Not the thing an unemployed man wants to see or hear. And I do understand.

One more word of advice. All states has the power to check into your bank accounts statewide, any child support payment received from a former spouse, and all other means of income. AND THEY DO CHECK. Every so often my state does some housecleaning, and will run all the names of recipients through their resources and comes up with cheaters. I am not saying that you or your husband would do such a thing. For a lot of people, it is hard to ask for help. I understand. Good luck and I will keep you and your family in my prayers and thoughts. Let us know how you make out.

Illegitimi non carborundum!
I don't want my last words to be, "I wish I had spent more time doing housework"
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