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Old 08-14-2005, 06:41 AM   #21
Master Chef
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Galena, IL
Posts: 7,970
I agree, great responses. As with many, I go with pasta of all kinds and rice, with meat, poultry and seafood as more flavoring ingredients. It's a bit late in the season now, but next year plant a garden -- even minimal -- one or two tomato plants, one or two cuke vines, a lettuce patch and a couple of hot pepper plants, will yeild enough to keep you through a season for under $10. When you do splurge and go out, always take a doggie bag home. I make an excellent soup with leftover chicken wings.

Fall is coming up, and when the time comes for turkeys to go on sale, if you can possibly make room for a second one, toss it in the freezer. As someone already said, it is great, a super bargain.

If you love cheese, which can be expensive, remember that when you buy stronger ones, you use less. Please don't buy anything you cannot taste. So many people buy those individually wrapped slices. Stop and think. Can you actually taste anything? So much of the cheese that is sold now is actually hydrogenated vegetable oil. Buy a little of something good.

Deli stuff is expensive, but the flip is there is no waste. So go careful there. When you find yourself in possession of something you didn't care for (we have a lot of part timers here, and often they clean out their fridges before leaving, and give me anything that won't keep until their next season) -- look at it imaginatively. For example, I got some ham that there is no way my husband would eat. I trimmed the fat, put it in the food processor with a little ranch, herbs, onion, garlic, and he just gobbled down the resulting spread. Mom used this trick when she got meat that was unpalatable when we were kids and broke.

I do have to watch the budget, but there are a million little tricks. When all else fails, soup for everyone. Almost anything can be made into soup.

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Old 08-14-2005, 08:05 PM   #22
Sous Chef
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: PA
Posts: 584
The coop thing is a good idea. If you have family close you may want to do it them. My Mom, sister, and I do it all the time. Mom is by herself and on a tight budget, but she can't take advantage of Buy one Get one free offers for perishables so my sister or I will split them with her. That way there isn't waste and we all save. We "trade" cooked dishes. That way it doesn't seem like you are eating leftovers because the dish is "new" to you. This is great for things that don't freeze well or if you don't have freezer space.

Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.--unknown, at least to me
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Old 08-14-2005, 09:55 PM   #23
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 6,592
There have been a lot of good ideas given here! So I guess anything I can add will just be my 2-cents worth ...

MEAL EXTENDERS: Pasta, rice, beans, and potatoes.

MEATS: The less it is fussed with the cheaper it generally will be ... especially things like chickens (whole vs parts) and a chuck roast vs ground chuck.

SHOP SALES: Every week I get flyers in the mail for the grocery stores around me ... and I look for things on sale that I can stock my pantry with. For example - 6-oz cans of tuna that normally go for 69-89 cents a can on sale 2/$1 .... I stock up on a dozen cans. Same with Wolf Brand Chili when it's on sale for $1/can .... it's normally about $1.90. Green Bell Peppers are another thing that have big price differences between stores and seasons .... they freeze well - and I would much rather drive an extra mile to get them for 39-cents each instead of 89-cents at another store. A couple of weeks ago one of the stores had BallPark brand jumbo franks on sale for $1/each - they normally cost around $3.79 - I've got 10 paks stashed in the freezer.

MENU PLANNING: I look at what is on sale and plan my week's menu from that. I also buy and plan ahead.

PLAN AHEAD FOR LEFTOVER MEALS: You can always convert a leftover pot roast to a stew. I'll also take a pot of chili and add refried beans to the leftovers, get some diced onions, grated chedder, and large flour tottillas and make my own burritos (which freeze quite nicely). And as someone said - there is always soup made from leftovers!

Hope this gives you some ideas.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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