Sounds like one of those serious drama espionage type movies doesn't it? Well, in a way it is, but instead of being able to walk out of the theater and it being over, you walk right into the reality of it everytime you walk into the grocery store. I know I have done many posts like this and I will try to give some fresh advice in this post. However, I did feel compelled to write again because this seems to be the topic of the day wherever I go folks are talking about rising food costs and what are they going to do? So here are some of my best tips to stretch a budget and make those food dollars count.
1. Beans are cheap and can stretch your meat. For instance, one night make chili for supper with 1/2 pound of ground beef and a whole load of beans. The next night make beef and bean burritos with the other 1/2 pound of ground beef and again a whole load of beans.
2. Serve bread at every meal. Bread can make a skimpy meal turn into a filling meal with everyone leaving the table full. Biscuits and cornbread can be made up quickly and batches of biscuits can be made ahead and frozen.
3. Meat needs to become a side item for the meal, not the main star. Loads of veggies and a little bit of meat can go a long way and still fill everyone up.
4. Spend more time in the kitchen. Convenience costs and those 30 minute meals cost. Spend the time to make your own from scratch and if you can make a whole bunch at once then dedicate a day in the kitchen to stock up your freezer on things like fruit breads, biscuits, pizza dough, rolls, tortillas, etc. than can be convenient and easily pulled from the freezer for use.
5. Real men do eat quiche...that is if they want to eat in this house. Quiche, or eggs in general, is a great way to add protein to a meal and use just a little of this and that. We add spinach or whatever other greens we have and a little meat if I have it. Serve with biscuits and some fruit (we like pan fried apples or pears) and you have a filling meal.
6. Have a veggie night or two. My husband is just as full with a plate of baked sweet potato, peas, squash and cornbread as he is with steak and baked potato.
7. Learn to use cheaper less desirable cuts of meat. London broil is cheaper than ribeye but cooked properly is just as delicious and goes further. Flank steak is cheaper than round steak, but can make cubed steak just as well. Beat on it enough and no one will know the difference.
8.Make oatmeal, granola and yogurt, grits and such breakfast staples instead of buying that stuff in a box.
9. Save leftover veggies and meat, even small tablespoon amounts in freezer bags in the freezer, and when you have enough make a couple pie crusts and bake a pot pie.
10. Eat whole nutrient dense foods. Nutrient dense foods leave you feeling full for a much longer period of time than processed foods. So the more you stay out of the center of the grocery store the better. For instance, if I eat a bowl of oatmeal with some pears in it and a slice of zuchinni bread with a glass of milk I am good to go for a long time. Many times I am not even hungry for lunch. Nutrient dense meals also mean that the children are less apt to holler for snacks every 30 minutes. I can make a whole meal and feel full as a tick off two pieces of toast with a couple fried eggs on top.
These are just a few ways to save money on groceries. I keep looking back to how my grandparents ate and it was not uncommon for grandaddy to sit down to a meal of just peas and cornbread. There was plenty of both and he always left the table satisfied even though the meal was cheap to fix. He never missed a days hard work on the farm cause he was hungry and he was a big man.
Hope this helps a little. Blessings from the farm, Kat