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Stretch It: Food

Food was by far the most difficult area for us to cut back. You need the right balance of health vs. frugality. We are still working at it and have shaved down our food budget every month. Here is what we did...



-Eating out. This is the hardest area for us. Eating out is a very expensive way to dine. We have been working hard to just say no, but sometimes it is hard not to. When we do eat out, we try to be smart about it. Many fast food places have coupons as do sit down resteraunts. When we go to a sit down resteraunt we choose a dish to share. Most places give you enough food for 2 or more, so you might as well share. The last time I went to TGI Fridays, I got a 3 course meal for $12.99 and I can teel you that it would have been enough for all 3 of us.


-Plan Ahead. We used to be a



"what should we have for supper tonight, I don't know let's pick something up at the store"


kind of family. That is a good way to watch your food budget skyrocket. We staarted planning our meals for the week and it helped so much. Now we plan our meals for a whole month. We still aren't quite used to picking up food for the month, so we occationally need to pick something up but not as much. We try to change a few meals every month to keep us from getting bored.



-Cooking. This is the most important part of our food budget. Without frugal meal choices, we would not be able to keep our budget down. We have a mix of recipes from http://dollaradaymeals.com/ and some of our own creations. Most of our meals cost $1 or less for the whole meal. It took a lot of time to research low cost meals that were less than $5-10 a meal. Most places have frugal recipes that are aparently on the budget of someone who makes much more than us! Another site I really love is http://www.youtube.com/user/DepressionCooking. Clara grew up durring the depression and shows (videos) how to make some really great frugal dishes. They actually sparked the creation of some of our own recipes.



Cutting down your food budget can be hard. With a little research and a willingness to try something new, it can be done. Keep in mind that frugal meals are usually made from scratch. When I started, it took me 1 hour per meal. Now that I have been able to streamline it a little, I tend to do about 1 hour of cooking a day. Check out the recipe below. It is tweaked the way we love it and is a healthy, hearty, frugal meal...


Vegetable Rice



Ingredients
2 large potatoes

1 small onion

3 carrots

3 cups beef stock

1 cup minute rice

pepper

salt



Chop up your vegetables. Put the beef stock in a pan and cook till boiling. Add the vegetables. Cook until the carrots and potatoes are tender. This takes about 10-15 minutes, but cook them to your desired softness. Make sure your stock is still boiling then add the rice and stir it in. Cover and remove it from the heat. Let sit till the rice has absorbed the beef stock, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and your meal is ready to eat.
makes 4 hearty servings

(also great topped with cheese)

Comments

Michelle said…
I apologize for all the gaps. Blogger and I have not seen eye to eye on the formatting of this article. The blogger system won...this time.

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