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Working Toward a Cheaper Grocery Bill…


After nearly two months of our ‘eat from the pantry and freezer diet’, we’ve finally run out of food. Sure we have a few things I was willing to attempt to serve as a ‘meal’ but decided to call it quits after I asked my husband how he liked dinner and he said, ‘It’s edible’.

‘Edible’ isn’t the response a wife wants to hear.

I’ve decided to cook the inexpensive meals you suggested when I first started the ‘pantry diet’ and review them here. I’m off to the grocery store!

If you have any additional meal suggestions you’d like to share, I’ll make them!

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  • Reply mom |

    Well daughter dearest… I thought that maybe we could freezer dive in my freezer this Sunday when you guys come over for the Super Bowl. I figured that now is the perfect time to pull out some of my more “mature’ food and start cleaning out my own freezer like you have done. After all, every one of you will be so interested in the game that I could serve you just about anything and you wouldn’t care. Plus, and this is a huge plus… you’re already used to freezer diving… and I sure wouldn’t want to deprive you of missing out on the fine opportunity of taking on my freezer next. Just think of it as another way to bond with your dad and I. Well dear, until this Sunday night I bid you a good night with sweet dreams. Smooches, mom

  • Reply seattle |

    No meal suggestions but I’m finding a lot of success by couponing. These two sites are my favorite: http://www.athriftymom.com or wwww.thekrazycouponlady.com.

    I’m trying to make meals out of stuff we have in our pantry and so far am not doing too well. Good luck!

  • Reply jaye |

    You don’t have to eat potato flakes and ramen! Eat real food–you need to power that recovery and get back to training. There are so many really wonderful recipes out there for beans, rice and pasta dishes. Don’t forget turkey! Pound for pound it is much cheaper than other meats and healthy, too. Buy veggies and fruits that are on sale (usually in season).

    The Best Recipe Make Ahead cookbook has a lot of great bean soup recipes (of course, you can just look them up on line). I like them because they don’t include ingredients like mushroom soup.

    Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday has great recipes for inexpensive foods: beans and everything else Mexican.

    If you happen to have these appliances you should use them: Do you have a crock pot? It makes soups, stews, great breakfast cereals. Do you have a bread maker? Bread is practically free if you make it at home.

    I’d be happy to give you specific recipes if you want. Good luck.

  • Reply brooklynchick |

    all cheap stuff, mostly dried or canned. and DELISH!

    Chick Pea and Artichoke Heart Stew
    Based on Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home
    Serves 4 to 6.

    4 cups water or vegetable stock
    2 medium onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon turmeric
    1 teaspoon sweet paprika
    4 medium red or white potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 4 cups)
    1 sprig fresh rosemary (1 teaspoon ground dried)
    5 leaves fresh sage, minced (1/2 teaspoon dried)
    1/2 cup pureed winter squash or sweet potatoes, or a 4.5 oz jar of pureed squash baby food
    3 cups drained cooked chick peas (2 15 oz. cans)
    1 1/2 cups drained quartered artichoke hearts (14 oz. can)
    salt and black pepper to taste
    lemon wedges (optional)

    In a saucepan, bring the water or vegetable stock to a simmer. While the water heats, saute the onions and garlic in the oil for about 8 minutes, until soft. Stir the turmeric and paprika into the onions and saute for a minute. Add the potatoes, rosemary, sage, and the simmering water or stock. Cook for about 12 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the pureed squash or sweet potatoes, and add the drained chick peas and artichoke hearts. Remove the rosemary sprig, add salt and pepper to taste, and return to a simmer.
    Serve with lemon wedges.

    I’ve only ever used the dried spices. It’s fine, but I’m sure it’s better with the fresh. Grinding rosemary is a pain because I don’t have a mortal and pestle, so I don’t do it. The rosemary gets soft enough that no one is going to choke on it.
    Don’t eat this while wearing a white shirt. All my dishes are white, which is kind of a problem, but the turmeric will wash off as long as I don’t leave the dirties sit around.

  • Reply Abigail |

    One of my favorite meals is very simple/quick. In fact, the rice is the longest part of the process! (Sorry if I already put this one down elsewhere.)

    1.5-2 cups rice
    2 cans beans, any variety (I prefer black and kidney)
    1 can corn
    Garlic, black pepper, red pepper to taste
    Tortillas or tortilla chips
    Grated cheese (optional)

    Start the rice cooking. If you are going to use cheese, grate it now. Then drain & rinse beans.

    Once the rice is done, put it in a large bowl — preferably plastic but metal will do. Then pour on some salsa and stir it around until all the rice is covered.

    Stir in the beans and corn, then add spices to taste. I generally go with a few liberal shakes of black pepper, garlic, and red pepper.

    If you’re going to use grated cheese, sprinkle that in. If the rice mix isn’t warm enough, sprinkle the cheese throughout and then stick it in the microwave for a minute or so, until the cheese is more pliable.

    You can serve this rolled up in tortillas, like burritos. My preferred method is to dish it up in a bowl and use chips, to eat it like a dip. It’s tasty, it’s got protein and fiber, and it’s fast! Once the rice is done, the rest should take you about 5 minutes and, voila, you have dinner!

So, what do you think ?