Friday, May 23, 2008

S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G in the kitchen

I'm not doing exercises while cooking these days! But I am making a conscious effort to stretch my grocery dollar by making the most of the food that I have.

I'm still purchasing mainly the same things each grocery trip. Even with rising prices, the basic ingredients that I buy to cook from scratch are still some of the most inexpensive foods out there.

I've found that the difference is how I plan my menus and use the different foods. Not only am I stretching the food dollar but also my creativity!

Last week,I cooked a 2 1/2 pound roast. I was determined to make it last for 3 meals so I planned accordingly. Crock pot roast beef with potatoes and carrots the first night. Beef stroganoff for the second. The third night was beef pilaf salad, a yummy concoction of beef and rice with added veggies. I soon realized that I had plenty of veggies left from the first night, so I scratched the plan for the fourth night and made an impromptu beef stew instead-dicing the leftover beef and veggies and adding the beef broth I had saved, plus some leftover tomato sauce and a can of diced tomatoes from my pantry. I added some spices and we ate this over leftover rice that I had cooked earlier in the week for the rice salad. Four meals out of one roast! I know that I'm only feeding two people but we also ate dinner leftovers for lunch each day so technically we had 8 meals out of it.

This week I still had a meal's worth of rice left so I served that along with pinto beans, cheese, salsa and sour cream for a filling dinner.

In the past month, leftover oatmeal has been used to make oatmeal bread. I also added some to my regular pancake batter one night and added a little wheat germ, some strawberry-banana puree along with the cooked oatmeal. Yummy!

Last night, I used one chicken breast for our meal instead of two. We both had plenty to eat along with the sides that I had prepared.

A little extra thought and planning can go a long way to helping to stretch your grocery dollars!

What are some things that you do to stretch your meals and budget?

Thanks to Crystal for hosting Frugal Fridays!


April said...

I very rarely have leftovers(me, hubby, and 3 kids) but some little things I do, seem to add up. The kids love tacos, so any taco meat that is left, I put in a freezer bag and save. We now have enough for a meal. I try to make meals filling by adding pasta and rice. Any leftover of those 2 can make a nice cold salad the next day for lunch.

I', surprised how much I was able to reduce the grocery bill se I have been home. Mostly by not stopping at the store every night to pick something up because I didn't have a menu for the week in place.

KayleighJeanne said...

I have found that if I don't get planned leftovers into the fridge or freezer and "hidden" from view they are gone before dinner is even over. It can be so frustrating to make extra food to save time and money, and then see that someone ate it on me. That is why I kick the guys out of the kitchen unless I need help with something!

Sonshine said...

Good job in your "stretching"!!

Some ways that I stretch things is take thick chicken breasts and butterfly slice them so I end up with 2 thinner pieces but still enough to make a nice serving. I also make more soups/casseroles in the winter months. Here is a previous post of mine where I talk about what I do with my leftovers(if I have more than just a single serving!).

Donna said...

I do what I call 'remakes'. Some dishes become soups, some have things added like beans, others have different spices added to change the taste.

I have posts about it at my blog if you wanna know more:-).

Great post. I need to try this with a roast. I don't buy them often because of the cost, but this is a good reason to put a couple on the list next month!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are making good use of your leftovers! It's not always a strength of mine, but I'm working on it.

Shari Ellen said...

I just love how you made that roast beef stretch. I've been trying to cut back on the hamburger in casseroles. For Easter, I would only let the family have 1/2 of a small ham. I had to wrap up the other 1/2 and hide it in the back of the frig. The family wasn't too happy about that - until a couple of nights later when they got another ham dinner.