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"How to feed your family for less" - Page 4

post #61 of 116
OK, this is off topic, but Pinoikoi, one of the best things I've ever eaten in my life (top five meals for sure) was a salmon quesadilla at the Saturday Market in Anchorage.

Fresh-truly fresh, like swimming a few hours ago- Alaskan salmon is a transcendental experience for those of us not lucky enough to live right there.
post #62 of 116
Well, I watched the Oprah episode this afternoon. That's an hour of my life I'll never get back. It's not that it was so bad. It's just that it wasn't that good. Please, $400/wk on take out and they're concerned about money?? But Tyler did promote The Holy Crockpot which was probably the best pointer of the whole show.
post #63 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leta View Post
Fresh-truly fresh, like swimming a few hours ago- Alaskan salmon is a transcendental experience for those of us not lucky enough to live right there.
"Aye, and there's the rub."

I am a lucky, lucky girl!
post #64 of 116
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasons View Post
For those who can't/won't watch the actual Oprah show, here's the online synopsis: http://www.oprah.com/dated/oprahshow...elebrity-chefs

Excerpt (http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahsh...r-florence/5):

Try Tyler's Slow-Cooked [crock-pot] Barbecue Pork Shoulder sandwich.

The recipe saves time and money. "These sandwiches are $3.75 apiece, right? That plus a salad, dinner for four, under $20," he says. "It's five minutes of prep time, and then the whole thing cooks while you're at work or while you're out running errands."


Gasp - dinner for 4 for under $20? What an amazing, astonishing savings! I'm sure this board could learn a lot from this show!

Thanks for posting this! Sorry to say OP forgot to watch it, lol. That's crazy $20 for one meal! Goodness $20 better feed my ravinous bunch all day and have leftovers!
post #65 of 116
Hey, I didn't read every page, but I agree that Oprah is unlikely to go hardcore frugal with meals! One thing that I have recently realized, though, is that when I eat the three meals plus reasonable, healthy snacks to maintain a normal weight (hx of being a compulsive eater, here!), I save a ton of money. I have NEVER seen this mentioned on any cheap eats type thread or tv show, or anything! Other addictions also add up - is beer included in the food budget? Having been overweight (not obese or anything just 10 to 20 pounds over) my whole life, I am astonished at the amount of food that actually sustains a normal, healthy weight. It has often occured to me when I read threads like this, that this might account for some of the difference between budgets. I have been carefully observing (as best as possible) what normal weight people actually eat, and it just isn't much food unless they are extremely active.

For HollytheTeacher: If you want to start spending less on eating out, you can substitue some healthy pre-made frozen meals and start to cook just one or two meals a week and you would save a ton of money. Then as you go along, just keep on learning. It can be overwhelming to start. And if you are ravenously hungry the moment you get home from work, have a small appetizer of some kind to put right out while everyone helps get dinner ready.
post #66 of 116
I actually stopped watching it when Curtis Stone was with that family who had take out. When they pulled up to that giant house, I should have known.
I think Oprah would die if she knew I've been feeding a family of 3 on $25 a week.

And off topic, but I realized I've never been able to sit through a whole episde of her show....
post #67 of 116
Another tip for HollyTheTeacher: pick a night or nights for easy dinners. Like on Mondays, have that be pasta night. Super easy, so fast. You can also bake spaghetti with cheese on top, which is almost as good as lasagna and easy on the cook. Or get a nice big bag of frozen ravioli, which is even faster than dry pasta.

You can buy the Hunt's marinara in tall tin cans (cheap), or the Paul Newman's or Muir Glen marinara in glass jars (organic). Eventually, you might even be able to can a year's worth of marinara on your own!

The point is, pasta is a two pot dinner that's fast, cheap and reasonably healthy.

Then pick a night that's pancakes and (veg?) sausage. If you want, mix canned pumpkin or mashed banana or canned/frzn blueberries into the pancakes. Use real maple syrup, or make your own pancake syrup to avoid HFCS. (So easy- 3 cups white sugar, 2 Tbs molasses, 1 tsp maple extract- or flavoring, same thing-, 2 tsps butter flavoring, 3 tsps vanilla. Whisk together, bring to a boil. Done.)

That's two nights a week that you barely have to cook, and it's cheap.

Until you work up to homemade food, you could also eat frozen pizza one night a week, or get those take and bake pizzas that they have at the grocery store.
post #68 of 116
WOW! I recorded the show to watch another day but wasn't too impressed as usual with what they "saved." I think MDC should start a talk show...boy would that be awesome: I enjoy Oprah but come here for the best advice of course. I know she means well but I think she just doesn't get it...like one day she does a show about people losing their homes and living in tents and then next week it's how to save money while maintaining your extravagant lifestyle. But I have to always love Oprah because she introduced me to Peter Walsh and Bob Greene.

I have decided from this wonderful thread that I need a crockpot...can I get a good one at goodwill?
post #69 of 116
LeighB... how is that even possible? Wow. Do tell.

Hollytheteacher - I did something called "Dinner Done" where we got feezer meals - I went in and assembled them in 2 hours on a Saturday, and had food for the whole month. Variety, portions we would actually eat, the only thing is you egt disposable containers unless you bring your own which I didn't have to bring. I did it for almost 6 months before I ended us a WAHM, and it was perfect for us. I just washed and reused their containers and they always held up. Since then I have passed them along a few at a time to family & friends who needed a casserole/dinner for one reason or another: hard times, passing of loved one, pregnancy, etc.
post #70 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyErin View Post
...There aren't too many vegetarian crockpot recipes out there that I can find....
Try "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker". (Your library probably has it.)

I am a single, WOHM to 4 children. That book changed my life!:
post #71 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpie1972 View Post
LeighB... how is that even possible? Wow. Do tell.

Hollytheteacher - I did something called "Dinner Done" where we got feezer meals - I went in and assembled them in 2 hours on a Saturday, and had food for the whole month. Variety, portions we would actually eat, the only thing is you egt disposable containers unless you bring your own which I didn't have to bring. I did it for almost 6 months before I ended us a WAHM, and it was perfect for us. I just washed and reused their containers and they always held up. Since then I have passed them along a few at a time to family & friends who needed a casserole/dinner for one reason or another: hard times, passing of loved one, pregnancy, etc.
This sounds interesting.. part of a national chain?
post #72 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Worm View Post
I have decided from this wonderful thread that I need a crockpot...can I get a good one at goodwill?
Yes, you can, but I would definitely ask about their return policy before I bought one there.. you don't want to take it home and then it doesn't work and you have instant garbage.. and they are something that I would say is "tricky" to test out IN THE goodwill shop, kwim? It has to heat up over time, so.. also I would inspect the cord VERY closely.. any fraying at all, and I would pass it up..

I have two.. One was free.. It was one of those deals where you buy two small appliances get one free at Fred Meyer's I think.. My mom bought a new blender and mixer, and gave me the crockpot.. it is pretty little..

I bought a bigger one last year or the year before that I LOVE... It has a snap on lid so I can easily take it to potlatches, fundraisers, etc.. It is also big enough that I put a huge ham section in there at Christmas and it came out so moist and tender- meat falling off the bone literally..

I can do baked beans or the like in the smaller one- rice puddings, chili, etc.. but I needed a bigger one for larger groups of people and main dishes.. I think they have some out now though that can fit one large dish or two smaller pots (shaped kind of like two half circles)..

If I were going to buy another one (which I am NOT mine work FINE)! I would look into a timer, and also the snap on lids (mine has metal toggles on the sides that snap over the top)..
post #73 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinoikoi View Post
This sounds interesting.. part of a national chain?
I am not sure if it is national. I paid $215 - which was hard to just fork out at first, then I realized that I was getting 32 meals. So that was $6.71 per meal for 6 people. Then of couse I added a salad, pasta or whatever neeved to be added. A lot of the time they gave you the pasta, but you had to get your own fresh produce.

I was WOH FT and so was DH. It kept us from dining out daily. That was key for us.

We did suppliment with nuggets for the kids - I make those on the weekend in batches once every couple months and have forever - or frozen breads, etc.

www.dinnerdone.com

I loved it. Thier prices are slightly higher. When they went up my cheap bone flared and I coudn't do it anymore. But I loved it. I still make one and freeze one for most dishes that work that way.
post #74 of 116
I should add: each serving makes a 13x9 stuffed pan of food. We split it 3 ways. I think it was about 18.xx a dish, but that was for 12 breasts. Fat ones. Crazy.

If you find a place, be sure that you know thier actual portion sizes. I learned a whole lot that first month. I actually got the "togo" as a gift when my last son was born. That is how I was introduced to them.
post #75 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinoikoi View Post
Yes, you can, but I would definitely ask about their return policy before I bought one there.. you don't want to take it home and then it doesn't work and you have instant garbage.. and they are something that I would say is "tricky" to test out IN THE goodwill shop, kwim? It has to heat up over time, so.. also I would inspect the cord VERY closely.. any fraying at all, and I would pass it up..

I have two.. One was free.. It was one of those deals where you buy two small appliances get one free at Fred Meyer's I think.. My mom bought a new blender and mixer, and gave me the crockpot.. it is pretty little..

I bought a bigger one last year or the year before that I LOVE... It has a snap on lid so I can easily take it to potlatches, fundraisers, etc.. It is also big enough that I put a huge ham section in there at Christmas and it came out so moist and tender- meat falling off the bone literally..

I can do baked beans or the like in the smaller one- rice puddings, chili, etc.. but I needed a bigger one for larger groups of people and main dishes.. I think they have some out now though that can fit one large dish or two smaller pots (shaped kind of like two half circles)..

If I were going to buy another one (which I am NOT mine work FINE)! I would look into a timer, and also the snap on lids (mine has metal toggles on the sides that snap over the top)..
Thank you! Assuming I can't find a good one at Goodwill where else can i get one cheap? the evil place aka walfart?
post #76 of 116
Slightly OT, but to the people who are afraid to leave their crockpots running during the day while they're out...do you also unplug your TVs/fridge/washer and dryer/etc, while you're out? I'm not trying to be snarky at all, I actually do know of someone who does this and was wondering how common it is.
post #77 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by SharonAnne View Post
Slightly OT, but to the people who are afraid to leave their crockpots running during the day while they're out...do you also unplug your TVs/fridge/washer and dryer/etc, while you're out? I'm not trying to be snarky at all, I actually do know of someone who does this and was wondering how common it is.
I do not unplug the refrigerator, freezer, or washer and dryer. I Do unplug all small appliances though- tv, radio, toaster, etc.

Also, something RUNNING is different than something plugged in but turned off.. a crockpot is a small appliance that is RUNNING while you aren't at home.. I don't cook while I am not at home, either (I thought about it once, and glad I didn't because when I made it home and put my cooking in the oven it filled my kitchen with smoke- turned out the pot was too small for the chicken and it was bubbling over in no time flat.. took several days to air the place out).

I am a bit more apprehensive about it than most, though.. I grew up living in places that didn't have fire hydrants.. or fire trucks for that matter.
post #78 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Worm View Post


Thank you! Assuming I can't find a good one at Goodwill where else can i get one cheap? the evil place aka walfart?
I like Fred Meyers (which I think is Meijer other places).. I am sure you could find one at Target also. Sears and JCPenney have them and I have found really nice cookware items there for super cheap during their clearance sales..

this is the big one I have (with the snap on lid)

http://www2.shopping.com/xPO-Hamilto...tainless-Steel

Here's one that has multiple sizes in one- which would sure be versatile, and require less storage area!

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...word=crock+pot

Those are not really "cheap" but at least you have an idea of what they go for new..
post #79 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post
I do too. I would never leave the house with an appliance running. By the time the neighbors notice the flames your house is gone.
Your refrigerator is always running.
post #80 of 116
I cannot just read this and ignore.

When I saw what some of you spend weekly for eating out, I was floored and as pp, I had a heart attack or was close. Then I read what others were spending to scratch cook and I was floored again.

May I suggest the newcomers who need to cut their spending or those who just want to learn to cook, eat from scratch whatever visit the meal planning forum but also check out our almost monthly pantry challenges, no spend challenge or cooking from scratch tribes, buying in bulk, etc. Also feeding the freezer is an awesome way to save $$

Whole foods- my DH calls this store Whole paycheck. I noticed a lot of their house brand organics canned are from other countries. Dont know how well outside of US standards are. All their non grocery items are available on frontier coop for wholesale which I order from. They also have way too much of the take home ready to eat meals. But then again most grocery stores now have that as well.

For those who want prepared meals, the make the dinners ahead places is cheaper than eating out or cooking after getting home at 6pm w a starving family. Another one is Dinner by design.

I find all these places very expensive but I am a scratch cook plus extremely creative and I can make a full meal with almost nothing.

Things I do to keep costs down:
shop the sales flyer. If possible, add coupons. Stock up on good sales since you would use it later.

Only buy meat on sale. End of story.
Use all sorts of the meat, learn how to cook with this. If chuck roast is on sale, make a pot roast this week one night. Slice up for leftovers. Add a few pototoes around the roast while in the oven and some onions and carrots, you have a meal. If steak is on sale, buy steak. If you use a lot of ground up meat, buy in larger quantities on sale and divide into patties for later use. Store in freezer.
Save bones for making stock. Fill up a larger deep pot w water, throw bones in, add onion, celery and salt pepper and some spices. simmer for hours. Strain, put in different containers.

Eat seasonal produce. Dont buy strawberries in Nov/Dec. They are not from here and are $$$. Buy in spring or late may/summer they are in season.

My MIL is always saying the reason you have sales is so you eat a varied diet. Chicken goes on sale, then beef goes on sale. Plan you meals around the sales flyer and what you have on hand. If you Woh, do the crockpot or cook on Saturday and freeze. Or do power cooking twice a month.

Or do a meal exchange. My neighbor is now giving us beer from his keg and we are supplying a meal once a week for their family. Both of them woh, she has to travel for work and their kids are the same age. They also love my cooking so it works out since their taste in beer is perfect for DH.

Plan plan plan your meals. Make more for leftovers for lunch tomorrow or for another dinner down the line. Make a vat of dough for bread. Make a bread loaf at night or when you wake up in the morning. Keep a heap and have a pizza dough on friday night.

And since I have lived in the Chicagoland for all my life, I have known Oprah since she was a reporter for the local news station who had a good personality and was overweight. She got a break and did the show AM Chicago for a few years and then they named it The Oprah Winrey show. Then it eventually went national. Then she started her own production company. Then she became an icon. She started rubbing two pennies together so she knows about living paycheck to paycheck, just not for the last 20 years or so. If she would have had this show on 25 years ago, I would take it very seriously because she could really have a good show on something like this. But now, give me a break. Feed 4 people for $20??
And like its been said, who wants to listen to a gizzianare talk about saving a few bucks?
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