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Financial crisis, help with food...

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

So the army screwed our pay up pretty bad. We've been able to shuffle things around with the assumption that they would have it fixed by now but you know what assuming does.

So I can't shuffle stuff anymore, I need to pay bills. I need a menu to feed 3 adult sized appetites and the youngest can just share with me.

We have about $40-50 for food for 2 weeks.

We have a lot of dry beans, rice and cornmeal.

I have pasta and 4 cans of pasta sauce.

I have 1 chicken and lots of homemade broth.

I don't have any more meat though.

Oh except canned. I have canned tuna, salmon and chicken.

We also have stuff to make bread although I'll need to get more yeast.

Ok so someone wanna help me figure out a menu? I am feeling extremely overwhelmed...

post #2 of 21

Have you talked to militaryonesource?  They can probably figure out a way to help. 

 

Otherwise, the cheapest way I've figured out to feed our growing family is with oatmeal for breakfast, and some sort of starch for lunch (I tend to rotate potates, quick breads, pasta, rice).  Some days I throw extras in if I can (like nuts or dried fruit in the oatmeal, or veggies in the pasta or rice, or even eggs).  For dinner, I make a larger meal.  The kids usually snack on fresh fruits and veggies, and I frequently make popcorn.

 

It sounds like you don't have any food intolerances, so I'd probably go pretty heavy on the pasta.  And maybe make bread and tuna salad, and chicken salad with the canned meat.  The chicken I'd stretch into a couple of meals...you could probably make two or three chicken pot pies with it, if you got a few bags of frozen veggies.  You could make that more filling by thickening with flour, and serving over rice. 

 

Can you make cornbread?  If you got a can of tomatoes, and a can of corn, and maybe olives, you could layer them and pre-cooked beans in a 9x13 pan.  Then spread the corn bread mixture on top of that and bake.  Oh, do add taco seasoning.  :)

 

You could use the chicken broth to make soup with the rice.  Again, throw in some frozen veggies. 

 

For moral boosting, I'd keep popcorn on the counter, and maybe cut up celery and peanut butter.  If you have the ingredients, and could make peanut butter cookies, or sugar cookies here and there that could help.  Having something to snack on keeps me from feeling like I'm doing without. 

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just1More View Post

Have you talked to militaryonesource?  They can probably figure out a way to help. 

 

Otherwise, the cheapest way I've figured out to feed our growing family is with oatmeal for breakfast, and some sort of starch for lunch (I tend to rotate potates, quick breads, pasta, rice).  Some days I throw extras in if I can (like nuts or dried fruit in the oatmeal, or veggies in the pasta or rice, or even eggs).  For dinner, I make a larger meal.  The kids usually snack on fresh fruits and veggies, and I frequently make popcorn.

 

It sounds like you don't have any food intolerances, so I'd probably go pretty heavy on the pasta.  And maybe make bread and tuna salad, and chicken salad with the canned meat.  The chicken I'd stretch into a couple of meals...you could probably make two or three chicken pot pies with it, if you got a few bags of frozen veggies.  You could make that more filling by thickening with flour, and serving over rice. 

 

Can you make cornbread?  If you got a can of tomatoes, and a can of corn, and maybe olives, you could layer them and pre-cooked beans in a 9x13 pan.  Then spread the corn bread mixture on top of that and bake.  Oh, do add taco seasoning.  :)

 

You could use the chicken broth to make soup with the rice.  Again, throw in some frozen veggies. 

 

For moral boosting, I'd keep popcorn on the counter, and maybe cut up celery and peanut butter.  If you have the ingredients, and could make peanut butter cookies, or sugar cookies here and there that could help.  Having something to snack on keeps me from feeling like I'm doing without. 

 

They love oatmeal so that'll work for sure. Cornmeal pancakes too..

I need to look up some quick bread reipes. We have nuts but I have to crack them, I can do that tonight ahead of time. We have raisins and canned veggies..we will definitely be getting some fresh fruits at least, the kids love them and they're healthy. We also have quite a bit of popcorn.

Do you have a chicken pot pie recipe? I've never made it before.. I can make tuna noodle but I don't have mayo for tuna/chicken salad. Guess I could put that on the list. Pasta is much easier to sell with cheese, too bad it's so freaking expensive!

 

I can totally make some killer cornbread, thanks for that recipe I'm totally doing it!

 

I definitely end up baking a lot more when times are lean, makes you forget you're poor when you have ahmazing munchies in no time. :)


Thanks for all the tips, I'm getting to work on it!

post #4 of 21

Just a thought, have you considered sour dough? Maybe someone near you has a starter they can share? I've gotten scoby's and starters by posting on my local WAPF yahoo groups.

GL Wish I had more to offer.  (hugs)
 

post #5 of 21

Chicken pot pie is fairly easy.  A chicken casserole is even easier.  You can also make it with chick peas or a combination if you don't have much chicken.  Just look up a white sauce recipe on line or in a traditional cookbook (it is in all the basic ones).  You mix flour and butter, bubble it for a bit and then add milk (assuming you will be keeping milk in the house with the money you have).  If you have whole milk or 2%, you can  water it down a bit to make "more" and it will still taste fine.  Look up the particular technique for white sauce in a good cookbook, not hard but can be finicky.  Take the cooked chicken or chick peas (or any other bean for that matter), mix in some cooked vegetables and fill a pie crust and then put another crust on top.  Pierce it to vent steam and bake until the crust looks done.  I tend to like LOTS of white sauce, so you may want to double the basic recipe.  For a casserole, no crust but add egg noodles (easy to make, just eggs, flour and water and will keep a day) if you don't have any.  I don't think it would be as good with italian style pasta but it would certainly still be edible.  If you make this kind of stuff, that one chicken could go several meals.  Amish cookbooks often have recipes for rivals - use the same ingredients as egg noodles but a different cooking technique.  Biscuits or dumplings are also good on top of a casserole and you can leave out the noodles.  Some chicken sauce in the white sauce is also very good.  Rice can be used instead of noodles as well and tuna or salmon instead of chicken (tuna noodle casserole, yum).  You can use your pasta sauce to make soup just as you might use canned tomatoes.  Just don't add any salt until you taste it.  Canned chicken would be fine is soup, stew or casserole.  I think if you buy whole milk and water it down, you could use it fine in baking.  I do that with yogurt all of the time.  Dry milk can also be cheaper for baking.  Flour, eggs, milk, shortening and leavening make tons of things with flavorings you may have on hand.  Cocoa powder, vanilla, that almond extract you only use at holidays.  Pasta salads are great with oil (vegetable will work or mix olive and vegetable/canola together to make the expensive stuff go further) .  You can almost certainly scrounge a cup of mayo off a friend/neighbor and use it sparingly.  Hope any of this helps.  I love cooking as my grandmother did.  You can definitely do this.  And don't be afraid to ask for things you need to fill out a meal.  Everyone borrows eggs from a neighbor from time to time to avoid a run to the store. 
 

post #6 of 21
Do you have vinegar of any sort? I like tuna mashed with a splash of vinegar.
post #7 of 21

we do tuna mixed with canned tomatoes and a can of beans and a splash of olive oil.  DH loves that and it is sooo filling.  You could make salmon patties- just mix in a little bread crumbs, an egg and some old bay or the like.  

post #8 of 21

You could make tortillas- no yeast needed.
If you cook the chicken and remove all of the meat from the bones and cut it up you can divide it among several meals.

Soup- bean, chicken & rice, chicken & pasta, chili, lentil

cornmeal- hush puppies, corn bread, corn meal mush

 

1. chicken & rice soup

2. bean burritos with Spanish rice

3. rice or biscuits with chicken and gravy

4.bean soup/chili with corn bread

5. Salmon Patties or tuna patties

6. pancakes or waffles or fried bread dough and eggs

7. tuna, salmon or chicken croquettes

8. fried rice

9. red beans and rice, corn bread

10. pasta with sauce and rolls

11. tuna/chicken and rice/noodle casserole

12. cheese pizza

13. Chicken Chimichangas

14.pasta with sauce

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlyzombiecat View Post

You could make tortillas- no yeast needed.
If you cook the chicken and remove all of the meat from the bones and cut it up you can divide it among several meals.

Soup- bean, chicken & rice, chicken & pasta, chili, lentil

cornmeal- hush puppies, corn bread, corn meal mush

 

1. chicken & rice soup

2. bean burritos with Spanish rice

3. rice or biscuits with chicken and gravy

4.bean soup/chili with corn bread

5. Salmon Patties or tuna patties

6. pancakes or waffles or fried bread dough and eggs

7. tuna, salmon or chicken croquettes

8. fried rice

9. red beans and rice, corn bread

10. pasta with sauce and rolls

11. tuna/chicken and rice/noodle casserole

12. cheese pizza

13. Chicken Chimichangas

14.pasta with sauce

 

Awesome list!

 

The pp listed a better chicken pot pie recipe than mine.  Go with hers. :)

 

Oh, and my mom used to water down spaghetti sauce to stretch it, and would double the chocolate chip recipe, but not the chocolate chips.

post #10 of 21

Wanted to add that if recipes for baked goods require several eggs, you can easily cut them down.  Things such as pancakes are also perfectly tasty (although perhaps not as nutritious) without any eggs.  And here is a recipe, for Wacky cake (although not the recipe I use) that needs no milk, butter or eggs.  Thus is is pretty cheap to make (and good for food allergies to boot - I used to make this cake when my friend came over with her child that was allergic to dairy and eggs).
 

post #11 of 21

Can you get to a food bank or emergency service?  Most places will give you a box and most metro areas have several places you can get to?

I know you wanted recipe ideas but don't over look social services too.

post #12 of 21

Have you spoken to your commander or chaplain?  There are emergency funds available to help soldiers and their families in situations like these.

post #13 of 21

A pp mentioned watering down pasta sauce which made me think of juice. We water any juice down by 50%, always. The kids don't like juice out of the bottle, they prefer the water to be added.

Wasn't sure if you even drink juice but thought I'd mention it.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone, I'll reply more when the kids go to bed, just wanted to let you know I'm reading and appreciate yalls advice!
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post

So the army screwed our pay up pretty bad. We've been able to shuffle things around with the assumption that they would have it fixed by now but you know what assuming does.

So I can't shuffle stuff anymore, I need to pay bills. I need a menu to feed 3 adult sized appetites and the youngest can just share with me.

We have about $40-50 for food for 2 weeks.

We have a lot of dry beans, rice and cornmeal.

I have pasta and 4 cans of pasta sauce.

I have 1 chicken and lots of homemade broth.

I don't have any more meat though.

Oh except canned. I have canned tuna, salmon and chicken.

We also have stuff to make bread although I'll need to get more yeast.

Ok so someone wanna help me figure out a menu? I am feeling extremely overwhelmed...

I have a bread recipe that works great. We use it (adding more flour) to make pizza (spaghetti sauce and whatever we have/want for toppings - little goes a long way). 3 cups warm water, 1 tbsp yeast, 1tbsp salt, 6 1/2 cups flour, mix, cover (lightly), let raise for 6-8 hours and refrigerate until use. It gets sourdough-y the longer it sits, and I've used ours up to 14 days after making the dough... yummy!

 

We just figured a meal plan for 3 weeks using $50 in groceries. We are making red beans and rice with a little sausage mixed in, Firefly Gruel (brown rice, wheat berries, and shelled barley) which is yummy even without toppings, black beans & rice for tostadas (we have corn tortillas, which are VERY cheap and we save meat grease for frying them).

 

I love making whole chicken & turkey. We roast it up with some butter and herbs, then I spend HOURS picking every last edible morsel off the bones, then we make stock from the bones.

 

Get some potatoes (CHEAP!) and make gravy with stock/broth. It is super yummy! We make supreme mashed potatoes, which is mashed potatoes with chopped chicken/turkey, cheese, veggies and stock-gravy. The kids love it and it's sooo filling.

 

Get some ranch or italian dressing and put it on cooked pasta, mix in veggies, tuna, and, if you have any of these, pepperoni, parmesan or other appropriate cheeses, or bacon.

post #16 of 21

Have you considered signing up for WIC? They provide milk, eggs, cheese, beans, peanut butter, juice, cereal, and in some states, produce and bread.

post #17 of 21
OMg, I completely forgot... polenta! It's super easy to make homemade polenta.
post #18 of 21

I mix refried beans or beans in with spaghetti sauce, sloppy joe mix, and other things to stretch it.  I also make bean tacos more frequently than ever using meat.

post #19 of 21

Hi there! This stuff happens more often then it should! I'm so sorry you got to experiance this. I noticed you are in TX. Not sure which post you are stationed at, but depending on which one you are at I can point you in a couple directions. First, depending on your DH's rank, you may be eligible for help from the Jr. Enlisted Center. You can also check with AER... your DH can pick up the application, get the required signatures, and if he has the app back to the office by 11AM he SHOULD get the money by the end of the day (at least at our post you can). It follows a similar process to the Commander's Referal Program AER Assistance. You can check into that as well, but it's basically the same as an AER loan and either way you will need a signature from your DH's 1SG or CDR. Also, the Chaplains have gift cards/vouchers for service members that are experiancing a hardship. In fact, it might be easir to start with Chaplain and Jr Enlisted Center, then reevaluate your needs and see what you need for utilities/rent and then get an AER loan for that.

 

One more thing, if you are comfortable with this, you can contact your FRG. If you have your Keycallers contact info, or your FRG leaders contact info., they should have a list of additional resources available that they can give you.

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlyzombiecat View Post

You could make tortillas- no yeast needed.
If you cook the chicken and remove all of the meat from the bones and cut it up you can divide it among several meals.

Soup- bean, chicken & rice, chicken & pasta, chili, lentil

cornmeal- hush puppies, corn bread, corn meal mush

 

1. chicken & rice soup

2. bean burritos with Spanish rice

3. rice or biscuits with chicken and gravy

4.bean soup/chili with corn bread

5. Salmon Patties or tuna patties

6. pancakes or waffles or fried bread dough and eggs

7. tuna, salmon or chicken croquettes

8. fried rice

9. red beans and rice, corn bread

10. pasta with sauce and rolls

11. tuna/chicken and rice/noodle casserole

12. cheese pizza

13. Chicken Chimichangas

14.pasta with sauce

That is an impressive list! Defintely stretching the food budget there! I'm copying this for my own menu. ;-)

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