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want to get frugal ideas!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Next week we have fifty bucks for food. We usually have eighty! I don't make food from scratch and wouldn't even know how! So thats an option but it could be hairy for a while! :LOL So some suggestions on meals others prepare would be helpfull. We do cloth diaper but baby number two isn't even here yet and DD is potty learning! So thats not an expense! Any ideas would be great!
post #2 of 12
Take stock of what you have on hand. You must have stuff in your cupboards, etc.? Pull everything out so you have an idea of what you're starting with. I often feed everyone on about $50 when I have to, so it's not too hard. If you're meat eaters, then you could buy a big old package of ground beef for meatloaf, spaghetti, etc. Or eggs are healthy and cheap and versatile too. Buy whatever produce is seasonal and/or on sale. Milk, eggs, fruit, veges, potatoes, are staples. Tuna for casserole with pasta is cheap. I often (when money is tough, and we've had tough times so frequently in the past that I'm really good at it now) make up a chart with each meal figured out for a week. Plan on making something bigger so you can have leftovers the next day made into something else. Like chicken one night, chicken soup from the bones and leftovers the next day for lunch or dinner. One of the nights have pancakes and eggs for dinner. (Eg: Monday is breakfast: oatmeal, lunch: macaroni, supper: meatloaf, green beans, baked potatoes, etc. . . .) It doesn't sound hard to me at all, because it's such a short time. Look at it as a game.

post #3 of 12
Cheap things to make..hmm....
Get some staples.
Lettuce/whatever greens are on sale

You can make a lot with carrots and onions and potatoes.
One thing I like to make is fajitas, just marinate some chicken or beef cut into strips overnight in vinegar, pinch oregano, 1t sugar, chopped garlic, a little worcestershire sauce. In a separate bowl, marinate wedged onions, potatos, green peppers in the same stuff. Matchstick carrots too, I bet they would be goood.
Then heat a little oil in the wok, throw in the meat, when it's done remove it. Then fry the other stuff, when it seems done add the meat back in. Heat til hot and serve in tortillas. The potatoes thin it out so you don't have to use as much meat.

What kinds of food do you like? I mostly make asian stuff, like pad thai, mu shoo chicken, spicy thai stir-fry, etc. Many of these can be made really cheap if you get the produce in season, and meat on sale. Some of the sauces can be an investment but they last a while. Plus it's a tasty way to get your veggies in.

What kind of things do you like? Tell me and I will try and get up some easy recipes. I am not much of a cook either, I can't make a decent cake at ALL, but stir-fry type stuff is EASY. Just put in a bit of oil, add ingredients, stir till it looks and smells done.
post #4 of 12
What do you all like to eat? Mybe we can think of cheaper versions or give you step by step recipes for cooking.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
my husband is accustomed to meat potatos and some veggie. I think maybe one meal like this a week would do since meat can be so expensive! I love shepards pie but He doesn't like his food all mixed together! He likes ham strogonoff and chicken and bisquits with soup but we've never made this home made this is something betty crocker made! :LOL (I do stay home but I have a daycare! Although I am down to two children besides my own! ) Stir frys are good but again its something we would buy from the freezer section! Its probably more expensive that way too. We don't eat a lot of treats though we would like to! Its just not something we can do! Lunches for the daycare would be mac and cheese with shredded cheddar on it noodles and sauce ramen noodles pb and j sandwiches pancakes and eggs toast and cheese. Nothing real expensive (there use to be a lot more children to feed!) I don't buy organic milk because we have wic which gives us ALL the milk we need for a month! They also give us cheese and Peanut butter and cereal. All things the daycare kids like and I can use to cook!

Do any of you cook from scratch? We are toying with the idea of not having any daycare children anymore! (Nolan is due in june! ) I would like to try I am a little scared though! But any ideas would be great!
post #6 of 12
Let me put it this way: 2 year ago, I lived off hot pockets, and considered Banquet Homestyle Bakes to be "home cooking".
I now can make lasagna, many chinese and thai dishes, fajitas, many other things. I promise it isn't that hard, and it tastes SOOO much better and costs SOOO much less than pre-prepared foods.
post #7 of 12
Oh, Gosh. You've never made a stir fry with fresh veggies? Honey, you're in for a treat!

And chicken and potatoes in the oven could not be more simple.

I am taking a break with a cold beer right now between tilling and putting old rabbit poop in my garden beds. yeah! it's finally nice here! Not that I can plant anything for weeks, mind you, but i can certainly prepare those beds! whooo-raaay!

I'll come back tonight and post some easy-peasy stuff. You're gonna need a good cook book. Your assignement is to go to the library tomorrow.

Maybe folks can give you their fav titles.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
that would be great! I have a betty crocker cook book and a cooking for dummies one! I have never looked at them!
post #9 of 12
Some cheap and easy favorites around our house:

gulosh (dunno how to spell it) - one pound ground meat (ground turkey is cheapest), one can tomato sauce, one can stewed or diced tomatoes, one onion, one pound of pasta (we use macaroni). I brown the meat with onion and season with salt & pepper. Then add in the tomato sauce and tomatoes. Cover and let simmer. Meanwhile boil up a pot of water and cook up your pasta. Then drain the pasta and combine with the rest. Instant dinner. Add in a salad and you're done

we often do a breakfast for dinner type meal. It might be pancakes with fruit or eggs & bacon & toast, or maybe a quiche.

Soup - we can do a veggie soup or a meat based soup. Last week we did a veggie cabbage soup one night and a ham & lentil soup the next night. Most of the soups are fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants creations but occasionally I'll look to a recipe.

I've got other standbyes if you want recipes. Let me know what base ingredients you've got to work with.

FYI - I never spend more than $50/week on groceries and we eat 6 meat based meals per week. We're only really feeding 2 adults and one teenager, though since the baby is pretty much still relying on the breast milk.

post #10 of 12
I have "The Better Homes And Gardens New Cook Book." This has a whole section on basics and lots and lots of simple things like how to fry an egg, how to bake potatoes, how to broil/roast/panfry each kind and cut of meat, how to cook each kind of dry bean, et cetera. Then lots of different kinds of recipes that are not "weird", not complicated to make and easy to adapt once you get the hang of them. It has everything from candy to barbecue to itlian risotto.

Once you're comfortable with some cooking-from-scratch I'd recommend www.allrecipes.com. You can search for whatever you're looking for and I haven't looked for something yet that I couldn't find there.

If you prefer to eat whole grains it's very easy to substitute and you don't need "special" recipes for whole wheat pancakes, for example. You just use whole wheat pastry flour wherever the recipes say to use all-purpose flour.

Learning to cook your own food from scratch is probably the #1 thing you can do to increase your quality of life!
post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by girlndocs
Learning to cook your own food from scratch is probably the #1 thing you can do to increase your quality of life!
So true!
Angel, I have a really cool cookbook "99 cent recipes". All the recipes in the book cost 99 cents a serving and more often less. I'd be happy to send some of them your way! Oh, and the following site is a great resource for frugal meals (although it can be a PITA to navigate): http://www.miserlymoms.com/MOMfrecipes2.htm
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Those are all great ideas! I checked out the websites. i will have to go through the cupboards now!
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