"How to feed your family for less" - Mothering Forums

"How to feed your family for less"

ewp11100's Avatar ewp11100 (TS)
11:49 PM Liked: 0
#1 of 116
03-10-2009 | Posts: 1,159
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this is the topic on Oprah tomm. I don't ever watch Oprah but I might watch this one. I have a felling that it's going to be laughable to us frugal Fannies but I might learn some thing
Dreaming's Avatar Dreaming
11:54 PM Liked: 14
#2 of 116
03-10-2009 | Posts: 3,316
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I was just thinking about this very topic! Rachael Ray was on Larry King last night talking about her meals under $10. I also have Hillbilly Housewife open in another window right now and I'm perusing recipes.
I LOVE the idea of making inexpensive healthy meals. :

We try to eat as much organic as possible but it's expensive and I need to cut back on our grocery bill by a LOT.
PiesandAbrosmama's Avatar PiesandAbrosmama
11:58 PM Liked: 11
#3 of 116
03-10-2009 | Posts: 1,001
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this is my goal-but that garden fruits is just around the corner which will really help! also my csa. don't have t.v. someone watch and give good notes
yeahwhat's Avatar yeahwhat
01:05 AM Liked: 12
#4 of 116
03-11-2009 | Posts: 553
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The preview I saw showed someone saying the dinner for four cost 7.25. Um, really that's not miraculously cheap or anything. Especially without taking into account where you're shopping since prices vary so widely place to place.
hollytheteacher's Avatar hollytheteacher
01:33 AM Liked: 13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeahwhat View Post
The preview I saw showed someone saying the dinner for four cost 7.25. Um, really that's not miraculously cheap or anything. Especially without taking into account where you're shopping since prices vary so widely place to place.
REALLY?! See, maybe i'm just naiive but i cannot fathom dinner for four only costing 7.25! Maybe I should watch the show. I can guarentee you I have a LOT to learn in terms of being frugal in the food department. I am frugal in soooo many other ways (no tv, cable, etc., no cell phone, cheapest land line, only buy clothes/toys at thrift stores, etc. etc.) but with food, we eat out like 90% of the time. If dinner costs less than 50 bucks for the three of us, I feel like we got a good deal
janerose's Avatar janerose
01:41 AM Liked: 0
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03-11-2009 | Posts: 1,896
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeahwhat View Post
The preview I saw showed someone saying the dinner for four cost 7.25. Um, really that's not miraculously cheap or anything. Especially without taking into account where you're shopping since prices vary so widely place to place.
Someone needed to talk about the thread here for dinners under $2. :

That's also for a family, not per person.

I didn't see the show. It will be interesting to see what ideas were presented.
Pinoikoi's Avatar Pinoikoi
02:06 AM Liked: 10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollytheteacher View Post
REALLY?! See, maybe i'm just naiive but i cannot fathom dinner for four only costing 7.25! Maybe I should watch the show. I can guarentee you I have a LOT to learn in terms of being frugal in the food department. I am frugal in soooo many other ways (no tv, cable, etc., no cell phone, cheapest land line, only buy clothes/toys at thrift stores, etc. etc.) but with food, we eat out like 90% of the time. If dinner costs less than 50 bucks for the three of us, I feel like we got a good deal
I am NOT the most frugal chef on this board, by NO MEANS.. but you really should have me come cook for you!

I am not the BEST chef, either, but I consider myself a very efficient cook..

I rarely plan out meals more than a day or two ahead (and I know there are moms here that plan out like a month ahead).. but a *little* planning can go a long way.. and no, we do not subsist on beans and leftovers.

For instance.. Saturday I went to Costco. I picked up a two pack of chickens for $10, and a bag of broccoli salad (quite large- $5 I think).. On Saturday we cooked one chicken with a bit of organic adobo seasoning in my clay cooker.. (throw some spices on it- I usually order the organic adobo from frontier-, add a tiny bit of butter, bake for 85 minutes).. I served it with rice (thrown in the rice cooker) and broccoli salad.. I dunno $12 for 6 people?

but then today, we finished OFF the broccoli salad (so now it's free since I counted it in the first meal), put the leftover chicken in a pot of bertollis alfredo sauce that I found on sale, and served it over pasta.. Chicken free, broccoli salad free, bertollis was about $2 I think, and the pasta? $1 (I didn't cook the whole bag)?

So I served 6 people 2 complete, delicious meals for $15 total.. and both meals I think you could find comparably at a nice restaurant.. and because I use food I already cooked for the second meal, my cooking time was minimal.. dinner tonight took less than 10 minutes. I warmed the chicken in the cast iron skillet, added the sauce until was good and hot, and boiled the noodles in my stainless steel pasta pot.

So here's the deal.. I come cook for you, you install more cabinets for me, kay? (I like VERY nice cookware, and I have no more room!)
hollytheteacher's Avatar hollytheteacher
02:24 AM Liked: 13
#8 of 116
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Pinoikoi if you didn't live so far away I might take you up on it!

It's pretty bad, I mean my ds is only 18 months so my dh and I are the ones eating the most food and we spend upwards of 50-75 a day on food

I wish I could pay a person to come cook for us or something lol. It really is crazy when I sit down and think about it.

We are doing the dave ramsey thing so we are snowballing debt (we already have the e.f. set up). I need to make/look at our budget so i can make sure every extra dollar is being thrown at debt.

But like an example is last week, we ate out for lunch every day (i spend about 15 bucks per lunch PLUS a latte, DH only spends about 7-10). Then we ate dinner at places like: Chilis, TGIFridays, a local thai place, and once we ate spaghetti at home for two nights in a row.

It's just so hard because we don't get home until around 6pm and by then we are both starving and would rather just go out/order in. (last night we ordered a pizza).
griffin2004's Avatar griffin2004
02:33 AM Liked: 0
#9 of 116
03-11-2009 | Posts: 2,326
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Holly,
Even if you start out packing lunch 2x/wk and eating in 2x/wk to start with, the savings will knock your socks off. Plus it will be great incentive to increase it to 3x, 4x, ...

I was stunned when I started packing lunch, taking a thermos of coffee, and not going out for dinner except for a special treat. I wouldn't have believed it on paper.

I also get home at 6pm with a hungry/tired kid and a hungry/tired me. One word secret to success: crockpot.

I'll watch Oprah tomorrow and hope for a new tip or 2. I love getting frugality advice from a bazillionairess!
Pinoikoi's Avatar Pinoikoi
02:37 AM Liked: 10
#10 of 116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollytheteacher View Post
I wish I could pay a person to come cook for us or something lol. It really is crazy when I sit down and think about it.
You can.. a personal chef might be cheaper than what you are currently doing.. and probably healthier

Quote:
Originally Posted by hollytheteacher View Post
But like an example is last week, we ate out for lunch every day (i spend about 15 bucks per lunch PLUS a latte, DH only spends about 7-10). Then we ate dinner at places like: Chilis, TGIFridays, a local thai place, and once we ate spaghetti at home for two nights in a row.
I spend about $.50 to $.75 for a latte.. well, I don't care for lattes much because I don't like the steamed milk or whatever it is in there, but I get gourmet coffee at home.. I asked for a Keurig for my last anniversary. It was over $100 to get the machine, and then there is an additional piece that is like $12 so you can use your own grounds, but I just buy my coffee from keurig and I get the most delicious treats.. German Chocolate Cake is one of my favorites.. I add flavored creamer (I like International Delight, right now it is Bavarian white chocolate and macadamia nut) and make it pretty with whipped cream and sprinkles on top.. It is delicious and looks like it came from Starbucks..

Keurig is sold at BedBathandBeyond (where I got mine) but they are super cheap right now at Costco (with a HUGE selection of different coffee flavors to try), Sears also carries them.. I get fresh grounds each day and I can even have organic and free trade.. DP likes the organic green tea.

I gave up on Starbucks a long time ago. That adds up really fast. Is what I do frugal? Not really, I mean I spend at least $15-$20 a month on coffee and supplies (and that's AFTER the initial output on my machine), but it IS a cheaper treat than what I was doing before.. but on the other hand I am not wasting a lot of coffee in a drip pot (we never drank the pot down to the bottom, so much of it got dumped down the sink with our old machine, and then I would miss the coffee shop type drinks, and splurge anyway).
steffanie3's Avatar steffanie3
02:37 AM Liked: 27
#11 of 116
03-11-2009 | Posts: 1,663
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I would second the crockpot and maybe pack a snack for on the way home, that way you aren't totally starving, even if you buy some pre-made snacks you will be coming out ahead if you don't eat out.
Pinoikoi's Avatar Pinoikoi
02:40 AM Liked: 10
#12 of 116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin2004 View Post

I also get home at 6pm with a hungry/tired kid and a hungry/tired me. One word secret to success: crockpot.
I love crockpot cooking, but I get nervous leaving it on when I am not home.. Did your come with a timer or did you buy one that plugs in somehow or do you go without a timer?
Pinoikoi's Avatar Pinoikoi
02:52 AM Liked: 10
#13 of 116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin2004 View Post
I'll watch Oprah tomorrow and hope for a new tip or 2. I love getting frugality advice from a bazillionairess!
a bazillionairess with no kids to feed...
janerose's Avatar janerose
03:12 AM Liked: 0
#14 of 116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinoikoi View Post
I love crockpot cooking, but I get nervous leaving it on when I am not home.. Did your come with a timer or did you buy one that plugs in somehow or do you go without a timer?
You don't need a timer. That's the point. Set it going before you leave in the morning & when you get home it's good. If you're gone all day then set it to low (unless your recipe says to do high for 8+ hours). It *is* weird to just leave the house with it running first, but you'll get used to it. Just make sure it's on a nice open section of counter with nothing else around it. I believe they also make crock-pots now that shut-off when they overheat.

Easiest and yummiest crock-pot chicken recipe ever:

Get a bag of boneless/skinless chicken breasts. Around here Sam's and Aldi's are cheapest. I usually make 4, which gives us 1 left over. You could easily make 6 though & have enough left to "bank" for another meal later in the week.

Get or make up a bottle of Italian salad dressing. I havn't tried it with Lite dressing, only regular.

Chop 1 onion up. Nothing fancy. Rings or whatever is fine. I usually chop mine, but large.

Put chicken in the crock-pot. Pour dressing over it. Top with onions. Cook on low all day or high for 1/2 a day.

This chicken is amazing. You'll need to take it out with a slotted spoon probably because it falls apart. It also makes excellent chicken salad the next day if chopped fine or shredded & mixed with a little mayo. Add some instant brown rice & steamed veggies or a salad. Buy it in the bag or make a bunch up ahead of time yourself & store it in a bag in your fridge. I get 3 romaine hearts at Walmart for $2, which makes a weeks worth of salads for 2 adults if we eat salad daily.

If you bring snacks for the trip home like a pp mentioned you won't be starving & you'll have a hot meal on the table in less than 15 min. Have your LO help you set the table so it's something you can do together. Thus, avoiding the "I know we just got home & you havn't seen me all day, but leave me alone so I can cook supper" syndrome. At that age our girls could easily put spoons & napkins out, help put out things like a canister or grated parm.

If you learn one new recipe a week, or even a month, before you know it you'll have enough quick, easy recipes to feed your family cheap, healthy meals the majority of the time.

Oh, and when you do cook you may want to consider cooking extra and freezing or "banking" it for later. There are lots of great sites, and info here, on freezer cooking. Good luck!
~Megan~'s Avatar ~Megan~
03:45 AM Liked: 16
#15 of 116
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I bet it will be ridiculous. Like one I watched recently in which a family of 4 cut down their grocery bill from $400 A WEEK to $200 a week.
The lame advice was buy frozen salmon instead of fresh salmon each week. Or buy salmon as a special treat when it's super, super cheap only (like the last time I bought salmon it was $5 for a 4 serving piece).

How about how to eat healthfully on $200-300 a month. I'm sure most families would flip!
janerose's Avatar janerose
03:58 AM Liked: 0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Megan~ View Post
I bet it will be ridiculous. Like one I watched recently in which a family of 4 cut down their grocery bill from $400 A WEEK to $200 a week.
The lame advice was buy frozen salmon instead of fresh salmon each week. Or buy salmon as a special treat when it's super, super cheap only (like the last time I bought salmon it was $5 for a 4 serving piece).

How about how to eat healthfully on $200-300 a month. I'm sure most families would flip!
That was my thought!

Funny you should mention $200-$300/mo. I just started another thread about that. I'd love new ideas. I'm starting to run out!
Pinoikoi's Avatar Pinoikoi
05:03 AM Liked: 10
#17 of 116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Megan~ View Post
I bet it will be ridiculous. Like one I watched recently in which a family of 4 cut down their grocery bill from $400 A WEEK to $200 a week.
The lame advice was buy frozen salmon instead of fresh salmon each week. Or buy salmon as a special treat when it's super, super cheap only (like the last time I bought salmon it was $5 for a 4 serving piece).

How about how to eat healthfully on $200-300 a month. I'm sure most families would flip!
Salmon is free.

(yep, don't think I have ever paid for it..)

Catfish and tilapia I have paid for, but salmon? nope..

I have paid for crabmeat a few times, but it is usually free too.
ewp11100's Avatar ewp11100 (TS)
10:27 AM Liked: 0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janerose View Post
That was my thought!

Funny you should mention $200-$300/mo. I just started another thread about that. I'd love new ideas. I'm starting to run out!
Yeah exactly! I don't pay more the 1.99 lb for meat and try to keep it under 1.50 lb. I can see most Americans nnot wanting to give up their chioces by thinking "I can only eat what's on sale". Where as I have tons of choices because I always buy the good sales and stockpile. I once asked my nieghbor (I live in a trailer park btw) if she had the store circular that had come in the mail that day (my kids tore mine up). She said yeah here "I never even look at it, I make a list but I just buy what or hunger for." WOW I would LOVE to know what they spend on groceries
Mom2Adam's Avatar Mom2Adam
12:37 PM Liked: 10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinoikoi View Post
a bazillionairess with no kids to feed...
With her own chef and nutritionist to boot!
Jenelle's Avatar Jenelle
12:53 PM Liked: 0
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I just have to say... HOLY CRAP. $50-75 per day on food for two adults? If I hadn't seen you around this board in the past, I would think you came here just to give us all heart attacks. Stick around!
cappuccinosmom's Avatar cappuccinosmom
01:18 PM Liked: 163
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I mostly do find such things laughable. They seem to be designed for people who have been spending massive amounts of money indescriminately on packaged, prepared foods and eating out half the month. If I was doing that, sure I could save 50% of my previous spending by following their advice.

One magazine article I read recently had three pages of "money saving" "brilliant tips". I think out of the hundreds of tips there were maybe 3 or 4 I had not tried, and those were ones that wouldn't work for our family.

What I want is for someone to tell me how to spend $200/month feeding a family of 5 healthy, good food. :
hollytheteacher's Avatar hollytheteacher
01:23 PM Liked: 13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenelle View Post
I just have to say... HOLY CRAP. $50-75 per day on food for two adults? If I hadn't seen you around this board in the past, I would think you came here just to give us all heart attacks. Stick around!
hahah I KNOW it's bad! At least you guys are being really nice/helpful and friendly. LOL I was worried I might get flamed or something! And dh and i both agree it's really out of hand, it's just we are too lazy or stubborn I guess lol.

I think it's this weird two part thing for me. When I go grocery shopping I get all gung ho on ONLY buying organic, local and fresh. This means that the food is pretty expensive (9.99 a pound for deli meat, 5.00 gallon of milk, etc.) so I buy it all thinking, man i could just eat out for these prices AND i don't have to do any clean up/prepping/etc.

Of course, then you weigh in the fact that what i'm ordering at most of those places LIKELY isn't organic/local fresh (although sometimes it is because we do try to frequent those kinds of places as well).

Maybe if i loosen my standards at the grocery store...but then i end up feeling guilty that i'm ruining the planet or something...aaah i can't win! lol
cappuccinosmom's Avatar cappuccinosmom
01:28 PM Liked: 163
#23 of 116
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Quote:
Maybe if i loosen my standards at the grocery store...but then i end up feeling guilty that i'm ruining the planet or something...aaah i can't win! lol
Consider it this way: When you eat out, are they serving you all organic, with a "green" business model?

Likely not.

In which case, it's cheaper and better to buy it and prepare it yourself. "Greener" too, probably, even if it's not all organic.

The crockpot is a good idea for busy people. But if you can add a few basics to your repertoire, supper really doesn't take that long to prepare. Usually, it's 5-10 minutes of prep for me, and then I throw it all in the oven or on the stove and it cooks on it's own.
Norasmomma's Avatar Norasmomma
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#24 of 116
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Hey my BF is always complaining she's broke, yet goes to the store every. day. Yesterday she called me and said she didn't want to shop, but she had to just to make dinner. Her money woes frustrate me, ugh.

Recently we had a HAM dinner, with scalloped potatoes and peas and it was seriously like 4 bucks. My local store gets hams on sale often, I had potatoes from a 5lb bag that cost .99, and organic peas that were frozen .99 a bag. The ham cost $3.

Ham-$3
potatoes-maybe.25
cheese-free
sourcream-.25
peas-.50

total $4-AWESEOME

This compares to my friend who just cannot justify getting a freezer and then is always going to the store, and complaining about spending money. so weird.
janerose's Avatar janerose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollytheteacher View Post
hahah I KNOW it's bad! At least you guys are being really nice/helpful and friendly. LOL I was worried I might get flamed or something! And dh and i both agree it's really out of hand, it's just we are too lazy or stubborn I guess lol.

I think it's this weird two part thing for me. When I go grocery shopping I get all gung ho on ONLY buying organic, local and fresh. This means that the food is pretty expensive (9.99 a pound for deli meat, 5.00 gallon of milk, etc.) so I buy it all thinking, man i could just eat out for these prices AND i don't have to do any clean up/prepping/etc.

Of course, then you weigh in the fact that what i'm ordering at most of those places LIKELY isn't organic/local fresh (although sometimes it is because we do try to frequent those kinds of places as well).

Maybe if i loosen my standards at the grocery store...but then i end up feeling guilty that i'm ruining the planet or something...aaah i can't win! lol
Loosen your standards. The quality of the food you're getting at the restaurant is way less than pretty much anything you'd make at home.

I can't afford to buy all organic/natural right now. I really wish we could, but it's just not feasible. But I *can* afford to buy rBST free milk, no MSG, no HFCG or extra sugar, no dye, local when possible, etc. Also, by buying basic ingredients in bulk what I purchase generally has way less packaging. I've even gotten cloth produce bags & grocery bags to use to cut down even more on the packaging aspect.

None of those are things you're getting if you're eating at a chain restaurant. In fact, thanks to the crazy over pricing, packaging, and long transport needed you're eating about the least "green" food you can be eating.

So, while it's not my ideal yet or quite as "green" as I'd like to be, I feel pretty good about our shopping.

That said, we LOVE to eat out. It is by far our biggest splurge in our budget.

Finding a good balance that works for your family is what it's all about.
Magpie1972's Avatar Magpie1972
01:57 PM Liked: 10
#26 of 116
03-11-2009 | Posts: 216
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I can't wait to get her "frugal" tips. This should be interesting. I am scanning this forum already for HELP!

As a mom to 4 growing, eat like they are always starved kids, and a husband who walks all day long (mail man) and comes home famished, I found we were spending an exhorbant amount of money on food. I had to tell my husband the total, and he was TOTALLY onboard with my "30 day Dinner In" Challenge. We usually eat out 1-2 times a week. That's easily $80 there, if not more. If I can cook two meals for under $15 each, that's $50 in our pocket.

Granted, there is NO WAY hubby would ever resort to eating beans or something strange. I am a good cook and pride myself on serving appealing meals to him. It's a service and just a way I show him I love him. We have had to cut out twice a week seafood, choice cuts of beef, and basically what the PP's neighbor with the sale papers did: never read them and buy what looked good.

As I type I already have stuffed peppers in the crockpot and fresh bread rising for dinner rolls. I am only a few days into our "makeover" but so far we're okay. I was embarrassed to find out how much meat and veggies I had stockpiled in the freezer and am trying to get rid of them before we move into a new house (we are trying to build our savings - so this is really a great time to concentrate on building new dinner financial habits).

Whoooosh - that was long! Sorry
Magpie1972's Avatar Magpie1972
02:02 PM Liked: 10
#27 of 116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpie1972 View Post
Granted, there is NO WAY hubby would ever resort to eating beans or something strange. I am a good cook and pride myself on serving appealing meals to him.
To add: not that eating beans is strange... just he won't do it. It's something I can put in foods like chili or red beans and rice with sausage, but not enough to really make a difference. He also doesn't prefer soups or the like.

Good thing I love him a lot. :
PiesandAbrosmama's Avatar PiesandAbrosmama
02:13 PM Liked: 11
#28 of 116
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I agree the tips will most likely be something that I already do and don't do- how do we feed a family of 6 healthy meals for less then $150 week- that i would like to know
Pinoikoi's Avatar Pinoikoi
02:21 PM Liked: 10
#29 of 116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpie1972 View Post
As I type I already have stuffed peppers in the crockpot and fresh bread rising for dinner rolls. I am only a few days into our "makeover" but so far we're okay. I was embarrassed to find out how much meat and veggies I had stockpiled in the freezer and am trying to get rid of them before we move into a new house (we are trying to build our savings - so this is really a great time to concentrate on building new dinner financial habits).
Can you give me your crockpot stuffed peppers recipe? I am still trying to find the best easy prep stuffed pepper recipe. The one I tried from the clay pot recipe book came out looking like the MOST unappealing thing EVER..
Magpie1972's Avatar Magpie1972
02:29 PM Liked: 10
#30 of 116
03-11-2009 | Posts: 216
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I found a site froma link here and I decided to give 2 days a week to crockpot cooking - that will be my "easy" day.

http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008...er-recipe.html

She includes pictures. That really convinced me not all crockpot cooking had to be beef stews and roasts. Of course, I am a big "pop it on high and cook the crap out of it" gal since I worry the food won't get done on low.

I did top mine with spaghetti sauce instead of water based on the reviews, and so far it smells divine.

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