Frugal Food Suggestions, please? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 07-18-2013, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are really excited about the upcoming mini-family reunion. My amazing sister offered to pay the rental on a beach cabin for 4 nights. I offered to cover all the food. I know I am getting off easy, but I am a bit concerned about what to buy/serve. We will be 9 or 10 people (small family!); 3 of whom are vegetarians. 15 for one lunch and dinner. 3 or 4 teens, but no little ones. We will be mostly women, who love to cook and bond in the kitchen, so quick and easy might not be a major requirement. It will probably be hot, so my simmer-all-day favorite soups and stews probably wouldn't be so great. My Mom is 95, and can't chew too well, so a meal consisting of just a crunchy salad wouldn't work for her. Need to count on breakfasts and snacks Nephew, 15, with Asperger's, has, as his obsession, nutrition. So it would be good if all meals are pretty healthy (we are all interested in nutrition, just not quite so focused!). Probably don't need to go 100% organic, I hope! I think I will bring from home spices and staples, but hope to shop local produce stands when we get there. It would be nice to have the first dinner, at least, already prepared from home. I make a pretty great vegetarian green chili stew that I might make a day ahead and bring, but I don't really know how to transport a quantity for 10. I don't have bucket loads of money for this, but I don't want everyone to know quite how poor I am. Can anyone help me figure out how to do this? I think, with enough meal planning and careful thought, this might not cost too much more than my annual salary. No, seriously, I know it is doable, but I would really like to estimate how much it will cost, and I don't know how to start. Any recipes, shopping suggestions, encouragement would be welcome. Sorry my posts lose the paragraph breaks - computer glitch. This was easier to read when I wrote it.

Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#2 of 9 Old 07-18-2013, 10:13 AM
 
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We do this about once a year and my mom and I usually manage the food.  IMO, it's easier to either take some with you and then shop in one place when you get there for any extra you need.  You may want to spend a whole day of your vacation trying to find a farmers market, but I wouldn't.

 

We usually assume that we won't sit down together as a family for every meal.  Some early risers will want to eat and hit the beach as soon as the sun is up, some people will like late lunch outside, etc.  There are eggs and toast for breakfast, but also (baked ahead) muffins and (purchased ahead) cereal and fruit.  For lunch, we make up sandwiches ahead of time and keep them in containers.  There's also salad, pasta salad, and rice salad for sides (all made ahead).  Bake cookies and brownies and buy lots of fruit ahead of time for snacks, and chips and salsa always disappear.  For dinner, we usually eat out.  If we cook, it's usually something made ahead like pans of lasagna (side of bread and salad, maybe roasted vegetables), hot dogs/hamburgers, or some other make-ahead casserole.  Beach houses often come with a grill, so you can factor that in.  Also, bring an ice cream maker and make ice cream.  It's the beach. You have to.

 

On our beach trips, I've found it's easier to provide options for most meals (cereal, muffins, sandwiches, pasta salad) than to try to plan to sit down together every meal.  No one wants to be tied down to meal times, and you won't want to be either.  Don't drive yourself nuts!  Whatever you provide will be fine!  You will probably find that if you provide the basics - easy breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, basic snacks, dinner - anyone with any other specific requirements will probably fill in the blanks for herself. 

 

Have fun.  The less time you spend in the kitchen, the more you have for the beach.
 

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#3 of 9 Old 07-18-2013, 03:31 PM
 
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Pasta with homemade sauce would probably be a good cheap bet.  What about burritos or make your own tacos?  Burgers (regular and veg)?  Pancakes or muffins for breakfast--you can do some different variations--sweet potato, pumpkin, banana, blueberry, etc.  Cold salads or sandwich fixins are always good bets for lunch.


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#4 of 9 Old 07-18-2013, 03:59 PM
 
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can you guys take a couple of crock pots with you? That way you sould do slow cooked meals that would be tender for grandma and still healthy.

meal ideas:


breakfast:
breakfast casseroles
muffins
fruit & yogurt cups


Lunch
sandwiches
Quesadillas (meat or vegetarian)

Supper:
slow cooker meals: chili, soup, beans, speghetti & meatballs, stew a whole chicken(s)
pot roast & veggies,

Most beach houses have grills ...you can grill hamburgers & hotdogs (along w/ veggie burgers) grilled squash, zuchini, corn on the cob

Jess caffix.gif SAHM to Daniel bouncy.gif (09/07) and Samuel babyboy.gif (06/10) Wifey to my "geek" : David geek.gif for 10 yrs. (angel.gif 4/09 @ 19 weeks). And we're belly.gifagain 
 
 
 
  

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#5 of 9 Old 07-18-2013, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A bunch of great ideas - keep them coming!

 

You are probably right about not wanting to spend all our time hunting a farmer's market. A couple crock pots is a great idea - one vegetarian, one with meat (mainly for Mom, who is somewhat less flexible about these thingsshy.gif). Also, make ahead muffins are perfect, and for make ahead casseroles, I will look at thrift stores for some oven type dishes. I only have one, and it is small. If I make a casserole and freeze it, can I put it frozen in the oven, or should it be thawed?

 

I forgot about grilling. What we used to do is prepare chunks of marinated meat, cut vegetables, etc. and let everyone make their own kebobs. We even got fancy, like a 1/4 tomato wrapped in bacon, ham and pineapple, 1/4 potatoes, halfway cooked ahead, in olive oil and rosemary, things like that. That will be fun! It has been 30 years since I have done this - we used to have barbeques for 50, and invented this to accommodate all sorts of dietary restrictions (vegetarians, kosher, food allergies, etc).

 

Large bowls of pasta/rice/tabouli salad will be a great lunch plan, as well as sandwich fixins. Lots of fruit and berries for snacks. I make a great fresh salsa for tortilla chips - I welcome an opp

 

I am starting to get excited about this trip. It will be fun preparing food ahead, and really getting into the spirit!
 


Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#6 of 9 Old 07-19-2013, 01:11 PM
 
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Invite me!  That food sounds amazing!!!


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#7 of 9 Old 07-19-2013, 02:53 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post

 

If I make a casserole and freeze it, can I put it frozen in the oven, or should it be thawed?

 

 

I usually put them straight from freezer to oven, but you'll have to add a decent amount to the cooking time or else the middle of it will still be frozen ;)  On the casserole note, a really cheap one to do is rice and bean casserole...you can put salsa, tomatoes, meat, corn tortillas, corn, or anything else taco-y in it.  When I'm trying to stretch my food budget, this is one of the first things that comes to mind :)


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#8 of 9 Old 07-19-2013, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, honeybee. I am experiment with cooking times at home before the big event.

 

justmama - you are officially invited! Almost for real (though I don't know where you are) - 2 or 3 more family members just dropped out, citing schedule conflicts after we planned the whole thing around the dates those folks wanted. Sheesh - it hardly counts as a family reunion if you can only get 5 or 6 people to come. And 4 of us already live together. I am about to invite the whole MDC community!
 


Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#9 of 9 Old 07-20-2013, 06:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post

Thanks, honeybee. I am experiment with cooking times at home before the big event.

 

justmama - you are officially invited! Almost for real (though I don't know where you are) - 2 or 3 more family members just dropped out, citing schedule conflicts after we planned the whole thing around the dates those folks wanted. Sheesh - it hardly counts as a family reunion if you can only get 5 or 6 people to come. And 4 of us already live together. I am about to invite the whole MDC community!
 

lol.gif  'Cause I'm all super secret squirrel stealth mode online yo!


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