Showing posts with label meals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meals. Show all posts

Frugal Cooking - Make Meal Leftovers


The other day I was at my hair stylist and the patron next to me was telling her stylist how her boyfriend would not eat leftovers. And I thought to myself, never in my house would that fussiness be allowed. But I overhead the gal say that her boyfriend was from a large family of seven kids, and there never were any leftovers, so they never had them. If there were leftovers, it was because the meal wasn't very good.
 
At my home, since there are only two of us, we usually make meals that will have leftovers. Just this weekend I prepared a double batch of enchiladas. Some meals taste better the second time they are prepared, like enchiladas, lasagna and spaghetti. I guess the tomato based products are what make the best leftovers. And as long as you pack up your leftovers in a clean manner there will be no food safety issues. Use clean containers, clean utensils, no cross contamination of raw and cooked, and wash your hands first.
 
Preparing meals with leftovers in mind is a frugal way to save even more, on the already frugal habit of cooking meals at home. When you prepare larger quantities it means you can buy larger quantities of the ingredients saving on the big box. You also can save on preparation time since the leftovers will be easy and quickly reheated in the microwave, or on the stovetop rather than turning on the oven again. It also provides home cooked meals for lunches at work rather than going out to a restaurant to eat, saving $7 to $10 a day. And most leftovers can safely be frozen in individual portions for months so you can have that delicious meal again.
 

5 Money Saving Ideas for Long-Term Food Storage Shopping

While many of us are thinking about saving money by buying in bulk and storing the goods for a few weeks or months, there is another type of food storage we should also consider. Storing the right foods in case of an emergency can ensure the survival of your family. Many pre-packed kits can feed a family for 1, 3 or even 12 months, but they are outside the price range of many families. You can shop for food long term, however, without it costing a fortune.
1. Pay attention to calorie counts, servings and nutrition on prepackaged meals.
It may seem that the meal plan which offers the most calories per dollar is the best money-saving choice, but this isn't always the case. Nutritious calories are much more satisfying, in addition to supplying you and your family with much-needed vitamins and nutrients. For example, 100 calories of butter is much less filling than a large apple, which is also around 100 calories. The apple is also much healthier.
2. Packaging matters in prepackaged meals.
Where you store the meals where they are not exposed to excess heat, but it is up to the packaging to protect the food from spoiling due to exposure to moisture or air. The common ways that long-term emergency meals are packaged include Mylar bags, pails and tin cans. In each of these packaging techniques, the air is removed through the process of nitrogen flushing, or an oxygen absorbing pellet is inserted in the package. Pails are not airtight, so are usually used in combination with Mylar bag and cans. Mylar packaging lasts 7 to 10 years. If you plan to keep your emergency rations longer than this time, it may be necessary to replace the meals. Some meals packed in oxygen-free tin cans can last up to 25 years.
3. Find a balance between dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.
Some foods are best preserved through dehydrating, while others can only remain nutritious long term when freeze-dried. Freeze-dried foods may store a few years longer, but dehydrated foods are much less expensive. In order to freeze-dry foods, the food must be flash frozen. The frozen food is then put into a vacuum chamber where the ice is removed by turning it into a gas. This is a complicated process requiring very specific technology and tools. Dehydrated foods simply have had the water removed through heating.
Dehydrated food also shrinks significantly from its original size while freeze-drying does not. This means dehydrated food requires less storage space than an equal amount of freeze-dried food.
Some companies that sell prepackaged meals already offer a combination of the two, but if not do not be afraid to purchase your meals from more than one source. Buying items such as fruits and vegetables that have been dehydrated in addition to freeze-dried meals can help to bring down the total cost of emergency food storage. 
4. Know what kitchen basics have a long shelf life, and buy them in bulk.
When considering emergency food options, it is easy to get sidetracked by all of the companies who sell ready-to-eat Mylar packed meals, tins of freeze-dried foods and other prepackaged supplies. There are some items in your kitchen right now, however, that have a shelf-life longer than many of these purpose-designed meals. These products include wheat, rice, corn, sugar, beans, oats, pasta, potato flakes and non-fat powdered milk. While they will not sustain your family on their own, ensuring you have enough of these basics for several months of regular use can help save money when you are stockpiling your rations. Purchase these items in bulk from a local restaurant supply, warehouse store or even your local supermarket. They can be stored in food grade 5-gallon buckets with rubber seals, which are available at most hardware stores.
5. Shop around, just like you would for your weekly groceries.
The most simplistic way to create an emergency food supply is to in pre-packed, storage ready containers. There are many companies who offer these foods, as well as associated items such as first aid kits. Not all of these deals are created equal, however. Many online stores offer coupon codes for free shipping or special gifts with purchase as well. Look for these specials to get more for your money. 
Ensuring there is nutritious food during an emergency is an important consideration for any family today. While stockpiling and storing several months' worth of food can be expensive, you can reduce the costs by following these tips.
 
This guest post provided by Agnes E Jimenez, a professional blogger and writer.

Eat for Less Than $3 A Day

At the end of the month, since its the only payday of the month - I like to take a look back at things and assess. Additionally, since its the end of the 3rd quarter of the year, its also a good time to estimate expenses for the quarter or year, and what to expect coming up.
Today, I figured out that we spend an average of $2.81 a day each on food, me and DH (and the dog - her food and treats and toys are included in that too). We have spent $869 this year on household supplies, and groceries at the store. When you add our eating out at restaurants it brings the average per day to less than $3 each. Can you believe it? I thinks its pretty great. If I figured this month alone, it would be even lower, about $1.82 each. Here's how we do it
  1. Use coupons - I get 5 newspapers every Sunday and 3 other people at work bring me their coupons on Monday's. So with 8 coupons I can match up the sales with the coupon to save over 90% on all my grocery store purchases. I used to shop at Walmart and Target for household supplies but not in the last year. Publix can always beat those prices with BOGO sales, advantage buys and stacking manufacturer coupons with Publix store coupons.
  2. Stockpile - when there is a sale of products we use regularly, I use all my coupons and get at least 8 of the item. This usually lasts until another similar deal comes along (most sales rotate every quarter). I stockpile pasta, sauces, mixes, croutons, salad dressing, coffee, creamer, cereal, soda, condiments, paper supplies and dog food. If chicken goes on sale for less than $1.99 a lb, I'll stock up.
  3. Cook at home - a great way to minimize food expenses is to prepare your meals at home - breakfast, lunch and dinner! Using the products we stockpile, we can make plenty of food, enough for leftovers which brings me to the next tip.
  4. Eat leftovers - we usually have leftovers at least 2 nights a week which help minimize cooking time and expenses.
  5. Shop at produce stands or start a garden - we usually stop at a produce stand when we're out motorcycling in the countryside to get fresh, inexpensive vegetables for our salads and cooking. We do have a garden with our Earth boxes, but we've found that it costs more than it produces - so its really just for a hobby. But so far our boxes have nice large tomato plants, green peppers, green onions, cucumbers, celery, and yellow squash. The harvest will be about 2 months from now.
  6. Brew your own coffee - We both love our coffee every morning and it helps to brew our own. Coffee is something that is often available for a great deal when you watch for a BOGO sale. This is definitely something I'm always watching for to stockpile, you can never have enough in your stash. It would kill me to pay a high regular price for it. We also use flavored coffee and creamers so it tastes just like Starbucks. We occasionally get a Starbucks in the airport or when we travel, but we always use a free gift card for that.
  7. Bring your lunch to work - Bringing your lunch to work can save you $2000 a year. We make 10 salads every weekend and its easy and fast to pack a lunch with salad, yogurt and soda to eat at the office.
  8. Bring your snacks to work - Another way to cut expense is to bring your own snacks to work, avoiding the vending machines. Fresh fruit, granola bars, trail mix, cheese sticks and baked goods make great healthy snacks. Of course most of these can be purchased for a few pennies with coupons.
  9. Limit eating out at restaurants - we only eat out on Friday and Saturday nights at our favorite pub. Any other time is with a free gift card we get from AMEX reward points, or for a secret shop where the meal is reimbursed. When we go out for our usual weekend chicken wings we also pay with our own allowance, in cash. It's not considered a "house" expense.
  10. Eat & drink less - we don't starve ourselves, but we eat and drink only moderately. We can make a pizza last 2 meals, and we limit ourselve to one soda per day. Most of the restrictions we place on ourselves are to help maintain our healthy, active lifestyle - but it helps to stretch out your food supplies. We don't waste food and we are not gluttons. Its usually better to take a normal serving, and if we're still hungry then have seconds. We usually only eat when we're hungry, not necessarily when the clock says its a meal time. I don't eat anything after dinner, no night time snacks.
To be frugal and minimize expenses is a lifestyle, not a recipe to be followed for one week. Anyone can cut back expenses with very little effort. It just takes willpower to keep it up for a couple weeks to make it a habit.
Try it.

Free Food But No Free Beer

For our daily exercise yesterday, we decided to take a lap around Busch Gardens. I happened to notice all sorts of people with the bright neon wristbands indicating they had purchased the Play All Day & Dine For Free offer. Since the takeover of Anheuser Busch last December by Merlin, there have not been many improvements and upgrades in the theme park. Granted they did have the spring concert series, but nothing special on July 4th this year - just fireworks.
 
Anyway, I find it ironic that they stopped serving free beer samples in January of 2009 and their attendance tanked. The former hospitality house has been empty most days, and no one dances to Dr. Dave or Andre as they play the piano by the bird gardens. But now they want to get more business since it has not been the same since. So if you're willing to shell out $74.99 for a full price ticket, they'll give you a $30 meal plan. The plan is actually pretty good, and if you can be frugal and "share" the food with your partner, its not a bad deal.
 
But Busch Gardens certainly doesn't act like they appreciate Florida residents at their park. Even people who don't spend hundreds of dollars when they visit, are good for making it seem like the place is crowded and a cool place to be. They take away the free beer, but now they give away free food. I've got to think the food deal costs them more than a few 10 oz beers.
 
By the way, if you haven't gone to the Summer Nights events, you're missing out on some good entertainment. Jeff Civilico the juggler, was there last year and now has shows on Fri, Sat & Sun only. Each of the three daily shows is different and funny. I like the 6:30 pm show where he gets male audience members to help him get up on his unicycle.
 
We haven't been to the Kinetix show yet, but were intrigued by the preview of three jugglers with glowing face paint and glow in the dark clubs. We're planning on seeing it this weekend.
 
Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the free beer.