People are having to stretch that food budget and we all need to get more creative, so that we use everything and waste nothing. Waste is such a huge thing today and it really makes me sad. There are so many people who would think they are being given a feast on what the average person wastes in a week.
The old adage of 'waste not, want not' is very true.
IF we all learn how to be creative now - we will be fine if things get bad.
IF we all learn how to be creative now - perhaps we can teach others.
IF we all learn how to be creative now - we can save money.
IF we all learn how to be creative now - we can limit our use of resources and not be wasteful.
- First use anything and everything you can get from your garden or from fresh produce that others may share with you. Fresh food is always the best and it is very healthy. Eat it, can it, freeze it.
- Keep plenty of tomato products on hand. Tomatoes are so very versatile. If you can not afford to have spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce and salsa on hand as well as tomatoes - just choose tomatoes. You can manipulate them in anything! A few herbs and spices - a blender - and a little imagination and you have what you need. If you don't grow tomatoes - watch the stores for sales. Aldi is a good source of inexpensive canned goods and other stores often have great sales.
- Shred meat in your recipes. A small piece of meat, added with veggies or pasta, rice, or soups can go a long - long way.
- Add rice to scrambled eggs to stretch your eggs. It is yummy and healthy. I used to add crushed crackers to eggs (w/a little milk) to make eggs go a lot further when camping. You couldn't even tell.
- Stir fry dishes - uses up odds and ends of veggies. Add to leftover piece of meat (finely cut or shredded) and some rice or pasta. These are easy, filling and cheap meals.
- Use peanut butter! It is filling and a good source of protein. PB&J sammies are always good. Think about making a fried peanut butter & fruit sandwich (like grilled cheese). So yummy, hearty and healthy. Add to smoothies with leftover fruit, juice or greens. Makes a filling snack.
- Add salsa to rice for easy Spanish rice (or tomatoes and seasonings)
- Keep beans, rice and potatoes on hand. These 3 items can be turned in 100's of hearty meals. There is absolutely no limit of uses.
- Use leftover hotdog or hamburger buns to make mini & individual pizzas. They toast up great as well - actually they are my favorite toast! Split and top buns with cheese and tomatoes and place under the broiler for a couple minutes - yum.
- Bake up a bunch of potatoes at one time and refrigerate. They can be eaten as baked potatoes, made into soup, potato salad, sliced or diced and fried etc. If you have them baked already - they are handy and nothing is much cheaper than potatoes! So filling.
- Soups and casseroles stretch everything further. Add broth, tomatoes, cream soup, etc. and you can have a great hearty soup or a wonderful casserole using leftovers. Add a bit of salad or some sliced bread, cornbread or toast and you have a few meals for pennies.
- Leftover cornbread - use in the bottom of a bowl of soup. Soaks up all the goodness and it's filling. My Dad always used leftover cornbread with milk. It was one of his favorites. My brothers and sisters all remember that as meal when things were tight.
- Cook up a huge batch of dried beans. Soup beans, add to rice, mash & season for refried, add to taco meat to extend, add to soups or chili...……………. the list goes on and on.
- Stale bread - make French toast, turn into bread crumbs, make croutons, make dressing, bread pudding, garlic toast...…………….. again many uses.
- Pasta - is the GREAT EXTENDER of anything. Add to soups and casseroles to stretch minimal ingredients. Makes great lo mein. Add to stir fry.
- Rice - another GREAT EXTENDER. There are just so many uses - too many to list.
- Keep meat bones and veggie scraps in the freezer until you have a good amount - add water and 'brew' for many hours. The best stock you can imagine - all from things many people throw away.
- Have meatless days. Meat is not necessary everyday. Make vegetarian pizza, soup, casserole, etc.
- Keep a standard biscuit mix or recipe handy. Biscuits are cheap and filling and YUMMY! Use with any kind of gravy (love making gravy with pan drippings), can be served with soups and casseroles. Bread products can truly fill you up when food is in short supply!
I guess I want people to realize that a meal doesn't have to be a traditional 3 or 4 course meal. It can be something super simple and DIFFERENT. Heck I have had a meals of fried green tomatoes, fried zucchini, stuffed zucchini, beans & rice, tomato sandwiches (yum), veggie sandwiches, salad, you name it! Just those items alone and I was filled and happy!!!!
If you like the taste and it is filling - it is a meal!
Think outside the box and creative with those food dollars and supplies.
Just because the money is tight and the pantry is down - doesn't mean you can't still eat well.
Don't worry - be happy and full!