Thursday, June 24, 2010

Keep meat costs down

So far I'm doing pretty well at keeping my food budget at $50.00 a week. Remember, though, that I get help from a food pantry so that helps keep the overall cost down. We rarely eat pasta or rice for health reasons so I'm unable to use many of the items the food pantry offers. But, we are blessed with the food we are given and it does help a lot.

I've been trying to find recipes that have a small amount of meat and lots of veggies to stretch my meat budget. (Does anyone have any good recipes?)  My husband loves Chile Relleno's but I rarely make them because I've had such a difficult time peeling the skins. A few weeks ago at the 99 cents store they had the chile peppers in a bag. I already had pepper jack cheese at home so I knew it would cost me next to nothing for the meal. A Spanish woman walked up as I looked at the chilies. I asked her if she had an easy way to peel them. Boy, am I glad I asked because it made peeling a snap!

Here is what she suggested:

Wash and dry your peppers. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes on each side ( until blistered) and then turn, repeating until all sides are blistered. Wrap each chile in a dampened dish towel and place inside a plastic bag to 'sweat'. Peel and de-seed. 

Here is the recipe for the Chile Rellenos:

 Stuff chilies with monterey jack cheese (I used pepper jack because that is what I had on hand). Pour some white flour on a plate.  Heat oil in a skillet. In a bowl beat 4 egg whites and fold in gently 1 egg yolk.  Dip the chile in flour. Take a large tablespoon of egg mixture and place it the skillet. Smooth it out with the back of your spoon to the size of a chile. Place the chile on top of the egg mixture. Take another large spoonful of egg mixture and place on top of the chile. Smooth it out to cover the chile. Let the egg mixture brown on the bottom. Flip onto the other side and let brown.

Meanwhile, you can make a sauce if you like one on your chile. My husband does.  I've made white or red sauces.

Cheese Sauce:

Heat until bubbly:
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Add 1 c. milk slowly whisking it so that you don't get lumps. Add one cup of yellow cheese. Add 1/4 c. salsa.

You can also use a red sauce or a salsa verde.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Work at Home ideas

If you're like me you're always looking for ways to make money from home. One day I realized that I 'was' making money at home. How you may ask? (you did ask, right? *S*) By doing the job that I would pay someone else to do.

Let me try to give an example. Our car needed a bath terribly. We live in the country in the middle of an orchard. The wind is either blowing or the tractors are spraying or harvesting. Our car sits outside under an overhang from the barn so it's always dusty.

My first choice used to be a run through the car wash. I did this for years. The fee is $6.00. We even paid a monthly fee ($30.00) at one time so I could run it through anytime I went to town. But, my budget doesn't allow for this luxury now. So, the way I figure it is if  "I" wash my car then I save $6.00. It's as if I am paying myself to wash the car since this was a normal expense previously.

It took me less than 30 minutes which means I paid myself $6.00 for a half an hour worth of work.

How many jobs or duties do you pay someone else that you could do yourself? This could include food items in your budget, too. Do you pay someone to bake your bread (when you purchase it from the grocery store)? Do you pay someone to make your clothes? or sew your children's clothes? Do you pay someone to cut your children or husband's hair? or bake your children's birthday cakes?

If you are currently paying $3.00 or more for a loaf of bread and can make it for 1/3 the price then isn't that the same thing as earning $2.00 for baking your own bread?

I make as much as I can from scratch but I'm always watching for new things to try. I think my next project will be finding a good recipe to replace Cream of Mushroom & Cream of Chicken soup.  I did try making Cream of Chicken soup years ago but haven't since. I wish there was a way to freeze it because I'd like to have it handy when I try a new recipe rather than make it on the spot.

Happy Homemaking!