Sunday, July 10, 2011

Use it up!

Time to fess up! I went off my food budget this past month. After 1 1/2 years of counting every penny to stay within $200 a month I let loose after the news came that my husband had received permanent disability. So... now that I've had my fun it's back on budget again.

I considered raising our food budget to $300 a month to add more fruit and veggies to our diet (and I still may). But, for the time being I decided to continue trying to keep it under $200 as long as I can provide healthy meals. I figure if I shoot for $200 and go over just a bit I'll still be ahead of the game.

My goal this next week is to not buy any groceries. Instead I'm going to shop from my pantry, fridge and freezer. I have 2 fridges with freezers and both are very full which means that I have been over buying. Tomorrow I will go through my freezer meats to plan my weekly menu. Food has a feature where you can plug in the ingredients you have on hand and it will display recipes you could use. Look next to the search engine at the top of the page where it has a drop down menu and choose 'ingredients'. This tool helps when you are shopping from your pantry and fridge.

I'm also concentrating on leftovers because I have been wasting food which is the same as throwing money away. They seem to get pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten until the following week when I clean out the fridge.  I had some canned chilies left over from a Chile Rellenos casserole I made earlier in the week. I decided to keep them in plain view so they wouldn't get lost in the fridge. I added some to the low carb chicken enchiladas I made today and then made another Chile Rellenos casserole for lunch or breakfast. Boy, did I stretch those babies. :-)

 This week I tried a broccoli stuffed chicken recipe. The recipe sounded so good but flunked my husband's taste test. I didn't want to throw away the remaining chicken  so I scraped off the stuffing and reused the chicken in the enchiladas. I was able to save the chicken and stretch it into another meal. Kewl! :-)

I know I can do better at stretching my food budget if I stay on top of the food I bring into my home by not allowing it to go to waste. That involves concentrated effort.

9 comments:

  1. I've started using my slow cooker a lot more recently to make some really tasty stews, we're veggie so I use barley with the veggies to provide a really wholesome meal with homemade sunflower bread- yum! good luck with the budget :)

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  2. We are struggling with food waste in our home. Part of the reason is that our 18 and 20 year are here for dinner some nights, not here other nights, and our older two children, both married, may or may not stop in for dinner. I always have the dilemma, "how much should I cook, who will be here?". Anyway, I am trying to make smaller meals and keep a handful of items in the freezer that can be quickly prepared just in case we have extra people over for dinner. It is a challenge.

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  3. I too work very hard to prevent food waste! We have made the change to organic fruits, veggies, and meats, so I have to be very diligent about our food budget. Especially with chicken and beef, we were getting tired of tasteless beef and chicken injected with who knows what. But I get a lot of mileage out of an organic chicken. First I roast it stuffed for the first meal. I use the meat in sandwiches the next day and debone it for another meal of some kind. Finally, I boil the carcass to make really good broth. We also are eating less meat. A serving size is much smaller than people think (a doctor once told me it is the size of a playing card).

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  4. We're doing the same here. The parsonage has a smaller frig than I'm used to, so it's really easy to lose things with stuff just packed in. Things get lost under and behind, etc. Most of the time I don't worry about recipes and pretty meals, I just use the odds and ends we have and serve very simple meals. Figure every meal doesn't have to look like a magazine spread. We just need to eat. Sometimes I find myself trying to serve too many things because a meal "ought to have" certain things or look a certain way. When I catch myself doing that, I just save part of it for the next meal. And Linden Townhouse is right about the smaller meat portions; the diabetic nurse told me the same thing when I had to control portions and calories. . . . . .So glad the disability payments came through. I'm glad we still help folks in our country who really need help. It's the right thing to do. Glad it worked out for you guys. Blessings, Liz

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  5. I'm shopping my cupboards right now. Thanks for the reminder of that link to the recipe "machine." Thankful that your husband's disability is settled. I recently discovered an old photo of my mom in a dress like that with a frig like that, opened, with a big ribbon around it. Their church had given it to them as a gift. I should post it sometime!

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  6. After buying groceries last week, I too, decided that I need to shop from my pantry and freezer , and use up what we have...
    You always have such good ideas and helps on saving money.....

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  7. Yes, leftovers that are 'forgotten' are just like throwing away money. I try very hard not to throw out food, don't always succeed. Sometimes I just have 'scrap night' and it's whatever is in the fridge in those plastic containers! A person can always freeze leftovers and then bring them out at a later point to add to a meal. (I just thought of that--duh!) (smile)

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  8. Have you ever gone on the blog called grocerycartchallenge.blogspot.com/ ? She keeps to a certain low amount budgeted for groceries and has the best recipes etc. Sarah

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