During these hard economic times it is imperative that families cut back on their spending. There are several ways they can reduce the grocery bill and still enjoy nutritional meals.
Most of the recipes I'm going to share have been used in our family
for many years. I am not a gourmet cook. The food I prepare for my
family could best be described as "down home" or "soul-satisfying" food.
One of the best ways to save is to plan your meals around what's on sale .
Every few weeks our local grocers put family size packages of chicken breasts on sale for 99 cents a pound. Buy two packages, one to fix immediately and another to freeze for later.
I use the Crock Pot Chicken and Rice recipe below to make a delicious dish which will yield several meals for the two of us. After it is cooked debone the chicken, freeze some small packages of the chicken pieces for sandwiches later and divide the chicken and rice into generous size portions for serving. It figures out to about 26 cents a serving.
Sometimes they put 10 pound bags of chicken quarters (legs and thighs) on sale for 48 cents a pound. I thaw them, put them in my soup pot with a lot of water, add herbs such as marjoram, thyme, and rosemary, and boil until tender. Debone the chicken, divide into meal size portions and freeze for later. Use some of the broth to make a chicken soup and freeze a couple of packages of broth for later use.
When they put pork chops on sale for $1.25 a pound (sometimes even as low as 97 cents a pound), I buy a family size package and cook them in the crockpot with a package of McCormick's Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork. (Make sure you have the catsup, vinegar, and brown sugar on hand to mix with the package contents.) Delicious!
I shop at a grocery store that caters to the Hispanic trade. Their prices are good and the produce is above average. I use the herb epazote in soups and when I find it in the produce department I buy a couple of bunches, wash them and freeze them for making soups in the winter.
You can make your own bread .
The Refrigerator Roll recipe below can be doubled if you have a large family. Bread hot from the oven can make any meal special. Your family will love you for it. You can make buns for submarine sandwiches. More people are taking lunches to work these days and these buns make delicious sandwiches for a box lunch. Fill with sliced lunchmeat, leftover meat from a meal, cooked chicken which you have frozen for sandwiches, or slices of turkey sausage with cheese.
Homemade cornbread or cornbread made with a mix makes a simple meal of Crock Pot Beans or soup a hearty meal.
Serve homemade pizza .
It really is very easy. Just use the recipe below which uses the basic roll recipe for the crust. Slices of pizza can also be frozen and warmed up later for a meal or put in a lunchbox.
Make homemade desserts and snacks. .
Don't buy packaged cookies and snack cakes. Using a cake mix you can economically make a dessert for the whole family, or bake your own cookies. My friend Charla has a recipe for Cake Mix Cookies in her blog this week. You also might enjoy
Chocolate Cake in a Mug in 5 Minutes . One mug makes two generous portions and it's good with chocolate syrup on top.
Make S'Mores in the microwave. Put a marshmallow on a graham cracker, microwave for about 10 seconds, put a small Hershey's snack bar on it and top with another graham cracker.
It's a quick, easy snack.
Popcorn also makes an easy low-calorie snack. You can get a stovetop corn popper and buy Orville Redenbacher's kernel corn to use in it.
Use store brands instead of name brand food and drinks .
Try store brands of different products. You will be pleasantly surprised. Many times the store brand is as good or better than the name brand product and costs much less. Have you noticed the price of name brand colas lately! Sam's Cola costs half what the name brands cost and we think it is just as good.
Better yet, brew and drink more tea.
Brew your own coffee .
Some people could open a savings account with the money they spend on cups of coffee they purchase at shops.
Use frozen fruit juices .
We have discovered that you can buy frozen orange juice, reconstitute it, and have a drink as good as the kind you buy in a box or jug from the dairy case.
If you buy the store brand of frozen juice the cost will be about half what you would pay for the same amount of fresh squeezed in a box.
Use coupons and shop discount stores .
I keep a master shopping list that I take to Wal-Mart every 3 or 4 weeks. The store where I shop will honor the specials run by other stores in the area. I just show them the ad and they ring up the product at that price. In between discount store trips I pick up milk and fresh fruits and vegetables at a Carnival store (soon to be Fiesta) near the house. Big Lots is a good place to buy cereal. They may not have the same selections every time, but you can get boxes of cereal for $2 to $2.50 a box.
If you use flax seed, Whole Foods is the most economical place to buy it in bulk. I grind the flax seed in a small grinder and use it on cereal every morning.
Use green bags to prolong the life of fruit and vegetables .
I have found that green bags really do work work for me in prolonging the freshness of most fruits and vegetables. The produce must be dry when you put it in the bags, so you can't prewash it. I find that they work for most produce except bananas, and bananas must be used within 2 or 3 days.
"As Seen On TV" products which are available in some drugstores and discount stores carry "Forever Green Bags"
This year for several weeks I was able to get 10 pounds of oranges for $3.99 or $4.99 at our local Fiesta grocery. There's nothing better than fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast. I have probably bought 80 pounds of oranges for Murray and me this fall and winter. I squeezed them by hand for awhile, but with arthritis in my hand it became difficult, so I bought a Black and Decker juicer which works well and is not expensive to buy.
We have stayed healthy this winter and I think the fresh juice every morning has helped.
CROCKPOT CHICKEN AND RICE
Remove skin from chicken breasts and place in crockpot. Add one can Cream of Chicken soup (store brand is fine) and about 3 cups of water.
Season with marjoram, thyme, and rosemary. Sprinkle some poultry seasoning on top and cook on high until chicken is tender
Add one box of Zatarain's Dirty Rice with seasonings or some other brand, or just plain rice. Cook until rice is tender, about another 30 minutes.
Serve with a side salad.
CROCKPOT VEGETABLE BEEF SOUP
This soup is so good on a cold day. The recipe makes 10-12 servings so there is enough to share or freeze for later.
1/2 pound lean ground beef, browned and grease drained off
1 can tomatoes or stewed tomatoes
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
5 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
3 large stalks celery, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced (optional)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups water
1/2 cup epazote, chopped
2 heaping teaspoons Knorr powdered bouillon (chicken or beef)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup picante sauce
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Put all ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high for about 4 hours or until the vegetables are tender. Serve with cornbread or crackers.
Note: You may want to omit epazote or substitute cilantro. (Epazote, which can be found at Hispanic groceries, does not have a good odor, but it adds a good flavor to the soup. I buy it in season and freeze it for later use.)
This is my favorite bread recipe which was first passed down to us by
my Aunt Thelma, who is my only living relative of that generation.
1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons margarine (do not use whipped nor low fat), or butter
1/4 cup sugar
Cool this mixture to lukewarm and add to it:
1 package of dry yeast that has been dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
3 and 1/2 to 4 cups of flour (Better for Bread kind)
You add flour until you can handle the dough well. Knead and put it in
a large greased container and store it in the refrigerator. Now you can
take it out as you need it to make rolls, pizza crust, cinnamon rolls, or
filled sandwiches.(See next recipe). If you put a piece of wax paper on the counter and put a little flour on it, you can pinch off enough for a roll, dip it in the flour and it is easy to work with. I like to use a double French bread pan. On one side I put several rolls side by side and on the other I make two buns for submarine sandwiches, or make a whole pan of sandwich buns. The dough will keep for about
a week in the refrigerator. After making the rolls, allow about 2 hours
for them to rise at room temperature before baking in an oven which has been preheated to 425 degrees.
Baking time about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown on top.
This next recipe was given to me by my sister,Willie and I've been using it for
about 40 years. They are filled sandwiches called Buroux. (The first
syllable rhymes with 'pure')
Cook 1 pound chopped sirloin, shredded cabbage (about 4 cups shredded with a knife.) and 1 large chopped onion until meat is done and onion
is clear. Season with salt and pepper.Make a ball of chilled Refrigerator Roll dough. Flatten it by hand in a plate that has been floured. Put a generous serving of the meat mixture on the dough and fold the dough
around it to make a ball. Place it with the edges down on a greased cookie sheet and let it rise for about 3 hours. Bake in 425 degree oven until the bun is nice and brown. Serve with mustard. (The bread
recipe above will make 8 very large Buroux. One sandwich will make a meal for one person.)
An interesting sidenote: I was looking on the internet at a
cooking website and found the very same recipe.
They were called Runzas.
If you go to Cooks.com and search for Runzas, you will find over 50 different recipes for the sandwich.
Use the Refrigerator Roll dough for the pizza crust. Grease the pizza pan
with margarine. ( Do not use a spray on the pan. The crust will not stay in place if you spray the pan.)
Let the dough rise for about 1 1/2 hours, then add a sauce .You can use
a spaghetti or pasta sauce, or one you make yourself. Add your toppings of choice; ground meat, sausage, pepperoni, vegetables etc. Then sprinkle oregano all over and bake at 425 degrees until crust begins to brown. Add cheese and finish baking. (You can also add the cheese at the beginning of the baking if you prefer.)
POTATO BREAD (BREAD MACHINE)
I adapted the Refrigerator Roll recipe for the bread machine by adding mashed potato to it, and it has become
one of our favorites.This recipe makes a 1 pound loaf and is baked on the
Basic Bread setting. Add ingredients in the order listed.
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup cooked, mashed potato
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoon margarine
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups Better for Bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
This favorite cornbread recipe came from a family member, Sherry.
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 and 1/4 cup buttermilk*
2 Tablespoons oil
Combine dry ingredients, add egg, buttermilk and oil. Mix well.
Pour in greased 8 inch square pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes
or until done.
*If you use dry buttermilk, reduce the amount of liquid called for on the
box. You don't want your batter to be thin and watery. I also used to culture buttermilk by adding a small amount of buttermilk
to milk and letting it set out for a few hours.
I have cooked a lot of turkeys, but this recipe makes the best, tenderest
turkey that I have ever cooked.
Thaw and prepare the turkey for cooking. Cut a whole, unpeeled grapefruit in 8 pieces.
Put the grapefruit inside the turkey and place it in a foil-lined roasting pan breast side down. Put the lid on it
and bake according to the directions on the wrapper (usually at 325 degrees). A 16-20 lb. turkey
will take 6-9 hours.
This is my mother's recipe that we have used for years.
3 cups chopped onion
3 cups chopped celery
Saute or cook in 1 cup water until onions are clear.
12 cups cornbread, baked the day before (You can use prepared mix.)
12 cups white bread. (12 hot dog buns)
Add cooked onions and celery, plus:
4 chopped hard boiled eggs
4 cups turkey or chicken broth
1 cup milk
5 Tablespoons rubbed sage
Bake at 400 degrees until brown. For this recipe I used one 9x12 greased pan
and one 10x10 pan.
Serve with GRAVY:
4 cups broth with fat skimmed off
3/4 cup flour mixed with 3/4 cup milk
When this is smooth add another 3/4 cup milk to it and slowly add to
broth to thicken the gravy. Add 2 cut-up boiled eggs, salt and pepper.
If you work outside the home, I'm sure you have discovered the convenience of using a crockpot to prepare meals. Here is my favorite crock pot recipe.
Put in the crockpot 3 cups of washed dried pinto beans. (If desired, use 2 and 1/4 cups of pinto beans and a mixture of 3/4 cup of other kinds of dried beans, lentils, and barley.) Add 8 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon soda and 1/2 inch piece of ginger(optional). Cook on low heat until beans are tender. (Some crockpots cook faster than others. I got a new one and it cooks a lot faster than my old one.)
2 slices of bacon (optional, if you are on a low fat diet)
1/4 cup catsup
1/4 cup dry onion flakes
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon French's mustard (or dijon)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
1 to 2 more cups of water if needed
Continue cooking another hour or two on low heat . Serve with rice, picante sauce and hot cornbread. If you have
added barley, you don't need to serve with rice.Makes 8 - 10 servings.
On the second day, freeze what you haven't eaten to avoid spoilage.
This has become my favorite chili recipe. It is so good on cold winter days.
2 pounds ground beef (very lean)
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
salt to taste
1 can tomatoes 28 oz.
1 small can tomato sauce
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
1 can chili beans (red kidney beans)
Cook meat and onion together until done. Add other ingredients and a little water so it will cook well and not stick.
Bring to a boil, then turn burner down and cook on very low heat about an hour. (I use a heat diffuser under my cast iron oval French oven.)
You can serve it just as it is with crackers or cornbread, or you can serve with cooked elbow macaroni, sour cream, or grated cheese.
SWEDISH CHERRY COBBLER
My late mother-in-law, Mrs. Smith made a cobbler that was really good .This is one of my
favorites and so easy to prepare.
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
Blend into this mixture:
1/4 cup shortening or margarine (can be reduced to 2 Tbsp for low fat)
1/4 cup milk (if you reduce shortening, increase milk to 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup chopped nuts
Into a 9 inch square pan put:
1 cup drained sour cherries
Mix 2 Tablespoons flour (or 3 Tbsp. tapioca) into 1 cup sugar. Pour over cherries. Add 2 cups water. Spoon dough over the top and bake at 350 degrees 40 minutes or until brown. Any suitable fruit can be substituted for cherries. At different times I have used canned or fresh peaches, apricots, or apples.
IRISH POTATO CAKE
My mother, Vera Griffin, always made this cake at Christmas time.It
was the favorite dessert of everyone in the family. When I was a child,
she made it with a caramel frosting, but in later years she served it plain
without a frosting.
1 cup butter or margarine
2 cup sugar 4 eggs 1/2 cup sweet milk 2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 cup cocoa 2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice 1 teaspoon cloves 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of cooked, creamed Irish potatoes 1 package of chopped dates
1 cup nuts (pecans or walnuts)
Mix all ingredients and bake in greased and floured pan. Bake in a slow
oven at 300 degrees until toothpick comes out clean. Makes one bundt cake
or 5 small loaves.
2 1/2 cup sugar 1 slightly beaten egg
1 stick of butter or margarine 3/4 cup of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt 1/2 cup sugar in an iron skillet alowly, until brown and runny. Mix
egg, butter, remaining sugar, and milk in a saucepan and cook over low flame until butter
melts. Turn the heat to medium and add the browned sugar. Cook until
it reaches the soft ball stage. (Put a small amount in a cup of tap water, test to
see if you can form a ball with your fingers.) This will take about
10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Add vanilla. Beat until
it is the right consistency to spread. If it gets too thick, add a little
RIPE TOMATO RELISH
Mother made this relish when we were growing up. If you have a
garden you will enjoy making and using this delicious recipe.
Chop in the food processor and measure after chopping:
16 cups ripe tomotoes
16 cups apple, cored but unpeeled
6 cups onions
3 cups sweet bell pepper
I am overwhelmed of all the work you have put into this site. God has truly
blessed you with a wonderful gift. Thank you for sharing and not charging.
I know your reward waits for you in heaven. God Bless you and THANK
i've been utilizing your site quite a bit because there are many useful
information. Thanks much and may God bless your ministry!