Thursday, April 16, 2009

YOUR Favorite Recipes

I have realized something very interesting now that I've actually started planning my meals and grocery shopping every week. I'm spending a lot on groceries! Not that I make really expensive stuff by any means, but I want to make a concerted effort to really cut costs AND make delicious food. So this is where YOU come in. What are your favorite, cheap recipes? I need some ideas! Also, if you want to tell me about your regular cost favorite recipes, you can do that too (just specify as such). Just think, maybe YOUR recipe will be on my next menu... you'll be FAMOUS! Oh and just to get your ideas flowing, I just tried the recipe listed below last night and it rocked! So cheap and extremely easy. It sounded not too good, but I was really surprised at how awesome it was! I think it would actually be better as a side dish (ate it with some leftover roast today for lunch... so delicious!) but, you could eat it as a meatless cheap main dish too.

Brown Rice and Lentil Casserole (Yes Annie, it's ANOTHER lentil recipe)


Ann said...

Do you have a budget amount for the week I can go by?

Karen said...

What's a budget? :D There's no price limit... just tell me stuff you THINK is cheap. I can guess the approximate cost by looking at the ingredients.

Ann said...

One thing I try to do to save on money is plan a couple of vegetarian meals so I don't have to use expensive meat.

But here are a few good, but inexpensive meals I use on a regular basis.

Chili and Cornbread (Canned Chili $1.00, and I make the cornbread- you can use the boxed kind, I thinks it's a dollar too.)

French Dip Sandwhiches (1/2lb roastbeef from deli $3.00, hogie rolls $1.00, Au Jus sauce packet $0.33)

Mushroom Gravy over rice- (Cream of mushroom soup $0.80, 1/4lb of hamburger, seasonings, 1 cup rice, real mushrooms $2.00, or canned $0.60) Just brown hamburger and onion, add soup, thin out with water until sauce constistancy, add any seasonings you want and mushrooms. Serve over rice.

Chicken Fried Steak- (Cubed Steaks 2.50, all the other stuff I usually have on hand like flour, seasonings and eggs. I also usually have potatoes and vegetables on hand for a side.)

Teriyaki Chicken- you just have to buy the chicken. One trick I do, is split the chicken breast in halve lenthwise, so I only use 1 chicken breast for the both of us. You can't tell, and we still both get plenty. Anyway, you can serve this with rice or I like to buy Pineapple rings $0.70 and make Teriyaki Chicken Burgers. Everything you need to make the teriyaki sauce I usually have on hand.

There are a few ideas, I'll try and think of somemore.

Rindlisbach Family said...

So here is one of my favorites -- especially for summertime to grill. I don't know if it really qualifies for a "budget friendly" recipe, but it is so good.

Lime Chicken Kabobs and BBQ Veggies

Lime Chicken Kabobs
6 T Key Lime Juice
6 T Soy Sauce
6 T Orange Peach Mango frozen juice concentrate
2 tsp minced garlic

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and marinate for two hours. Put onto skewers and barbeque until cooked thoroughly.

BBQ Veggies
Yellow Squash
Red Onion
Parmesan Cheese (about 1/3 C, but depends on how many veggies you have)

Olive Oil (about 1/4 C, you want to lightly coat all the veggies)

Key Lime Juice (about 2 T, you want to lightly coat all the veggies)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Cut the veggies into bite-sized pieces and place into a big bowl. Coat lightly with olive oil and key lime juice. Cook on the BBQ in a vegetable basket , adding the tomatoes half-way through. Once cooked, place into your serving bowl and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

I have also made this not on the grill and just cooked the chicken, and steamed the veggies.

heidi said...

Ann sounds like SUCH a generous sister! She really did her research for you!!
I really like making chili+cornbread meself... and the Teriyaki Chicken Burgers sound delish! I want some!

I asked Paulie about cheap recipes... You know, we're so cheap we don't have cable and had DIAL-UP like, forEVER... but he couldn't think of any CHEAP recipes we eat! Food is that one thing we just don't skimp on. We both got that from our dads, I think.
My bro and I grew up in a 1200 sq. ft. house with, for years, only my mom's work car in Nampa, Idaho... and yet we always had plenty of meat and, FRESH FRUIT GALORE. Maybe 'cuz my dad grew up in WYOMING where fresh fruit was not always available.

Paul's family had a lot more money than that... his dad's an electrical engineer... and his mom grew up with FAR FAR more money than his dad did... but she bought the groceries and tried to be really careful, buy on sale etc. etc.

Paul tells this sweet story about his dad saying to his mom, WE CAN AFFORD THE GOOD BREAD. (And, his dad Cal KNEW what he was saying! He grew up in a... very very small house in Homedale, Idaho, and started hiring out to local farmers from a young age. So... yes, honey, we've made it to the Big Time... we can afford the WHOLE WHEAT BREAD.)

That's our personal story, just how we feel and I hope it didn't sound advicey 'cuz telling you that was so not about hoping anyone will do what we do! It was about a trip down memory lane. :)

In fact, I think it's adorable you're being such a great steward of the family's finances... and every little bit totally does help! We try to buy at WinCo, as often as we can, instead of evil Albertson's with their ridiculous high prices...

(Also, I know this is SO NOT MORMON but there are super duper healthy and ORGANIC frozen entrees by Amy's Co. that I love... although they are expensive. I like AMY'S BURRITOS ESPECIALLY. For cheaper stuff I also like Smart Ones entrees, Schezuan-style stir fry, kinda spicy... I know fresh is more nutritious than processed stuff, I was SO SAD to come to understand that BREAD is processed... but I think frozen is second best to fresh? I mean, more nutritious than canned? Paul says yes.)

I am ITCHING to go stock up on healthy frozen entrees! They have the hugest selection at the health food store near where we USED to live, before we bought a house... sadly it's a bit further now... I'm feeling nostalgic for the huge spread of great Amy's entrees! Regular stores have a smaller selection. And there was another brand that had this AMAZING Thai pasta with Peanut Sauce dish (and chicken and veggies) that I was so addicted to. Haven't seen it in forever. I miss it.

I am very hungry right now, can you tell?

I... think you're a great & amazing food provider! Just not eating out often saves SO MUCH MONEY.

Good luck. We eat loads of egg scrambles with veggies--I love ones with red or orange bell pepper (which USED to be cheaper!) and green onions with red pepper flakes mixed in and pepper jack cheese on top. And, if we have it, SPINACH. Paulie boy loves ALL veggies to DEATH... he and his sis both... as a toddler she, Suzanne, once went a very long time willing to eat only BROCCOLI!... Anyway Paul's fave. scrambles usually do feature broccoli, and whatchagot, mushrooms & red onions appear a lot. I've been served scrambles with PEAS in them. Weird! And pretty good. He likes his scrambles with a mix of cheeses on top, usually featuring cheddar but sometimes bizarre stuff like Hoffman's smoked cheddar... He adores this one cheese that smells like feet to me... gruyere. Our sis-in-law Za adores weird weird cheeses too. Apparently my thinking Mozzarella was a daring cheese was... humorous to say the least!

OOHH! I forgot! My FAVORITE scrambles feature FRESH HABANERO cut tiny and mixed in.

Are scrambles cheap? I'm hoping so. They feel like they should be!

One more thing! I really am starving. At this very moment, Paul's making Bob's Red Mill Pancakes (SUPER SUPER SUPER DUPER HEALTHY MIX WITH LOT OF GRAINS... not too expensive if you find in bulk, Paul says) with... nuts (pecans or walnuts) ground to medium bits and mixed in. Get a bit o' protein that way. My very own invention! I love with... PEACH PIE FILLING on top! Love love love it. This may be my favorite dish from childhood... certainly my fave. breakfast. My very own daddy came up with pancakes & peach pie filling! The Bob's Red Mill and adding nuts are my OWN inventions. (We also use Krusteaz mix, too--very very good, not AS super duper healthy but cheaper, and SO FAST. Just add water. Paul and my dad take it up camping and backpacking!)

I'm gonna go eat. Talking food IS fun, isn't it!

hungrily yours--

It's Me said...

Whenever I think of inexpensive I think of pasta dishes. If you wait for noodles to go on sale, a lot of times you can get a package of whole wheat noodles (a little healthier) for around a $1 (you and Seth would probably only need a half package for a meal). So stock up when they're cheap! There are a ton of different sauces (if you don't want to make sauce that is another thing that you can get a whole jar of for less than a $1 when it is on sale) I also like lemon/garlic noodles (on my recipezaar) and you can add cut up tomatoes or a little bit of chicken, or brocolli, etc to make it a little more exciting. Also, I like noodles with more of an Asian flair especially peanut noodles (also on my recipezaar)that use a little peanut butter in the sauce. These are good with brocolli added in as well. Shouldn't cost more than $4-$5 max for both of you depending on what you add.

The main way you can save money is by buying in bulk when items are on sale and then canning (I know you hate that!) or freezing it. There is no reason to pay a lot of money for meat or shreaded cheese (you should see me at the store when a pack of shreaded cheese is $1 - I buy basically as much as I can fit into the freezer! I just can't justify buying something for $4 because I don't plan ahead! Also, plan your meals around what items are on sale. If I see strawberries are on sale I stalk up and we have strawberries as a side for at least one meal a day or for desert, etc.

Oh, and you can always use rice and beans as your fall back. Hee hee. Love you.

heidi said...

Bit of follow-up...

"It's Me" is your other sister, right? Corinne. The one who looked out for you when you started 7th grade. She's really sweet, too!

What food-and-finances generosity they just poured out for you!

That Rindlisbach person, too! I guess it made me feel good to be "needed" too, although Paul was wondering why, since you asked about CHEAP stuff I mentioned so many of my fave. expensive stuff! I guess I just notice what I LIKE and hoped something would sound cheap-ish or at least a relatively cheap option when TRULY cheap things are inconvenient/unavailable. Although I have to admit that even we don't get grapes or cherries when they're insanely expensive.

Final admission: I TOTALLY HAVE MORMON-CANNING ENVY! So jealous of Corinne, and Collette, and Annie too if she cans which she probably does.

luv, h

Karen said...

Wow thanks all you guys for your suggestions! I'm sure I'll get around to making a lot of these! (That's not to say you can't still post suggestions!) Steph that grill recipe sounds awesome... I'll have to save that one for the weekend. Corinne, what size cheese do you get for $1?? I need some of those! And I wish I could freeze/can more stuff. One day. Heidi, I'm sure anything Paulie makes is delicious! Those scrambles do sound pretty cheap. Also, contrary to popular belief... Mormons eat lots of frozen dinners. Even GASP take-out like pizza! I know, you're probably shocked that all Mormons don't grow every speck of their own food and can it themselves. Canning is actually a rarity these days... even among the Mormon crowd. Oh and by the way, I wish I could buy more frozen entrees, but there's just no room for them. Seth requested I buy him some frozen burritos the other day, you know just in case I fell through on my meal provider duties and he needed something to eat (I pretended to be hurt). So he has like 4 frozen burritos, that's it. But anyway, there's a couple reasons it's a little tough for me to take full advantage of money saving tactics: #1 I don't know how to can (which could be easily rectified), #2 I don't have the space to store canning stuff and/or lots of extra jars of stuff. My pantry is tiny.
#3 My freezer is also tiny so I can only keep mainly what I need for the week plus a little bit extra.

It's so frustrating. But, I can make do. One of these days I'll have my garden and/or be able to buy bulk stuff and be able to can and store it to my heart's content. Until then, I'll just come bum off of Annie... she's closest! :D

workinggran said...

You forgot the easiest way to go grocery shopping. Go shopping with your mom! She pays. You eat!
We can buy in bulk. I'll even freeze it for you. Then every couple of weeks you tell me what you want, I'll meet you somewhere at lunch or after work and bring you what you need. Works for canning also.