As a companion to my previous post on respect at the dinner table, lets talk turkey. I mean real food, here. Has anyone seen the prices at the grocery store lately? EEK! I’ll admit that one of biggest downfalls, and I have quite a few, is grocery budgeting. I’m very bad about buying too much and not using enough. When I get very frustrated at losing too much fresh food to spoilage, then I tighten up the belt. Alas, then I forget complimentary food, such as taco shells for tacos or rice for stir fry. I can’t seem to stay on the road here.
My handy dandy app, MealBoard has helped my dilemma some. I input recipes, and it produces a shopping list. Voila! That’s a real French word, by the way, and one not used with sarcasm in Paris. I know what I’m going to cook for the week and have a list to prove it. Take my lists from me, and I’m one lost puppy chasing her tail. Now, there’s a mind picture you probably didn’t want.
Second, I’m taking a stab at stockpiling a certain amount of items that don’t go bad quickly, such as rice and beans. I prefer to pressure cook my own pinto beans. Cheaper and tastier. If you don’t have a pressure cooker or canner, you can still use the slow cooker and freeze the excess. The texture is a litte different, but not in a bad way.
By using beans more, meat can be whacked significantly from the budget. I know that meatless meals are a form of blasphemy in Texas, but unless meat prices come down, so be it. We eat a lot of chicken, which is certainly cheaper than red meat. I buy whole chickens on sale and freeze them. I either roast a chicken and use the leftovers for another meal or boil the whole chicken and get two to three meals from it. I also freeze the carcass to make chicken broth later. I don’t do Swanson’s except in an extreme emergency.
We like cheese in our house and can plow through a 2 lb bag in a week. That’s like $9! So, I started watching the sales for block cheese. When I can get it for less than $4 a pound, I buy several pounds, shred it in my food processor, and freeze it. I also portion out cheese like it’s gold. “No, you don’t need three handfuls on your taco! You think it grows on trees?”
Those are my baby steps to food conservation in our home. What are your’s?
Check out some more grocery tips at: