Monday, February 16, 2009

The Frugal Kitchen

I too, like many have been working hard to cut the cost of my family's grocery bill each week. As I have talked about in previous posts, making your own yogurt is extremely cost effective. You can read about how to make your own yogurt here. You can grow your own sprouts very easily and for pennies. In the winter months, it can bring some green into your life, too. You can read about that here. A few weeks ago, I visited our local bulk warehouse club and they had on clearence (a few days before expirations) whole chickens for $.29/per pound. I bought as many as I could afford and store. Needless to say, my deep freeze is full of several months worth of chicken. A chicken often will provide our family with 2 meals. One of meat and salad, the other I use the stock and leftover vegetables and meat to make a soup, adding additional vegetables and rice or pasta to complete the soup. We have also stopped using ground beef and have replaced its use with ground turkey that I can buy at the bulk warehouse club for around $2.00/per pound. It is the name brand rather than the off brand that I am not comfortable buying. I have also cut the amount of meat from the recipe portion in half, meaning if a recipe calls for 1#, I will add 1/2# instead. No one has noticed a difference in any of the recipes I make. One other thing that I have done is replaced our use of canned cream soups with a low cost recipe. Besides being healthy, the cost is just pennies compared to buying cans of creamed soup at the store.

Here is the recipe I use:

1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 T cornstarch
3/4 t dry onion
dash of pepper
1/8 t dry basil
1/8 t dry thyme
1/2 t chicken broth powder (I use one without MSG)

Combine all ingedients and mix well. Use in recipes in place of condensed cream of chicken. To reconstitute - in saucepan combine mixture with 1 1/4 cups cold water. Stir over low heat til thickened.

Variations include:

Cream of Mushrooms soup-add 1/2 cup freshly chopped mushrooms
Cream of Celery soup-add 1/2 cup minced celery
Cream of Potato soup-add 1 cup diced, cooked potatoes
Cream of Broccoli soup-add 1 cup broccoli, cooked
Cream of Asparagus-add 1 cup asparagus, cooked

I usually make the basic recipe up ahead of time and store them in my pantry to use when needed. I have several recipes that I use them in including Potato casserole and Cheezy rice and broccoli casserole. Maybe I can share those recipes another time.

It is extremely important to me that I plan wisely the monetary gain that my husband brings into our home. I have been working hard and getting better at it. Blessings to your family as you seek to use HIS blessings in HIS ways.



armyfamilyok said...

I hope people really take the time to read your posts. You share such awesome ideas. I've learned alot from I just have to start implementing it!!

Lepidoptera said...

Saving money on groceries plus feeding my family healthy foods are also ongoing goals of mine. I have been known to reduce the amount of meat in a recipe with no notice also. Thank you for sharing this recipe for a substitute for cream soups and your other thoughts on this subject.