Monday, February 21, 2011

Frugal meals and charity

I am always looking for ways to stretch our dollar for my family.  I also have a giving heart.  I currently give to our local SPCA-BTW we went this morning and I was so teary eyed seeing all those babies that need homes!- Hopefully the dog we fell in love with is being adopted today FINGERS CROSSED!  His name is Shiloh and he is a Pyranise mix.. That dog weights more than I DO! lol..

Anyway, here are some of my tips and a couple recipes for frugal meals for your family.

I like to cook a few batches of items about once a month and freeze them.  This offers us a meal when I am too tired to cook, or just don't feel like it, or we have something planned and I won't have time to be in the kitchen cooking.  Most of these I take from the freezer straight to the oven, (I preheat with the dish in there so it slowly warms and less likely to break), preheat to 350 and cook for 1.5 hrs..  just stick it in and forget it until the timer goes off.

The meal I did this week is Shepherd's Pie = 2-3 meals for a family of 4 (more for my family)

 5lbs potatoes ($2.50)
1/2 onion ($.25 roughly)
1 pd ground meat/turkey ($3.50)
1 can or package of frozen green beans ($.65 for can $1 for frozen bag)
15 oz can of crushed tomatoes ($.98)
$7.88 (if canned veggies are used) $8.23 if frozen
roughly $3.94 per meal (if you only get 2 meals out of this) less if you get more meals.

Boil whole potatoes in large stock pan until fork tender (you can use instant if you prefer)-mash in mixer using milk and butter like normal.
while potatoes are boiling soften onion in a sauce pan, add ground meat, cook until browned, drain.
add crushed tomatoes stir together, let simmer for about 10 minutes, remove from heat.
Mean while, cook green beans according to package directions.

once everything is done, layer in a casserole dish that is sprayed with cooking spray:
Meat mixture
top off with potatoes

If you want when you cook it you can add some shredded cheese to the top before you put it in the oven.

Pasta Sauce enough for 1-2 lbs of pasta- 2-3 serving for a family of 4.
Pizza Sauce enough for 4-6 medium to large pizza crusts (more if you like less sauce on your pizza)

Large Can crushed, whole, or diced tomatoes- doesn't matter which ones.  Crushed are fastest, if you use the others you will need to use the food processor to crush them.  But I use what is cheapest. ($1.10)
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp Dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
(you can use fresh if you have it use slightly less since it's more flavorful fresh) (Free because you most likely have in your house) $0.00
1 cloves of garlic minced ($.25)
1/2 onion ($.25)
Olive oil $0.00 -you probably have already as well
----1 tsp of sugar if you are making pizza sauce (brown or white) unless you like your pasta sauce sweet. $0.00
 Total: $1.60 for the can of tomatoes, garlic and onion if you have everything else on hand!
$.53 for pasta sauce per serving (freeze what you don't use)
$. 40-$.26 per serving for pizza sauce (freeze what you don't use)

cook onion and garlic in olive oil until tender
Mix in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 30 min - 3 hours (the longer the more tasteful)

You can make a few batches of this and/or double/triple the recipe to freeze so you can have ready, or can them if you can stuff.  This make is cheaper and healthier than store bought and just as fast!

I also bake my own bread and freeze it as well.  I'll post more about that at another time.


Our favorite Charity to give too, is the SPCA.  We are animal lovers!

I chose to give food rather than monetary donations. How I do this is with coupons and sales.  I combine the 2 when I can and get free/cheap dog and cat food and cat litter.
Today we just dropped off 3 bags of Hills Science Diet food we got $1.41 a bag (regular $9.99-$11.99)!  Petsmart had a sale and Hills Science Diet website had coupons!  It can be done you just have to do your research.

If you have frugal meals you want to share or how you score deals for your local charity please let me know.  I am always looking for more ideas!

Have a great Week

The same can be done to donate to a local food bank.


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