Sunday, April 1, 2012

Nifty & Thrifty in 2012: Dinners

Turkey (1 of 1) These days it's starting to feel like food prices go up every time I go to the grocery store!  We spend more money on food than anything else except our mortgage.  And thus I've been working really hard at saving money while still filling our friend Kelly has been teaching me to coupon, I've been working the sales, and trying to gather ideas for budget dinners.  And speaking of dinners, here are a few cost saving ideas that I have come across:
  •  Turkeys & Hams.  This is one of my very favorite ways to save money on dinners.  Every year around Thanksgiving our local grocery store has amazing sales on turkey.  I can usually pick up a whole turkey for around $6-$7.  And we stock up.  Usually you can only buy one at a time, but we pick up one every time we are at the grocery store.  We just cooked this one up last week...and so far I have gotten 5 dinners out of it!  We started with a traditional turkey dinner and we've also had turkey dinner pie, turkey and wild rice soup, and two dinners of turkey shortcakes.  We have also gotten many lunches from the left overs- LOVE it!  And I'm also starting to do the same thing with hams.  Right now ham is on sale for $.99/lb. and I've already picked one up and I'm expecting that I can get at least 3 dinners out of it!
  • Breakfast.  We've been doing breakfast for dinner about once a week.  Made from scratch pancakes, waffles, or eggs make for a great cheap dinner.  Our favorite is adding frozen strawberries (that we picked last summer) with whipped cream to our pancakes or waffles.
  • Homemade Pasta Sauce.  I've been making my mother-in-law's homemade sauce- it's delicious, cheaper than the store bought kind, and has less preservatives.  Here's the recipe:
Combine 1 can of tomato soup, 1 (6oz) can of tomato paste, 12oz water, 1tbsp sugar, 1tsp oregano, 1tsp basil, 1 bay leaf, 1tsp garlic powder, 1/2tsp salt, 1/4tsp pepper.  Add 1/2lb or more of hamburger and spaghetti noodles and you have a great budget dinner!

  • Tuna Melts
  • Pasta Salad
  • Fried Rice
  • Nachos with beans and 1/4lb hamburger
  • Whole Chicken
  • Stuffed Baked Potatoes
  • Fried Egg Sandwiches
  • Black Beans & Rice
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Chili
  • Vegetable & Beef Soup:  Combine a bottle of V8, a large bag of frozen mixed veggies, and 1/2lb of browned hamburger and cook in a crock pot.
  • Chicken & Rice:  Combine 1 can of cream of chicken soup, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 2 cans of rice, 2 cans of water, and 1 stick of butter.  Top with 3-4 chicken breasts and cook for an hour and a half at 375.  You can also add mixed veggies.
These are just a few ideas.  Thanks so much to those of you who shared your ideas and recipes...and please feel free to share more!  I've also been collecting recipes and ideas for budget dinners on Pinterest (I have a whole board for it) check me out there if you are on Pinterest (and if you aren't then maybe you should be...but's crazy addicting)!:)        


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