Be Conservative, Use What You Already Have on Hand
How do you stretch your food budget? Look in your fridge and pantry FIRST for cost saving meal ideas!
Thrifty Oreganic blog is hosting a blog carnival today, and wants to hear how other families are using what they have on hand to make a nourishing meal.
Using two meals from this weekend, as an example, here are my ideas. Saturday, we had a local meetup of our Northern Virginia Whole Foods Nutrition group. Sara (my co-chapter leader for Weston A. Price Foundation of Reston) and I were presenting a fermented foods demonstration and tasting. At the end of it, my first words were, “Honey, take me out to dinner!” But, as we walked toward the car, I remembered the steak I was thawing out at home, and the sweet potato fries I had cut up earlier in the week that really needed to be cooked. So, even though I was pretty tired, we went on home.
The grass-fed steak was actually two very thick rib eye steaks in one package. I had purchased them last August from Garden Mountain Farm, which only sells meat in bulk. So it really was about time for me to use it (but I was surprised, a conventional steak frozen that long would have deteriorated, this meat was still very fresh when I thawed it out).
We also had spinach from the farmers market we attended the prior Saturday. And, some organic garlic from Whole Foods.
So, here was the menu for dinner:
- Broiled Rib Eye Steak-with no added seasonings until after it was done (we cooked the two of them, and shared one of them. Now I have the other steak ready-made for another meal)*
- Sweet Potato Fries Fried in Lard
- Spinach sauteed with garlic (poured most of the lard out of the frying pan for later use and used what remained for Spinach)
- A dollop of Cortido (Latin American Sauerkraut made a few weeks ago to show at our fermentation event)
* My husband and I have found, since switching to grass-fed meat, that we can eat half as many ounces as we used to (or less), and be fully satisfied. Grass-fed meats are so nutrient dense. Even though they can be more expensive, they really are about the same, because they stretch your food budget.
On Sunday, We cleaned out our refridge, and found lots of goodies for putting lunch together:
Fridge Scavenger Lunch Menu:
We had a ready-cooked grass-fed burger (we always cook more than we need and then have leftovers to reheat for other meals–a big time saver!) and some cheese which Keith made into a Cheeseburger. We always use a stove top steamer to reheat our burgers and steaks, so they retain the maximum moisture without getting well done. We even melted the cheese on the burger by taking the steamer off the burner and putting the cheese on and letting it sit in the steamer for another minute or two. Keith used the wonderful Zukay Live Food salsa and relish left over from the event the day before to top his burger. We always have bread from the farm buying club, sliced and frozen, so he pulled that out and toasted it for the bun.
For my lunch, I had apple slices (left over from Saturday’s snack) with organic peanut butter. I had the rest of my cortido from the night before, and a bite of cheese (that was set out for Keith’s burger–sorry honey!)
We both had Kombucha to drink, which we have plenty left over from this weekend’s event.
In the past, we would have eaten both of these meals out (I guarantee it!), and I figure dinner would have cost $40.00 and lunch at least $20.00. So, we saved a whopping $60.00!
This is the little known secret about the Nourishing Traditions lifestyle. When your fridge and pantry are stocked with whole foods, you never will be in a position where there is “nothing to eat!” This was often true when most of our meals came from cans, boxes and frozen pouches!
Another side benefit of cleaning out the refrige when you follow Nourishing Traditions–we found a bunch of wilted veggies and so we used them to make vegetable stock. This morning, I bottled the stock and put in in my freezer for later use. I will most likely use it instead of plain water in a recipe, to add more nutritients to a meal. In the past they would have gone in the garbage, so this really is a money saving lifestyle!
To see other Meal Planning and Fridge Cleanout Ideas, visit the Menu Planning Monday Blog Carnival.