Sunday, April 11, 2010

Some Thrifty Food Thoughts

Just to warn you...

These thrifty food thoughts are random like me.

I am a stay at home mom, meaning that I work inside the home, not outside.

I'm not juggling a job, family, and home. My hat off to those who do, by the way.

But, I do have a large family and I spend the majority of my time figuring out how to feed my large crew , healthy yet as cheaply as possibly.

These ideas might not work for everyone. I have five freezers and I have room to freeze lots of things. Some people might not.

My freezers are in my garage. They used to be kept in the barn, locked up until someone broke into the freezers by cutting the seals off. They took off with my casseroles, dishes and all.

Except for my meatloaf.

I'm still kind of offended by that.

It's pretty good meatloaf actually.



Here is a list of some of the thrifty things that I do with food-

I realize that this might make me sound cheap and anal but I'm okay with that since that is the truth anyway.

I'm willing to bet that my family of 11 eats cheaper then some families of 4.

No, I'm not willing to bet any of my shoes though...

Thoughts about bread-

My family does not care for the heels of store bought bread. When I buy it, it is the day old variety. Sometimes, if I'm worried that the bread is too far gone and is in danger of molding, I will stick dry regular pieces in too.

I put the old bread in a cake pan and stick it in the oven (170 degrees) until it is dried out.

I then throw all the dried bread into a large ziploc until it fills up.

Cracker crumbs and crushed cereal (like cornflakes, Cheerios and Chex)go in here too.

I then turn it into bread crumbs.

I use my Kitchen Aid grinder attachment with the large holes. If you don't have one of these you could try a food processor, or put the dried bread in a heavy ziploc and beat it with a rolling in.

I then store the crumbs in an old ice cream container.

I have a great chicken strip recipe that I use these for.

Need Italian Bread Crumbs? Just add some garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley and dried Italian seasonings to the dried bread crumbs.

I never buy bread crumbs anymore.

Ever have apples that get a little "punky" but aren't rotten?

Peel them, slice them thinly and then stick them in the freezer.

Once you have enough, make an apple cobbler out of them.

I have a wonderful apple cobbler recipe that calls for 4 cups apples. We times it by 4 for our family so I freeze 16 c. of apples.

**Does not work well with red delicious apples**

Bananas gone bad?

We rarely have any bananas left over to go bad.

I buy mine for 29 cents a pound that look like this-

I peel them and freeze them in ziplocs.

Marked on the front of each bag is the number of bananas within.

When you are ready to make bread, simply defrost and put in the entire contents of the bag, liquid and all. Do not drain first as that will make your bread really dry.

My banana recipe calls for 2 bananas so I freeze six bananas in a bag. That way I can make three loaves at a time.

Ever cook a turkey?

Boil the carcass in water for several hours.

The leftover meat will fall off the bones and can be used in sandwiches or in soup.

Freeze the broth and use in place of chicken broth.

Take your homemade turkey broth and mix it with Magic Mix (recipe to come) to make your own delicious and inexpensive condensed soup that can be substituted for condensed chicken soup in your recipes.

Have pears that are too mushy to eat?

Peel them and then squish them up.

Freeze the "pearsauce" and use instead of oil in baking.

Too much zucchini? Because the neighbor boy won't stop bringing them to you

Grate and freeze in amounts that your fav bread recipe calls for.

Milk approaching the expiration date?

Freeze it, in it's container and defrost to use in soup.

We love our Potato soup!

Stick a folded up paper towel in your bag of salad, it will keep it from going slimy as fast.

Buy a bag of onions and chop them all.

That way you can get all of your crying out all at the same time.

Freeze them in one cup bags to use in your fav recipes. It is so easy to pull a bag of onions out that is already chopped.

Afraid you won't be able to use up all of that bunch of parsley before it gets all slimy?

Chop it all up (my food processor works like a charm for this) and then freeze it.

My parents just gave us this celery because they didn't think they could use it all before it went bad.

I rip off each stalk, rinse it and cut off the ends.

I then put all the stalks on a cookie sheet and stick it in the freezer.

When they are frozen solid, I throw them into a ziploc and then back into the freezer.

When I want to use one, I run it under lukewarm water for 15 seconds or so and then it cuts easily.

I also cut peppers in half, cut out the seeds and then throw them on a cookie sheet that I put in the freezer.

Once frozen, they can be thrown into a ziploc bag and then back into the freezer they go.

They won't stick together and I can easily remove just the amount I want.

I once read somewhere "If you can't find it, you don't own it".

I keep a list of them items that my freezers hold and I make dinners around the items that I currently have on hand.

I am more familiar with the contents of my freezers then I am the contents of my closet. Except my shoes, of course...

Every now and again, I do an inventory of the freezers and check it against my list.

We hardly ever throw food away anymore. Which, I believe, saves us a lot of money.

I'll get some recipes up sometime in the next week or so, in case anyone is interested.

I'll also get some of my freezer meals posted too at some point.

For right now, I'm single parenting so have mercy on me be patient with me.

It's 9 against 1 right now.

That is really bad odds.



Angie said...

Thanks, these are great tips! I hate throwing away food.

The Wired Angel said...

Another woman who thinks like I do.. I love it. Thanks for the great tips.

Nicole R.J. said...

Great tips, thanks for sharing! We're buying a chest freezer soon and I can't wait to get freezing! *lol*

Jennifer @ Back at the hive said...

Thanks for the freezing tricks. I've been trying to cut back on my grocery bill.

The neighbor boy with the zucchini reminds me of an old man I met. He told me he grew up in a small town that was so safe, no one locked their cars or houses.

Except when zucchini ripened. If you kept your doors unlocked, then you would get boxes upon boxes of zucchini!

Leah said...

Wow, these are the greatest tips!! Thank you much!

bex said...

Thanks! I am a waster of food, cause my eyes are bigger than the 4 stomachs in my house! I will definately be freezing more things!

rachel said...

First of all, I need to move in with you. Wow.

Secondly, where's Corey?? Why are you single parenting it right now??

Third, CONGRATS on being featured on infarrantly creative the other day!!! SO cool. Proud of you girl. :)

Nicole said...

Holy cow, those ar great tips!! Kuddos for taking care a such a huge family too.

Jensamom23 said...

What great tips! I had no idea you could freeze celery! I slice gunky looking bananas as well...I freeze them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and then pop them in a freezer bag. We use them in smoothies...acts as the ice without diluting.

Law Six said...

Thanks for the awesome ideas. Looking forward to those recipes!

Lisa B. said...

Wonderful tips, thanks for sharing. I do all those you do except I didnt know about the paper towel in the salad, or how to do the celery AND I spend so much money on cream of chicken soup to cook with. I am anxiously waiting for your magic mix recipe.

coryshay said...

Love it! I've been wanting to know How to store food better and these were great tips! My generation just does not know how to do this instinctively. We need all the help you can give us! Thanks!

Salsa Mama said...

Fabulous tips!!! Thanks so much for sharing.