ROAD WORK AHEAD!
Thanks for your patience as I work to get this page all linked up and running. It may take awhile (weeks? months?!), but I’ll announce when it’s all finished!
Suppers deserves a drop down menu all its own…it is that special.
But, since you’re here, you might as well stay awhile: read through my tried and true tips for great suppers!
Tried and true $$savers:
—First see what kind of meat is on sale for the week; then plan your menu accordingly. We have saved hundreds of dollars in grocery money by eating whatever meat and produce is on sale each week.
–If no sales present themselves and you’re on a tight budget, chicken is usually the cheapest option (specifically whole chicken or chicken drumsticks; if the raw meat or the bones bother you, here’s an easy, delicious way to cook the whole mess at once). That, or keeping a small stockpile of cheap meat in your freezer! Eggs are also a very cheap source of protein, which is why we chose to serve Quiche at our wedding reception (for some main dish egg recipes, look here or here).
–Grind your own hamburger. You know, I have heard of so many people who grind their own wheat flour…but no one who grinds their own meat! Lean ground beef costs a fortune where I live (read $3.50/lb and up for 85% lean and above), but I can usually buy whole beef roasts on sale for $1.99/lb. Grind it up, and suddenly I’ve got 95-100% lean ground round/chuck for a fraction of what it costs at the grocery store! It’s even a pretty quick process: I can set up, grind, and clean up a 10 pound roast in about 30 minutes (the cleanup is the hardest part, so that’s why I recommend grinding at least 5 pounds at once). Oh, and by the way, this is how I totally justify not buying lean (grass fed) beef: I figure it’s just as healthy and a whole lot cheaper to add absolutely no extra fat to the (more naturally fatty) grain fed meat. Also, if you’re me, you look for meat grinders at garage sales and thrift stores or on ebay and craigslist. If you’re not a used-goods-user, you might still find that it’s worthwhile investing in a new one because you can eat so.much.healthier for so.much.cheaper. (For a tutorial on the whole process, go here.) (If you’re reading this sentence, you might get a laugh out of knowing that currently, I don’t even have a meat grinder–just a bunch of big schemes. I am looking for one, and as soon as I find it, I’ll be writing a How To post so you, too, can jump on the meat grinder band wagon. However, as far as I know, all the information in the above paragraph is accurate other than the implication that I do it…I know my meat prices, I know how long it takes me to grind burger, and I know I don’t buy grass fed beef.)
Tried and true timesavers:
–Pre-cook your meat whenever possible. I will often cook several pounds of hamburger or a whole chicken at once and then freeze the results in meal-sized portions. That way when it’s 4:30 and I’m just starting to think about dinner, I’m that much closer to having it on the table…plus it makes for less dishes to wash!
–Use leftovers. In my experience, most leftovers keep for about 7 days in the refrigerator, which means I can cook two or three big meals a week and use the leftovers for the remaining lunches/suppers. Tim is very gracious about re-eating things, and I did this all the time when I worked full time. Even if you are a family that doesn’t like eating the same thing twice in a row, leftovers can often either be frozen for several months or reinvented for the next meal (like the way I turn my leftover roast beef into a creamy stroganoff).
–Your freezer is your friend…especially when you don’t feel like cooking. Frozen soups, frozen casseroles, frozen Burrito filling…10 minutes from freezer to microwave to table.
On to the idea lists: