Someone asked me a question about inexpensive meals & recipes, which led to the following I wrote in response. I thought I would share here so all could benefit. Especially at this time of the year, when we want to be more prepared & do better in the New Year, than we did this year.
"Do you have any inexpensive, easy, great tasting recipes to recommend?"
Yes, I would start with what's on sale at your grocery store. Did you know if it's a normal, chain grocery store (i.e. not a mom & pop corner store), you can look up the ads online without leaving your home? Saves time, gas, and money.
So I would look for what's on sale, for example chuck or other roast, chicken, a whole chicken, pork loin (I don't eat pork much), a store where I am has $ .99 lb turkey breasts this week for example; whatever it is your family likes.
Then I would buy extra and make a plan. I'm single and always buy the largest pot roast for example. Can I eat all that? What are you crazy of course not. But I CAN make 20 meals out of it.
If you already have freezer meals (or frozen meat + veggies, or other menu ideas readily available), I'd buy only one thing that's on sale, like a whole chicken. Then use the "other things" to fill in. Mostly, you need to come up with a plan.
Here's an example of Whole Chicken Plan:
Day 1: Roast chicken in CP w/veggies
Day 2: Serve "other things" while cooking the deboned chicken carcass overnight (reserving the picked-off meat).
Day 3: Make a big batch of chicken vegetable crockpot soup, using the strained broth from the carcass, and some of the reserved meat. Intentionally don't add carbs. Change it up a little ea time you heat up a portion to serve it; like chicken noodle this time, chicken and rice soup next time, chicken potato corn chowder soup the following time, chicken tortilla soup, chicken alphabet soup, chicken and stars, etc.
Day 4: Serve "other things"
Day 5: Make chicken black bean burritos with some of the reserved meat.
Day 6: Serve "other things"
Day 7: Make curried chicken-grape-mushroom salad with some of the reserved meat.
Day 9: Make baked chicken rigatoni with some of the reserved meat.
You can do the same with a Roast Plan (or alternate with the chicken plan):
Day 2: Crockpot roast w/veggies
Day 4: CP BBQ beef
Day 6: French dip sandwiches
Day 8: Beef fajitas, stir-fry, burritos, beef & broccoli, etc.
Day 10: Use all remaining leftover beef, broth, roasted veggies & gravy in a beef veggie soup, or in beef barley soup, etc.
So with buying one large chicken (or turkey breast) and one roast, the above plans combined give you 10 days of meals. Check online to see what's on sale; then come up with a plan. Just write down the ingredients for each meal on a shopping list, then check your pantry and strike off the stuff you already have, and go to the store.
There is one person's blog I highly recommend for easy recipes that are extremely user-friendly. She is also gluten free if that's an issue for you. I'm not gluten free but I love her recipes. Have you heard of Stephanie the Crock Pot Lady? When XYZ is on sale and you want to take advantage of the sale, but have no clue what to make with it, or what to make with something that's already in your pantry or freezer, go to her site. She also taught me how to make yogurt in my crock pot: crockpot365.blogspot.com/2007/12/
Having a plan, like the chicken & roast plans above, saves so much time, calories, and money. Cook "big" a couple days, then use the planned-overs in other meals. Not everyone feels this way, but to me, leftovers are God's gift. Also anything liquid like the beef & chicken broths & soups, you can skim the fat off of the next morning, as you'll be refrigerating overnight anyway.
At this thread, you'll find a list of crockpot recipe sites linked, including vegetarian:www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_messagebo
| current weight: 303.0