It isn't always cheap to bake and cook and have perhaps a little variety in your meals if you are cooking three times a day. Even those who love to cook sometimes get a bit burned out. But.. one thing I have really enjoyed doing is to try to make things last and just get creative with what I have. I think some of my best meals are the ones I have to "make-up" when I have only a limited number of ingredients. Now.. that said.. there have been quite a few times where we have had to dismiss my creative inhibitions as simply experiments to never try again, but.. for the most part... we have come to enjoy the little bits of creativity in the kitchen.
So.. back to frugal meals. I can't say I am by definition a frugal person. I am trying to learn to be. God has blessed me with some amazing friends who are so good at saving money and finding good deals ~that it is starting to rub off... a little. :) Bless their heart they try so hard to teach me.
One thing I have learned do is to make a meal last more than once. Not just reheating and eating left-overs but using the left-overs to create an entirely new meal. For example.. my very favorite is to take a Roast and reuse it through the course of the week by creating extra meals from the left-over meat. There are times I will actually take some meat out before I serve it so I will be assured there will be some left-over. Now that my kids are growing they eat more than they used to. But.. I have found a few things that help when I don't have as MUCH of the main ingredient as I used to.. like adding rice, noodles and extra veggies. I try to serve other fillers when I set my table. ie: my canned applesauce and/peaches, salads, cottage cheese, and of course.. bread. We love bread.
So.. what are some things I can do with my left overs.
Roast ( with potatoes and carrots) can also be then used to make :
Beef and noodles
Beef Stew and or Vegetable Beef Soup.
Barbequed Beef ( shredded and simmered in sauce .. YUMM!)
Nothing is wasted.. or atleast hopefully nothing. With most of the recipes above, save the BBQ, I keep the broth from the roast and let it sit in a canning jar over night in the fridge. Doing this allows the fat to rise and I can skim it off. The broth is my base for just about anything I make and then I cut up the meat, left over veggies and throw it in the broth to cook .
I usually don't mix the sauce and noodles together because I have a few who just prefer noodles so I store them separately.
I have made spaghetting salad with the leftover spaghetti by adding cut up veggies and italian dressing. I will do this when I have made meatballs and use the sauce and meat to make meat ball sandwhiches.
Scalloped Ham and Potatoes
Ham and Bean Soup
Chicken ( roasted as the beef roast was done above)
Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken w/ rice
(I use the base for my enchiladas to make Chicken Tortilla Soup)
Leftover Rice can be thrown into soups to add more depth to the soups or broths when you have only a little meat to put into it. ( I use this a lot!)
When I make Stuffed Green Peppers.. I acutally cut the peppers up and put them all in a pan to bake. With what is left over I will freeze it and make cabbage rolls later.
Ofcourse.. noodles add depth to your dishes as fillers.
Other times I have taken veggies that were not finished at dinner and put them in the freezer for days when I need just a cup of vegetables to add to a meal, not a normal serving portion.
Those are just a few things I can think of right now. I'll add more ideas when I think of them.
Below is my recipe for Pot Pie:
1-2 quarts of beef broth ( cooking juices from the left over roast.. then I add water to get the amount I want and sometimes add some beef boullion to give it flavor)
Carrots and potatoes from roast.
Other veggies I want to throw in. Usually something that was left over from dinner in that week or perhaps something I have frozen previously for such a time as this.
Rice ( can be either cooked or uncooked)
Corn starch to thicken
Spices ( salt, pepper, garlic and whatever I feel like at that moment)
Once the broth is boiling, I add the meat and any veggies that are not already cooked, I add rice now as well. When tender I add the cooked veggies and then thicken with corn starch.
Pour into the pie crust and bake at 400 for about 30 min.
4 c. flour 1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 c. cold water
1 Tbsp. sugar 1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 1/2 c. shortening
Mix flour, salt, sugar and shorening together to form crumbs. Beat egg, water, and vinegar; add to crumbs and stir with fork until mixture forms a ball. Roll crusts out and place in pans. Makes 5-6 single crusts
*note: I use lard when I have it and LOVE the result. Also.. the extra crusts freeze well. I roll them out and then fold them into half twice so they open nicely when I pull them out.I put them in plastic wrap and freeze.
You can substitute any meat in this very easily.