Eat Better. Eat Cheaper. These are two of my goals for 2011.
Eat Better = better health--lower weight, fewer blood sugar peaks and valleys; lower blood pressure and on and on.
Eat Cheaper = more wealth! It's that simple. Sometimes, though, it can be challenging to eat well while eating on a lower budget. The grocery store and kitchen are two of the few places where we can actually directly impact our household budget in a meaningful way on an on-going basis.
I don't know about you, but I work full time and have a very busy family life, even though we have all adults (4 total with another one here on the weekends often) in the house now. While I would still like to cook and bake from scratch, I don't have the time or energy these days. So I've compromised, adding home-made, from scratch meals with some that are made partially from canned/boxed ingredients and even a few "convenience" foods--though I keep an eye on the sodium and calorie content of those.
Yesterday I thought about what I wanted to fix for dinners this week - it's so much less stressful to have a plan AND to have items all ready to pop in the oven or microwave when I come home after a long day!
I went through my coupons, my weekly Kroger sale flyer and pulled out Once-A-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson & Mary Beth Lagerborg. I really like this cookbook because all of the recipes are designed specifically to freeze well.
These are the meals I decided to make from Once-A-Month Cooking for dinners over the next couple of weeks: Chicken packets, Chili Verde, Savory Beef (I substituted stew beef because it was cheaper than the round steak called for in the recipe), Linguine A La Anne, Wild Rice Chicken, Poulet de France, Baked Eggs.
I also bought a Kroger fresh made Pizza marked down to $4.99 and some Home Style Barbeque chicken from the deli, marked down to $5.99 (for 8 pieces). Tonight we had the pizza with a salad for dinner and I prepared the Savory Beef and we'll have the chicken tomorrow night so I can fix a couple of the other dishes for later.
This afternoon I made a batch of blueberry pancakes with some blueberries that wouldn't have lasted more than a couple more days. Those are stacked with wax paper between them, in a freezer container and in the freezer for breakfasts this week-needing only a few seconds in the microwave. I also made some sausage biscuits using breakfast sausage (in the roll - not preformed patties) and baked refrigerator biscuits.
This evening I also baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies (from a roll of Kroger brand cookie dough) and a 13x9 pan of brownies. Our week is off to great start and I love that I won't have to think about what to fix for dinner every night-or worse-stop by the grocery store on the way home and spend more money than necessary.
What are some ways you have started Eating Better and Eating Cheaper?
I consider frugality an art form and a religious conviction. I learned about paying cash for purchases, recycling and reusing just about everything and being generous to friends and those in need from my parents.
My faith instructs me all things are gifted by God and so I am compelled to be a good steward of my gifts. [The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man. Psalm 115:16]