Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Compacting In The Kitchen

I wrote a post about our "compacting in the kitchen" and how we had taken our food budget and knocked it in half without sacrificing the quality of our food (organic fruits & vegetables & diary & grains & eggs, hormone & antibiotic free local meats).

Well, I've been at it for another month and have come up with even more ways to cut our food budget. I am now under $400 a month for our family of 4 (without cutting coupons). Check back and I'll write out a list of what we're doing now.


#1 On Sunday night I buy a rotisserie chicken. I cut off the breasts and legs and put them in a tupperware for sandwich meat. I set aside the carcass with the wings. On Monday I put it in a pot with onion, celery & carrot and cover it with water. I simmer it for 2 hours and drain it through a mesh sieve. That's stock people. I then pick off the remaining chicken and add that with some honey, plenty of salt, diced carrot & celery and whatever else I feel like throwing in. That's soup.
On Friday whatever chicken may be left from the legs & breasts I shred and put on our weekly pizza. It's delish. One chicken... 5 lunches... 2 dinners.

#2 Ground turkey is my friend. I buy a pound every week. I brown it up with salt, pepper, garlic powder & ground oregano. It's now good to go in just about anything. I usually divide it into two 1/2 pound portions. One I use that night and the other I put in a freezer bag. The day you are going to use it put it in your fridge and it will be thawed by dinner. I take 1/2 pound and add it to 1/2 jar of pasta sauce w/ 1/2 T sugar and I have meat sauce. I take a 1/2 pound and add it to a can of drained balck beans heat it in a skillet w/ salt, chili powder & cumin and I have taco filling. Make chili, make shepard's pie, top your pizza with it! It's so freaking versatile... I want to marry it!

#3 Random veggie storage tips... cause if I paid $3 a pound for organic produce I do not want them to go bad!...
Asparagus - trim the ends and put them in a glass of water... like a bouquet... they'll stay fresh & firm for days
Heads of lettuce - remove the twist tie, discard any bruised leaves, and shake off all excess water (from the sprinkler). Wrap in paper towels & put back in your plastic vegetable bag. Take off leaves as you need them and wash them then. Your head of lettuce will stay fresh over a week (probably over 2 weeks). If you want separate leaves for sandwiches at the ready... take them off wash and dry them (gently so not to bruise) and layer in a tupperware between paper towels... they'll also stay fresh over a week.
Keep your potatoes & onions in your fridge.
Once something is ripe and you don't want it to over ripen put it in the fridge... ie avocados, stone fruit... it will help retard the ripening and you may be able to eat them before they are too far gone on your counter. Bananas will keep the same way but the peel will brown.

#4 Make your own pizza. I'll post the full recipe for this another day. I use my bread machine but you can do this in a mixer or by hand with little extra effort... I used to make it by hand all the time. I make enough dough for two pizzas and once it is kneaded divide it up let half rise and put the other half in a oiled freezer proof tupperware in the freezer. The next time we make pizza I just take it out and put it in the fridge that morning. Before dinner I let it rise on the counter. It really takes little effort and I can roll it out and put it in the oven WAY faster than the pizza guy could ever bring it. Plus we use up all sorts of stuff as toppings.


Haley said...

Great tips!

And I nearly rolled off my bed laughing when you said "Do we have to listen to Hootie??"


julie said...

I love the ground turkey/black bean idea for taco filling. We make our tacos with black beans simmered with chili-garlic, oregano, cilantro...I love the addition of the turkey for something different.

I like the roasted chicken idea. That would save on deli for Tom's lunches. I have been fanatic about making sure we do not end up throwing out any of the deli meat...I have been weighing it out.

I used to just buy all the fresh veggies each week whether we needed them or not. There was so much waste. I have really cut out the waste. I have a couple of frozen organic veggies on reserve.

I know that we still spend more than I would like on snacks (tortilla chips, cheddar bunnies, chocolate chip cookies and envirokidz peanut butter bars), but I would have a really hard time resisting the homemade cookies and muffins. Baked goods are very special to me...I can have the temptation around. Those above snacks I named...don't tempt me at all.

Jen said...

The asparagus trick works with celery too - just put the whole stalk in a pitcher of water, no trimming necessary. It blows my mind how well this works, it at least triples the "shelf" life.

julie said...

Oops...I meant to say that I can NOT have the temptation around.

Mrs Furious said...

truth be told I shouldn't have the temptation around either... but alas Cheddar Bunnies do tempt me ;)

Good to know!!!

Oh Hootie... what became of you?!

Shirls said...

celery and carrots like a little water too :0) Love the tips! how is kid doing?

Staci said...

I also never thought to stretch my ground turkey taco meat out with black beans. Great idea!

I love the chicken idea too. We have a George Foreman Chicken Roaster came with our GF Grill LOOOONG time ago. You can do a 5# chicken in there and no extra fat just your fav seasonings.

Fresh whole chickens are cheap here 78-88 cents a pound. We buy one every week. Use it as a main meal and then use the leftovers for salads, wraps, sandwiches.

I love the idea of making my own stock. My husband & I were debating if we should do that when we roasted up our last one. We didn't because we had NO IDEA how long & such to boil it.

I WILL be doing it this week! THANKS!

Oh...and we are going to GoodWill tomorrow night in search of a bread machine! Wish us luck! :)

Thanks again for all the tips!

Mrs Furious said...

stock tips... if you use a raw chicken it is more flavorful... but then the chicken is all cooked to hell. This turns out pretty good... leave the skin on the parts you put in the pot and whatever seasoning you roast it with will go into the soup. If you try it and don't think it is flavorful enough just reduce the liquid and it'll concentrate the flavors ... or throw in a bullion cube or two. If you are using a precooked chicken don't fill the pot too will be diluting the stock... the chicken is already cooked so it doesn't have to be totally submerged. Does that make sense? I usually have my pot filled about half way and the breastbone might be protruding out of the water a bit.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post! I am going to try the Bread this weekend for my husbands lunches...Thanks for all the great idea's-

lucinda said...

Hootie is now a country star under his real name..or was the question rhetorical?

Staci said...


Mrs Furious said...


Daisy Girl,
Oh I'm glad if anything ends up being helpful to someone else! Good luck with the bread.

you are welcome. Remember to salt it... you need a fair amount of salt to take something from basic stock to soup.

Mrs Furious said...

With the carrots how are you doing that? Are you cutting them first?

Kid is doing great. :)

Shirls said...

I just take a normal (ie: not baby carrot, good stuffed scrubbed off) and give it a wash and a scrub, trim the ends off, cut it in 1/2, along with celery sticks too, through them all in a ziplock, put a splash of cold water, and I mean just a splash and they stay good, nice and crisp for easily 2 weeks, works like a charm for me

Shirls said...

and yeah kid!!

Mrs Furious said...

awesome... thanks!

Feener said...

thought you would find this interesting

Renee said...

Have I told you that you are BRILLIANT Mrs. F

YEAH KID! Glad everything is ok there....

Hootie has gone country?!?! I'm at a loss for words.....oh, funny tid bit for you Mrs. F...when you commented 'Girl, you know it's true'...Milli Vanilli (sp?) Does anyone remember them??? I'm completely embarrassed to admit that I actually saw them in concert in high school...well I guess I should say I saw them lip synch funny er embarrassing is that???

Mrs Furious said...

Oh the Milli Vanilli reference was intenional. I LOVED them.
And now I have "Blame It On The Rain" running through my head...

Awesome. I'll check it out!

Renee said...

I figured it was intentional and I bet your jealous that I got to see them in concert aren't you? ;) I've been singing "girl you know its true ooh ooh ooh I love u" since your it will switch to "Blame it on the rain that was falling, falling"...

Why is it I can't remember what I did this past weekend yet milli vanilli lyrics are etched in my head for life????

sara said...

Mrs. Furious!

Please, please, please post your pizza recipe with tips! I'm a failure at pizza dough... TEACH ME!!


kenady said...

you are just amazing! thanks for the tips!

Mrs Furious said...

I'll put it up. I've been waiting for Mr F to give me a picture of it off his computer. Maybe tomorrow... I'll try to take pics of all the steps.

you are too kind!

Kiki said...

Mrs.F, I have been trying to figure out a way to reuse that carcass from the rot.chicken....I wanted to make stock but thought that because it was already cooked that I couldn't....anyway, we have that rot. chicken at least once week, its an easy, quick meal for when I work!!!

I use whole wheat pita bread for pizza when I make them for Ken and I.

I am going to try the turkey meat ideas...I have never used it before, turkey can irritate my funny tummy....hopefully the ground stuff won't because I am kind of over beef right now.

So grateful and glad that Kid is doing GREAT!!! That is awesome news!!!

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Furious,

what size loaf did you set on your bread machine?

Thanks again!

Mrs Furious said...

Daisy Girl,
I have an older model of THIS. It only makes a 2 lb loaf. So that recipe is for a 2 pound loaf of bread.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know the Bread turned out Awesome!!! I really do not think I will ever buy bread again... lol.

Mrs Furious said...

Daisy Girl,

Missives From Suburbia said...

I used to make my own roast chickens at the beginning of every week, then I realized I was paying $15 for something I could get already cooked for me for about $6 when I bought the rotisserie chickens. I love your tip with the soup. I'm all over that -- I always feel like I'm wasting so much of the bird.

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