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.