Steam vegetables and save money

by Mary
(York)

Steaming vegetables is a healthy way to cook your vegetables, they taste better and retain their colour and all their vitamins etc.


To say energy too I bought myself a layers steamer. tis way i can steam lots of different vegetables at the same time but only need to use one gas ring.

I bought mine from Ikea ans I think it only cost me about £8, I have used it so many times, I love it and my food tastes great too.

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Frugal Cooking idea - Crockpot meals

by Susie
(Stillwater, OK)

There are a lot of things we do to save money. I am disabled so it is rather tough to do many things. My family is great though. I plan and supervise and they execute!

I have become fascinated with the idea of cooking and freezing meals for a month. Sadly I cannot cook for long enough times to achieve this.

Instead I am going to try something I have not heard of. Crockpot meals for a month. I plan to put all the ingredients for a crock pot meal into 1 or 2 ziploc bags. Then the items can be put into the crock pot in the morning with 1 cup of water and we will have a nice dinner with minimal cleanup.

I have a lovely food processor that will make chopping veggies easy. Cleaning it involved multiple pieces so it is better to chop large amounts of veggies and other stuff at one time.

The 1 cup of water is added not so much because recipes require it but because the food will be frozen. When you put frozen food into a crock pot you have to add water because otherwise the food will cook so slowly as to keep it in the danger zone for food poisoning and food born illnesses. The danger zone is 40 degrees to 140 degrees. That is why refrigerators should be set no higher than 38 degrees.

From the time a food is picked or killed to the time it is eaten it should spend no more than 4 hours in the danger zone. Adding the water usually does not hurt the flavor and the water heats up and helps the slow cooker heat the food.

I will keep you posted on how this works. I think it could be a valuable and easy to do method to prepare healthy, tasty dinners with minimum work.

I do plan to label each ziploc type bag with the name of the dinner and I will store the used bags in the freezer. That way when I go to fill my freezer bags I will be able to reuse them. I don't find washing them to work well with my living dishwashers. They will wash them but then they won't let them air dry inside. I used to have a whatsit that they could be opened up and hung on, but no one ever used it but me. As I no longer can wash dishes, it eventually got knocked off onto the tile floor and broken.

If I keep the bags in the freezer, flolded up inside another bag, I will not risk food poisoning and I won't waste the expensive bags or add to the landfill!

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cut your meat costs

by Angela Scott
(Alliance, NE)

Where I live in Nebraska, the Game and Fish Department has a deer exchange program where the local hunters hunt for deer and then they give it to people on the exchange list. We have processed 10 deer this year, which has filled our two freezers and our friends freezers. We have also been able to give out meat to struggling families in our community. The only cost we have incurred was for packaging supplies. It is hard work, but very worth it. The meat is much better for you. Very lean with absolutely no hormones. The only advice I could recommend is to take only does. The meat seems to be better. There is plenty of information on the internet about how to butcher it. We learned as we went and is has not been that hard. My husband just got laid off and that is one less stress for us. Our kids will at least have good food to eat for a while!

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Salad dressing saver

by Laura

When you put salad dressing on your salad, actually measure the dressing and see how much you really USE.

I have found I need a lot less dressing than I thought so instead of washing some down the drain after eating my salad I'm cutting calories and saving money by buying less dressing.

This works for any dressing, even if you make your own. It's one thing to use coupons to save, but another to use frugally what you do buy.

Comment from kate
good tip. i know i am guilty of throwing away unused mustard at the side of my plate. I just got into the habit of putting a big dollop of it on the side even though i know i don't need that much.

I think thats why the old fashioned mustard pots used to come with a small spoon, I remember it being a really small spoon. Perhaps we should go to back to the common sense of the old days :)

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I never buy tomatoe sauce - Frugal Tip

by Viv

I never buy tomatoe sauce - complete waste of money in my opinion.

I just substitute it with one large can of crushed tomatoes. If I need to stretch it I just add a bit of water.

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Make use of meat bones

by Chris
(Lima, Ohio)

No matter what meat I buy, I trim the fat & bones off , and I boil with leftover carrots ,celery and make broth with it. Same with the bones from turkey, break them down add some boulion cube and you've got broth to put in the freezer to use when ever you need it.

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You Only Need Tomato Paste

by Kevin "Chef Kev"
(Hammond, La.)

You don't have to buy Tomato puree, sauce, or even juice. Just buy Tomato Paste
and make the other products yourself, just by adding an appropriate amount of water.

Comment from Kate
good tip, i hadn't thought of that and i buy tomato paste all the time.

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Save on food budget - Frugal Budget Tips

Change your diet. Cut out processed snacks like potato chips, corn chips, etc. They contain little to no nutrition and the cost is outrageous. It can be done--just try. Don't even go down that aisle at the grocery store so you won't be tempted. Don't use your children as an excuse either--they don't need those snacks and you're being a better parent if you don't buy them.
Also, cut out buying any bottled drinks. No one needs to buy water that is already bottled. For that matter, tea is much less expensive and fresher if made at home. Carbonated drinks are not good for you, so don't even consider buying them. Instead, invest in reusable drink bottles and jugs and take them with you when you travel--it's what your grandparents did.

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4 meals out of 1 pizza pie!

by Jeffrey knight
(Alcoa, TN)

I'm a bachelor on a one income budget.
I love pizza, but cant always "order out".
I also cant eat a whole pie at one sitting, so...

I find a good store pizza I really like on sale.
I get it home and crack it against the edge of the counter top,
breaking it into 4 big wedges. I zip-baggy up each one and cook as needed.

One big slice, some times two. But I get several "dinners" out of one pie this way.

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Tips for storing and buying vegetables

by Kate

Being a vegetarian means I great a lot of vegetables but these tips will help any one even eats the odd carrot :)

Try to buy loose vegetables so that you can pick the freshest and ones which are not bruised or damaged. It can often be difficult to see through pre packaged veggies.

Keep vegetables in the fridge as they will last longer. Keep them loose in the salad drawer to prevent sweating.

Potatoes and Onions like to be stored in a cool dark place.

If you grow your own veg and have a big harvest, freeze whatever you cannot eat quickly as soon as you harvest as this will ensure they retain all their goodness and vitamin content.

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No Fat Added Cooked Chicken Fast

If I don't need to bake chicken, I cut up skinless, boneless chicken and cook it in boiling water. It comes out tender and moist, and without any added fat. It's also so fast (no more than 5-7 mins.) and it doesn't use as much energy as the oven. You can use the chicken for a lot of recipes. The water used to cook the chicken in can be used for broth.

Comment by Kate Site owner
thanks for the tip, so many advantages, money saving, healthier, quicker and versatile.

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Smart price vinegar uses

by Jan Loughborough
(England)

Use a capfull of smartprice white vinegar instead of dishwasher rinse aid, put it in water to wash your windows with, stick a bottle ( 13p worth) in your washing machine once a month to keep it descaled. Use it in the kettle also as a descaler. I even read somewhere if you sprinkle it on the flower beds it keeps foxes from digging but I can't vouch for that one!

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Can or Freeze fruits and vegetables when in season

by Stephanie
(Rural SouthCentral KY)

Every year we can and freeze fresh fruits and vegetables. Last year alone I canned about 500 jars of vegetables. We also made homemade pizza and spaghetti sauce and salsa. We also make lots of jelly, applesauce,and pie filling. When we run out of jars we begin freezing.

Be careful because you can spend too much money on this. Last year we had an elderly lady who cannot can anymore, give us 350 jars and 200 reuseable tupperware for freezing. So we haven't spent alot, just the money for the seed in the garden. If you don't have a garden go to a local produce auction. Our tomatoes done horrible last year and we went to an auction and got our tomatoes for 2.00 for 20# box. We bought 31 boxes, we sold 20 boxes at 4.00 a box and canned the other 11. We ended up with 98 jars of tomatoes and 75 jars of juice. So it really paid for itself.

We put up so much last year that we still have fruit and vegetables left over for this year. I love to can, it gives you a satisfaction knowing that you done this for your family and there are no preservatives..only salt.

Comment by Kate
great tip, really does sound like you are canning experts, 500 jars wow that is a lot and muct have saved you lots.

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