I try hard to keep a frugal grocery budget - which is hard with so many growing kids! People who see my kids eat are always astonished, unless they too, have teenagers! So how do I fill up lots of growing boys without having to remortgage?
1. I buy healthy and frugal potatoes in bulk (and serve them lots!)
I buy potatoes in 20lb bags, we eat approximately 30 lbs - 40 lbs of potatoes a month. Potatoes are very versatile and I can serve them lots of ways. I almost never peel them, that reduces waste and also increases their nutrition, as most of a potatoes fibre is in the skin. Here is two of our favorite recipes (sorry I have no pictures today).
4 - 10 Potatoes (whatever would feed your family)
Seasoning of choice (we like a Cajun seasoning mix and Greek seasoning mix)
Cut potatoes into chunky sized pieces and toss with just enough olive oil to coat. Toss with a liberal amount of seasoning. Spread on a cookie sheet or baking sheet in a single layer (use two baking sheets if necessary).
Bake in a very hot oven - 450F for 30 minutes or until browned. Cooking times will vary depending on the size you cut your potatoes.
Twiced Baked Potatoes
(Note: When making mashed potatoes make double - this dish will freeze well or can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days before baking)
6 cups of Leftover mashed potatoes (or whatever would feed your family)
¼ cup Cream (milk will do, but cream is nicer)
½ cup of Sour cream
½ cup Parmesan cheese (or any cheese of choice – cheddar is nice too)
Possible add ins: ½ cup crumbled bacon, ½ cup diced green onions, 3 – 4 cloves of crushed garlic, 3 tbsp steak spice, 3 tbsp parsley
While your mashed potatoes are still warm, mash in the cream, sour cream, cheese and possible add ins. Transfer potatoes to a medium greased casserole dish and cover with a lid or foil.
Bake at 375F for 45 - 60 minutes (for a smaller casserole, your cooking time may go down to 30 minutes).
2. I use what I have for free
I can not really garden - I have tried, but I am bad at it, plus I do not enjoy it and make those around me to help, which causes much grumbling. I have given up for the time being on having a large garden, but do enjoy some of the bounty my yard (and my parents yard) still provides.
Between my parents and I, we have an apple tree, a Saskatoon tree, choke cherry tree and a plum tree. I also have some raspberry and strawberry bushes, some chives and three large rhubarb plants.
A few years back I started making jams, jellies, and sauces with all the free food that we have in our yards. Mind you, there is a cost of pectin, sugars and so on, but really, it is still at a fraction of the cost.
Since rhubarb is the most plentiful and so easy, I tend to use it a lot. I typically make Saskatoon rhubarb jam, strawberry rhubarb jam and raspberry rhubarb jam, choke cherry jelly, choke cherry syrup (totally yummy over pancakes!!), apple sauce and rhubarb sauce. I will also cut and freeze rhubarb (and apples if enough) for the winter. Needless to say the end of August is a busy time for me!
I also love to make lots of deserts with rhubarb. I am always on the look out for new ideas and recipes and have found a couple that I am going to be trying over the next week or so. If you have any recipes that you want to share, please do!
3. I do a lot of baking
So I can't really garden, but boy can I bake! I don't do anything fancy, but one of the talents God graced me with was being able to bake really yummy treats. I love to bake, I will bake when happy, when sad, when stressed, when bored, whenever a craving strikes me - you name it!
Cookies are my standby when I am feeling stressed, there is really nothing like warm cookies that can make everything seem better; but to fill growing boys, and to feed one fussy girl, muffins are typically my standby. I make dozens at a time and freeze them so the kids can grab them on their way to school, or to add to their lunch kit, or have as an afternoon snack or bedtime snack (apparently Jesse can't sleep if he is in the least bit hungry - and he is always hungry!). Carrot, pumpkin, oatmeal and banana are their favorites, but really they are not all that picky. One of their favorite breakfasts is a smoothie and muffin. Nutritious and frugal!
For more frugal tips, check out Life As Mom.
For more posts like this check out:
Spicy Carrot Bran Muffins
Rhubarb - Love it!
Fruit Pudding Cake