Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ways to Feed a Family of 5 on $5 a Meal

Below is the handouts I shared when I taught the class on how to feed a family on $5 a meal. Some of this information is elsewhere on this blog, some of it is new. I plan on sharing more recipes in days to come as well as more tips to save money and live a frugal lifestyle.

Ways to Feed a Family on $5 a meal or Less

I bought a chicken for $4.51/5 lbs. I cooked it in the crock pot all day with some potatoes & carrots and seasonings. We ate that for dinner one night as well as some applesauce. Figuring in the price if I had to buy the applesauce, it would have been $9.11 to feed my family of 10.

I put the carcass back in the crock pot with water and figured out how much for the carrots, onion, garlic, and celery that I added after taking the meat of the bones as well as the rice for chicken and rice soup and came up with only $1.60 (because I've already counted the chicken carcass).

I then figured out two options for the leftover meat--chicken tetrazinni and green beans (frozen) or chicken and dumpling casserole. Option one will add up to $4.33 and option two will add to $3.75.

All the figuring is buying hormone free chicken, farm fresh eggs, spelt flour, organic carrots, onions, celery, etc. as well as if I had to buy the goat milk. All these figures would go down if people didn't care about "organic" or "natural".

After figuring that all meals will feed 10 people, option 1 works out to 50 cents per person per meal and option 2 works out to 48 cents per person per meal ($5.01 or $4.82 average per meal). This is feeding a family of 10 on $5 a meal!

Chicken & Dumpling Casserole

1/2 cup chopped carrot           1/2 cup chopped onion              2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped celery          1/4 cup butter                              1/2 cup flour
2 tsp sugar (optional)              1 tsp salt                                       1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp pepper                         4 cups chicken broth                   4 cups cooked chicken
2 cups flour                              1 1/2 tsp baking powder             1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. basil                               2/3 cup milk

Sauté onion, carrot, celery and garlic in butter until tender. Add flour, sugar, salt, basil and pepper. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Reduce heat. Cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. For dumplings, combine flour, baking powder, salt & basil in a bowl. Stir in milk until moistened. Drop onto casserole. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cover and bake for 10 minutes more. serves 6-8

Chicken Tetrazzini

4 eggs                                       4 cups flour                 1 lb cooked, cubed chicken
1 tbsp poultry seasoning         4 tbsp butter                ½ onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced             3 tbsp flour                   3 cups broth
1 cup milk                               ¼ tsp nutmeg                 1 tbsp parsley

Whisk eggs. Stir in flour. Roll out on counter and cut into strips. Cook in boiling water. While noodles are cooking, sauté onion and garlic in butter. Sprinkle with the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in stock and milk. Add turkey, poultry seasoning and nutmeg. Drain noodles. Combine noodles and turkey mixture together. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Black Bean Soup

1 bag dry black beans             2 ½ quarts water                        1 jar salsa
1 tsp salt                                   2 tbsp lemon or lime juice         1 tbsp parsley or cilantro

Put dry black beans and water in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours. Stir in salsa. Use a hand blender to blend soup (if you don’t have a hand blender, cool soup and blend in batches in a regular blender and then reheat or just mash beans with a potato masher). Stir in salt, lemon juice, and parsley. Serve with tortilla chips. Sour cream and shredded cheese are optional.

Carmel Apple Breakfast Casserole

12 eggs                         2 cups milk                                                2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg                8 med or 6 large apples, peeled and diced       ½ cup butter     
½ cup brown sugar       2 tsp cinnamon                                        12 slices of bread, torn

Whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Peel and dice apples. Combine melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Toss with apples. In greased 9x13 pan, tear 6 slices of bread. Then add a layer of the diced caramel apples. Tear remaining bread as next layer then put remaining apples. Pour egg/milk mixture into the baking dish. Cover with foil and let stand in refrigerator for at least an hour (overnight ideally). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake another 15-20 minutes or until eggs have cooked through.

Hamburger Rice-a-Roni

1 lb ground beef                       1 medium onion, chopped             1 cup rice
8 oz spaghetti, broken             4 tbsp butter or olive oil                  4 cups broth

Brown beef and onion in a large skillet. Drain. Brown rice and spaghetti in butter. Add in beef, onion, and broth. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice and spaghetti are fully cooked. Season with salt & pepper. Optional: add frozen peas or peas and carrots before simmering.

Pancake Syrup

4 cups sugar                  2 cups water                     2 tsp maple extract

Bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken—approximately 4 minutes. Add flavoring as it cools. Store in refrigerator. Makes approximately 1 quart.

Homemade Biscuit Mix

9 cups flour                 ¼ cup baking powder                1 1/2 tbsp salt               2 cups shortening

Combine all ingredients well. Store in a sealed container. Use as you would any biscuit mix.
Crockpot Spanish Rice

1 lb ground beef              3 cups rice                              1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes & water
1 small onion, diced       2 tbsp Italian seasonings       2 cloves garlic, chopped

Brown meat with onions, garlic & seasoning. Mix meat mixture, rice, tomatoes & water (fill can with water) in crock. Cook on low for 2-4 hours. Serve with shredded cheese if desired.

Taco Style Lentils & Rice

½ bag lentils                           1 ¼ cups brown rice           6 cups water
3-4 tbsp beef broth powder      2 tbsp chili powder         1 ½ tsp cumin
3 tsp onion powder                 ¾ tsp garlic powder

Mix all. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover & simmer for 45-50 minutes. That water should be mostly absorbed. Serve topped with cheese or as a burrito filling.

Websites for low cost meals:

 Money Saving Tips

Purchase whole chickens (or turkeys) when they are on sale. Cook two (or more) at the same time to save on energy costs. Eat some of the chicken that night for dinner. Shred remaining chicken and use to make freezer meals or put into quart freezer bags and keep to use later when you want to make a casserole, soup or other recipe. Put the carcass in water and cook some more to get all little bits of meat off the bones. Use that water/broth and chicken to make a soup.

When making one meal that doubles easily (and will freeze nicely), make two at one time and freeze one. Then on a night that you just don’t feel like cooking, instead of getting a pizza or going to a restaurant, heat up your home-cooked meal!

Shop the sales! Look at the sale advertisements and only buy what is on sale. Plan your weekly menu around what you can buy on sale. If the price is really good and you have the extra money, then stock up. Buy to stock your freezer/pantry. Always keep one extra on hand. When you need to get that out, then you put it on your list and you have a little while to watch for a sale.

Eat what is in season. If you have a garden, you have a great supply without having to spend money weekly. Even if you don’t have a garden, in season fruits and vegetables are a lot cheaper.

Buy in bulk, but make sure you check price per unit. Shop around to find the best prices. It may be a lot cheaper to buy from local farmers and you can bet foods are fresher, and probably have less pesticides than food from big farms.

Make your own pancake syrup. If you use regular sugar, it costs about 11 cents for a bottle compared to about $1.79 to buy it. If you use organic sugar, then it will cost more (probably equivalent to store bought regular sugar), but it will be organic. Also, you don’t have to worry about running out to the store just because you ran out so you’ll save gas money too!

Get creative with what you have in the house! Don’t run to the store just because you need one or two items for a recipe. You will end up spending more than you planned. Start throwing stuff together and see what you get!

Buy cheap and preserve. When things are in season or on sale for a really good price, then buy lots and preserve it either through freezing, canning, or dehydrating. Even if you only have the freezer on top of your refrigerator, you can still freeze lots if you freeze in ziplock bags laid flat.

Hunt or, better yet, find someone to hunt for you! You can save even more money if you process the deer, turkey, etc. yourself.

Switch to whole grains. It might seem like it costs more, but it won’t. Whole grains fill you up so you won’t need to eat as much and what you do eat will be used more efficiently by your body. My family cut our pasta consumption in ½ by switching to whole grain pasta.

Health Tips

Don’t use canned cream soups as they are full of sodium and preservatives. Instead, make quick pan gravy to use in their place. Melt a couple tbsp. of butter, whisk in a couple tbsp. of flour. Cook for no more than one minute. Then whisk in a couple cups of broth. You can use a combination of broth and milk for creamier gravy. You can then add whatever spices you would like. To make more gravy, use more of each ingredient. It would only cost about 25 cents.

Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are better for us. Some people have been cured of cancer by going to an all raw fruit and vegetable diet (you can search the Internet to find stories. I am not professing to give actual medical advice.)

Honey—gels that contain honey are being used to treat drug resistant strains of MRSA and diabetic ulcers; honey is a poor environment for growth of microorganisms and bacteria;
it is being proven that antioxidants in honey reduce damage done to the colon in colitis; honey is great for sore throats and coughs—mix it with lemon juice, consume slowly and it will coat the throat which lessons discomfort as well as heals because of the antibacterial and antiseptic qualities of honey; honey may also reduce odors, swelling, and scarring; honey prevents a bandage from sticking to a wound; it has been shown to effectively treat conjunctivitis in rats; honey is sometimes used to alleviate allergies (if local honey is used)

Make your own mixes to control ingredients and tailor to your needs. By making your own pancake mix you can use whatever flour you need and control the salt. By making your own turkey sausage, you are leaving out the preservatives.

Most Americans don’t eat enough vegetables. When a casserole recipe calls for one vegetable, either double the amount you put in or add another. Not only will you increase your vegetable intake, you will stretch the meal!

Make sure you get your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins, and nutrients. Add a salad to your meal. Use fruit in your meal. Whatever you need to do to up your intake, try to do it and your body will thank you!

Eat food that isn’t genetically modified (or at least as the closest you can get it to not being genetically modified) or with added hormones or antibiotics. Whatever is in the food is going to go into your system and could have dire consequences after years of build-up or even after one time. You can easily replace venison for beef in your recipes.

Use real butter or other healthy oils. It may be a major controversy of margarine vs. butter, but butter is closer to natural. Margarine may be a lot cheaper, but is your health (and the health of your family) worth it? The thing that sealed the deal for me is that cockroaches won’t even eat margarine! That tells you how bad it is. To make using butter even better, use unsalted butter. Coconut oil is also a great alternative to melted butter or shortening. Olive oil (extra virgin olive oil is best) is great not only for you, but helps with dry skin and makes your hair shiny.

When Blessings Turn to Baals

I read an eye opening post about when things that are truly blessings become so important to us that we feel deprived without them; therefore, place them in higher priority than where they should be. Read the post at At The Well.

Children: Heritage or Possession?

Children: Heritage or Possession?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When We Aren't Enough

"We don’t deserve godly husbands. Godly family lives. Godly relationships in general. We don’t deserve the house we live in, the car we drive, the job we have, the dreams we dream. We don’t deserve the last breath we took.
But we haven’t been asked to deserve it. In fact, what we did deserve -the penalty we owed -has already been paid in full. In the words of the One who ransomed us, It is finished {John 19:30}. And the Father Who poured out His wrath on His Son so that we might be justified is satisfied with the sacrifice of Christ Jesus." ~ Jasmine Baucham

Read the post in its entirety: When I'm Not Enough

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Call for Repentance

I am gleaning so much from reading through the Psalms!

Following the Psalm calling for Israel's restoration is a Psalm that appeals for Israel's repentance. As I compared the United States to Israel yesterday, the call for our repentance is the same.

8 “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you!
         O Israel, if you will listen to Me!
 9 There shall be no foreign god among you;
         Nor shall you worship any foreign god.
 10 I am the LORD your God,
         Who brought you out of the land of Egypt;
         Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
 11 “But My people would not heed My voice,
         And Israel would have none of Me.
 12 So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart,
         To walk in their own counsels.
 13 “Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
         That Israel would walk in My ways!
 14 I would soon subdue their enemies,
         And turn My hand against their adversaries.
 15 The haters of the LORD would pretend submission to Him,
         But their fate would endure forever.
 16 He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat;
         And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”
How many times has God protected our country? How many times has He provided for us? We have been a blessed nation because we were a Christian nation, but times are changing. God is not going to continue to bless a nation who mocks Him. We need to turn from our evil ways and walk in His ways.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What is the Thief in Your Home?

We are often times distracted from being the wife/mother we are called to be by things we allow in our own homes. Do you spend too much time watching television? Do you spend too much time on the computer? Even if you don't spend too much time on-line, you may get sucked into computer games. Does a hobby (or hobbies) take too much of your time?

I think it is important to examine what might be stealing your time and energy from your calling as a wife and mother every once in a while. It's been a while since I downsized my FB contacts and removed myself from some email subscriptions because I noticed the computer was taking too much of my time. While I do well with my FB time, I think it is time to look at  my email subscriptions again. The hard part is I am often fed spiritually by the devotions and blog posts I receive in my email so it is difficult to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. It is definitely a matter of prayer.

If you have the time and it won't take you away from your duties, please read The Thief, a post from At The Well (one of the email subscriptions I will be keeping!).

The Great Diconnect of Christianity: "God Loves Me" is Not the Message

The Great Diconnect of Christianity: "God Loves Me" is Not the Message

Grieved Heart

My heart has been grieved for our nation for a long time. It just seems to continually get worse and worse. Honestly, I'm beginning to think that God has lifted His hand of protection from us and is allowing us to deal with what we thought we wanted.

Today I was reading Psalm 80 and it really made me think of the United States. Just as Psalm 80 is a prayer for Israel's restoration, we need to make it a prayer for our restoration.

O Lord God of hosts,
How long will you be angry
Against the prayer of Your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
And given them tears to drink in great measure.
You have made us a strife to our neighbors,
And our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!
~Psalm 80:4-7

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Space for Grace

I've been having a rough week. In addition to some type of sickness running through my family, I was having a tough emotional time. Wednesday was the worst (probably because I was beginning to get sick myself). When the devotional A Space for Grace came into my email in-box on Thursday morning, I should have read it right then, but I didn't want to take the time so I put it off. I finally read it this morning and boy is it something I needed to hear!

If you struggle with the ups and downs of life, then please take a moment to check it out.