Monday, October 6, 2008

Cheap Eats or Not Menu Plan Monday (take your pick)

So, let me start by saying that I'm still probably going to post menu plans here every now and then. But I think linking up with Menu Plan Monday only serves my desire for lots of hits and increasing my fame (oh,'s fame, people!) worldwide. So I'm not gonna do it.

For a while anyways.


Anyhoo, so this week I'm trying to feed my family very inexpensively. I know that with the current financial situation, probably a lot of people are. So here's my plan.

I went through my freezer and cupboards looking for any possible thing I could make into a meal. The first step is using what you've already got in the least expensive way. Go through those cupboards and try to figure out what you can do with all those canned tomatoes and half-empty boxes of pasta. Here's what I came up with.


Corn Chowder

(and Arabic stew of beef, tomatoes, peas and carrots served over rice)

Chicken with rice, broccoli and tomatoes (from the back of a Rice-a-Roni box)

Mezze (hummous, kubbeh, olives, pickles, pita bread, tabbouleh, etc.)

Shredded beef over mashed potatoes

One way to lower your grocery bill is to go meatless a few times each week. Or at least try to use meat as an accent to your meal, rather than the focus of it. An example of this would be a stir-fry that is comprised mostly of healthy vegetables with just a little meat thrown in.

Another thing is to buy what's in season and what's locally grown. Or, in more simple terms, buy what's cheapest in the produce section. This is harder for me now that we are in Doha as I'm completely baffled by much of what's in the produce section. I'm telling you there are things there I've never seen in my life. The biggest problem for me is that some of my favorite things are pretty pricey here - broccoli and celery, especially. I mean, a head of broccoli could be around $5. I tell myself all the time I'm not going to buy it, but I love it too much not too. But maybe I should try some of the things I'm unfamiliar with.

I'd love to hear what you are doing to tighten your belt. And if you have any recipes to share that help you spend less at the checkout line, I'd love it if you shared!


Traci said...

Last week I made an enormous batch of Spanish rice. Very simple, rice, tomatoes, garlic, onions with some chili powder and cumin. We ate off of it for at least 3-4 meals (burritoes, nachos) and then I froze the rest in 2 cup measures.

jennifer said...

lori- you've been tagged! i know that you can come up with 7 random/quirky things about yourself! come on over to my site for the details.

stacey said...

that is too funny-we are doing the very same thing this week. meal planning has allowed me to freeze leftovers. i only shopped for lunches, basics, and one meal yesterday. of course, i still said "what" when i paid the bill!

Marsha said...

I just did the same thing! We're eating off of a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup I just made. I noticed the date on the chicken was getting old, so in the pot it went. This, along with a salad and homemade bread... yummo!

Next will be pinto beans and rice for a couple of nights.

We're saving our pennies for our visit to Kenya in November to see our daughter and her family. So I told hubby I could cut our food budget in half! Yes, even in these economically challenging times it is more than possible. Who knows, we may even drop a few pounds in the process ;)

tammy said...

Thanks for the link to the Pasta e Fagioli! I put it on my list of soups to make for Soup Sunday. :) I posted weeks ago about how we have family dinner every Sunday and I wind up making dinner for grown kids and their significant others. I decided to make a couple of pots of soup every Sunday, throw a salad together with some bread and call it a meal. (A yummy one at that!) The leftovers will be great for the coming week. Anyway, this recipe will fit perfectly.

Lynn said...

Hi Lori,
I just learned to make fried rice, which uses leftover rice, leftover meat (pork or chicken), and leftover veggies. It's an inexpensive way to get another meal out of those wilty looking things in the fridge! Recipe's posted at my new blog,


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