In these days of spiraling prices, the age-old art of penny pinching has come into its own. Anyone who doubts that it’s an art hasn’t been into a supermarket lately. Along with so many of our friends, we despaired of ever seeing a balanced budget again.
We started by going through the check book and credit card statements and making a list to find out where the money was going. It was quite a shock. Next we tried to sort out what we actually needed and what we could do without. From there we set up a budget that we agreed to follow faithfully each week.
For my part, I found I could keep food costs down by more thorough preparation before I went shopping. First, I started by checking the local paper for grocery specials and seasonal bargains, clipping all the coupons I could find for items I planned to buy. Then using these specials and my favorite cookbooks as a guide, I made out a complete menu of meals for the entire week. (Knowing what you’ll need for each meal really cuts down on the impulse buying that is fatal to any budget).
Secondly, I found that I saved costly extra trips to the store by jotting down items as I found I needed them. That way I could include all these items in the main shopping list at the end of the week.
Then, using the menu and the “needed items” list, I could make out a complete shopping list with much less chance of forgetting something and having to go back. (How many times have you gone into a supermarket and bought just the item you went in for? I never do).
Finally, I found that by a more imaginative use of leftovers I was able to stretch one meal into two and sometimes three meals. The secret here is to dice any leftover meat into small pieces. You’ll be surprised at what a delicious meal you can create with a small amount of leftover meat – and just about any meat will do.
Here is a real gourmet favorite at our house:
Est. cooking time……………………..30minutes
How to store: Refrigerate in covered containers or freeze TV-dinner style & cover with foil.
*Recipe will serve 6-8. Changes to serve 3-4 are in parenthesis.
2 (1) C diced leftover meat, any leftover gravy, or 3 (2) bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 (1) cups boiling water.
1 can cream of mushroom soup (undiluted)
1/4 C (2 T) sherry or white wine
1/4-1/2 tsp. garlic powder or diced fresh garlic if preferred
1/4-1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4-1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. sage
pepper to taste
small amount Kitchen Bouquet
1 (1/2) C sour cream or yogurt (optional)
1/4 lb. Sliced mushrooms (or 1 small can pieces & stems)
4 (2) C cooked rice (brown rice is even better)
In a large skillet warm soup and wine, stirring constantly. Add any leftover gravy (or dissolved bouillon), seasonings and the Kitchen Bouquet and heat thoroughly, stirring frequently. If using fresh mushrooms, sauté them in a small amount of butter or margarine. Add diced meat and mushrooms to the soup and gravy mixture. Sour cream or yogurt may be added 5 minutes before serving. Reheat. Delicious served piping hot over fluffy rice.