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Subject:  Re: Budget Help Date:  4/3/2014  8:51 AM
Author:  2gifts Number:  308114 of 312800

I am open to suggestions for the food budget, I don't need help with what to buy but rather what to cook. I am typically exhausted at the end of the work day and so we eat a lot of convenience food. The only quick from scratch meal I know how to cook is stir fry and coconut curry. Again, in a rural area I'm stuck with big chain grocery stores, but I make use of a close by Aldi's once a month for shelf stable stuff.

I see you have gotten a bunch of suggestions on things to cook. You might also try asking on the Recipes board or even the Parenting board for more suggestions. You can always ignore the ones that don't work for you, but those folks might have some good ideas that you could use.

Do you have a separate freezer? I've always had a freezer, and I have to say that this has helped me quite a lot. I don't particularly care for grocery shopping, so I buy meat, frozen veggies, bread, butter, ice cream, etc. when it is on sale, and put it in the freezer. That way, I can decide in the morning or even the night before what we are having for dinner because I have never been successful at using menus, and this helps me because I have everything in stock. I also always froze my meat in single serving packages. That lets me take out whatever I need, and scales up and down. It also gives me the most flexibility in terms of what I decide to cook.

You can combine the freezer and the weekend cooking and make your own convenience foods for the freezer. For instance, I always make 2 lasagnas when I make those with one that we eat right away, and one for the freezer. You can cook a lasagna frozen, but it's not something you'd want to be doing during the week for that night's dinner (it does work later, though, as the kids get bigger and can throw it in the oven when they get home from school). But you can also cook the lasagna, eat dinner, and then cut what remains into individual pieces that you wrap and put in the freezer giving you a frozen lunch or dinner.

You can do that with lots of things, so you could be cooking all at once and freezing in individual portions giving you many choices of fast, home-cooked dinners during the week.

This will also help with your limited grocery shopping options because you can buy what's on sale at your local store and freeze it. And it limits your trips to the grocery store saving you time, which is also a hot commodity for you.
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