Now that you have all that free food what are you going to do with it?

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chitownmelli

Guest
This is one of my favorite things to do ~ bring home cheap or free food and turn it into a feast... or many feasts for that matter. I wanted to share some of the things I make sort of as they come to me, and invite you all to share how YOU stretch your free yum yums!

One of my favorite combos: Tomato products and ground beef. Ground beef can be had many weeks of the year for under $2/lb (some areas are very lucky and get it for .99/#) and I have had it this year as low as 1.69/# on a semi regular basis when buying 3# or more. What a coincidence, that's just how much I needed!!!!

So, with 6 of the 28oz Muir glen tomatoes gotten for free with a sale and double coupons (I like to use a mix of diced and tomato sauce) (or any kind that you use or have on hand) 3# of ground beef, assorted seasonings, and a little veg, I get to make around 4 batches of chili and about 4 batches of pasta sauce (that gets put over those free Ronzoni pastas!) And actually I nip about a half pound out of the package to put in the freezer for hamburger helper on a lazy night. Split the rest in half and go to work.

Using 2 large pots and doing all of the chopping and browning of the ground beef at once, I can have these 8 meal starters done and ready to freeze in under an hour! That is easily doubled, and when I have enough tomatoes on hand, that is exactly what I do!

We add a little pasta to our chili to help it stretch further, and I normally serve either garlic bread or bread with dipping oil alongside the spaghetti. That same spaghetti sauce can be used in other pasta dishes as well. The amount of sauce or chili per bag is enough for about 4 servings, so I would say after all of the veggies and spices are accounted for and even if I bought the ground beef at $2/#, we are looking at about .25 per serving. And that is why tomato products and ground beef are my favorite combo!!!
 
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PHmom

Guest
Wow - those are some great ideas, thanks for sharing!

This isn't exactly the same but something I make a point of doing is checking my stores' prepared foods section in the deli for markdowns. They sometimes will markdown packages of cooked chicken tenders (which can either be heated and eaten as it or used in other dishes) for less than $1 (usually around .80 or so for 4 large tenders). I also find great sides like new potato casserole for $1 or less. Sometimes I am lucky enough to have a WT (either off deli or off meat) to use so I end up getting all this stuff for free!
 
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chitownmelli

Guest
Fantastic suggestion! I have never seen markdowns of those items at my stores, I also haven't looked very hard. Perhaps I will from now on :)

Anyone else have some ideas? How about requests? What can I streeeeeetch for you?
 
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PHmom

Guest
I just thought of another cheap idea (since we had it tonight - LOL), it's not something you can freeze but we love breakfast for dinner. I was able to trade for some .75/1 Eggland's Best coupons so I got cheap eggs. Free gravy mix from doubles, free turkey sausage (turkey WT), and cheap biscuits made w/Bisquick purchased w/coupons. Very filling and hearty - even my picky six year old loves it. Also, it is very easy to keep the ingredients on hand, the turkey sausage I buy (Jimmy Dean pre-cooked) always has a long expiration date, I have eggs on hand, and the gravy mix and bisquick will keep for ages.
 
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PHmom

Guest
Oh, and I learned last Wednesday that they really mark down the deli stuff even more right before a holiday when they will not be open regular hours (they closed at 2 on Thanksgiving) - so I plan on checking on Christmas Eve for sure - LOL
 
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chitownmelli

Guest
Totally agree with you on the breakfast for dinner. We often have pancakes or waffles. It's amazing how much more you can save if you have a little time to throw the batter together from scratch, too. This is being said by someone who does not often see good deals at the grocery store for pancake mix, though.

Waffles freeze nicely. Since making waffles is not one of my favorite things to do, I normally make about 8 batches at once, and freeze what we are not eating for dinner. Then they are nice and crispy out of the toaster :)
 
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Erinne

Guest
i like to do upside down chicken pot pie. you take some canned cream soup (any kind will do, but i like either cream of chicken or celery) and some of you favorite spices, and heat it in a pot with some can chicken, or left over, or even some cut up tenders, and your favorite veggies. i use a bag of mixed veggies. bake soem biscuits and pour soup mixture over it. i do this when i have a lot of chicken or canned soups in the house. i use i bag of frozen veggies, and about 1 to 2 cans of soup, mixed with a can of milk. the chicken is whatever amount i have on hand. if you really have time, you can even cut up some taters really small, and boil them, and toss them in the last few mins of cooking.
 
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Erinne

Guest
another one i like is pizza burgers.
1 pound ground beef
i jar sauce, pizza works best, but if all you have is tomatoesauce, just add some spices
2 long french breads
2 cups mots. cheese
1 tsp oregano

mix it together to spread on bread, you can slice the bread first to make it easier to arrange on cookie sheet.
pop it in a 350 oven and bake for about 30 to40 mins, or till nice and browned and beef is fully cooked.
 

tacatcon

Mod Of The Month April 2009
Trader Group
Oh my gosh you guys have made me hungry this morning!! lol
I love breakfast for dinner too! We call it "backwards day" and even my cynical teenager is happy about it!

One thing I do with my ground beef or ground turkey (i do try to buy the ground turkey for health reasons) is "Taco Junk". This is actually a recipe I got from someone on a South Beach Diet website but it is soooo good.

I make different variations of it but my basic recipe is-

1 lb lean ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey (again I prefer ground turkey)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 envelope of taco seasoning
1 envelope of ranch dressing mix(Good seasonings or store brand-if I am out of this I just use about 1/4 cup ranch dressing)
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies or jalapenos with the liquid
1/2 jar salsa (optional but I like it in there)

mix it all up and put it in the crockpot for 4 hours on high or about 7-8 hours on low (depending on your crockpot)

You can then serve in a bowl like a chili, with cheese on top or serve in taco shells, tortilla shells, top with whatever toppings you like

I can't give you exact sizes on the cans etc-they're all regular size cans. But I'm one of those "a little bit of this, a little bit of that" cooks anyway so I just throw stuff in there til I'm happy. :biggrin:

But this recipe is healthy, full of fiber and protein a
nd so easy. Plus it tastes great!
 
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chitownmelli

Guest
T, do you brown your ground beef first, or cook it from raw in the crock pot? I'm wondering because DH looooooves tacos ~ he would eat them 3 times a week if I would let him, but if your crock pot recipe tastes good like taco fixins, I might have to start making the taco's all in one crock!!!!
 
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PHmom

Guest
Ooooh, that does sound yummy, Tara!

I love crock pot recipes, it is so nice to come home and have dinner ready and waiting!
 

bugface711

Mod of the Month 12/2010 Sǝɔᴚǝʇɐᴚʎ ʇo ʇɥǝ Quǝǝn
Trader Group
I just made a big old batch of "scrap meat" meatballs.

I have lots of pkgs of ground pork that were super duper cheap but didnt know what to do with them. I also had 2 pkgs of turkey patties. and 2 lbs of lean ground beef.

Hubby will not eat turkey patties as is, but when they are on markdown for $1.99 per pkg or .99 per pkg I grab them and use with the beef in chili to cut the cost and the fat content. Im always looking for new ways to use these up too.

Well, I defrosted all of the meat and mixed it up very well with some parm cheese, egg, garlic powder onion powder, salt and pepper. maybe something else but I do not remember. I made it into a lot of meatballs. I put them in a big pan and baked them at 350 degrees until done. I dont remember how long, but it was under 30 mins.

I drained them, washed the pan. Put the meatballs back in the pan and stuck the whole pan in the freezer for 2 hours to flash freeze. I then dumped them all in freezer bags. Now I have individually frozen meatballs ready to go for meatball subs or to have with pasta or whatever!

Hubby said these were the best meatballs he has ever had, the kids loved them too. I have individually frozen meatballs ready to rock. Win Win in my book!
 
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PHmom

Guest
Here's my favorite things for meatballs (other than spaghetti - LOL):

Use 1 can cranberry sauce (the regular jelly kind) and 1 jar chili sauce - put them in the slow cooker until the sauce is all melted and blended. You can have them as a meal over rice or as an app.
 
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chitownmelli

Guest
I discovered yesterday that home made enchilada sauce can be frozen for a couple of months.... which would pair nicely with make ahead burritos that you have frozen, or tacos that are frozen, whatever. Oh, and enchilada sauce is super easy to make and only takes like 30 minutes or less to make 3 quarts! Yeah, that's like 5 or 6 meals worth!

Now, I just need to compare the price of making my own tortillas with buying them already made..... more to come on that soon, I don't feel like doing it right now :)
 
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chitownmelli

Guest
It's time. I have been addicted to bagels for years, and now I have gone too far. I am buying them when they are not even on sale! (that is unheard of for me, btw!) luckily, I am also a fantastic bread maker. Yep, I'm going to make a ton of them and freeze them. Why? You ask? Because they are a pain in the kiester to make first thing in the morning just to have to do it again the next day! Oh, that and I got some coupons for yeast this weekend, so hey, may as well get it while the getting is good :)

I am predicting that if I use my supplies wisely and buy on sale with a coupon, a batch of a dozen bagels should cost me about $1.00 or so. I'm not sure if I will need to use 2 packets of yeast or not, so I calculated as if I used 2. That is really not bad at all seeing as I am hooked on Thomas bagels, which DH just brought me 2 packs @2.75 each! And the ones that they sell singly in the bakery with the Asiago cheese on them cost .60 each.

I am so cheap! :)

Anyone else come up with any money saving recipes this week?

Oh and I am totally addicted to that enchilada recipe that I used the other day. I used to really dislike them, and now I am ready to make a second batch!!! Oh DH is so happy!
 

tacatcon

Mod Of The Month April 2009
Trader Group
It's time. I have been addicted to bagels for years, and now I have gone too far. I am buying them when they are not even on sale! (that is unheard of for me, btw!) luckily, I am also a fantastic bread maker. Yep, I'm going to make a ton of them and freeze them. Why? You ask? Because they are a pain in the kiester to make first thing in the morning just to have to do it again the next day! Oh, that and I got some coupons for yeast this weekend, so hey, may as well get it while the getting is good :)

I am predicting that if I use my supplies wisely and buy on sale with a coupon, a batch of a dozen bagels should cost me about $1.00 or so. I'm not sure if I will need to use 2 packets of yeast or not, so I calculated as if I used 2. That is really not bad at all seeing as I am hooked on Thomas bagels, which DH just brought me 2 packs @2.75 each! And the ones that they sell singly in the bakery with the Asiago cheese on them cost .60 each.

I am so cheap! :)

Anyone else come up with any money saving recipes this week?

Oh and I am totally addicted to that enchilada recipe that I used the other day. I used to really dislike them, and now I am ready to make a second batch!!! Oh DH is so happy!

Ok as someone who only makes my grandma's bread recipe a few times a year and by hand, how the heck do you make the bagels? lol I'm serious!!

I am dying to try your enchilada recipe too cuz we love tacos and such. I'm sure that'll go over big here!
 
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chitownmelli

Guest
I also do bread by hand. After all that practice to get good at it, I haven't had the heart to buy a bread maker! I will grab some recipes to share later on and explain my madness to you all :)
 

bugface711

Mod of the Month 12/2010 Sǝɔᴚǝʇɐᴚʎ ʇo ʇɥǝ Quǝǝn
Trader Group
yes bring on the bread recipe's the tried and true yummy ones. I want to start baking bread, was just tellin hubby this, and he said oh, then I will have to get you a breadmaker, but I dont really know too much about those either so maybe i'll just try my hand at it first!
 
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heyaheather

Guest
Oh my gosh you guys have made me hungry this morning!! lol
I love breakfast for dinner too! We call it "backwards day" and even my cynical teenager is happy about it!

One thing I do with my ground beef or ground turkey (i do try to buy the ground turkey for health reasons) is "Taco Junk". This is actually a recipe I got from someone on a South Beach Diet website but it is soooo good.

I make different variations of it but my basic recipe is-

1 lb lean ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey (again I prefer ground turkey)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 envelope of taco seasoning
1 envelope of ranch dressing mix(Good seasonings or store brand-if I am out of this I just use about 1/4 cup ranch dressing)
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies or jalapenos with the liquid
1/2 jar salsa (optional but I like it in there)

mix it all up and put it in the crockpot for 4 hours on high or about 7-8 hours on low (depending on your crockpot)

You can then serve in a bowl like a chili, with cheese on top or serve in taco shells, tortilla shells, top with whatever toppings you like

I can't give you exact sizes on the cans etc-they're all regular size cans. But I'm one of those "a little bit of this, a little bit of that" cooks anyway so I just throw stuff in there til I'm happy. :biggrin:

But this recipe is healthy, full of fiber and protein a
nd so easy. Plus it tastes great!
Going on Melli's idea of cooking a ton in a little time, you could double this recipe (depending on the size of your crockpot). Then with the leftovers, I'd put some in containers as is, but I'd also make some wraps to pop in the freezer. These would taste much better than the store bought! They should defrost by lunch time. Add a Chi-Chi's Snacker and you have a quick lunch. Personally, I would add some rice to the wraps.

What else does everyone have lots of that they don't know what to do with it all?
 
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chitownmelli

Guest
I like to sneak a little rice in with all of our taco goodies.... makes it stretch even further. There is no end to what I will do to save money LOL!!!
 
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