Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tweaking a Recipe

We found this recipe for teriyaki beef. It was super simple. I mean 3 ingredients tossed into the crockpot pretty much screams simple.  But it was too sweet by the time we'd adjusted for feeding more folks so I had to do some tweaking the next time we made it.

I am finding that often when I am looking for thrifty frugal recipes, my ideas of inexpensive are vastly different than other peoples.  No, it's not frugal to put out 6 or 7 items for dinner in hopes that every child finds something they like. No, it's not frugal to allow kids to toss plates of food and go make a sandwich because they didn't like what was served. And, no, it's not frugal to allow larger portions of meat even if you are "a growing boy" or something.  Some of what is cheap for me is based on how I've been able to acquire food recently. The stuff grown at the farm was paid for in labor. The stuff purchased from the day old table at the produce stand was inexpensive. The marked down meat cuts costs. The organic grass-fed local meat, well that stuff is frugal in the sense that it is healthier for you than traditionally raised meat and will hopefully lead to fewer medical bills. It's all about balance and priorities.  I prioritize organic beef and pork right now, hormone free dairy because we can't afford organic yet, our own eggs when the birds are laying, and organic produce when we can afford it.

Anyway, I started with that simple recipe. I added a pound of carrots (less than $1), 5 medium onions (free from the farm), and a quart sized bag of sliced bell peppers (maybe 50 cents since some were from the farm, some were from the produce stand but it was about 3 bell peppers).  I stuck with 1 can of pineapple and 1 jar of sauce. Yes, it would be super awesome if you made your own sauce. I haven't gotten there yet so I buy with coupons and do my best to watch ingredient lists.  I used about a 3 pound roast for the meat. Served it over rice and it fed 12 with enough leftovers for 1 lunch the next day.

Any frugal ideas I'm missing? Please share because I am always looking for that one more hint to cut costs just a tad more.


Ashley M. said...

The only thing I can add is gardening, but I know you're already planning to do that. I think my favorite money saver this year was the butternut squash. I easily grew $50-$60 worth of butternut squash from 2 vines. It'll keep in the cellar for probably 3-4 months easily. The seeds cost $3/package for heirloom organic. I only used 2 of the 20-something seeds in the package. So $50 worth of squash for about .30 cents worth of seeds and about 15 minutes of planting effort. The mesclun lettuce mixes became another meal filler for us. That stuff grows itself from about March til...well, it's still growing now in late October. Throwing a big salad on the table with whatever other veggies are in season (radishes and carrots right now) has become a super frugal way to beef up our meals in a way that's healthy, yet essentially free. Whenever the kids said they were still hungry...they had free range of the salad bowl. That garden had us eating like kings and queens this summer. Or at least it felt that way. I'm going to miss it for the next 5-ish months.

Cheryl said...

We do plan to do about 1/2 an acre or so of a garden next year. You'll have to tell me where you got your seeds because I would prefer non-GMO if possible. And I just might have a few questions next year. But I think we'll do better this time around than we've done in the past. I hope.