Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thrifty Thursday!

On Thursdays, I'm going to attempt to share some of my favorite tips and secrets for living on a budget. Being a stay at home mom with my babies has been the best blessing I could have imagined, but it has also made me learn more ways than I ever imagined to stretch a buck.

*Tip #1: Always swing by the meat department to check out the deals. Target will often price cut meat a day before the expiration date. Stock up! You can freeze this meat safely for several months.

*Tip #2: Always check out the end caps or grocery carts with marked down items. Sometimes these items are marked super cheap because the name brand is changing labels or because the store needs shelf room for new items. This can be a fun way for your family to try new things that would normally exceed the budget.

Here are two fun meals our family enjoyed this week because of cheap deals!

Meal 1: Buffalo Burgers on Herb Buttered Toast, Brown Rice Chips & Cucumber SalsaThis meal was completely made up of bargains I found at the grocery stores:

Buffalo Burger Sliders were price cut to $1.19 for a package of 10!
(bought 2--used one, froze one)
Since we didn't have buns, I cut circles out of wheat bread we found for 99 cents a loaf!
(again, bought an extra loaf to freeze) To make the bread seem fancy and "on purpose" I mixed some butter with garlic seasoning and toasted it on the grill.
The Brown Rice Chips were from a Costco mark down. $1.99 for a HUGE bag. These chips are also a pretty healthy choice when it comes to chips: low fat, low sodium, whole grain...moderation is the key!
The Cucumber salsa was a mark down at Target for $1.04. It was a tasty risk that turned out pretty well: everyone liked it!

Meal cost:
Burgers: $1.19
Lettuce: $ .99
Bread: $ .99
Chips: $1.99
Salsa: $1.04
Total: $6.20 plus we had leftovers of everything!

Obviously this was a one time meal--not something that will probably stay on our regular menu. That's sort of the excitement of searching out good deals--you never know what fun things you'll get to try!

The next meal we saw on the Rachael Ray Show earlier this week. Cody thought it looked really good, but of course, I didn't really have exactly all the ingredients. So we improvised! It turned out really yummy!

Greek Sausage with Flat Bread and Spinach SaladRachael Ray's Recipe:
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 links fresh lamb sausage or other sausage
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano, 1/3 palmful
Salt and pepper
1 15-ounce can petite fire-roasted diced tomatoes, slightly drained
1 15-ounce can butter beans such as Furmano’s brand, rinsed and drained well

Pita other flat bread
6 cups spinach, loosely packed, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/4 cup black pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Heat a large cast-iron or oven-safe skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon EVOO, one turn of the pan, and add sausage. Brown the links a few minutes on each side to crisp casings then remove to a plate.

Add another tablespoon EVOO, a turn of the pan, along with the onions and garlic, and season with oregano, salt and pepper. Cook onions to soften, 6-7 minutes, then add tomatoes and beans, and stir to combine.
Nestle the reserved sausages back in the pan and transfer to oven for 10 minutes to finish cooking sausages through. Wrap pita or flat breads in foil and place in the oven for 2-3 minutes before removing sausages.
Meanwhile, combine spinach with feta and olives, and dress with lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO and black pepper.
Garnish the sausage and beans with the parsley and serve with spinach salad and warm bread alongside.
Londa's Recipe:
We used Italian Turkey Sausage that I had in the freezer from a price cut sale at Target. Instead of adding the beans, I just used double to amount of tomatoes. Remember these? Instead of pita bread, we used whole wheat flatbread that I found at Fareway for 99 cents! Speaking of Fareway, they had spinach on sale for 99 cents, too! We didn't have the feta, olives, or special dressing, but we used a little Italian blend cheese and our own dressing. Thankfully our kids love any sort of salad! It was a super colorful meal that was just as tasty...and a bargain to boot!

Meal cost:
Turkey Sausage $ .99
Tomatoes free
(canned diced tomatoes would work & aren't that expensive if you buy the store brand)
Flatbread $ . 99
Spinach $ .99
Cheese $ .99
Total meal cost: $3.96 plus we had leftovers for lunch!

There you have it, my first two thrifty tips! Put on your price cut radar and have fun shopping!


Katie@The Baby Factory said...

I have also heard {via a very reliable source} at the end of the night EVERY NIGHT that Fareway has to get rid of their 90% lean GB. SO....many times they will give people really good deals on it!
Thanks for the tips.
Yummy looking recipe :)

peter marie said...

Fun! Now I have a reason to look forward to my Thursdays!!

Those look very tasty...and I love that they are so cheap!

Anonymous said...

Londa, here's my thrifty moment for the week. I was thinking to myself yesterday, "Londa would be so proud . . ." I bought a whole chicken at HyVee last night for $1.77. Threw it in my deep covered baker (Pampered Chef--so thankful for it!) with some rosemary and thyme from my garden (now frozen), Paprika, garlic salt, pepper, and microwaved it for 25 min. Super quick, delicious, Andrew and Titus loved it, and today I used the leftovers for two more meals: added shredded chicken to a black bean soup in the crock pot for tonight and boiled the bones for chicken stock for the next soup I make. Slowly but surely, I'm learning too! :) Jess