One of the most expensive items in your shopping cart will be meat. Actually it probably is your most expensive item. You can definitely find sales and shop in bulk to cut down in cost, but another thing you can do that will actually make a difference is go meatless for a couple of meals a week. You’ll see your grocery bill go down a bit. But don’t worry, you don’t have to sacrifice taste for your wallet.
Here are some great meat alternatives.
1. Black beans and chickpeas. Most recipes that call for ground beef like tacos or spaghetti sauce are actually quite good with either of these alternatives. They mostly soak in whatever spices you put on them making it even better! I do highly suggest rinsing both of them before preparing them though. Cans of these items are incredibly inexpensive too!
2. Veggies! Yes vegetables are a great meat alternative. When you are making something like lasagna substitute the meat with eggplant or strips of zucchini You seriously won’t miss it! I bet even your kids dive into it with open arms.
3. Tofu. Although it’s not as cheap as say black beans, it is cheaper than meat. And remember this too takes on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked in so it’s a great alternative for protein without the pricetag.
4. Nuts. No, I’m not crazy, they are a great alternative. I recently tried a curry dish using no meat, but just using raw cashews that I soaked in water for a couple of hours and roughly chopped. It was A-MAZ-ING. Almonds are awesome too!
What are some dishes you cook without meat?
Whether you were rooting for the Ravens or the 49ers, the game is over and your guests have (hopefully) gone home. But are you stuck with a lot of leftovers? Here are some practical uses for some common Superbowl food.
1. Artichoke dip pasta. Just in case any of this made it out uneaten, it’s amazing cooked in pasta. Cook fettuccine noodles like normal, then drain. Put back into the pan and stir in leftover dip. You’ll have to adjust according to how much dip was left, but this is amazing!
2. Freeze/cut up your veggies. There is no need to throw away the vegetables from your veggie trays. Use them in recipes that call for cut up veggies. Throw your carrots into a pot roast or cut up your celery and throw it in your freezer. There aren’t many veggies from those trays that won’t translate into another recipe.
3. French toast from rolls! We always have rolls leftover from parties. We love to buy them for little sandwiches, but we always have too much. In addition to more sandwiches the next day, those rolls make amazing french toast.
4. Lunch meats. If you have leftovers lunch meats for sandwiches or whatever, they are great for chopping up into omelets.
5. Donate it! There are so many charities and places that need food. Call and see if you can bring some properly stored leftovers. They would most likely love it!
Some things you shouldn’t keep or reuse are items that were left out for a long time with mayo or sour cream in them.
My husband is obsessed with ham lately. I am not a big fan, but I am a big fan of how many meals I get out of one ham! The one we got was HUGE so it will go far. Here is what I have so far.
1. Ham with macaroni and cheese. It doesn’t get much more basic than this, but the first day I just make a regular ham. But I put mine in the crockpot so it’s less work for me.
2. Split pea soup. Is there honestly a better thing to do with a hambone? I think not. It’s super easy to make and again, I just throw it all in the crock pot and forget it until it’s time to eat. HERE is the recipe I use.
3. Potato soup. THIS recipe will change your life. It’s the BEST potato soup of all time. This one doesn’t call for meat, but I throw in ham or bacon and it’s wonderful. It also is in the crockpot which makes it easy on me. Are you seeing a theme here?
4. Ham and cheese omelets. These are great to use your leftovers for breakfast. We don’t eat a lot of meat for breakfast so this is a great way to mix it up. You can also try a breakfast casserole too!
5. Sandwiches! If you happen to have any leftovers, just make sandwiches. I really think this may be my husband’s true reason for wanting ham. And honestly it doesn’t get much easier.
What do you do with your leftover ham?
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As a mom I am always looking for ideas for cheap snacks. It’s no secret that junk food is cheap, but there are tons of options out there for healthy snacks. Here are some ideas for you and your family.
1. Hummus. Oh how I love hummus! And it’s not the store bought kind that is cheap, but if you make your own, it’s less than $2!
All you need is
4 garlic cloves
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
Throw it all in a food processor and that’s it! Homemade hummus that is cheap and healthy!
2. Carrots. Half a cup of carrots costs around $.50. Don’t buy the baby carrots since they can be more expensive, but the sticks you have to peel yourself are very inexpensive. And carrots are so yummy!
3. Plain popcorn. This is a great healthy food as long as you don’t put tons of junk in it. All you need is a brown paper bag, some olive oil and popcorn kernels. Doing it THIS way is about a 1/4th of the cost of even the healthy brands of bagged popcorn and it’s just as easy to make.
4. Edamame. This is my most favorite snack ever. It’s so yummy and your can find it at Costco or in most freezer sections. They are crazy cheap, very filling and just plain tasty! LOVE it!
5. Boiled eggs. This may be obvious, but eggs are cheap and full of protein which keeps you fuller longer. They don’t call it the incredible edible egg for no reason!
It’s January 7th which means many of you are a week into your New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier. You may also be noticing that eating junk is sometimes a little cheaper. Sad to say that is generally true. However, we are always posting deals on healthy foods too, so make sure you keep checking out Thrifty Divas for some awesome deals.
Also, here are some ways to keep those resolutions going while not breaking your wallet.
1. Measure everything. Part of healthy eating is proper portions. I know my huge problem (no pun intended) is overeating. Overeating also obviously costs more because more food is consumed. By measuring everything, you’ll eat less and of course, save money.
2. Drink water. Ditch the sodas and high calorie lattes and switch to water. It’s VERY cheap and way better for you.
3. Buy frozen vegetables. Fresh veggies are better for you most of the time, but honestly the difference it’s huge from fresh to frozen. Especially because most frozen foods are flash frozen right after being harvested. Frozen is cheaper than fresh vegetables.
4. Meal plan! This is always a plus, but if you want to stay healthy in your eating AND save money, you MUST plan for it. It’s too easy when you are hungry to throw in the towel and eat out or just whatever you can get your hands on. Failure to plan will result in failure!
5. Don’t buy anything in a box. This is a great rule of thumb if you are trying to get healthy. I once heard a nutritionist say you should only shop on the outer sections of a grocery store. Then you mostly get fresh produce and dairy. I think that’s a great plan for a healthier you!
6. LOVE beans! If you are dieting, beans are great for you. They are full of fiber and are incredibly CHEAP!
7. Don’t sign up for anything. This time of year Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and 24-hour fitness are being bombarded with new memberships. Nothing is wrong with these companies, but generally people sign up for these things around the New Year and end up going off their plan and being stuck paying for something they aren’t using. It’s such a waste of money! Instead, try it on your own for a month and if after that you want to join a gym or some other weight loss program, do it! You are more likely to stick with it once you’ve done it on your own.
What are you doing for a more healthier you?
What’s a Christmas without treats? I love baking, and decorating cookies with my children and having boxes and boxes full of treats. Unfortunately though, desserts like most food can get expensive. So I went on a mission to find 3-4 ingredient desserts. This way the cost is cut way down and it will also make my crazy holiday life a little less stressful.
Here’s what I have so far.
What You Need
- 1 (6 ounce) package Skor English toffee bits
- 1 box Ritz cracker
- 1 can Eagle Brand Condensed MilkWhat To Do
- Crush the Ritz into fine crumbs and put in mixing bowl.
- Add 3/4 of the Skor bits 3/4 of the pecans and the can of Eagle Bran milk and mix well.
- Press into a 9 inch buttered square pan.
- Sprinkle the remaining Skor bits and pecans on top.
- Cook at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.
- Cool 100%.
Rolo Pretzel Awesomeness
What You Need
- Mini pretzels (regular or square)
- Toasted pecans
What To Do
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
- Line a cookie sheet with foil.
- Place the pretzels on the cookie sheet and top with one Rolo each.
- Bake for three minutes.
- Remove from the oven and press on topping of choice. I really liked having cashews as our topping.
Peanut Butter Drops
What You Need
- 2 Cups Crunchy Peanut Butter
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 2 large Eggs
What To Do
- Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl.
- Drop spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and press down with palm of hand.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.
I am constantly saying, “make, don’t buy.” But in almost all instances it’s cheaper to buy a rotisserie chicken then to even make your own. Our Costco has them for $4.99 a piece. That is a seriously cheap piece of meat! Most other stores I’ve seen that carry rotisserie chickens don’t cost much more than that. When I bought mine a few days ago, I challenged myself to get as many meals out of it as possible and as of tonight, I got 3! For a family of 4, I am impressed! Aren’t you?
Here’s what I did.
Rotisserie chicken in pieces served with peas and mashed potatoes.
Approximate cost was $3.69 for the WHOLE meal!
Chicken salad on dinner rolls.
I make mine with mayonaise, purple grapes and walnuts. I keep it very simple and if you don’t have these things in your house just improvise.
Approximate cost was $3.66. I didn’t buy a thing for this those. It was all stuff I had on hand.
Chicken noodle soup (or something like it)
By this time, I didn’t have a lot of meat left, but there was still some left! I actually put the chicken “carcass” in the crockpot, covered it half way with water and 2 cans of chicken broth. I also added chopped celery, onion (both yellow and green), carrots, a bay leaf and couple of minced garlic cloves. Then I added a little salt and pepper to taste. I let it cook for about 6 hours. Then I took the carcass out and got more of the chicken off of it and threw the bones away. I chopped up some raw spaghetti noodles very roughly and threw them in the crock pot. I let it cook until the noodles were soft and DONE! It was awesome!
Approximate cost was only $2.25!
What do you do with rotisserie chicken!?