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Foods to help Stretch your Budget

With the current economic crisis that we are facing it is important to save ever dollar, everywhere we can. Food is not exception. While we should not sacrifice taste for the savings, there are ways to perk up less expensive food items to make them a delight to the pallet and a relief to the pocketbook.

Some good old stand bys will hold true. You can always count on beans, potatoes, rice and pasta to be filling.

Beans come in so many varieties and can be used in soups, stews, casseroles, or along with rice. They are very economical and easy to prepare. You can get them in a number of ways, canned, frozen, and dry. Check your local grocery store for the selection they have on beans and you will be amazed. They have the added value of putting vitamins and minerals into our diets, which is always a plus. Beans are a good source of protein, which can be a supplement for meals when you choose to eliminate meat.

Potatoes come in a wide selection from russet to red and you can even find them in the frozen food section. You can make potatoes in many different ways, baked, fried, boiled, stewed, and you can even microwave a potato. They can be added to soups and stews to make them more filling and things can be added to them to give them a different dimension. Adding cheese, garlic or other spices will change the flavor and touch to an old stand by.

Rice has many uses, as do all of these food items. You can add ingredients to rice that give it a pick me up or you can make gravies for the rice that add a richness and more flavor. You can use rice in casseroles and add vegetables and inexpensive meats such as chicken or cheap cuts of beef. When adding meat to a dish such as a casserole you won’t need a large quantity as you would if you were serving it as the main dish. You can cut the meat into strips or cubes and spread it out throughout the dish. Rice can be added to soups and stews that are primarily vegetables. Throw in a little sliced chicken breast or sirloin and you have a super supper.

Pasta works just as well as rice for being a good filling meal. There are endless sauces you can add to pasta and cheeses go well with most any type of pasta. Speaking of types of pasta, there are so many different styles of pasta from elbows, shells, rigatoni, spaghetti to fettuccini. You can also add small amounts of chicken, beef, or shrimp that will make the dish a culinary delight.

There are inexpensive meats that you can purchase to add to these main staple food, giving them a different flavor and making them a more filling meal.

Chicken is relatively inexpensive. You can buy breast in bulk and separate them into individual meal serving sizes and freeze them. You can later decide if you want to add them to a pasta dish, soup or casserole.

Ground turkey is also a cheat meat, and an alternative to beef. It is actually better for you. You can make a spaghetti sauce using ground turkey instead of ground beef and you can’t tell the difference. You can also make burgers from ground turkey, which is much leaner than ground beef.

Pork can be found in reasonable prices if you look for tenderloin or thin boneless chops. These are nice additions to all of the foods above. Left over tenderloin can easily be added to a strew the next day and is delicious.

Flank Steak is very reasonably priced and is great if grilled. It is also known as jiffy steaks, and London broil. Sirloin steak is another beef choice that you can usually find for a decent price. If it is pan seared and no thicker 1 ” thick it will turn out great. It is also known as top butt, butt steak, top sirloin, center-cut roast.

And finally there is beef roast itself. The cheapest cuts are blade roast, chuck roast or top chuck roast. These are great if you put them in a slow cooker and let them cook all day. Add onions, carrots, potatoes, and spices and you will have a terrific dinner.

There are ways to save on your grocery budget without loosing all the flavor and enjoyment of the meals. Using products that you can buy in bulk will help save in the long run. Sticking with the staple foods that are most filling and versatile will always help your budget stretch farther.