Monday, December 17, 2012

Good Winter Foods and Frugal Foods

So, tonight I had a dinner that takes me back to the good old days.  We had black bean soup leftover from last night, roasted potatoes, and kale chips.

It almost didn't make it onto the table.  And I didn't get pictures.

The black bean soup is something I made yesterday.  It almost didn't get made.  I had an afternoon cookie swap with some friends, and didn't get home until late.  Luckily, I had done a lot of preparation.  I had soaked and cooked a pound of black beans in the pressure cooker in the morning.  I'd made a big batch of chicken stock on Saturday.  I chopped the carrots and onions before I left.  And I had blanched frozen broccoli in the freezer.  On the way home I was THIS CLOSE to stopping at The Habit burger grill for burgers.  What stopped me?  A few things:
1.  Dinner for 3 would have been close to 30 bucks
2.  Burgers and fries...not very healthy
3.  I had a FOOD PLAN

It did take awhile to make the soup.  We ended up bathing and feeding the baby first and eating at 7 pm (our normal is between 6 and 6:30).  I was very proud to get dinner on the table for a few bucks.

This was a "put whatever you  have in the pot" black bean soup.  Black beans, chicken stock, onion, celery, carrot, frozen peppers, cumin, garlic, oregano.  I pureed it with the immersion blender when done, and tossed in some homemade crockpot refried beans too.

I have been working on getting back into Frugality mode for my dinners.  I've been shopping the sales a bit more.  This weekend I bought a ham for Christmas for 49 cents a pound at Fresh and Easy.  I also got 10 lbs of potatoes for $2.  Now, that's a lot of potatoes for us.  They are hard to store (though this time of year, I could probably figure out how to store them in the laundry room, which is always cold, except when we are drying clothes).  Anyway, we will be eating a lot of potatoes. 

The potatoes almost didn't make it onto the table.  Or at least, the baby has been very fussy earlier.  Which means he wants to go to sleep earlier. It makes it difficult to get dinner on the table when dealing with a baby who wants to go to bed at 5:45 pm (husband doesn't come home until 6 or later).  In any event, our son and I ate first, then my husband ate while I fed the baby.

The biggest way to save money on food is to not waste food.  We have not been that great the last month.  I ended up tossing 1/2 lb of swiss cheese and 1/2 lb of havarti that just went bad.  My husband only eats the havarti on homemade bread, but we 've been eating cereal for breakfast instead. The swiss?  I've been eating it for lunch pretty often (we buy it at Costco in the 2 lb package), but it was moldy today, and I'm not sure why.  I think it's time to stop buying so much cheese.  Or at least when I do, immediately freeze half.  In my normal cooking mode it's not a problem to go through these things in a timely manner.  But in my "I have a stressful job, a first grader, and I'm nursing a baby" mode, things go bad.  Normal cooking mode: I cook what will go bad first, and if I don't think I'll get to it, then I will cook and freeze it.

For example, things I'll have to prep/cook/eat so they don't go bad: (this week)
fresh parsley
green onions
refried beans

I also have carrots and butternut squash, but those last forever.

Anyway, this is the last week of the CSA until February, so I get a good 6 or 7 week break.  During the winter, I tend to buy the same 6 things at the farmer's market, which is MUCH easier to prep and cook (broccoli, kale, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower)

I hope to have more time to post our eats and pictures in the next few weeks.  I admit that we eat about four things every week.  Two different dinners, one lunch (we eat it every day), and one night of chicken fingers and broccoli.  So, it's not terribly exciting.  I have been getting better at the crockpot, and crockpot lasagna is so laughably easy and tasty it will become a regular meal (if only I could make it with those potatoes...)


Biz said...

Turns out I eat my cheese so it rarely goes bad! My friend was just telling me about crock pot mashed potatoes, I have never made them before, but they sound amazing!

Hope you are having a good week!

Marcia said...

Thanks for the tip! I pinned it.

Joanne said...

I need to cut back a bit as well and definitely cheese is one of the major culprits. Not only is it expensive but I do often let at least a part of it go bad! No more!

Maybe you could make a carrot cauliflower soup with some of your veggies!