We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: Tasty Food on a Budget

Like many families, we're on a tight budget for, well everything. I've shared some of my deals when it comes to shopping, but today I wanted to write about serving your family tasty food even on a budget. It can be done!

Hubby could do with less flavorful food, because he doesn't complain much. But I must have flavor. If flavor isn't throwing a party on my food, I am not satisfied! Invest in spices and whatever savory veggie your family favors. We like garlic and onions.

Remember the pork chops from the other day? Well, I want to show you what I do to make it stretch by using one pork chop for an entire meal, but while still giving us a variety of flavor.

I love to marinate meat of all kinds in whatever we have on hand. Here's how it usually goes:
-In a large zip top bag, throw in your marinade ingredients. For this, it was a tablespoon of minced garlic, about 1/2 cup of soy sauce and a few teaspoons of grape jelly.

-Massage the bag for wet ingredients, shake for dry ingredients, until well blended. 

-Toss in the meat. Seal the bag with as little air in it as possible and turn it over a few times to make sure all of the meat gets coated. 

-Place in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight. Even 30 min will make a difference.

I took two others and tossed ingredients for dry rubs into the bags, added the meat and massaged the spices in.
I ended up with the beginning of 3 meals for us.
Top to bottom:
Lemon pepper, turmeric and paprika dry rub
Soy sauce, grape jelly, and minced garlic
Salt, pepper and garlic powder dry rub

So now I have the main ingredient to 3 dinners with distinctly different flavor partays. Oh yeah.

I will usually take meat that's marinaded over night and slice it up for a stir fry with veggies, or maybe fried rice or whatever else I'm in the mood to make at the moment. The options are endless and only limited by your imagination.

The trick, as many of my fabulous fellow SAHMs know, is to flesh out whatever meal you make with cheap but filling items like rice, bread, potatoes and/or lots of veggies. That way you have enough for everyone and everyone gets full, without emptying your pocket book.

As for my seemingly odd spice combos, I like to throw things together trusting my knowledge on the flavors and what I know we like. Try it, you'll be surprised at how great things turn out when you trust your preferences. It might be a total failure at first, but forget what's popular, trust your tastes and do what works for your family. Once you get more comfortable with the flavors usually stocked in your cabinets, you'll be ready to rock every meal!

Wishing you many tasty meals, Beauties!


  1. Yummy! I'll have to remember this!

  2. I like to use lemon juice in a lot of my marinades as well. It's not a kick-in-the mouth flavor, but it really does add a lot, and those containers of lemon juice are very cheap! Thanks for this post. I'm still trying to do better about shopping frugally. It's hard out in the sticks, but these ideas make it easier!

  3. Thanks, Wendy! It's been a great time and flavor saver around here :)

    Ooh, yeah, I miss using lemon in marinades, Rachel. Citrus allergies for the guys ya know ;) Ah well, it's such a great natural tenderizer in a marinade. *sigh* I'm so glad this helped spark some ideas for you!


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