Welcome to the first installment of Frugal Family 2013!
I am teaming with my sweet friends, Kelli (Adventurez in Child 'Rearing) and Sam (Sam's Noggin), to bring you weekly tips and tricks for saving money in your home and homeschool. You might find ideas for frugal meals, upcycling, travel, entertainment, and of course, cheap or free homeschooling. And since this is me, you can probably expect I'll share some great apps and Kindle freebies, too!
Each Thursday, we will be sharing our frugal ideas with a link-up where you can share yours. Our goal is to encourage you and each other. We'll also be pinning our ideas to Pinterest -- where you can find plenty of frugal solutions for saving the family money.
This week, at our house . . .
One way that most families can save is by stretching those food budget dollars. I need a lot of help in this area because I know I waste far too much food. I often stick leftovers in the fridge only to bring them out a week or two later on trash day.
However, I have discovered a bit of a gift with pot roast. It's one of those dishes that cost a bit of $$$ up front, but with careful planning, can be spread out fairly easily over 3 meals. And who doesn't like having 3 meals mostly cooked with one shot, in a slow cooker, right? I find if I plan to use it for 3 meals, I'll actually make those meals and there won't be anything to toss out on trash day. Watch for sales on roasts, too, and then buy a couple for the freezer. I found them on sale just this week for $3.49/lb. Even more frugal!
Now, our family is probably smaller than yours, but that's ok, because I feel that with these dishes, I could easily have a couple of extra mouths at the table without changing a thing. So for these recipes, I'm looking at feeding a family of 5 (unless you have 4 growing teenage boys), with one 4-lb rump roast.
How you cook your roast is up to you. But since we're being frugal, let's save time, too and make it in the slow cooker, ok? That way you can spend more time with the family.
Once the roast is cooked, it should yield just over 3 lbs of cooked meat. For meal #1, you'll serve about 1 1/4 lbs to your family, for meal #2, 1 lb and for meal #3, about 3/4 lb.
Meal #1 -- Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Rump Roast - 4 lbs
2 medium onions, quartered
3 stalks celery, sliced into chunky pieces
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced into chunky pieces
1 quart beef broth or beef stock
salt and pepper
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
Liberally salt and pepper the meat and then literally, just dump everything into your slow cooker and cook all day (10-12 hours) on low. I don't even brown the meat when I cook it in the slow cooker. It will be super tender, no worries.
I don't personally care for potatoes cooked in the slow cooker with the roast, so I usually make a batch of mashed potatoes to go along. Some yummy crusty bread will round it out nicely.
Be sure and save back all but 1 1/4 lbs of the meat and any leftover broth and veggies for the next 2 meals. You should have lots of carrots, celery, onions and broth left over.
Meal # 2 -- Easy Beef Stroganoff
1 lb. of your leftover pot roast, sliced into strips
1/2 cup of your leftover broth
1 tsp. oil
1 small onion, chopped (save the onion that's leftover for meal #3)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
pepper to taste
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 8-oz carton sour cream
cooked egg noodles
(if you're being extra frugal, replace the garlic with garlic powder and skip the extra mushrooms)
Saute the onions in oil for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and finally the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add the leftover roast beef and cook until heated through. Mix together the soup and beef broth in a bowl and then add to the meat mixture and add pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Just before serving, stir in sour cream. Serve over egg noodles, garnish with parsley Add a side salad and bread to round out your meal.
Meal # 3 -- Slow Cooker Veggie Beef Soup
3/4 lb of your leftover pot roast and all of the leftover veggies and broth
1- 16 oz can tomato sauce
1- 16 oz can diced tomatoes
1 large bag frozen soup veggies (or any veggies you wish to add -- corn, green beans, peas, limas, cabbage, potatoes--canned mixed veggies will work fine if you're being extra frugal)
1 -16 oz kidney beans (or any other bean you'd prefer)
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
hot sauce to taste
black pepper to taste
Remove the leftover roast from the broth and dice into small, bite-sized pieces. Place the meat into slow cooker with the leftover broth and veggies. Add remaining ingredients and cook in slow cooker on high for 4-5 hours, until veggies are tender. You can add more beef stock or water if needed. Serve with cornbread.
What are you favorite ways to stretch those grocery $$$? Let's chat in the comments!