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  Diana's Menu& Recipe Box 

Home/Fit & Fare/Vegetarian/On the Grill/Leftovers/Breakfast/Sauces/Gravy/Dips & Dressings/Menu for a Month/Cooking Tips/Frugal Living

The Menu

Soups

Salads

Appitizers

Subs & Wraps

Beef

Chicken

Pork

Turkey

Seafood

Other Meats

Meatless

Sides

Veggies

Breads

Desserts

Beverages

Frugal Living - Saving Time and Money

Movie Rentals. Share the cost of movies with a friend or two or three. Instead of renting movies on your pay-per-view or the video stores, swap movies with friends. When you all have watched everything everyone has and you have to rent, split the rentals with the friends. Some "new releases" are only allowed for two nights, you can split the cost of the rental with a buddy. You watch the movie one night and the friend gets it the other. Some rentals can be had for 4 or 5 nights. Share those rentals with as many friends and really save a bundle! Now everyone gets to see new movies, but at a fraction of the cost.
Going Out. Instead of you and your friends meeting out at a club or pub on Friday or Saturday nights, take turns meeting at each others places. Everyone bring something to drink, a snack and a music CD. Have kids? Share the cost of babysitters too!
Driving to work. O.K., I know it shouldn't have to be said, and I know it may be a little inconvenient, but, carpool. If it costs you $50 in gas per week to get back and forth to work now, pooling with a buddy will save you and them over $100 every month, that's $1250 for the year! Carpool with a few friends and take turns who is driving, you and your carpooling buddy's are really racking up the savings! Don't have anyone in your office going your way? Check craigslist.com, there are probably people there looking, or you can post a listing yourself, its free!
Babysitters. Instead of paying the high cost of babysitters, swap kids with a friend. Now you both save a bundle and get a break too! If you and your friend are going to be gone together, use one sitter at one home and split the cost. Of course throw the sitter a little extra since he/she has more kids and responsibility. Now everyone makes out, the kids get company or an overnight, the sitter makes a little more cash, and you and your friend save money!
Shopping. New is for Christmas and birthdays. Other times, it doesn't have to be new. Shop at thrift stores and garage sales. You can get what you want for a fraction of the cost. (Of course underwear and socks and shoes must be new and not used) Bikes that the kids will outgrow anyway, buy used. I get my work clothes at a thrift store, it saves me a bundle of money! In need of a dining table, lawn mower, building material or kitchen gadgets? Check out craigslist.com. Look in the free section first, you'd be amazed at what you can find there! 
Cleaning. Clean the bathroom sink while your brushing your teeth. Clean the tub after you get the kids out and pull the drain. After emptying out your trash can, use it for a mop bucket. The floor and the trash can gets clean at the same time. 
 
 

 

Frugal Feeding - Saving Time and Money

First, if you don't already have a freezer, get one. You'd be surprised to find out how easy it is to get one free or very cheap. People upgrade freezers and need to get rid of the one they had. The old one still works great and these people hate to see it go to the dump when someone else can get good use out of it. The first freezer I had was a small chest freezer. A few years later, I obtained a large chest freezer. Both these I got free. The last one I got was a large upright, brand new, only $350. I used some of the money I saved on food by having a freezer to buy it. Many things freeze and reheat nicely, having a place to put this kind of stuff would save both  money and time!
Recycle freezer bags and containers as these are soooo expensive!. I will toss out a used freezer bag if it is very greasy and difficult to wash, however, if it had pancakes, potatoes or other things that don't leave behind a very greasy residue, I'll wash them out. I will turn them inside-out and wash and leave inside-out overnight to be sure they are completely dry. Then I turn them right-side out again. When completely dry, they go back into the box they came out of.
Buy large turkeys instead of smaller ones as you have more meal opportunities for the months to come. Buy turkeys around Thanksgiving time when they are the cheapest of year. Portion off and freeze all the leftovers, including carcass, other bones and skin.
Save and freeze all poultry carcasses, bones and skin for an extra meal or two instead of throwing them out. These make great soups, stews and/or stock for easy, yummy meals, sauces or gravy's.
If you make real homemade mashed potatoes, use the whole bag. You can package the leftover mashed potatoes to put in the freezer and microwave or pot heat at a later date for another meal with real mashed potatoes, and you don't have to repeat all that work again!
Making soup? Make a large stock pot to have enough for plenty of leftovers. Portion in small containers or freezer bags and freeze. These can be used individually for lunches or dinners on "Fend for Yourself Night". Perfect for microwave heating and something hot on a cold day without the work or expense of going out or prepackaged, and HEALTHIER TOO!!
If you make French toast, waffles or pancakes for a meal, make an extra loaf as long as you are there cooking it. These can be frozen and used at a later date. For a quick warm breakfast, snack or meal, simply put in a toaster! Extremely cheap compared to buying already made and frozen. Perfect for "Fend for Yourself Night".
Using a full roll of breakfast sausage, I make the patties and cook them all. I end up with twice what I need for the meal I'm preparing, so I freeze the rest which heat up nicely at a later date in a microwave or fry pan.
I usually only need half a package of bacon, so I cut it in half and put each half into freezer bags and freeze until I need bacon.
Save all your bacon grease. I prefer to freeze mine using inexpensive sandwich zipper bags. Many recipes call for bacon grease, this is an ingredient you just can't compromise on. Now you can easily find it in your freezer!
Save money on milk, mix half milk and half powdered. For cooking applications, use just powdered milk, it has wonderful results and costs pennies on the dollar as opposed to regular milk.
Chop and freeze veggies/herbs ahead of time. If your going to be chopping veggies or herbs for tonight's dinner, go ahead and chop more than you need and freeze. Next time you need chopped celery, onion, etc. for a recipe (dinner some night) you'll already have it saving you precious time! Peppers, onions, and celery can go straight into the freezer. For other veggies, put on an extra pot of water to boil so you can quickly blanch the extra veggies to freeze for another time. Tip: Spread out the chopped, blanched veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in freezer until fully frozen. Using a spatula, put in freezer bags and toss into freezer. Now you can easily shake them out when you need only a little.
Cooking tip: When you cook dinner tonight (or any night), make extra for another day. If your family is like mine, they might eat all of it, so when its done, portion off what you didn't intend for dinner that night and put it away (fridge, freezer). Your already in the kitchen doing the chore, you might as well save some time for another night. Many things can be made ahead, meat, pasta, potatoes, rice, veggies, almost anything. There are many recipes that call for already cooked food, now you can make them without spending the extra time!
Cooking tip: Meat juice/fat left from cooking that your not using tonight? freeze it or turn it into gravy then freeze for another time. It will come in handy when you need that extra flavor or just some meat fat/juice for a recipe. Also, you can't lose with a little gravy on hand to help throw together a very quick dinner when your on a time crunch or just don't feel like cooking!
 
 

 

 

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