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frugal hints/tips/recipes for tough times

With hubs now off work for nearly 4 months, 5 kids and 2 mortgages to support, I am really feeling this "downturn", or whatever current weasel word "they" are using to describe the current economic situation.

And I am really trying to save in the food department. I have some tried and true old faves from my 10 years as a single mum, but some of my old staples, like shanks (which I used to buy in the dog food section at 50c each) have now trendied themselves off my frugal foods list.

I used this recipe for a salad over the weekend, http://www.changs.com/recipes/view-re... where I subbed pine nuts for cashews, because I had them (and all other ingredients) on hand.

After the BBQ, I realised I had some undressed salad left over, so I stir fired it off, added some chicken thighs, the dressing and some peanut butter, topped it with some leftover noddles and called it "satay" chicken and veggies.

An excellent outcome for salad that would otherwise have been throw away.

What are your frugal tips and hints for surviving the recession that out (Australian) government says we aren't having?

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  1. Eat more beans and not canned ones either. Start with the dried beans and split peas.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gafferx

      I totally agree with "eat less meats." Dried lentils are dirt cheap and pack a nutritional punch. Cooked with a little bok choy or spinach added at the end, it's phenomenal. And, of course, as has been discussed at much length on this board recently in many related threads, buy local and buy seasonal as far as fresh fruits and veggies. Incorporate more whole grains...oats here in the U.S. bought in bulk are still close to .79 per pound.

      Purple Goddess...please also check out the SOUP SOUP SOUP thread below...tons of great ideas there too.

    2. Consider growing some of your own food if possible, even if it's herbs in the kitchen window and hot peppers on the porch.

      1. Some of the "on toast" meals from when my mom was growing up in the 30s/40s are both frugal and tasty--real, old-fashioned comfort food: dried beef gravy/chipped beef on toast (a.k.a. SOS), peas on toast, creamed eggs on toast.

        Breakfast for dinner can be an inexpensive option, too--be it pancakes or waffles or some sort of quiche or frittata.

        Goulash (a.k.a American Chop Suey)--ground meat (was always beef when I was growing up, but ground chicken or turkey works, too) in tomato sauce (sometimes tomato soup!) with onions and peppers and pasta.

        Oh, and speaking of beans below, pasta e fagiole ("pasta fazool"/pasta with beans) is filling and tasty, too. Polenta is easy/filling/inexpensive, too...and can be dressed up or down as you wish.

        1. Whole chickens are a much better deal than pieces. Cut them up as you wish, or roast them whole and use the meat. Use the carcass for soup. Eggs are also a great, cheap source of protein.

          1 Reply
          1. re: AmyH

            Also, often butchers will cut up a whole chicken for you, but not charge you for it. I save the backs/wings/neck for stock, and the livers for chicken liver pate.

          2. In the US (I can't speak to Australia), hams will be on special in anticipation of Easter. Good spiral sliced hams on special are a very frugal deal, because nothing gets wasted (so long as you cook them right). I get the shank half, so I have a bone. Otherwise, picnic shoulder will suffice.

            Smoked meat (like sausages in general) can be used for a long time as a condiment with salads, soups, grains, pulses, and eggs, et cet. It's one of the signature ways the poor have long eaten meat, for that reason.

            I cook the ham the Cooks Illustrated way, and then make CI's split pea soup.

            1. Bless your heart! Five kids, two mortgage and an unemployed husband sounds like more challenge than any mom should have to bear! Don't know what part of Australia you live in, but if you're anywhere comfortably close to the ocean, now's the time to have your husband (and/or you) take up fishing and scuba diving. Hunting works too. There is just no beating free food!

              Soups are probably the next best thing to free food. Split pea soup, black bean soup, avgolemono soup, egg drop, hot and sour. And don't forget chowders and fish stews. And corn chowder is good too. Mussel stew made with milk, and a crusty loaf of bread for sopping is one of my favorites.

              Eggs! Nature's piggy bank in a shell. Quiches can be very economical, and don't absolutly have to have a block of cheese in each one! Savory custards are another option that is often overlooked. An old traditional Japanese home cooked dish hollows out acorn squash, cuts a bit off the bottom so they stand upright, drop in a large shrimp or piece of chicken, a few slices of mushroom, some threads of nori or a bit of greens such as spinach, fill with a savory custard and bake until squash is tender and custard is done. How else can you make a grown man feel satisfied with one shrimp for dinner?

              There are some great Middle Eastern dishes that stretch a pound of ground meat by a country mile. Many of them combine the ground meat (often lamb) in a pilaf, then stuff hollowed out vegetables such as zucchini or eggplant with it and roast.

              Chicken... I can get at least three different meals out of one chicken when I have to. Chicken and dumplings will fill a lot more bellies with one small chicken than chicken pot pies can dream of.

              Here's hoping your husband finds a job yesterday for at least half again as he made before! Meantime, you're not just a purple goddess, you are a bona fide Super Mom! And some day in the future, your kids will be sharing warm and wonderful stories of their mom performing food miracles all through the Great Recession. Maybe they'll even be sharing them on Chowhound? '-)

              1. Great Depression Cooking on Youtube has some interesting ideas:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuMkW3...

                1. Many great suggestions here already! Don't forget homemade pizza. The dough can be as simple as flour, water, and yeast, and you really don't need much in the way of toppings -- dibs and dabs of leftovers can result in something exotic and delicious. Cheese is by no means mandatory. Let the kids suggest ideas, and help make the pizzas.

                  Best of luck to you!

                  1. Bake at least some of your own bread - maybe not for brown-bagging lunches unless you are a proficient baker. But amateurs can get excellent results with the Jacques Pepin one-pot no-knead yeast bread and Tibetal flatbread, and the various no-knead methods currently popular. These are fine for "on toast" entrees and the bread accompanying dinner entrees.

                    Try making your own pasta. Depending on their ages, this is something your kids might be able and interested in doing.

                    In general, get the kids involved in buying and preparing food. It teaches useful life skills and participating in meal preparation lessens the chance of them refusing certain foods. Within limits, let them have input into the weekly menu. When food shopping, divide your list and assign them items to fetch. Even elementary school age kids can pick over dried beans, tip and tail fresh green beans, peel onions. Teenagers can and should learn to use peelers and paring knives without wasting a lot of the ingredient.

                    If your family doesn't like liver and other offal, find recipes using them that will turn them into fans. Soaking it in milk makes a difference for some folks.

                    Don't waste vegetables. Dress salads on individual plates unless you are certain that the whole bowl will be eaten - your leftover salad stir-fry is genius but wouldn't work with creamy or cheesy dressing. The tops of beets and radishes are delicious braised with onions and balsamic vinegar. Freeze trimmings for use in stock; ditto bones, chicken skins, shrimp shells, gristle, and salad.

                    Many people don't know that often when the body needs water we can interpret the signals as hunger. If anyone in the family is overweight, make a point of drinking that half-gallon of water daily for adults, less for children. Dilute non-carbonated cold vegetables with water, starting with a small amount and increasing gradually. Try to eliminate carbonated beverages, or limit your kids to one a day. They are pricy, damage teeth, and generate a lot of waste. I went from diet cola to diet ice tea and eventually to water. Except in hot weather, I prefer it at room temperature - it's easy to chug a whole pint of water if it's not very cold.

                    1. Do you have a pressure cooker? They can tenderize the cheapest cuts of meat into fillet like tenderness and save energy ($$) while doing so.

                      I don't know if you have been following the Ottolenghi thread but there are many wonderful dishes in the book based on salads and grains. I made the quinoa and rice salad last week. Packed full of nutrition and sooo delicious. It is a British publication so your public library may have a copy.

                      Years ago, about 1981 I was employed by a local supermarket in my Home Economist capacity. I was there n the store to asist shoppers with dietary issues, food prep and general cooking information. We live in a college town and a lot of students had to watch their food dollars. One came to me and asked "what kind of soup has the least amount od sodium and fat in it?" i of course replied homemade. She said "Can you do that?" I said of course and walked her over to the meat department, showed her some chicken wings that were dirt cheap and explained how to make chicken stock and then how she could enrich it by adding different ingredients. Her last question left me stunned. "Can you make other flavors?" Poor thing thought soup came in cans. I had to wait until later to decide whether to cry or laugh.

                      Something my mother use to do with 4 kids to feed and my dad stationed in Labrador and we were pretty much living off of her teacher's salary was make a pot roast for Sunday dinner and then build several meals around it through out the week, like soup, beef and barley casserole etc. To this day I'm not crazy about pot roast.

                      1. Not due to the recession but something I discovered a little while back. Use a block of soft tofu and mix it into ground meat. Seriously, you can't taste the tofu and your meat will be light and not as heavy. About a year ago, I had an extra block of tofu and decided to mix it into my ground pork (similar to meatloaf but chinese style), since then I've enjoyed it and so does hubs.

                        Rice dishes such as paella (just use chicken and sausages) and biriyani requires less meat but the dish will turn out great.

                        Shop wisely. In my neighbourhood, the asian stores are always cheaper when it comes to grocery shopping. Buy what's on sale.

                        1. That reuse plan, like your stir-fry from salad, is one of my biggest strategies. I'm insane about not wanting to waste anything, and it makes me furious when I discover I've let something go bad through inattention.

                          Just last night, I had gotten sick of eating a pot of beans I made a few days ago, so I whirled them in the food processor with some lemon juice and raw garlic to brighten the flavors, and ended up with a new dip that I enjoyed as much as the original dish.

                          I ALWAYS do my shopping according to sales. If bell peppers are four for a dollar and I'd been thinking about cauliflower, I get the peppers and wait till cauliflower is on sale. Same with meat and fish. Shop first, then decide what to make when you get the stuff home. This is helpful only if your family likes a lot of different foods. I'm lucky not to be cooking for any picky eaters.

                          And your being on this board probably means this isn't a concern of yours anyhow, but cutting out prepared foods makes the single biggest savings in anyone's pocketbook. I just don't know how people can shell out for things like boxed noodle mixes or especially all those frozen heat-and-eat things. It's just astounding to me how much money people lay out for that stuff.

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: dmd_kc

                            I am totally in agreement. The newest mind boggler to me was frozen rice. I lb. cooked white or brown rice for something like $2.99

                            1. re: Candy

                              NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Frozen rice????????? That is amazing. I'm always shocked at the little containers of, say, chopped onions. Refuse to even look at the price.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                I have used the pre chopped onions and celery just a few times. Usually when my friend tells me she and a couple of friends a coming for dinner. 30 minutes and not enough around for the gang. I remember picking some up a few weeks ago. Grabbed one celery, onion and peppers, some fresh sausage, some broth, canned tomatoes and boil in bag rice. I know terrible on all counts, but, I basically put everything in the pan and walked away, vaccummed, walked the dog, fed the cats, showered, and dinner was almost done. Added the tomatoes and some broth, some seasoning and cooked the rice. Served my cajun salmon spread, a jar of marinated veggies over pretoasted baguettes in a bag and precut cheese also prepared and opened a bottle of wine.

                                The dinner probably cost me double or more but ... it was done and tasted great. And yes the prices are outrageous and I felt so guilty, but a pet peeve I have is that I hate when people come over and dinner isn't done. I was supposed to be home earlier and my friend didn't realize that and I forgot to tell her. So I guess I paid the price for the little pre diced items. Oh yeah, a bag lettuce and a pie from the deli.

                                Frozen rice?? That is new to me. If you ever have to buy precut onions, just don't look at the price.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I'm guilty. When the Steamfresh brown rice is on sale and I have a coupon I buy it. When it's 50cents/bag I buy a bunch and use them when I don't have time to make a pot of fresh rice.

                                  Guilty of the pre-chopped onions too.

                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                    I buy the chopped onions too & don't feel bad for a minute. I used to cry every time I chopped an onion. Cooking is now considerably more pleasant.

                                2. re: Candy

                                  To me the only thing stupider than frozen rice is frozen mashed potatoes. Bottom line, I think "frozen rice" and "frozen mashed potatoes" are just different ways to spell, "License to steal." But hey, I've seen tubs of unfrozen mashed potatoes in supermarket deli sections for three or four bucks a pop. I cannot imagine being too "busy" to peel and boil a potato, or to wash it and nuke it. Just proves that people are still paying cash for the Brooklyn Bridge!

                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    Seems ridiculous to me, too but some of the "convenience" foods may be aimed at some of the elderly. I have a client who has limited use of one hand, is blind in one eye, and lives alone. If anything requires more than microwave she won't buy or eat it. She doesn't feel safe using the stovetop or oven. She buys yogurt, cereal, frozen dinners, soup, and occasionally deli items (usually for holidays). She used to "live" (?) on Ensure and junk food.

                                    1. re: lgss

                                      Have you checked on whether she is eligible for Meals on Wheels? I had an elderly friend in El Paso who received them. I think the program is available in most states, and some other countries have similar programs.

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        I've mentioned it several times. She says she doesn't like the food they provide, but thanks for thought.

                                      2. re: lgss

                                        Mr GG's aged father (90 and going strong) lives off ready meals. He tried cooking when his wife died, but it didn't really work for him. So he started getting meals delivered but they were pretty bad. So I abandoned my principles and introduced him to convenience food from Marks and Spencer and Waitrose (high-end supermarket). I know they're not particularly good for you, but hey, he's 90 and lives alone. When we visit, I'll make a few things and put them in the freezer. But he still eats ready-made mashed potato with his home-made beef stew!

                                      3. re: Caroline1

                                        Well last week my friend said I am roasted 2 chickens on the grill. Can you bring the mashed, Another friend was bringing salad and another desert, etc. Well it was a tentative dinner. 8:00 pm. Well work went late. I didn't get his message until 7 and off at 7:30. So they are no roasted tater guys so ... I didn't do frozen but dairy aisle mashed potatoes 1 block from the house. Three containers, I added some sour cream, chives, parsley and presto. 10 Minutes and potatoes on the table. Tell me how I could of bought them, peeled them, cooked them and mashed them in that amount of time. They made a little gravy from the drippings (beer can chicken), just a little wine added, corn starch to thicken and some seasoning.

                                        I don't agree with premade but with todays world and schedules sometimes we just don't have time. I got to the house and chicken was already done, salad done, everyone sitting at the table ... I paid the price but in this case it was worth it. I guess I added to the Brooklyn Bridge fund!! Or in my case the skyway bridge fund.

                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                          We're all guilty at one point or another! This week I bought pre-sliced mangoes...

                                  2. Never been a pre-fab rice/noodles kinda gal, and that's a GOOD thing. We've just got 5 meals,for 5 people (i.e 25 serves) out of $17 worth of bulk-buy porterhouse, which I am pretty chuffed about. Soup will be a staple when the weather gets a bit cooler (it's stil 30 degrees Celsius today)

                                    My plan for the rest of the week is to see how far and how varied I can make a pot of rissotto go.

                                    And I do believe the fishing rods and the yabbie nets will be out this wekend!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: purple goddess

                                      pg, I'm in a budget mode, too, with lots of Lincoln log chicken (delicious) and peasant food such as braised lamb shanks, of which you have certainly had your lifetime quota. Bear with me: I'm piggybacking on the success of Hamburger Helper as I develop a Barramundi Helper, and a Moreton Bay Bug Helper :) We'll get past this.
                                      Veg

                                    2. Soups and stews come to mind and since you're in Australia, how about pies. Fish pies and stews if fish is inexpensive in your area. Otherwise, consider buying a whole lamb as you will get a better price.

                                      1. Shop seasonally, buy locally.

                                        1. If I don't want to pay $4.57 for .3 oz of pine nuts, so I sub sunflower seeds. It sort of works, depending on what you're making. Lately I've been using chicken broth instead of oil to cook vegetables, I strain it and either use it to top off the dog's kibble, or save to make a quickie soup for another meal.

                                          Do you have access to farmer's markets where you are? I've heard that at the end of the day, no one really wants to pack up stuff so they let it go at rock bottom prices- I've not done this myself on purpose but one time we went late in the day and my husband ended up with a huge heap of way too many tomatoes and onions for $5.

                                          I've been meaning to dust off my electric pressure cooker- I'm still kind of scared of it to be honest, but my crock pot gets used fearlessly.

                                          1. Well, for starters, think about that "salad that would otherwise have been throw away". Never throw away anything.

                                            Second, DZ (my dau), Veggo, and I have to fly out to spend a few months fishing with you, the hairy one, and the kids. We'll catch way over the limits, smoke and salt the catch, and ...

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                              And, pg, I'll show you how I took Sam's Lincoln log chicken to the next level, with ruler and caliper, as I notch the carrots in the tower with precision for a magnificent platform, with beet chunks and yellow squash rained on with chicken drippings in the final hour, the corral surrounded by sentries of rosemary red potatoes and onion wedges.
                                              And the next morning: there WILL BE FISH....

                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                Come on down guys. There's a 6kg schnapper in the freezer from our last trip out!!

                                                I am a huge fan of shopping seasonally and locally, don't buy pre-fab stiff and grow what I can. Tonight's challenge is to cook for Mme Mouse (dau), Furry (hubs), myself and 5 of Mme Mouse's teen beast friends for under $15.

                                                I'm thinking risotto. That way, if there's any left overs, I can turn them into arancini tomorrow.

                                            2. i've done three things that have definitely helped our food budget...i have two little kids, so this might not make such an impact on others...

                                              juice boxes/pouches...use them for school lunch/snack and try to avoid that if at all possible, sending in water bottles (sigg) or a thermos of hot cocoa if possible.

                                              cookies....baking my own. got the basic ingredients at BJ's, and bake weekly with my little guy.

                                              afterschool snack is now homemade popcorn. one jar goes a long way and the kids think it's a special treat.

                                              those were big moneysuckers at the food store, for me.

                                              1. Beans are great. Salads and soups.

                                                Soups overall, lots of great hearty recipes and very filling.

                                                I love skirt steak. Great flavor, inexpensive ... great over salad or just as is. Pasta - can make some great dishes with pasta. Pasta, some local produce, a little cheese and some meat rather it is tuna, steak or chicken can go a long way. I make a couple of pasta dishes with fresh asparagus and arugula or spinach. Compared to meat less cost healthy and with some added nuts or cheese, just as much protein, added beans to make a very hearty dish and it goes a long way

                                                I love having a salad night and a soup and sammy night. Something simple

                                                Stuffed potatoes can go a long way and be great served with a side salad. And salads can be very filling and healthful and inexpensive.

                                                I love rice dishes. Casseroles. Low cost, some fish (ok even frozen, but it can be good). Shrimp, some salmon, Tilapia can be very cost effective. Lots of options.

                                                I made a shrimp arugula, asparagus, fresh herbs, pasta in a light broth. Served 5 easily. Also served a great crunchy bread less than 2.00 from the store and some fresh fruit. Less than 5 dollars each. Not bad.

                                                Breakfast eat at home, lunch, take sandwiches or eat leftovers.

                                                When chicken goes on sale cheap by some and cook it. Freeze for future uses. Lunch, uses for stir frys, salads, anything. Same with anything.

                                                I grow my own herbs and tomatoes but have to buy some tomatoes I use too many, lol.

                                                Stews are also good little meat but heavy on veggies and it goes a long way.

                                                1. I've been making crepes and filling them with leftovers that I add to a white sauce/bechamel. I made the crepes, fill them, roll them up and put them in a casserole dish, smear on a little more sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. With a big salad, it's a tasty and filling meal.

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                    At what temp and for how long do you bake them please? I did that a while back when we had houseguests and they were really dried out. Thanks.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Julia Child says to brown slowly under a moderate boiler, but I used the method set forth by James Beard in 'Theory and Practice of Good Cooking'. You can get the dish ready ahead of time, then, when you are ready, preheat oven to 375 and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the crepes are heated through and the cheese has melted.

                                                      Did you put sauce on top of the crepes? JC says to thin it out a bit with a little heavy cream before pouring it on top.

                                                      And, to be exact, what I made was 'Fondue de Volaille' aka Cream Filling with Chicken, and it's basically a veloute sauce.

                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                        Would it help to cover the dish with foil, do you think?

                                                        1. re: karykat

                                                          I don't think so - I like to get the cheese a little brown too.

                                                        2. re: MMRuth

                                                          I like the idea of thinning the sauce. I'm trying to remember but I believe I put the sauce on ahead of time. Perhaps next time, I'll slightly warm the sauce and then put it on just before putting in the oven. Weall ate it but had I had it in a restaurant, I'd have sent it back. Great taste but definitely a meal I considered a failure :(
                                                          PS: I have that James Beard book and need to dip into more often.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            Re: The James Beard book - me too - it's very useful.

                                                    2. Definitely watch special sales and stock the freezer. I did that at St. Patty's Day with corned beef when it was marked down to 99 cents a pound. Buy staples in bulk -- rice, oatmeal, flour, etc. Definitely grow what you can manage -- if you don't have a green thumb, at least a couple of pots of fresh herbs can really perk up your meals for very little time, $$ and effort.

                                                      Bulk your meals with cheap veggies and use meats sparingly. Eggs are a great cheap protein source. A runny poached egg on top of a small baked potato that's been scooped and mixed with a bit of milk, S&P is a lovely little meal, either a hearty breakfast or light dinner if you add a green veg on the side.

                                                      11 Replies
                                                      1. re: weezycom

                                                        I do the potatoes quite a lot. A little chicken or ground round or deli ham ... anything. Mix with some vegetables, peppers, onions, carrots, zucchini, anything. Scoop out potato and restuff. Add some cheese and what a great meal. I did one with pancetta, peppers, scallions, zuchinni and mushrooms, Mixed with the tater and some goat cheese and baked until everything was done. Topped with fresh diced tomatoes and basil in a light vinaigrette. A small side salad of romaine and dinner. Cheap all leftovers. Little of this and little of that.

                                                        Potato cake sandwiches. I make a good savory potato cake with fresh herbs, some zuchinni, potato and red pepper, pan saute and stuff with proscuitto and cheese and bake until golden brown. Top with a spoon of sour cream and fresh tomato slices. Easy and very inexpensive for a dinner but very hearty. Add some serrano peppers for a little heat too

                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                          The baked potato concept as a meal is a good one. Usually our leftovers (like taco meat) make a second appearance as what I call "taco eggs" which sometimes include a tortilla and sometimes don't. But we've overlooked the potato as a vehicle--smart thinkin' there.

                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                            Actually, the last time we did "top your own baked potato" for dinner, I was surprised at how costly they were. Sure, they were only 99 cents per pound, but I got big russets (since they were dinner) and it cost me nearly $7 for 6 of them! I about fell over at the checkout counter.

                                                            1. re: AmyH

                                                              Argh, how frustrating! Not to mention that, at over a pound each, those potatoes are three servings per spud. Top your own third of a potato doesn't sound nearly as festive ;-)

                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                I use smaller ones or try cutting the large ones in half and stuffing. Works just as good as usually plenty for one person. That is 50 cents per person or less. Our potatoes are 59 at the market which means 30 cents per half.

                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                  With two teenage sons and a teenage daughter, all very athletic, I don't think I could get away with smaller ones. What's plenty for me isn't even close to enough for them! I'd rather see them eating too much healthy baked potato than searching for cookies and other snacks later.

                                                                  1. re: AmyH

                                                                    I like chili and cheese and onion on a baked potato.

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      Absolutely. I still love broccoli, bacon, gruyere, onions. A favorite of mine. Honestly I probably don't dislike anything on a potato ... They are all good.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        Pesto is perfetto on a baked potato.

                                                                      2. re: AmyH

                                                                        True, depending on who you are feeding. I sometimes serve a big salad and even a fresh veggie depending on what is in the potato. It is a lighter salad especially with teenagers.

                                                                    2. re: AmyH

                                                                      The russets in the 5- or 10-pound bag are generally smaller and cheaper per pound, usually around 25-60 cents/lb depending on sales. If I buy the loose ones, they're 2x as big and $1 per pound. Since it's just me, I'll bake up 4-5 at a time and then rework/reheat as needed over the next several days.

                                                              2. Briefly lived in Toorak but its been awhile..
                                                                When Costco opens in Waterfront City outside of Melbourne, this is a great place to have lots of great meats and seafood for a reasonable price..
                                                                Love my slow cooker and going to try risotto in it tonight.
                                                                You can do so much in one of those things..especially since you have 5 kids!
                                                                Does AUS have coupons for grocery shopping?
                                                                I find that I save around $1-2 K a year on clipping coupons..
                                                                I wish you only the best purple goddess!

                                                                1. with a bit of "snerfling" around I have found that our local IGA sells turkey legs for $2 for 2.

                                                                  Now I see a lot of recipes here for turkey.. ground turkey, turkey stock, and I am going to give some of them a red hot go. Previously, the kids LOVED a whole turkey leg on the BBQ.. the call them Pterodactyl legs.

                                                                  Turkey is usually only seen whole, at Xmas, here in OZ. But with my bloody luck, once I start getting into it, it will become trendy!

                                                                  So, my first though was to roast the legs, pull all the meat off them, and do a turkey risotto.

                                                                  What say you guys?

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: purple goddess

                                                                    I;ve done them in t;he slow cooker and then eat any way you want. Stays moist and tender.

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      Slow cooker is good for turkey. I also do a turkey breast that way too which is good. Just a little broth, onions, seasoning and cook. Then do whatever with it. Moist and good and easy. Legs work the same too. Just an easy way.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        Slow cooker is the best way to go for turkey drumsticks. I often have to saw off the end of the bone to get them to fit into the crock.

                                                                        Turkey hash is one of my favorite things. Make a moist turkey stuffing, generous on the celery and onion, and mix in cooked turkey meat and a little gravy. Bake in a casserole until it is good and hot. Serve topped with more gravy, and some cranberry sauce on the side.

                                                                      2. re: purple goddess

                                                                        Yup, I'd roast, shred, and use in any number of dishes. Enchiladas, tacos, Asian stir frys, salad, fresh lumpia/spring rolls, ...

                                                                        1. re: purple goddess

                                                                          Wonderful find! And turkey risotto sounds lovely If you want to go the Asian route, turkey congee would be nourishing.

                                                                          Something I like to do with turkey legs is to cut around the tendons towards the "foot end" of the leg, so that meat can contract instead of getting potentially stringy when cooked.

                                                                          One of my favorite ways to prepare......turkey stroganoff. Brown turkey legs (seasoned with salt and pepper), add sliced mushrooms, garlic and onions and saute (a nice addition here is thyme, but not necessary), add flour to make roux, deglaze with wine/broth/water, simmer till meat is falling off bones, then temper sour cream with a bit of the sauce and stir it in to make a creamy, delectable sauce. Season with salt and pepper, remove meat from bones, serve over rice or noodles.

                                                                          Keep yer chin up, your beliies full of good food, and your heart filled with hope. :)

                                                                          1. re: purple goddess

                                                                            I'm not sure if by leg you mean both thigh and drumstick or just the latter. With the thigh, you can de-bone it rather easily by starting on the underside and slicing to the bone, lengthwise, then scraping the blade all around the bone to release the meat. You can then either pound the meat to even out the thickness, or do a modified butterfly cut. The meat can then be cooked flat in a number of ways, stuffed and rolled, or sliced into cutlets, chunks, or strips. The tendons in the drumsticks limit their versatility.

                                                                          2. I suggest you cut coupons and buy aggressively during sales. And make use of your freezer.

                                                                            I live in Los Angeles, California where most grocery stores double coupon (with limits) and feature weekly specials and sales. With double couponing, I got over 40 pounds of dried pasta FREE last year. Over the last year, I've gotten about 20 packages of Hot dogs FREE. With Double Couponing, I get a lot of FREE groceries. I haven't paid for a bottle of shampoo in over 20 years (except for sales tax).

                                                                            With aggressively buying during sales, I buy Boneless Chicken Breasts for less than $2.00 a pound ( I just bought 12 lbs. at $1.79/lb.), Whole Chickens for around $0.59 per pound, Talapiaand Swai(Basa) Fish Fillets for around , $1.99 per pound, Boneless Chuck Roasts for around $1.99 per pound, and Boneless USDA Choice NY Strip/Rib-Eye Steaks for around $4.00-$5.00 a pound. Buy a lot during sales, repackage the meat and freeze it. I have been able to buy a dozen large eggs for $1.00 or less and 24 oz loaves of Whole Wheat Bread for $1.00 or less.

                                                                            I find that buying agressively during sales is cheaper than buying in bulk at warehouse membership type stores like Costco and Sam's Club.

                                                                            I always check the "Reduced for Quick Sale" bins for the grocery, meat, deli and bakery departments in supermarkets. I recently bought 6 loaves of 24 oz Bread for only 29 Cents each. I also bought 6 16 oz, packages of Smoked Turkey Luncheon Meat for only 50 Cents each.

                                                                            If you shop smart, you can eat very well inexpensively.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Norm Man

                                                                              There are no coupons here. These are few sales and few promotions. No subsidized meat and poultry.

                                                                            2. purple, you've gotten lots of good feedback already so i can't add much. beans and soups for sure. always have on hand eggs, milk, pasta, rice. toss aside preconceptions of what a meal should consist of. my kids loved mac and cheese or egg-drop soup for breakfast. fritatas or quiche or french toast for supper. use meat as a condiment. beans make good spreads as well as soups. vegetable co-op?

                                                                              left over veggies make stir fry (you nailed that one), mac salad or scrambled eggs. with salad, dress only what you'll eat. yogurt is super easy to make. growing kids need protein but it can come from many sources. sliced fruit and peanut butter or a bit of cheese for snacks.

                                                                              all the stuff prior generations did had some reason. yorkshire pudding to cut the size of a meat portion. meatloaf to stretch a meat dish. stuffed vegetables ditto. buying whole chickens, and bone-in cuts gives you an extra meal using the bones as the basis for a soup dish.