Food, glorious food . . .

March 20, 2013
By

In this economic downturn, many families find it cheaper to eat from the $1.00 menu now offered at many fast food restaurants. Sometimes, it’s more important to get something to eat than to go to bed hungry. Even though 47 million Americans are now on food stamps, millions more have fallen through the cracks and find that their money runs out faster than the month does. So these Americans have to be creative in their food choices. Some opt for two meals each day instead of three, and some only eat once a day.

However, if shoppers scrutinize their purchases at the grocery store, they can walk away with more tantalizing, as well as filling, meals than they could find on any of the $1.00 menus. For instance, shoppers can go online to websites and search out less expensive and more nutritious recipes that don’t have to break your ever-shrinking grocery budget and provide healthier eating choices.  Websites, such as cheapcooking.com offer recipes for living well; or family.go.com which touts 15 dinners under $1.50 per serving. These sites offer hope to the working poor who are heart attacks waiting to happen.

GroceryBudgetEverybody knows the rules of grocery shopping that we learned from our mothers. Never go to the market hungry. If you do, you’ll impulse shop and try to buy everything on the shelves. Make a list before you go, and stick as closely to it as you can. Bring a calculator, or pen and paper if necessary (I use my list) and be aware of how much you’re spending so you won’t go over budget. Also, remember that all of the fresh and whole foods are on the outside perimeter of the grocery store. All of the processed foods are in the middle aisles on the shelves. Stick to the perimeter as much as possible. You’ll find better food and better bargains. Read the labels and know exactly what you’re buying (and from where). Clip coupons and take advantage of buy-one-get-one-free specials. However, beware of Reduced for Sale meats because even though it has today’s date and that $7 steak for $3 would look good for dinner tonight, the steak might have already spoiled and you won’t find it out until you get home. Then, you’ll have to take it back to the grocery, which takes gas in your car. If the meat you’re buying for a reduced price looks appealing (no browning), it’s probably alright.

Despite the burden of economic strife, many Americans enjoy learning how to cook. These creative geniuses will flourish long after the $1.00-menu junkies have clogged their arteries and eaten themselves into oblivion. You don’t have to be a health nut to want delicious and healthy food. But, there’s nothing wrong with being health conscious when you shop. You only have one body; and it deserves the effort.

Cheapcooking.com’s Grandma Alice’s Baked Chicken

  • chicken parts, bone-in
  • garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a shallow bowl.

Rinse and dry the chicken. Sprinkle each piece with garlic salt then roll in the flour mixture.

Place the chicken skin side down in a baking dish, pour 1/2 cup chicken broth in, and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

Turn the chicken pieces over (skin side UP), add the other 1/2 cup chicken broth, and bake another 30 minutes.

Goes great with Savory Baked Rice.

 

Family.go.com’s Almost Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked, (or other similarly shaped pasta-like small shells)
  • 1 pound Ground turkey, (or beef, chicken, sausage or tofu crumbles)
  • 1 jar Pasta Sauce, (26 ounces)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound Ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Veggies , (diced zucchini, matchstick carrots, etc.)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Brown meat and drain well, if necessary.
  2. While meat is cooking, stir together eggs, ricotta, grated Parmesan and salt and pepper.
  3. Mix cooked meat, macaroni, sauce and veggies. Add ricotta mixture and blend well.
  4. Coat a 9-by-13 baking pan with cooking spray or olive oil and spread half of macaroni mixture evenly over the bottom. Top with a cup of mozzarella and a healthy sprinkle of grated Parmesan. Add the remaining macaroni mixture and top with another cup of mozzarella and another sprinkle of Parmesan. Cover with foil.
  5. Coat a 9-by-13 baking pan with cooking spray or olive oil and spread half of macaroni mixture evenly over the bottom. Top with a cup of mozzarella and a healthy sprinkle of grated Parmesan. Add the remaining macaroni mixture and top with another cup of mozzarella and another sprinkle of Parmesan. Cover with foil.
  6. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake the casserole for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes until the cheese on top is lightly browned and bubbly.

 

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