Monday – Lunch and Dinner

Filed under :Dinner Costs, Extreme Frugal Meter, LEFTOVERS!, Lunch Costs, Meal Costs

For lunch today, we took the easy way out and just had turkey and cheese sandwiches :-)   The cost for sandwiches made at home is very frugal LOL!    For us:

$0.48 — 4 slices of bread at 12 cents each

$1.12 — 1/4 lb of lunch meat (1/8 of a lb on each sandwich) at 56 cents per 1/8 lb

$0.26 — 2 slices of cheese at 13 cents per slice

$1.86 — Total for lunch for 2 adults

I didn’t cunt the cost of the mayo.

I had a question from a reader who asked what we drink with our meals.  We are drinking filtered tap water :-)   My husband and I both have a time drinking the recommended amount of water per day, so drinking water with our meals really helps.

For dinner tonight, it’s leftover black-eyed peas with ham :-)   And that cost is 70 cents each for a total of $1.40 for dinner for both of us.

Leftovers…. A Great Way to Stretch Food & Save Money

Filed under :Extreme Frugal Meter, Food Items, LEFTOVERS!

There are so many jokes about leftovers…. You’ve probably heard them all.    But American families throw away so much uneaten, edible food.  Throwing away leftover food is like throwing away money.

Did you know that I sometimes “overcook” just so I will have leftovers?  Why, you ask?  I’m going to list a couple of reasons and then expand on each one:

  • Cooking a little extra ensures that I will have a nice meal for DH to take to work for lunch the next day.  This saves our family so much money!  If I account for the cost of the original meal, then the leftovers are FREE and his lunch is FREE.  This is so much better than him having to leave work (cost of gas) and drive to the local greasy spoon or fast food drive thru for a quick burger and fries (at least $5).   Also, it’s less stressful for him – he can heat his food at work, go into his office and shut the door, and enjoy his lunch break without having to fight traffic or get out on extreme weather days (high temps, low temps, or even rainy weather).   By DH taking his lunch to work everyday, I figure we save around $1,250 per year!  This doesn’t even take into account that he’s eating much better, homecooked, healthy meals!
  • Cooking a little extra one day saves me time & energy the next day :-)    Yes, sometimes it cost just as much in electricity to cook 1 cup of something as it does to cook 2 cups of the same item.   Let me give you an idea – RICE.  I cook my rice in a rice cooker.  I always cook probably DOUBLE what we need for a meal and plan to save 1/2 of it for a meal later.  Rice is excellent to freeze in Ziplock bags too.   So for tonights meal, I cook 6 cups of rice (instead of just the 2 cups we plan to eat) and then I freeze 2 cups in a Ziplock bag (for a meal in the future) and save the last 2 cups in a Ziplock bag in the refrig for a meal to eat within 2 days.  It’s just as easy for me to cook those 6 cups as it would be to cook 2 cups.  And, for 3 meals with rice I only have 1 clean up of the rice cooker :-)    Oh, and did you know that you can microwave the refrigerated rice (or the frozen rice) and it will turn out just like it came out of the rice cooker the first time?   Also, many dishes call for pre-cooked rice – like fried rice or rice pudding.  So, it’s nice to have some in the freezer ready to go in a just few minutes.
  • Cooking a little extra one day,  saving it in the refrigerator and then AMENDING it a little, gives me a completely different meal the next day.  How about an example?  If we have baked chicken today, I will make sure to bake enough so that either the next day or the day after that (always within 2 days!) that I will have a meal that will utilize the extra chicken I baked.  There are 3 of us in our home – so, if we have baked chicken tonight, I will bake 8 chicken breasts.  We will eat 3 of them tonight, I will make a lunch plate for DH for the next day, and I will save the last 4 for a future meal that uses cooked chicken.  Some example meals for the extra baked chicken breast are chicken soup, chicken & dumplings, chicken spaghetti, chicken pot pie, and chicken fried rice.  See how I can transform the baked chicken into something completely different for the next meal?  Oh, if you noticed, I also pre-planned the extra chicken for the future meal to include enough for DH’s lunch the next day.  Once again I’m going to bring this up — NOTICE that I cooked all of the chicken in 1 baking dish and only had to wash that baking dish once and not twice :-)   Can you tell I’m not a fan of washing dishes?  And, it would basically take the same amount of electricity using the oven to bake 4 chicken breasts as it would to bake 8 chicken breasts, so you’re saving money on electricity too!

So plan on cooking extra and plan on having leftovers when you make out your meal list for the week.

How do you ensure that you DO NOT end up with a refrigerator full of leftovers?  Easy – make sure that you package and date all leftovers from meals before putting them up in the refrigerator.  AND, every day, check the refrigerator and get creative on meals that will use your leftovers.  Make sure that you consume all leftovers within 2 days!  If you follow these simple rules, you will not end up with a refrigerator full of leftovers to throw away.