Last week I went grocery shopping and was very surprised at the high prices in the meat department. I decided right then and there that I wasn’t paying those prices. Instead, I found alternatives to what I originally had planned on buying. Since then I have been making fairly frugal meals, and I would like to share them with you now.
Instead of ground beef that was $5.74 a pound (I was shocked), I purchased frozen ground turkey, already seasoned (taco flavored) for $1.67 a pound. My first meal using this turkey was a Taco Turkey Bake. I fried and drained the turkey – not having to drain much because this turkey was very lean. While the turkey was frying, I made rice in the microwave. Once both were done, I mixed them in a bowl. I added a bit of tomato juice, and some shredded cheddar cheese. I mixed it up real good. I made up two individual portions in containers, putting more cheese on top. I put one portion reheated into two soft tacos and the other portion I ate with some sour cream on top.
The other meal I made with this seasoned ground turkey was Chili. I fried/browned the turkey and then put it into a crock pot. I then added a large can of honey beans, some tomato sauce and a generous sprinkling of chili powder. I cooked it on high for two hours, and when it was done – it was delicious.
My next frugal meal was a salad. I cut up a green pepper, chopped some cucumbers and sliced a few petite carrots. I put shredded cheese on top. I put all of this in a container with some room in it – and then shook it up. Once it was all mixed, I put a lump of cottage cheese on top. This was for a work lunch. I have individual packets of salad dressing I got for an amazing sale price, so I took one of those along with me. Lunch was served.
I made a completely meatless spaghetti dinner. Usually I have some homemade sauce on hand, but I didn’t feel like defrosting any so I used a jar of store brand. I have been trying different kinds of pasta, so for this meal I used regular angel hair and protein spaghetti – I mixed them. Once the pasta was done, I tossed it with a little bit of sauce. I divided it into portions – and on top I put more sauce, some grated cheese and shredded mozzarella. It was plain, yes – but it was very good.
Pasta Salad was another meal I have recently made. Again, I’m trying different kinds of pasta, so this was tri-color – rotini made with spinach, ziti made with carrots and tomatoes and whole wheat rotini. Boiling and finishing the pasta, I put it in a large bowl. While still hot, I added just a bit of Italian dressing. I had chopped some carrots while the pasta was cooking, and I added them to the bowl. I sprinkled grated cheese on top, and at this point if I had ham, I might have chopped some up to include. Boris is a ham maniac, so there was none left. I have added crushed red pepper in the past, but for some reason this time I didn’t. I mixed it all together, and put it in the refrigerator to chill. Once it was ready to serve, I put a little more dressing on top. It is a simple, light meal but it is very good.
An easy, cheap summer meal is tuna salad or egg salad. Egg salad takes a little more prep time, obviously. I like to add chopped pickles to these – sweet gherkins to tuna, dill spears to egg salad. I chop each one up good, and add a bit of mayonnaise. To both I will add minimal salt, some pepper and celery seed seasoning. I like to add chopped carrot to the tuna – I just think it gives the salad a nice taste and crunch. Both sandwiches taste good on any kind of fresh bread you have in the house. I like having chips with sandwiches, but we usually don’t have any on hand. They don’t last too long around our parts.
I’ve made cheesy rollups this week. They are kind of like the ones you can get from the dollar savings menu at Taco Bell. I line up the soft tacos, and I put cheese in the center mostly. I will microwave them until I see the cheese starting to melt. Then, I take them out and roll them. Putting them back on the plate, if I have some kind of an enchilada sauce, I will drizzle that on top. This week, I just used salsa. Dipping them into sour cream – they were good. Very good.
I made what I like to call faux chicken parmesan this week, too. I have frozen chicken fritters that I baked. Once they were done, I cut them into bit size pieces. I then put them into a dish with some spaghetti sauce on top, and some shredded cheese on top of that. It went into the microwave for about two minutes. I ate these chickens along with some leftover spaghetti from earlier in the week. Not a bad meal at all.
I didn’t spend much at all this week on food because, with the exception of the two packages of ground turkey, I had everything else on hand. Were all of these meals perfectly healthy and perfectly balanced? No, they were not. But that is ok. I filled in here and there with a sandwich from work, takeout Chinese and leftovers from the above meals. It was not a bad week at all.