Saturday, October 26, 2013

Stretch it out, Fill'em up!

A recent post on another forum asked the question, "How to feed a family of 4, sometimes 5 without breaking the bank".  That's easy, with a bit of creativity.

Our grandmothers almost certainly knew how to stretch a dollar (and a dinner) to keep everyone fed and happy.  Basic ingredients, good seasonings, and you have a dish to be proud of.

Here are some ideas.

Soups (too many to count), with salad/bread.

Chili (use more beans than meat).

Stir fry doesn't need much meat. Serve over rice or noodles with bread.

Gravy over noodles or potatoes, veg, bread.

Boil chicken parts, then boil noodles or rice in the broth, too. Chicken and rice, chicken and noodles. Veg and bread.

Breakfast for dinner. A big pot of grits (with butter or gravy), a few eggs, sausage patties.

Pancakes or waffles, fruit.

Oatmeal and muffins or cinnamon toast.

Rice and gravy, potatoes and gravy, veggies.

Baked potatoes with cheese and vegs over/in.

Casseroles don't need a lot of meat. Fill them out with vegs and starches (potatoes or rice/noodles) and great sauce. Bread.

Burritoes filled with beans, a bit of meat, and cheese (and veg) are good for all meals. Add some egg for breakfast burritos, and/or some flavored rice.

Slow cook a pork or beef roast. Freeze half for later. BBQ a quarter of it, sandwiches.  Use the remaining in a soup, and a casserole, au jus dip sandwiches, burritos, in gravy over rice/potatoes/noodles, ect. 

Drinks can be water, tea, kool aid, lemonade, juice (from concentrate), coffee, hot chocolate.

Snacks? Popcorn, muffins, homemade cookies, fruit, and more.

The trick is to think of meat and then use it as a side dish, not the main attraction. Use it as a flavoring agent, and starches and veggies as the filler.  Good sauces and seasonings take a dish from 'meh' to 'wow', so experiment a bit.

For example, a couple chicken breasts in soup or casserole will feed 4-5 or more, whereas it would take a full breast per person as a main ingredient in other dishes. A few pieces of fish in soup, a couple links of diced sausage, ect. 

Use bread to fill up hungry tummies. Experiment with butters and jams. Cinnamon butter, honey butter, and more wait to perk up bland biscuits.

Salad, when available, adds another visual 'layer' to the meal, as well as some satisfying crunch.  Just a small serving alongside a meal can help immensely with satiation.

You can find more ideas everywhere on the web, or you can browse my boards at Pinterest. I have recipes according to meat (chicken, beef, pork, fish) and dish (casserole, soup, lunch, breakfast, ect).

Find me there at Shetangles. 

Happy Eating!

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