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Recipes and Money Saving Tips For Groceries

Updated on September 23, 2014

Over-ripened Bananas

With most Americans throwing away over 500 dollars a year in food, I suppose we should use some of this food, before it becomes useless. Why waste the food and your money, when you can use it up before it is totally worthless.

Over ripened and bruised bananas, my son won't touch them, but he loves the easy banana bread that can be made with about four ripening bananas. Add nuts, dried cranberries or chocolate chips to really make it your own.

Bruised or poor tasting apples

Although apples are very resilient to over-ripening, they do sometimes have a tendency to poor taste or texture. Quick remedy to that is to simple skin, core and cut the apples and boil in water. Mash when softened and you have a great healthy snack when cooled. I like to add frozen berries or cinnamon while cooking,  to add different flavors.

10 minute shrimp pasta
10 minute shrimp pasta

Left overs

We all have them and I wonder how many of us actually use them. I hear of people having say a night specifically serving leftovers, working in restaurants I still carry the 48 hour trash rule. So I like to use them up before that time, this being a challenge as my son will not eat the same thing twice.

Baked potatoes-slice thinly and pan fry with a little oil for a quick side in the morning. Great with eggs and toast, breakfast in under ten minutes is always good.

Cornbread-boil some chicken bones with onion and celery. Pull out the bones, using a cup of the broth and soft vegetables, add sage and a little garlic. Soak the cubes in juice till all liquid is soaked up, then bake for a quick cornbread stiffing side dish.

Grilled Chicken-makes a great addition to a lunch caesar salad or add walnuts, grapes, sour cream, salt, pepper, poppy seeds and a little mayo for a quick and easy chicken salad.

Pot Roast-shred the meat and simmer in au jus for some tasty hoagies. Using the excess juice to dip. Or you could shred and add some smoky barbecue for another nice sandwich, added to some toasted bread. Add some chips and you have a lunch your husband will not say is just a sandwich.

Pasta-I like to always refrigerate seperately from the sauce. To reheat the pasta just simple put in a collindor and rinse in hot tap water. One of my two year old son's favorite dinners come from this pasta and a few other ingredients. Below is a great ten minute meal idea.

Dice two tomatoes and put in to a sauce pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with a tsp each of salt, pepper and garlic. Add in half a diced onion and a cup of sliced fresh mushrooms. Cook on low for about 5-6 minutes, the tomatoes will start to break down and other veggies should soften. Add a pound of raw, rinsed, shelled shrimp. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the shrimp are fully cooked. They will turn white when done, over cooking will lead to an undesirable rubbery textured. Toss with your heated pasta and serve with a salad.

Old bread

Happens a lot, hole some how gets poked in the bread, or mashed, or just plain stale. Usually I will use sliced bread to cut in cubes, dry and make croutons. You can also use the cubes for stuffing. For buns and smashed breads, cube and just let dry in a mixing bowl. When completely dry, place in a plastic freezer bag and smash. Great for bread crumbs and fillers.  Stale bread is good to add with a little milk to completely change the consistency of a nice meatsauce.  The bread will soften the meat a little without adding flavor for a better look and texture.


Bones

Yes bones. I have found that buying say split cut chicken breast is far cheaper than the boneless skinless varieties. Merely cut off the bone and use the raw bones for a nice broth and stock for chicken and vegetable soups. For seafood gumbo, I like to do this to add an extra note of flavor, pulling the bones out about a half an hour in to boiling.

Ham bones are great for extra flavor in soups and many of your favorite recipes. Adds a great taste to vegetable with a little onion. Personal favorite is using for potato soup, a favorite in my house.

In a 2 quart stock pot, fill with water, salt, pepper and ham bone. While boiling cut, clean and chop about 3-4 medium potatoes of any variety. For an extra color add a couple gold and white. When potatoes get soft, pull the bone out and mash all the potatoes in the pot. This will leave small bits of potatoes. I like to add in about 4 pieces of american sliced cheese, 1/4 cup of milk and 3 tbsp of butter, stir and serve. For a heartier texture, dice potatoes before you boil and take off heat when the cubes are rounded.


Ham bone potatoe soup
Ham bone potatoe soup

Freezing at the brink

Well, maybe not at the brink, however many fresh fruits and vegetables can be frozen for later use.  Simply clean, core, skin, and cut for later use in cobblers and soups.  For tomatoes I would recommend deseeding and dicing for use in tacos, chili, etc.  Citric fruit such as oranges and tangerines are not advisable for freezing.  They make good fruit juice and quick adds to drinks to use them up.

Meat Specials

While going through the store, you will see meat marked down because it is approaching it's sell by date.  You can save a lot of money by buying some of your meat this way.  Immediately use of freeze and you can easily save 20-30 percent just with that one change.  I would caution that if the meat is even questionable in your eyes, don't buy it.  You save no money on buying useless food, but usually you can throw in freezer in a freezer bag and it will be viable for the month.  Like all meat, keep in mind the temperature danger zones and use quickly.  I pull out from the freezer what I am planning for dinner that night.  Seafood I have found is better to keep frozen and run cold water over quickly to thaw before use.

Compost

If you still find some foods you can not use, start a nice compost bucket.  It is a cheap and chemical free fertilizer for potted plants, vegetable and small gardens.  It is not always about saving money, but rather making a smaller imprint on our Earth.  Be thankful that we have food in such abundance, but don't take it for granted.  Use what you can, use it up before it becomes useless.

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