Butterfly Fund

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Too much month at the end of my money!

Too much month at the end of my money!

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We have all been there. The last week before payday, the cupboards are looking a bit bare, and we just literally cannot afford to go grocery shopping!
What do we do? We learn to S-T-R-E-T-C-H the bit of groceries that we do have! Then, wen learn that the next time we grocery shop, we need to add a few things to our budget to help us if this situation happens again.

Stove top Casseroles & extended soups!
Do you have a box or two of macaroni and cheese? That little bit of macaroni in that box hidden in your pantry? A can of peas tucked away? Green beans? Some type of meat in a small can with no label? You know it is either tuna or chicken, but you are just too afraid to find out?

A simple, quick, and tasty stove top casserole::
1 box mac and cheese
1 can of green veggies (Any veggie will actually do, but peas seem to taste the best)
1 can meat (We prefer tuna, but any canned meat will do)

Cook and make mac and cheese. If you need to, you can add up to 3/4 cup additional noodles. It will not be as cheesy, but it will be filling. Add drained peas and drained meat. Mix, and serve. We would add pepper and garlic to taste.
As a single mom when my girls were little, we had this quite often. It is tasty, filling, and a complete meal in itself. For the three of us, one box of mac and cheese worked fine with no added noodles.

A simple stretched soup:

1-2 cans any type soup
1 can vegetables (mixed veggies works great here, but any will do)
1-2 cups cooked rice (A good rule of thumb is 1 cup rice per can of soup)

Combine soup and veggies. Serve over the rice. If the soup is a concentrated soup, prepare it according to directions, then add the veggies. Serve over the rice, or mix the rice into the cooked soup, and then serve.

Another simple meal:

Left over hamburger patties or chicken breast
1 can of any type of beans
1 can of tomato sauce
2 cups cooked rice or noodles. (We prefer rice)
Seasonings, your choice. (We like chili powder and garlic)

Crumble/shred hamburger/chicken . Add can of beans with juice. Add can of tomato sauce. You do not have to, but you can thicken this with a bit of flour, cornmeal, or cornstarch.
Serve over rice or noodles

Stretch your pancake/biscuit mix

To every 2 cups of pancake or biscuit mix, add 1 cup of flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder. You do not have to add the baking powder, but if you do not, your pancakes or biscuits will not rise as much.

Out of bread? This is too simple!

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (If you do not have, it will not affect the flavor, just the rise)
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups water

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder together. Add water to make a batter like pancakes. You may not need the full amount of water, or you may need a bit more.
Fry as you would pancakes, let cool, use as sandwich bread.

That little bit of peanut butter in the bottom of the jar is not much to do anything with? Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and start scraping the jar. mix completely. Using a spatula, continue to mix and get it all mixed up. Yes, it will be a bit runny, but it will help you to use that last bit in your jar. Canola oil or peanut oil works best, but any oil will do. You are just trying to stretch this out until you can get more.

Learning how to purchase groceries for stretching your dollar will truly help you and your family in the long run. Our family has a membership to a local Sam's Club, but you do not need this to help your family.
Remember, Walmart has price matching. Use this if you have a local Walmart. Spend an hour online, going through your local grocery ads, write down what is on sale, and price match what you need.

Add these items to your pantry:
Rice, white and/or brown
Flour, whole wheat and/or white
Oatmeal, quick or regular. (Add 1/2 cup quick oatmeal to your instant oatmeal packages with the correct amount of added water to double the serving)
Dry beans (We use a LOT of pinto, Navy, and red kidney beans to stretch meals)
Canned and powdered milk - We all run out of milk at times. these are GREAT to cook with!

What are some of the things you do to stretch your groceries?