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I have realized lately that there are a lot of people who can't figure out how to live within their means. People never seem to have enough money. You don't have to live a luxurious life to be happy. I have learned how to stretch finances over the past few years. It all started out of necessity, but it has become fun. A lot of money can be saved in the kitchen. Our family has learned to eat to live not live to eat. I love to cook beautiful fancy dinners and do so when I can; but it is not practical for us to do that on a regular basis. I will try to give you some ideas for very frugal meals. Most of them will not be meals you want to impress your friends with, but some are quite good.

When we were on deputation, there was one week that pretty much all we had were potatoes. I made potato soup, fried potatoes, baked potaotes with chili on top, we had potatoes in some form all week. Once, we had an abundance of rice and just a few other staples (We usually have some form of deer in the freezer which helps). For one meal I put about 11 small deer steaks in the crockpot with a packet of onion soup mix and cooked it until you could tear it apart with a fork (you could use any kind of roast or stew meat). I cooked 3 cups of rice, added half the meat, a can of mixed vegetables, a can of beef broth and I think I added a can of green beans which I cut up a bit smaller. I used the other half of the meat for another meal of about the same thing. I didn't have any more mixed vegetables so I added a can of corn instead. That was two very inexpensive meals and my kids gobbled it up. They were actually excited about the second batch. Shortly after we had 3 cups of rice with 1 can beef broth, 1 can corn, 2 cans of tuna and lemon pepper seasoning. I served it with toasted bread. I liked it and everyone else seemed to also.

The way I plan meals is first I go through and see what I have that I can base a meal on. I start with that and make a list of groceries around that. Once, I had some stew meat (deer of course) I also had some peanutbutter and a few other odd and ends. There is peanut chicken so I thought maybe there was something I could do with peanut butter and stew meat. Wouldn't you know I put those two ingredients in the search box and found a peanut butter stew recipe. It was not bad at all. Be creative and have fun with it.

Tuna Chowder

Speedy Chili

Potato Dinner

Sausage and Rice Casserole

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