Monday, March 30, 2009

6 How to Save Money on Groceries Tips

Everyone is looking for ways to save money these days, and saving on food and meals is one area that is often the focus. I was having a discussion with a friend of mine about what it means to be frugal, and to enjoy a frugal lifestyle. In my opinion, being frugal is NOT about deprivation! It is about spending your money wisely, planning your purchases, and not spending more for an item than need be. Here are some frugal tips to save money on food and groceries:

  1. Plan a week's worth of meals in advance and shop for the ingredients once each week. Take some time to research recipes that your family will enjoy, and then shop with a list.
  2. Check your newspaper or online for coupons for food and household items that you use regularly, and don't be shy to use them. Save on Groceries at!
  3. Find out what items are on sale each week at your local grocery and decide if you can fit them into your menu plans. Many groceries offer 2 for 1 specials or other discounts that you should not pass up if they are items you use regularly. My husband never leaves the grocery without checking if his favorite breakfast cereals are on special - lol.
  4. Look for cuts of meat that are more economical. For example, if a whole chicken is 99 cents per pound this week, and that boneless chicken breast that you usually buy is $4.99 per pound, try the whole bird this week and save. You can roast it whole, or cut it into parts yourself for major savings. Same goes for beef - if you were planning porterhouse steaks which can be as much as $14.99 or more per pound, you may be able to substitute New York strip or even sirloin, and still have an enjoyable meal. Ground meat is a great meal stretcher too.
  5. Shop at the big warehouse clubs like Sam's or Costco. Purchase those items that you can easily use, or that have a long shelf life like rice or pasta, canned goods, frozen food items, etc. In addition, you can save on paper products, too
  6. Always shop with a list, and avoid making impulse purchases. There is a reason that grocery stores place items where they do - it is to help you make those impulse purchases for things you didn't actually go to the store to buy.

Here is a tasty "frugal" recipe that won't leave you feeling deprived:

Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry with Ramen Noodles

1 package beef or spicy beef ramen noodles
2 cups water
1 pound beef steak strips
2 teaspoons oil
2 cups broccoli, cut up
1 cup green onions, cut in strips
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

Cook the ramen noodles according to package directions and drain. In skillet brown beef and drain. Add oil, 1/2 seasoning packet, broccoli and onions. Stir-fry for five minutes. Add soy sauce and red pepper. Simmer for five minutes more. Serve over noodles.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

St Patricks Day Recipes

We always celebrate St Patricks Day with several friends, and we are already planning for this year's event. Here are some of the tried and true recipes that make St Patricks Day even more special:

Honest And True Irish Stew Recipe

This is a favorite recipe from the American Lamb Council.

6 medium potatoes (about 2 pounds),
peeled and thinly sliced
2 pounds lean, bone-in lamb or 1 1/2 pounds
boneless lamb, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dried summer savory
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 1/2 cups water

In Dutch oven layer half the potatoes, and then all the lamb and onions. Combine salt, pepper, thyme and summer savory. Sprinkle half of salt mixture and 1 tablespoon of the parsley over onions. Layer remaining potatoes; sprinkle with remaining salt mixture. Pour water over all. Bring to boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer gently 2 to 2 1/2 hours until lamb is tender. Add water as needed to maintain level about 1 inch in bottom of pan. Just before serving, sprinkle with remaining parsley.

Makes 6 servings.

The Quiet Man Irish Pub Irish Soda Bread

Source: The Quiet Man Irish Pub, Dover, New Jersey

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Coat baking pan with butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix dry ingredients into large mixing bowl, add the raisins.

In another bowl, mix together the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Add this to the dry ingredients. Don't over-mix. Add the seeds.

Spoon the batter into the baking pan, smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake until bread is puffed and golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.

Irish Oatmeal-Whiskey Cake

Nut Topping
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon Irish whiskey
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup grated unsweetened coconut

Cream butter and sugar. Blend in cream and whiskey. Stir in nuts and coconut. Set aside.

1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda

Lightly grease and flour a 9-inch round or square cake pan. Set aside.

Place oatmeal in a heatproof mixing bowl. Pour boiling water over oatmeal; allow to stand for 20 minutes. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in whiskey and eggs. When well combined, stir in oatmeal mixture.

Combine flour, cinnamon and baking soda. When well combined, stir into oatmeal mixture. Beat until well mixed. Pour oatmeal batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean and cake is golden. Remove from oven.

Preheat broiler. Spread Nut Topping over top of the warm cake. Place under preheated broiler; broil for 5 minutes or until topping is bubbling and toasted. Remove from broiler and allow to cool on wire rack at least 15 minutes before cutting.

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