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  1. #1

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    stretching out a meal

    Ok, I am somewhat cheap but I like to feed my family quality meals. I used to buy organic chicken breasts for all three of us and grill/bake/fry accordingly. Never use the leftovers...throw it away after a couple of days. Now I have been making shish kabob with only 2 breasts, red skin potatos and a colored pepper and onion. Cheaper, healthier, no left overs! Any other cheats?
    "awwww....shades of Janet Lynn" - Dick Button on anyone who makes more than one mistake in their program.

  2. #2

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    Casseroles. Meats done in a sauce (like a curry) and served over rice/pasta/potatoes, or meats as only part of the main dish (like stew or stir fry).

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    Not sure if this helps, but you could add a small bowl of soup as a side dish or served right before the main course. They say it helps fill you up quicker.

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    Use higher-fibre / lower glycemic grains & carbs instead of white rice or potatoes. Aside from being better for you, they really make a difference in filling you up. Quinoa is my fave becasue it's so versatile and a complete protein on its own, but brown/black/red rice is good too, whole wheat/multigrain bread/toast, and yams (not so much for the fibre there, but better glycemic -- and yummier IMO!).

  5. #5

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    ^ how do you prepare your quinoa?
    "awwww....shades of Janet Lynn" - Dick Button on anyone who makes more than one mistake in their program.

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    I cook quinoa the same as rice, combine 1 part quinoa with 2 parts water and bring to a boil and then turn to low and let sit until the water is absorbed. For breakfast I mix it with yogurt, chopped fruit and slivered almonds. For a lunch or a light dinner I mix it with peppers, cucumber, onions, corn, black beans and lime juice. I don't eat meat, but you could probably mix a chopped chicken breast in too.

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    Buying chicken parts, especially skinless boneless breasts, is a huge rip off, actually. Get a whole chicken instead (even the best organic whole chicken doesn't cost more than $10-12) and u can get 4-5 meals out of it:

    -Roast the whole thing, eat some for dinner. (See my blog for a really easy recipe)
    -Make sandwiches or salad the next day with the leftover meat.
    -Stew the carcass and innards to make chicken broth. Boil some chopped veggies (mushrooms, kale, cabbage, julienned carrots etc) in the broth, add some garlic and soy sauce, poach an egg in it, and you get one more dinner.

    Or instead, make Hainanese chicken rice which will stretch the chicken out even further with rice.

    You could also break down the whole chicken into parts yourself. There are plenty of youtube videos showing how and once you've done it a couple of times, it only takes a few minutes.

  8. #8

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    Great suggestions Ajax. However, chicken is pretty cheap sometimes, and my husband won't eat anything but the white meat, so buying a whole cooked chicken doesn't work as well for me. I agree it's a great idea. In my world, one thing I like to do is get to the grocery early in the morning. This is when a lot of stuff is on sale, like bone-in chicken breasts. I get them for less than half price, sometimes about four chicken breast halves (bone in) for $3.50 per package of four. If they have several, I will buy them and freeze.

    Then I'll take one package and cook all four chicken breasts in a crock pot, slowly all day so there's better chance they'll be tender. I can make soup or chicken stew, barbeque, etc. I always have lots of chicken using all four breasts if they're large, and I like to include the bones when cooking for the nutritional value. So, When it's time to dish it up, I will take the chicken out of the crock pot and debone and cut it into pieces. Many times (not so much with BBQ, but soup is easy) I can save almost half the cooked chicken and make chicken salad or something else out of it in a day or so. Pretty much what Ajax said, just a different way around it.

    I also freeze vegtable left-overs like lima beans or green beans, carrots, etc and then make a big vegetable soup made out of all frozen leftovers. I also take old bread, grind it in my food processor for crumbs, and freeze them too.

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    I do prefer chicken parts to the whole chicken, especially since I'm cooking for one. So, if I see a good sale, I stock up and freeze.

    But, I sometimes buy a whole chicken if there's a good sale because there's no doubt that it's a better deal, even if I toss the skin. Around where I live, I've noticed that Fridays are a good day to buy chicken. A couple of weeks ago, Whole Foods had rotisserie cooked chickens for five dollars each as their Friday special, and that included a free quart of potato salad. Their chickens tend to be leaner and tastier because they are semi-free range and air-chilled. One Friday last month, they had uncooked chickens on sale and I was able to buy one for under three bucks. Safeway also tends to have chickens on sale on Friday.

    I need to learn how to make and freeze chicken stock. I know it must be really easy, but I don't do it, and then I buy chicken stock to make soup. Filling soup is also a good way to stretch food. I can use just one sausage to make a sausage, bean, and veggie soup. And I buy the sausage when it's on sale and freeze. I'm not a meat lover, so I don't use a lot of it, and when I do buy it, it's usually on sale.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by skatemommy View Post
    ^ how do you prepare your quinoa?
    As kiki said, 2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 15-20 min.

    I'll often use different liquids depending on what I'm using the quinoa for. For a Moroccan salad, I'll use orange juice. For quinoa cakes, or for pilaf or for under a cassarole/sauce, I'll use V8 or broth. And for desserts or breakfast, I might use almond milk.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allskate View Post
    I need to learn how to make and freeze chicken stock. I know it must be really easy, but I don't do it, and then I buy chicken stock to make soup.
    It is very easy Just put a chicken carcass (if you buy bone-in parts, save the bones in your freezer for stock, you can also add any skin which you don't eat) in a pot with cold water and simmer over low heat for at least two hours. After the first 30 minutes, skim off any scum that may have floated to the surface. After an hour, you can add other things to flavor the stock such as a halved onion (don't peel it), leek tops, carrot, celery, rosemary, thyme, garlic, black peppercorns, bay leaves, allspice etc. Or if you want to go in an Asian direction, use garlic, ginger and lemongrass.

    After a couple of hours, strain the stock and let it cool at room temperature, and then in the fridge overnight. The cold will solidify the fat in the stock and you can just skim it off. Then just freeze in tupperware containers.

  12. #12
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    I live on my own so when I want to roast a chicken I take the legs off first and freeze them for later use. That keeps the amount of meat cooked down to an amount I can actually get through in a reasonable time, but also as I'll only buy free-range chicken I find the legs can be tough when straightforwardly roasted, so using them another time in a casserole or slow-roasted is better for getting the best out of them anyway. I make chicken stock with the carcass and reduce it right down so that it sets as a jelly when it cools, then scoop out spoonfuls onto a tray lined with baking parchment, open-freeze, and put into a bag when frozen solid. Then I can just take out however many lumps I need to make up the amount/strength of stock I want (which obviously is not an accurate science with this method).

    I freeze vegetable peelings and offcuts and things like mushrooms that have hung around too long and gone a bit brown and wrinkly, and make vegetable stock with them when I have enough.

    I'm big on pulses. I eat a lot of vegetarian meals, but I also like using them to make meat go further, like putting loads of beans in a chilli or stew. I keep canned ones in to use in a pinch but I prefer to use dried ones as I find it very satisfying to be using something so cheap and old-school, and it makes me happy to see them all pretty in their storage jars (repurposed pickle jars) in my cupboard. I usually cook twice as many as I need and freeze half. I put them in a ziploc bag and then spread them out into one layer and freeze flat so that they're not in one big lump that takes ages to defrost when I get them out.

    If I find myself with a collection of half-used vegetables that are going nowhere in my fridge, it's curry time!

  13. #13

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    ^Jodi is the jelly fat or just marrow? I have no problem with chicken fat...I like the taste in chicken soup!
    "awwww....shades of Janet Lynn" - Dick Button on anyone who makes more than one mistake in their program.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajax View Post
    Then just freeze in tupperware containers.
    This is the part that always worried me. How much do you put into the tupperware. Doesn't it expand when it freezes?

  15. #15
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    I love quinoa with a bit of garlic, caramelized finely diced onions and mushrooms.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allskate View Post
    This is the part that always worried me. How much do you put into the tupperware. Doesn't it expand when it freezes?
    For smaller containers, leave an inch of space at the top. For bigger ones, go for two inches to be safe.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allskate View Post
    This is the part that always worried me. How much do you put into the tupperware. Doesn't it expand when it freezes?
    Use freezer bags. You can lay them flat and conserve space in your freezer.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allskate View Post
    I do prefer chicken parts to the whole chicken, especially since I'm cooking for one. So, if I see a good sale, I stock up and freeze.
    Four boneless skinless breasts from the deli counter can last me three days (or more, if I make them into chicken salad!)

    With any pieces, I save the bones and when I have enough, I make stock. Which then goes into soup or some other preparation.

  19. #19

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    What exactly is quinona? My mother lives with me now, and she's been a vegetarian since I was a toddler. I am about done with making spaghetti, perogies, potatoes and steamed veggies.

    I'm perfectly willing to cook other grains and such, I just don't know what or how. Any thoughts? The crock pot is my very best friend when it comes to making beans, and I'd like to use it for other things for her as well.

  20. #20
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    Quinoa. It has a very slight nutty taste, but it's mild enough to just pick up whatever flavors you surround it with. It's great for vegetarians because it's really high in protein. I have a cookbook I got off amazon called Quinoa 365 and it has some really amazing recipes from salads to pancakes to desserts to pasta etc.

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