Frugal Village Forums banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
857 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have been out of the loop for so long but I know that A lot of you here on Frugal Village have a frugal pantry to make Great Meals....what do you have on hand that are a must have to whip up Great Meals? :)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
19,540 Posts
Take a look at your favorite scratch recipes for main dishes. See what ingredients you commonly use and keep those on hand.

I keep homemade mixes such as brownies, cake mixes, biscuit mix, taco seasoning mix, etc. Also the usual, flour, sugar, baking soda, etc. Again, see what ingredients you commonly use in various favorite recipes for baked goods.

IMO, I think it's important to keep a good supply of a variety of herbs and spices, purchased from bulk outlets to keep costs down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
857 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Here is the problem, I have not really cooked for a family in almost 5 years. My fiancee has two boys ages 12 and 17 and they did not care for the meals I would cook as they like more convenience foods etc..one doesn't like certain vegetables and the other doesn't like mushrooms, etc so I gave up! I am basically going back to basics. I figure if I cook even a bit of frugal and if they would want seconds then next time I would cook a bit more. My Children love my cooking but they are grown and I don't get to see them as often as I would love to. It is hard because my kids would eat onions, or mushrooms, peppers, etc but it seems with the boys what one likes the other one doesn't :p
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
19,540 Posts
Sad for them. Put it on the table and if they won't eat it, they're on their own. And remind them the first to complain is tomorrow's cook. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,035 Posts
And remind them the first to complain is tomorrow's cook
Here, you eat what is served.

My guys have become the chefs. They rotate each week who cooks. This week, the good chef is the cook, so you know the food is going to taste good. Next week, well, the poor guy sucks at cooking. But, with all of them cooking, they know how hard it is and know the effort that it takes to put a meal on the table.

Maybe, your guys need to start cooking. They might be more apt to eat what they cook. My guys can make a good handful of simple meals. The good chef can even make homemade gravy and he makes some killer biscuits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,087 Posts
some of my frugal staples are dried beans, big bricks of cheese (cheddar, pepperjack,montery jack bought as loss leaders) eggs ( I do an egg based dish once a week for dinner), homecanned salsa, frozen veggies (from our garden), oats bought in 25 or 50 lb bags for homemade granola and baking supplies bought in bulk.

I do sandwich night once a week (sometimes 2x) ours are kinda gourmet usually with veggies etc. but you could let the kids customize their own. Homemade individual pizzas, taco bar again make their own. The more you can make that everyone adds their own toppings might be the way to go.

I think you need to make a meal plan first and go from there.

It is hard with step kids. Not sure if you have them all the time or not? We only had hubbys daughter everyother weekend and one week night each week. I wish now I wouldn't have been such a hardnose and just made those nights pizza, tacos, grilled cheese etc. Pick your battles as they say. But if you have them all the time that is much harder!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
285 Posts
Here is the problem, I have not really cooked for a family in almost 5 years. My fiancee has two boys ages 12 and 17 and they did not care for the meals I would cook as they like more convenience foods etc..one doesn't like certain vegetables and the other doesn't like mushrooms, etc so I gave up! :p
I don't have children to cater for, but if I had, my response would be: that's the food - eat or go hungry.

I work part-time at a residential outdoor-education centre, where everyone is served the same meals at breakfast and in the evening: midday, there are picnic options - various sandwiches made, savouries, fruit, flapjack, more fruit . . .

I helped Meet & Greet a "new" group the other day and was surprised to see the senior accompanying teacher arrive in the kitchen with a sealed plastic box with chicken breasts in - apparently, one kid's parents had sent this for her/him to eat - it was to be grilled simply and s/he would eat it - but would eat nothing else. So: teacher and I agreed that this kid was going to go hungry, at times other than "grilled-chicken" times!

We get a lot of "picky eaters" at the Centre but, unless there's a medical certificate attached to the kid's dossier, or the family sends pre-packed, easy-serve meals, the kids concerned eat what they're given or go hungry.

After a full day's activity and no sympathy, they usually eat what's put in front of them.

So send 'em to us, your fiance's boys: we'll sort 'em out!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
It's going to be difficult to be all "eat what you are served or starve" when you are coming in as a stepmom.

I suggest that you start with customizable dishes that they can customize themselves. For example, pizza. When you make a crust from scratch, there's no difference between stretching it out to one crust or splitting it up and stretching it out to 4 individual crusts. You can even have them do their own. Then, you set out the sauce, cheese, and prepped veggies, and let them put their own pizza together. Pizza is one of the easiest customizable dishes out there. My 5 yr old is least picky kid out there but only likes black olives on pizza. My oldest is also not picky, but doesn't like peppers. DH eats everything and my 3 yr old, who has some sensory challenges, is the pickiest kid that exists, but will eat anything on a pizza. It's super easy for me to make pizzas (or even sections of one big pizza) that each person likes. Tacos are another one...you cook the meat (and it's not hard to even cook up a selection of beef and chicken, to give a choice of those) then set out the tortillas, the lettuce, etc, and they put their own tacos together.

Also, simple dishes are usually more frugal and there's less to object to as well. For example, baked chicken legs, steamed carrots, and rice involves 3 ingredients. That's less to buy and less to complain about. It's also a little bland, but it's not hard to jazz it up a bit as you figure out what folks like to eat and what works for your family.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
beans
rice
wheat berries
flour
cornflour
cornmeal
sugar
vegetable oil
powdered milk
sugar
cocoa
vanilla
oatmeal
canned vegetables
tuna/ mackerel/ salmon
tomato paste
dehydrated chilies
spices
peanut butter
molasses
mashed potatoes
noodles
tea
homemade jams
bottled fruits
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
209 Posts
I always have on hand: frozen chicken breast, canned tomato sauce, canned diced or crushed tomatoes, brown and white rice, dried beans, dried lentils, peanut butter, oats, flour, corn starch, sugar, half and half, baking soda, baking powder, honey, rice wine vinegar, chili garlic sauce, coconut milk, lots of herbs and spices, a few kinds of fresh vegetables and fruits, various kinds of pasta, eggs, a couple kinds of cheese, sometimes chicken sausages or turkey kielbasa, olive oil and vegetable oil.

One easy and versatile meal I make often: sautee one or two kinds of veggies, and meat if we want it, in a large non stick cooking pan. Cook rice, pasta or some cut up potatoes separately at the same time. Once meat and veggies are mostly cooked I add a cup or so of half and half, mix a T of cornstarch with water and add it. Simmer until it thickens, then add 1/2 to 1 cup cheese (stronger flavored cheeses like gorgonzola or goat cheese need less). Stir until cheese is melted and well incorperated. I may also add a little garlic and black pepper, or a little bit of chili garlic sauce to make it spicy, but you don't have to. Last I mix the pasta, rice, or potatoes right into the pan with the sauce.

I also sometimes will make a peanut sauce instead of a cheese sauce. It has peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, garlic, chili garlic sauce, powdered ginger, a couple drops of soy sauce, coconut milk. It's good with rice, spaghetti noodles or any kind of Asian noodle, chicken, tofu, almost any vegetables.

If I have nothing else planned both of those are pretty fast and easy and I can use whatever I have on hand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
209 Posts
Personally I hate onions, but I use diced dried onion in lots of things. It gives some flavor but isn't really noticeable as an oniony flavor or texture.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
857 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks everyone, the younger one (12 years old) for the past couple of days has been eating pretty good, his Dad and I had a talk and agreed with a couple of things. One major thing for me is that he would drink all of his juice if he didn't care for something and then say he was full. He now gets either 1/4 of a glass to drink with his meal and then more to drink after or he can have his drink after his meal that is up to him. I have been with them now for a little over 4 years and they live with us full time, my fiancee has had full custody for 8 years.
I have been bumping up a few threads that I had posted quite sometime ago as a refresher and scouting through the forums :)
It seems to me the book "Not Just Beans" had a list of things for a frugal pantry. I no longer have this book, does anyone else know? Seems to me that the "tightwad gazette" had a list for a frugal pantry as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,299 Posts
Some of the more budget friendly things I keep on hand are:

frozen peas and corn (and others)-- stock up when name brands are less than $1 a bag

butter -- buy tons of it when it is under $2 a lb and freeze. If they have a limit on how much I can buy I make multiple trips

various pastas and sauce

day old breads @ half price -- keeps in the fridge and I usually toast it so it doesn't matter so much if it is a little stale

eggs

canned black beans and tomatoes for chili

white, brown and wild rice and various seasoned rice and noodle mixes

potatoes -- when the 10lb bags are 99c I get one and make a big batch of twice baked stuffed potatoes and freeze them, individually wrapped
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top