How can you put together a hearty, filling family meal for under $ 5? You have to take a few short cuts but it can be done easily, with a bit of forward planning. The large chain supermarkets have very good special buys each season. In winter, you can often pick up cans of condensed soup for under $ 1.
When you see a good bargain, you need to stock up. Some supermarkets let you buy by the case and something like tomato or chicken soup is so versatile your family need never know soup is the main ingredient in most meals they eat. Pasta and rice are also products that are heavily reduced for sales and as they have a long shelf life, they are perfect to stock your pantry shelves.
I cheat by growing my own herbs and adding fresh chopped herbs to make a dish taste more interesting. Parsley, chives, oregano, basil and mint are my favorites. I have a lemon tree in the back garden, as well. A slice of lemon with a little parsley garnish makes a cheap meal of fish and chips look like a restaurant quality dish.
Here’s how I make a good base meal for less than $ 5. I start with a packet of pasta. Cook the pasta, rinse and drain. Add to a very large casserole dish. Add a can of condensed chicken soup and a can of tuna. I use the large cans and they usually cost me $ 1 for the soup and $ 2 for the tuna. The large packet of pasta usually costs $ 1. Mix the pasta, soup and tuna together and smooth the mixture across the base of the casserole dish. Top off with mashed potato. I buy the large bags for a couple of dollars and it works out at about a couple of cents per serve. The family love grated cheese on everything so I usually grate a little over the top of the potato.
There you have a base recipe. It can be adapted in many ways. Rice can be used instead of pasta and I often use tomato soup as a base. I use minced steak or chopped sausages instead of tuna; you could also use chicken pieces. I like to throw in a large handful of fresh, chopped, seasonal vegetables. There are so many variations that your family will not complain of repetitious meals and with the addition of vegetables, the meals are very nutritious.
The quantity made is so large that a family of four, comprising two adults and two teenage boys cannot eat it all in one meal. It makes great leftovers and the boys love to reheat it in toasted sandwiches the next day. Therefore, it makes enough to feed a large family, a growing family, or several days for an average family. The leftovers can be frozen and used another time.
Wendy Streater is about to become a Grandmother. Her site http://www.newgranny.info is devoted to new grandparents everywhere. Visit the site for ideas or advice and feel free to add advice, ideas or information of your own to the blog page http://www.newgranny.info/blog