> hey what's for dinner mom?: Sometimes Cheap isn't worth it part 2

4.30.2009

Sometimes Cheap isn't worth it part 2

I have found several blogs that seem to be simply about adding coupons, catalinas and buy one get one deals to get free product, great. Except who has room to store the 48 boxes of capri sun you got for a dollar when you bought 40 cans of soup? And how long is too long to store food? How far out in advance do you plan for? A few months back I realized I was spending a helluva lot more on food/supplies than we needed and I needed to cut back. I have and in those first few weeks I was a rabid couponer and I stocked up on toiletries and non perishables pretty quick. I stock a pretty decent pantry already so I'm good there. Now what? These blogs I look at buy those non perishables items in massive amounts, weekly. Now maybe they are sharing with family or maybe they are hoarding but how can they afford so much week after week? Are they really saving money? What I can't afford or won't afford is spending untold hours in my truck, burning gas and dragging my kids from store to store to get 'free' stuff. I make a list, plan my meals, shop once and eat for a week. Also what about real foods?
What real food can you get on coupons anyway? Guiltless Glutton had a great post on that the other day and mostly I agree with what she had to say, check it out. Most coupons are placed to get you to buy products right? The most expensive products are highly processed 'food' that come in little packs and those are the ones manufacturers are pushing. When was the last time you saw a coupon for plain brown rice? Yup, thought so, long time or maybe never. Let's just pick on rice-a-roni shall we? I see lots of coupons for it. You got your white rice and broken spaghetti noodles the box costs what? A buck? Nope more like a 1.25 ish on Amazon. Anyway you got broken noodles and white (polished nutritionless but I digress) rice and WOW 54 % of your daily salt needs. WOOT! And after rice, wheat flour and salt come all these neato 'foods?' "Partially Hydrogenated Palm Oil(check out this article)**, Sugar, Autolysed Yeast Extract*, Hydrolysed Soy Protein (MSG), Onions*, Corn Syrup*, Dextrose, Monosodium Glutamate(twice now cause one dose of nueurotoxin just aint enough), Natural Flavors, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten (wow third times a charm hunh?), Chicken Broth*, Chicken Fat, Turmeric, Sodium Caseinate, Parsley*, Hydrolysed Wheat Gluten (4 times? now this is jsut getting silly), Garlic*, Niacin, Disodium Guanylate (seaweed extract), Disodiuminosinate, Ferric Orthophosphate, Ferrous Sulfate, Turmeric Extract, Thiamin Mononitrate, Soy Lecithin, Folic Acid, Riboflavin. *Dried. **Adds A Dietarily Insignificant Amount of Trans Fat. Contains Wheat, Soy and Milk Ingredients."
Okey Dokey then, anybody else scared? MSG is a neurotoxin basically it makes you think food tastes good. It would make dog poop taste good because it fools your taste buds. When food tastes good we eat more, the more we eat, the fatter we get, the more we buy the more money they make and when we slow down...bring on the coupons we'll wrangle 'em in cheaply! Ok again I digress but MSG just really pisses me off. Seriously.
How do you save money on food? Back to rice-a-roni, the box costs 1.25 and has 2 servings for my family I would need 3-4 boxes (teenage boy) 5 bucks worth. You can buy 2 pounds of rice for 2 bucks or quick cook brown rice, add some spaghetti a few spices and voila! Homemade in minutes, with REAL food. I googled homemade rice-a-roni and found a TON of recipes. I have included two I like. You know, it takes time to make food but I think with simple recipes that are easy to follow and easy to tweak to a compliment a certain main dish everyone can cook with whole real foods and leave the highly processed and dangerous foods on the shelf.

Side Dish Rice

1 cup quick cooking brown rice, uncooked
1 cup broken thin or regular spaghetti
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
3 cups broth, beef or chicken homemade or canned MSG free if possible-do what you can!
1-1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper


melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, add uncooked rice and pasta pieces and stir about 5 minutes until pasta is lightly browned
add remaining ingredients heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12 minutes remove from heat, fluff with a fork, cover and let steam an additional 5-10 minutes



Spanish Rice

1 cup quick cooking brown rice, uncooked
1 cup broken spaghetti
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
2 1/2 cups broth, beef or chicken homemade or canned MSG free if possible-do what you can!
1 can diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes or rotel your choice
2 tablespoons taco seasoning-or to taste
freshly ground black pepper

melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, add uncooked rice and pasta pieces and stir about 5 minutes until pasta is lightly browned
add remaining ingredients heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12 minutes remove from heat, fluff with a fork, cover and let steam an additional 5-10 minutes

With the Spanish rice I like to brown pork chops in the pan first, remove to a platter, prepare the rice, when the rice is boiling I pop the pork chops on top cook until the rice is done. So easy and so homemade! I also included a great recipe for taco seasoning that is lower in salt, better tasting and cheaper than store bought.

Taco Seasoning
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea slat
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano-Mexican if you find it!

Mix it up, store in an air tight container and use as much or little as you want
Finally have you met Sweetie Pie yet? She is having a great giveaway for her 100th post, go see her for a chance to WIN BIG!!(or not I want to win!) Well anyway she is a great blogger and very inspirational...she has lost half her body weight!

10 comments :

  1. Great, great post. I am a big fan of coupons - we even receive the Sunday issue of the Chicago Tribue SOLELY for coupons! (I researched and got a reduced rate 1 yr. subscription that pays for itself in only about 2 months of coupons - leaving me w/ 10 months of savings)

    But, I agree - there is only so much stocking up you can do, and there's a lot of coupons for CRAP. I never, ever buy toiletries without a coupon. Shampoo, soap, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. and I try to be at least 1 package, sometimes 2 ahead in my purchases.

    The rest I just use as-needed, otherwise I would spent MORE money, trying to SAVE money. A lot of coupons expire on the 31st of the month, so that would mean I'd add tons of money to that previous shopping trip if I didn't want to "waste" the coupons. It's ok to let it go! If you don't NEED cereal, then throw away the .40c coupon - another will come along later.

    The 2 rice recipes I use all the time! I grew up in a house that never had junk or processed food. My mom only shopped the outside aisles of the grocery store, and local markets and fruit stands. For Spanish rice, I'll also throw in salsa while the rice is cooking!

    Thanks for the taco seasoning recipe! It's so much cheaper to blend the spices yourself for any blend - "Taco", "Italian", "Grilling", etc.

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  2. Oh! I forgot to add Congrats on winning my contest! :)

    And also - a lot of those coupon printing sites require you to DOWNLOAD a coupon "printer." This is phishing software that installs itself DEEPLY and intricately into your files to track your selections.

    My boyfriend is a prof. web developer and researched long and hard when I inquired whether or not it'd be worth it to download one. Just google for a bit and you'll learn a lot of negative things. --That's when we decided to just subscribe to the Tribune, rather than bog down the computer.

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  3. I am a believer in coupons. Your spanish rice sounds terrific!

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  4. I use coupons every week, but I have to watch it sometimes because I tend to buy the item just because I have a coupon! Now i either try to make sure I plan my meals around a great coupon or actually need the item before i buy it

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  5. Christina our paper doesn't have coupons!
    CG and Donna, I do like coupons when they are for things I need rather than junk which if I am not thinking about I will buy right in to.
    Heidi me too but I do have to watch too or I will buy things I don't need!

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  6. Great post sweetie, I love coupons too but man really I can't keep up with all those items ... just check out my cupboards in my newest GIVEAWAY ... what too shy? LOL just playing but really I posted pictures and I have a hard enough time. Now mind you far from a gourmet cook like you but I'm trying to hang.

    Stop by when you get a moment hun, I so need some more comments! Thanks girl :)

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  7. I feed my family completely MSG free! It is not easy and is so frustrating at times, but so worth it! Thanks for the great Taco Seasoning recipe!
    I have a blog you may be interested in www.msgfreemeals.blogspot.com.
    I'm glad I came across your blog,
    Sarah

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  8. I'm going to be using a coupon today for buy 2 lbs get 2 lbs free of Riceland rice! I thought of you! :)

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