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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Cooking on a Budget: OAMC, Make Ahead, Freezing & More / I need help for a very worthwhile project
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    I need help for a very worthwhile project

    Vicki in AZ
    Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:49 pm Groupie
    We have a wonderful shelter here for women and children. I have been asked to teach a class on cooking budget friendly, healthy meals. I have many recipes and there certainly are many on this site, however, I want to cull them and pick real winners. Many of the women are Hispanic, but they cross all sociology-economic lines. Other considerations might be the size of kitchen (after they leave the shelter, they transition to apartments with very small kitchens with limited equipment), number and cost of necessary ingredients, and time required. Thank you all, in advance. You are truly contributing to a worthwhile project.
    Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:06 am Groupie
    Crockpot cooking, cooking big meals and freezing portions, re-purposing leftovers, useful if they are working long hours.

    Using whole grain instead of white, lots of veggies. Use a little meat for meals.

    Teaching how to freeze veggies and fruits that way nothing goes to waste, if they can do in-season fruits and veggies and stock up, that would be great, but it would be more about keeping it for a month.

    I remember when I was on welfare that I would eat as little as 1 chicken drumstick with starch (rice, potatoes, pasta) and a handful of frozen veggies for a meal, sometimes even bread, which some food banks, Salvation Army's give out for free. I would make Hamburger Helper with just a few hamburger patties worth of meat.

    Making their own bread would save money if they can't get free bread, a few years back I calculated how much it cost to make bread, and it was only about 50 cents, where the store was charging over $3 per loaf. The price of flour has gone up dramatically but still it is cheaper than buying. Buying Gluten Flour from a health food store or if the grocery store sells it can be a great help when making bread. I use it with All-Purpose and Whole Wheat, instead of buying Bread Flour too. I pay about $7 for a pound, but you only need 1/2 tsp per 1 cup of all-purpose flour to make it like a Bread Flour. I bake alot of bread and I only need to buy it 2 times a year.

    If you are teaching baking then reducing sugar can be a good thing. I successfully cut sugar in an Apple Crisp in half and used whole wheat flour instead of white, with no complaints. At home if it doesn't have to be white (pie dough, white bread) then I used half whole wheat flour. At work I do 100% whole wheat alot of the time. Actually when I made the Apple Crisp for Parents of Young Children my co-workers cringed at the thought of whole wheat flour in Apple Crisp, I laughed and said they didn't complain the last time I made it for them.

    Pasta sauces I have made totally with veggies and no meat and no complaints at home or work, at work I serve with whole wheat noodles. I usually add shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, small diced onions, small diced celery and at home I add small diced sweet bell peppers and sliced mushrooms. Making a huge batch of sauce and making lasagnas, baked pastas and freezing those or just the sauce for later use. You don't have to cook the lasagna noodles or pasta before hand either.

    Bulk shopping for foods is a good thing and don't pass up the dollar store. I hear some people get very good deals in theirs, not ours, just canned fruits, cake mixes, cookies, candy.

    If they get in a position to start buying bigger bags of flour, sugar, rice then try and go to restaurants, bakeries and ice cream shops and ask them if they have empty buckets with lids they are willing to give away. That way you know they are food grade. Try and get pie filling, mayonnaise or miracle whip buckets instead of pickle if at all possible. The pickle ones are harder to clean the smell out of. Not impossible just harder. A year or so ago someone did an experiment on cleaning pickle buckets, I just wish I remember which one worked best.

    If I can think of anything else I will be back to post more, it is after 11 right now.
    Vicki in AZ
    Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:53 pm Groupie
    tasb, thanks so much.
    Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:39 pm Groupie
    I forgot to mention margarine buckets too.

    I will keep thinking of other things. I am not too familiar with Hispanic cooking, but there are probably lots of meals that they can make in big batches to save money, and have meals ready for later on.

    Also try to find Cash and Carry Restaurant Supply Stores, they usually don't require a membership to go there and buy things. I get foil pans with lids from one for about $18 for 50 pans and lids, I was buying them at a grocery store for $6 for 5 pans. And you can get big cans (100 oz) of beans, pasta sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes for around $6 each. I pick up 10 lb Cooked Diced Chicken for about $36, which is cheaper than trying to buy 10 lb raw chicken and cooking and dicing it yourself. And it only Chicken and Salt, where as raw chicken is pumped with salt, water, seasonings, plus is 10 lb after it is cooked not before. I use mine for stir-fry, hot open-face sandwiches, curry, chicken burritos, anywhere you would use chicken, since it is already cooked you add it towards the end.

    I buy my flour from there too, I pay $18 for 50 lb, where the grocery store is charging $12 for 20 lb. I do go through over 250 lb flour a year. I used 150 lb since October.
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