Without doubt, no matter where you live, life continues to present various challenges, and with the ridiculous inflationary reality all of us are experiencing, it can become one heck of a trial to maintain your household on a sensible budget. Here at The Oasis of Four Queen Palms, we work diligently to maintain a sensible household budget, without sacrificing nutrition and quality. With the ever-rising cost of groceries, using every bit of food, and wisely buying provisions, is a key to a sensible household budget. My “waste not, want not” motto works comfortably in this economic climate. Not only is it smart to follow for everyday home resources, but it is also a practical, wise, and economical way to get the most out of food and leftovers, so why not wisely stretch meals and create light lunches or suppers, while keeping the cost of food as reasonable as possible?
So far, I have shared with you my tips on making scones and pies, tempting chicken stew, stretching relatively inexpensive cabbage, making shepherd’s pie with leftovers, and creating soups. In this essay, I’ll share some of my ideas on stretching linguini and chili, too.
When it comes to cooking and baking, I prefer making as much as I can from scratch. It really is hardly any extra work, it takes about the same time as opening a box of mix, and it’s much healthier than processed foods.
I took a recipe I found for spaghetti with garbanzo beans and tailored it a bit to match the taste of my family. This was so simple to make and inexpensive. I used cooked linguini (although any type of pasta will work). I took a half cup of dried garbanzo beans, soaked them overnight, then cooked them. Afterwards, I drained and dried them before sautéing them in olive oil. Meanwhile, I cooked the linguini. Next up, I took a fresh lemon, juiced it, and mixed it into the drained pasta. I mixed in the sautéed garbanzos until thoroughly blended. A bit of oregano, basil, and thyme and about a cup of fresh spinach finished the preparation, and it was ready for the table. We liked it, and by adding so many garbanzos to the dish, it helped to stretch the meal.
The weather got a little cool one week, and Best Friend and I had a taste for homemade chili. Out came the slow cooker. I put a pound of fresh ground beef, mixed in a cup of fresh beans that I soaked overnight, stirred in leftover corn, and sprinkled in cumin, chili powder, onions, and garlic. After mixing it well, I poured in a can of no salt added diced tomatoes and about two cups of water. Ten hours of slow cooking, and lunch the next day was superb! I baked a few flour tortillas cut into strips and threw in a dollop of sour cream. Besides, I had enough left over chili to freeze for another couple of lunches.
Note: The dried beans will expand as they soak and cook, and I like using quite a bit to make the chili more of a bean meal with a touch of meat.
Dried beans and lentils are still relatively inexpensive, so by using them in cooking helps to stretch meals and keep them healthy.
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Excerpt from my upcoming new book, “Smart Home Economics,” ©2023