Meal Stretchers

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Big Ugly Mich
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2008/09/11 11:46:48 (permalink)

Meal Stretchers

I'd like to hear from some of you what you did to stretch the food budget when necessary, or even when not.
post edited by Big Ugly Mich - 2009/11/14 06:41:17
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    Donna Douglass
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/11 12:34:47 (permalink)
    Way back in the early days of our lives, when money was scarce, especially just before payday, a bit pot of potato soup always helped get us thru until time to hit the grocery store. We always had potatoes, onions, and milk on hand, and with a bit of butter this was a good hot, hearty meal for us.

    Another sometimes stretcher, was creamed eggs (hard boiled) on toast. That was good also and helped a lot. The "cream" was a simple white sauce seasoned with salt and pepper.

    Donna
    #2
    easy1
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/11 12:47:54 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Big Ugly Mich

    I'd like to hear from some of you what you did to atretch the food budget when necessary, or even when not.

    I'm always looking to get multiple meals out of one big cooking experience. Like last weekend, I made two meatloafs, one with onion and one without. There were six of us for dinner, each meat loaf was made with about 2 1/2 lbs of beef/pork/veal mixture. Let's just say there was a lot of each leftover, the next night we had meatloaf sandwiches on hoagie rolls, mmm good!

    Two nights later, I scrambled up most of what was left with an onion, some red wine and added two jars of pasta sauce, instant pasta with hearty meat sauce.

    I had two thick slices left on friday night, I was home solo, I scrambled up the remaining meatloaf with some fresh garlic and portabella mushrooms and had a killer pizza for supper.

    I'd say I got good mileage out of 5 lbs of meatloaf.
    #3
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/11 13:03:31 (permalink)
    I have taken to mixing a lot of shredded veggies (sautéed and cooled) to my meatloaf ... not to stretch, but to enhance.

    Maybe 40 of my meatloaf is ground up carrots, onions and peppers ... Always moist.

    I'm not sure veggies are cheaper than meat.

    #4
    fabulousoyster
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/11 13:20:05 (permalink)
    Eat eggs for dinner.
    Make Eggs in Purgatory. Spicy marinara sauce with lots of olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic in a large saute or frying pan. Crack 6 eggs in carefully in the sauce, cover, simmer low till eggs done in sauce, you can shake pan but obviously, don't stir. Serve with italian bread. Kids love it too, just ease up on the red pepper flakes.
    #5
    WarToad
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/11 13:28:31 (permalink)
    I know this sounds odd, and possiby blasphomous... but I take a block of silken tofu and mix it into my meatloaf mix. The flavor is so extremely mild, the meatloaf flavor overwhelms it and you taste no soy. It's mostly soy protein and water, so my meatloaf comes out very moist, and it even lightens the texture up.

    I have a lot of tofu haters in my family and friend circle, so I dont even tell them I do this and they all love the meatloaf.

    The ket is "silken" tofu. It completely melds into the meat. Any of the firm tofu's hold up and don't incorporate very well.
    #6
    tcrouzer
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/11 14:06:11 (permalink)
    Beans! Southerners love our beans, usually pintos at my house. The basic meal is beans (cooked with a ham hock or even a smoked turkey wing), greens (collards, turnip greens, cabbage, etc.) and cornbread. If you add sliced ripe tomatoes, cucumber and onions in vinegar, and some homemade applesauce, you have a delicious meal fit for any king/queen.

    A family favorite meal stretcher is cooked elbow macaroni mixed with a can of stewed tomatoes, a little sugar and butter, salt and pepper, heat until the tomatoes are cooked down somewhat.

    I like to really stretch a nice large hen: simmer in a large pot with chicken broth added to the water, a rib of celery, a carrot, and a hunk of onion; let it cool in the pot then remove all the meat from the bones, but keep the carcass. Make chicken and dumplings with a third of the meat, make a chicken casserole with another third of the meat, and make a big pot of chicken noodle soup with the broth, the last bits of meat, and the bones. If you are really stretching that bird and have a small family, you might get a fourth meal with this plan.
    #7
    ann peeples
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/11 17:05:29 (permalink)
    When I make pot roast with vegetables,the next day I make a beef barley soup out of the leftovers.Cut up the meat and vegetables smaller, add beef broth to what is left, including the gravy, and add barley.Wonderful soup!
    #8
    Rusty246
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/11 17:25:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by tcrouzer

    Beans! Southerners love our beans, usually pintos at my house. The basic meal is beans (cooked with a ham hock or even a smoked turkey wing), greens (collards, turnip greens, cabbage, etc.) and cornbread. If you add sliced ripe tomatoes, cucumber and onions in vinegar, and some homemade applesauce, you have a delicious meal fit for any king/queen.

    A family favorite meal stretcher is cooked elbow macaroni mixed with a can of stewed tomatoes, a little sugar and butter, salt and pepper, heat until the tomatoes are cooked down somewhat.

    I like to really stretch a nice large hen: simmer in a large pot with chicken broth added to the water, a rib of celery, a carrot, and a hunk of onion; let it cool in the pot then remove all the meat from the bones, but keep the carcass. Make chicken and dumplings with a third of the meat, make a chicken casserole with another third of the meat, and make a big pot of chicken noodle soup with the broth, the last bits of meat, and the bones. If you are really stretching that bird and have a small family, you might get a fourth meal with this plan.

    If I didn't know better I would have thought that I wrote this. Wow, I have a twin. Beans, greens and cornbread we had weekend before last, I brought what was left for lunch. Macaroni and tomatoes as I call it I LOVE! and always make enough for lunch also. You're right on with the chicken also.
    #9
    RubyRose
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/11 17:53:33 (permalink)
    Stuff things. It's a good way to use leftovers or small quantities of meat, poultry or seafood, extends main dishes and keeps the menu interesting.

    Last week, I used part of a stewing hen cooked as tcouzer posted above to make manicotti stuffed with chopped chicken, spinach, mushrooms and green onions, parmesan cheese and a cream sauce.

    Some other stuffed stuff I make:

    Pork chops stuffed with apples and walnuts
    Eggplant stuffed with lamb and orzo or various leftovers
    Tomatoes with spinach and parmesan
    Grilled peaches with an oatmeal stuffing
    Potatoes with cheese and ham
    Snow peas with blue and cream cheeses and chopped dried beef
    Fish fillets with lemon bread stuffing
    Yellow squash with bacon and onions
    Zucchini with rice tomatoes and cheddar
    Cabbage with ground beef or sausage stuffing
    Apples with raisins and walnuts
    Mushrooms with various stuffings
    Portobello mushrooms with crabmeat
    Celery with cream cheese or pimento cheese
    Onions with bacon and black olives
    Acorn squash with oranges and pecans
    Chicken breasts with spinach stuffing under the skin
    Cherry tomatoes with tuna
    Stuffed kibbee

    With a microwave oven, stuffed items can take a quantum leap. For example, I halve and eggplant and cook it in the microwave for a few minutes. Then I cool and remove and dice the insides to saute with the other stuffing ingredients and return to the precooked shell. It has cut down the cooking time so much for winter squashes and stopped that sogginess that stuffed mushrooms would sometimes get.

    #10
    SeamusD
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/13 20:46:25 (permalink)
    I love stewed tomatoes in mac and cheese, I do it all the time, regardless of stretching a meal budget. I'll also add beef to make the beefy cheesy saucy mac thing.

    I usually made a big pot of simple tomato sauce when I needed to make food stretch. Inexpensive whole canned tomatoes and paste, olive oil (if I had it on hand) salt and pepper, and onion. I could portion parts out, and add different ingredients to make different dishes. One night it's pasta sauce, the next night chili, the next night pizza sauce, or just making some garlic bread with butter and garlic powder to dip in it.
    #11
    Big Ugly Mich
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/13 22:14:58 (permalink)
    One of my dirtiest tricks is to add brown rice and black beans to anything made with ground beef. My wife thinks she hates beans, so I don't tell her.

    I've never done it, but have friends who swear by stuffing unbaked casserole in a pumpkin and baking both simultaneously. I do enjoy bread bowls with stews and soups.

    Many of you may disagree, but I've found that almost any veggie or meat will go in an omelette the next morning, including potatoes.
    #12
    leethebard
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/13 22:18:03 (permalink)
    SeamusD,growing up in the 50's my dad loved adding stewed tomatoes to a mac& cheese casserole...so mon switched off and made it that way now and then....got to admit,it's pretty good!!!
    #13
    Bushie
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/14 00:46:49 (permalink)
    Listen to RubyRose. Honestly, she is perhaps the most intelligent and "real" foodie I've ever read.

    When I saw your thread name, I thought of "stretching" ground meat. I think oatmeal (Quaker Oats) is the best way of adding volume to just about anything you do with ground beef.

    A couple of months ago, I had my first "onion burger" in El Reno, OK. I subsequently read the history of this fabulous sandwich, and it said that during the Depression, a guy in Ardmore, OK started "stretching" his burgers with thinly-sliced onions because meat was expensive, but onions were cheap. Thus was born the onion burger.
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    Rick F.
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/14 00:58:01 (permalink)
    Rusty246 and tcrouzer are right on the mark! My family doesn't think of that as "stretching" a meal: to us, it's a very real meal in itself.

    More on topic, we add cooked carrots when mashing potatoes. My mom did that as a potato stretcher, but we and our kids love it for its own sake. Plenty of butter and S & P, and have at it! Good for what ails you.
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    ann peeples
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/14 04:23:27 (permalink)
    Great idea, Padre....
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    bbqjimbob
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/14 07:05:21 (permalink)
    Beef liver. The last time we had it, there was enough for my wife and I to have dinner 2 nights. The liver cost us a grand total of $1.74! That's 43.5 cents per serving!
    #17
    soozycue520
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/14 11:04:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by tcrouzer

    I like to really stretch a nice large hen: simmer in a large pot with chicken broth added to the water, a rib of celery, a carrot, and a hunk of onion; let it cool in the pot then remove all the meat from the bones, but keep the carcass. Make chicken and dumplings with a third of the meat, make a chicken casserole with another third of the meat, and make a big pot of chicken noodle soup with the broth, the last bits of meat, and the bones. If you are really stretching that bird and have a small family, you might get a fourth meal with this plan.


    I was going to respond with this suggestion. I did the same thing when my kids were little, and we were on a fixed income. Sometimes I would make chicken salad, chicken & stuffing, chicken ala king, chicken pot pie. My fav is chicken & dumplings. But I'd always use the broth to make noodle soup.
    #18
    angeltearsmc
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/14 16:30:58 (permalink)
    Canned beans are a great meal stretcher - cheap, very low fat and very high protein! So are canned/frozen veggies and rice. I'm a big fan of the rice mixes and mashed potato mixes in pouches (each one makes about 3-4 servings, and all you have to add is water.) Applesauce makes a great healthy, cheap dessert! And I very rarely buy meat of any kind - I get my protein from yogurt and beans.

    I'm not so great at cooking a full meal and freezing the leftovers - I live alone, and it's much easier to just have a bowl of frozen veggies or part of a pouch of instant mashed potatoes for dinner than it is to actually cook a meal. (Even though I love cooking...)
    #19
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/14 16:57:35 (permalink)
    I added cooked rice to my meatloaf today while I was watching the Titans, Colts and the races. Sorta absorbed the taste. Although it was not be best, it did not detract and added a lot of volume although It did not need it.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    Rick F.
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/15 17:44:55 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bbqjimbob

    Beef liver. The last time we had it, there was enough for my wife and I to have dinner 2 nights.
    Double that for us, as I would be eating elsewhere--any elsewhere!
    #21
    Adjudicator
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/15 20:11:56 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    I added cooked rice to my meatloaf today while I was watching the Titans, Colts and the races. Sorta absorbed the taste. Although it was not be best, it did not detract and added a lot of volume although It did not need it.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN


    I add rice when I cook stuffed bell peppers.
    #22
    leethebard
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/16 09:04:38 (permalink)
    Oh stuffed peppers...with rice in the meat...love them.....one of the best meals I just don't get too often!!!
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    AndreaB
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/16 09:13:35 (permalink)
    Stuffed peppers are great --- I use corn instead of rice and we sometimes cook up a crock pot of chili and make stuffed peppers with the leftover chili and corn as the stuffing --- it's good and we can get about three meals out of it.

    Andrea
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    leethebard
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/16 09:17:11 (permalink)
    Hey,that's a great idea...Got to try that.
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    MGWerks
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2008/09/16 11:21:27 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bbqjimbob

    Beef liver. The last time we had it, there was enough for my wife and I to have dinner 2 nights. The liver cost us a grand total of $1.74! That's 43.5 cents per serving!
    You'd have to pay me an LOT more than that to eat it!
    #26
    Big Ugly Mich
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2009/08/11 17:36:36 (permalink)
    wheregreggeats.com I have taken to mixing a lot of shredded veggies (sautéed and cooled) to my meatloaf ... not to stretch, but to enhance.
    I add carrots chopped as finely as I can to a can of spaghetti sauce to kill the vinegar flavor. An aunt turned me on to that last summer.
    post edited by Big Ugly Mich - 2009/08/11 17:47:38
    #27
    Big Ugly Mich
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2009/08/11 17:45:27 (permalink)
    angeltearsmc Canned beans are a great meal stretcher - cheap, very low fat and very high protein!
    I actually can my own beans. I found out quite by accident that it's possible.
    1. Fill a GLASS jar about a quarter full of dry beans.
    2. Get a pot of water boiling furiously.
    3. Fill the jar with the beans as full as possible with the boiling water (Sorry, Greymo).
    4. Put the lid on the jar. Obviously, you have to be real careful when you do this.
    I never add anything to these when I do them, and you should put them where the mess will be easily cleaned if you added too many beans, which I've personally done about a hundred times. When that happens, just use them up a day or so after you put them up and they'll be fine.
    post edited by Big Ugly Mich - 2009/11/14 06:42:36
    #28
    Greymo
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2009/08/11 17:52:58 (permalink)
    I guess that I do not understand  step 3.  Did you mean to say  fill the jar with the water?
    #29
    leethebard
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    RE: Meal Stretchers 2009/08/11 18:31:13 (permalink)
    Big Ugly Mich

    wheregreggeats.com I have taken to mixing a lot of shredded veggies (sautéed and cooled) to my meatloaf ... not to stretch, but to enhance.
    I add carrots chopped as finely as I can to a can of spaghetti sauce to kill the vinegar flavor. An aunt turned me on to that last summer.


    What Italian sauce are you using that has vinegar??????
    #30
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