View Full Version : 15 Ways to Stop Wasting Money on Food

Jolie Rouge
10-27-2011, 08:13 PM
Kimberly Palmer, On Wednesday October 26, 2011, 3:27 pm EDT

As anyone who's ever cleaned up after a dinner party knows, Americans waste a lot of food. In addition to the fruit, vegetables, and other items that go bad in our own kitchens, farmers and grocery stores toss unused goods as well. According to Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland, it adds up to at least 160 billion pounds of wasted food each year. The problem is considered so serious that food industry groups have launched an initiative to reduce the amount of food that ends up in landfills while increasing the amount that goes to food banks.

In his book, Bloom says Americans themselves can also do a lot to stop food waste, starting with a few adjustments to refrigerator organization. Bloom recommends keeping a "use it up" shelf for items that will soon go bad so you remember to eat them. Here are 15 more recommendations from Bloom on how to waste less money on food:

1. Buy less food overall. The European model of more frequent and even daily shopping trips can help reduce food waste compared with the more American-style mega-shopping sprees on the weekends. After all, when you're shopping on Sunday for Friday's meals, the chances of food spoiling in the interim is greater. Plus, shopping more frequently gives you flexibility to make use of unexpected leftovers, Bloom says.

2. Keep your fridge uncluttered. If you can't see the hummus, you might forget to eat it. (That's also where Bloom's "use it up" shelf helps.) He also suggests putting new groceries in the back and pushing older items to the front.

3. Make French toast. The classic recipe uses slightly stale bread; bread pudding and bread crumbs serve the same purpose. Banana bread similarly makes use of old bananas. Bloom also suggests chicken pot pies, chicken salad, fried rice, and soups for getting the most out of leftovers and vegetables approaching their expiration dates. (The recipe finder tool on Allrecipes.com makes it easy to look up uses for extra food.) You can also use leftover chicken bones and vegetable scraps to make your own stock, which can then serve as a base for soups.

4. Ignore expiration dates. Well, maybe not completely, but because those dates tend to be conservative, Bloom recommends relying more on your own senses to determine whether or not food is still edible.

5. Decline the "extras" at restaurants. Once the bread basket hits your table, it can no longer be served to others, so speak up if you'd rather skip the carbo-loading before the main meal. Similarly, if you're not going to eat the fries that come with your meal, let your server know.

6. Bring home leftovers. Some restaurants are famous for large servings; don't let the leftovers go to waste. Bringing your own container for them makes the choice more environmentally-friendly, too.

7. Use smaller plates at home. One of the families Bloom profiles in the book uses smaller plates to encourage taking smaller servings, which can then be refilled if necessary. That way, children (and adults) are less likely to take more than they will eat.

8. Cook more. Bloom found that people are less likely to waste food that they or a loved one made, which means home-cooked meals have a better chance of avoiding the garbage disposal.

9. Grow your own herbs. The small amount of basil or mint often called for in recipes can lead to big waste, since you often have to purchase a larger bunch. Instead, consider growing the herbs yourself in small indoor pots, or plan several herb-heavy recipes in one week. Bloom also suggests dicing and freezing herbs in ice cube trays with water for longer-term storage.

10. Shop for fruits and vegetables last. Most of us do the opposite, since produce sections are usually the first we enter, but Bloom recommends saving it for last to protect them from getting buried and bruised by heavier items, and also to keep them refrigerated as much as possible.

11. Eat before you shop. Shopping on an empty stomach tends to lead to impulse buys and unnecessary stocking up.

12. Limit bulk buys. As research from Harvard Business School has shown, stocking up on items can lead to overspending (and waste), especially if we don't get the chance to use up all that cream cheese before it gets moldy.

13. Save and eat leftovers. Some items, such as chili and meatloaf, taste even better the next day.

14. Use your freezer. Putting long-term leftovers in the freezer, along with other freezable items that you can't use right away, can help reduce the amount that ends up in the trash. Using sealed bags will help prevent freezer burn.

15. Label items. Writing down the date and a description can help remind you to use them up. Bloom adds that including the monetary value of items can also provide an incentive to avoid waste.


12-14-2011, 08:47 PM
I did see one tip on an egg carton. It had the sell buy date and then it had the use by date which was 15 days later. That made me feel better about using eggs beyond the sell buy date. Sometimes I take spells and use them quick sometimes they live in the refrigerator but I hate to be without them and now I know a safe date to use them by

Jolie Rouge
01-17-2012, 09:31 PM
5 Ways To Stretch Your Dollar With What's In The Fridge
By David Bakke | Investopedia – Thu, Dec 29, 2011 11:32 AM EST

In a struggling economy, people are constantly on the lookout for ways to save. And since groceries are the second highest monthly expense in most households, finding ways to reduce spending in this area is key. For example, you can shop at multiple stores to get the best deals, and you should never shop when you're hungry.

Surprisingly, however, one often overlooked way to save is to make the most of what you already have on hand. There are a variety of delicious ways to use this strategy, plus a few other tips to save on groceries:

Substitute Ingredients
Instead of making an extra trip to the grocery store for a certain ingredient, consider a cheaper option or one you already have. Here are several examples:

* Cottage Cheese for Ricotta. If a recipe calls for ricotta cheese, consider substituting it with cottage cheese. Few will know the difference, and when it comes to lasagna, some people claim the overall taste is actually improved.

* Dried Spices for Fresh. Many pantries are stocked with a full complement of dried spices. Though most chefs will tell you that using fresh is a must, in most cases, this is simply not true. Rather than waste time and money to buy fresh spices, use what you already have on hand - the taste difference is often negligible. Rosemary and oregano are prime examples of this, though basil is one notable exception.

* Store Brands. Choosing a generic over a name brand is sure to save you money at the grocery store. If the ingredient in question is a staple like pasta, rice or beans, pick up the store brand instead. Sometimes the generic and the name brand are both made by the same company.

* Tomato Paste for Tomato Sauce. If you're preparing a large recipe that calls for tomato sauce, pick up a few cans of tomato paste instead. Add water and the appropriate spices, and you'll have a cheaper alternative to bottled tomato sauce from the store.

* Cranberry Juice for Red Wine. Cranberry juice is definitely cheaper and will give an equal flavor profile to red wine in most recipes.

Reduce Pantry Inventory
If you find a great deal on a non-perishable item, by all means, stock up. But if you're constantly moving cans around in your cabinet to see what's behind them, then it's time to use them. In fact, even non-perishables have a use-by date and most go bad after a few years. Though a canned food diet can be an economical way to go, it's not necessarily healthy. If you're cooking with pantry inventory, don't forget to supplement meals with fresh foods and vegetables as well.

Get Creative
Creating a tasty dish with items you already have isn't very difficult. For example, cut up and sauté whatever vegetables you have on hand. Throw in some chicken or beans and cooked rice or pasta. Then, add water or broth and spices to taste, and a delicious soup is only minutes away.

Another great recipe idea is to use mashed potatoes as a base. This is quite a versatile ingredient. You can add beef, chicken, or cooked vegetables, top with melted cheese, and serve a hearty dish that is sure to be loved by all. It just comes down to creativity. Don't limit yourself to existing recipes, as you can easily come up with your own.

De-Clutter the Freezer
If your freezer is anything like mine, there is usually a goldmine of food at your disposal there. Foods have a tendency of getting lost in the freezer, and they can pile up quickly. Consider this: if you have $200 worth of food in your freezer, that's $200 in groceries you don't have to buy. Defrost that leftover soup from a while back, or take out meat, seafood or chicken and put it to good use.

Go Fresh
Purchasing fresh foods and vegetables over pre-processed ones will save you loads of money in the long run and help you avoid a host of potential health issues. You may spend a little more time in the kitchen, but the dishes you prepare will be tastier and healthier. Try your local farmer's market to pay less for fresher fruits and veggies than the grocery store variety.

The Bottom Line
Sure, you can save a lot of money by stocking up on grocery store deals, but you need to actually eat that food to realize the savings. From time to time, review what you have in stock, and work on using all of the items. Also, supplement your diet with fresh foods, which are often more economical and healthier than buying pre-packaged and processed meals.


01-24-2012, 03:51 PM
Did anyone watch the Food Network show about waste? They Bobby Flay, Alex Guarneschelli, Anne Burrell, and Michael Simon cook an entire gourmet dinner for 100 foodies and critics, etc.. made COMPLETELY (other than seasonings, maybe) out of wasted food. They found bags and bags of food thrown out at groceries, meat that butchers were going to throw out because it was too "small", produce that was going to be thrown out because of purely cosmetic blemishes, and tons of other stuff. It was CRAZY how much food is just thrown away by people and businesses.

01-24-2012, 07:04 PM
Did anyone watch the Food Network show about waste? They Bobby Flay, Alex Guarneschelli, Anne Burrell, and Michael Simon cook an entire gourmet dinner for 100 foodies and critics, etc.. made COMPLETELY (other than seasonings, maybe) out of wasted food. They found bags and bags of food thrown out at groceries, meat that butchers were going to throw out because it was too "small", produce that was going to be thrown out because of purely cosmetic blemishes, and tons of other stuff. It was CRAZY how much food is just thrown away by people and businesses.

YES!!! i saw that and was appalled at how much waste we have! we could feed many small countries with what we waste. and like you said, most of it is because it wasnt "pretty" enough!
what a shame...

01-24-2012, 07:35 PM
YES!!! i saw that and was appalled at how much waste we have! we could feed many small countries with what we waste. and like you said, most of it is because it wasnt "pretty" enough!
what a shame...

And we might even feed our own poor and needy as well!

01-25-2012, 02:58 PM
and we might even feed our own poor and needy as well!


01-25-2012, 03:42 PM
YES!!! i saw that and was appalled at how much waste we have! we could feed many small countries with what we waste. and like you said, most of it is because it wasnt "pretty" enough!
what a shame...

While I agree with this, I also have to say we need to blame ourselves too. How many times do you go to the produce aisle and pick out the ''best looking'' fruit? Chances are you (in general) leave behind the one that's not so pretty, and it eventually gets thrown away.

And just out of curiosity, did they say why the bags of food at the grocery stores was thrown out? A lot of things have exp dates on them.

01-25-2012, 05:14 PM
A lot was exactly what you said...bruises, etc..that I know I have also been guilty of doing. There were bags and bags of produce. There was a seafood store where people had ordered large specialty fish and then cancelled and they couldn't use it before it would become unsafe, so it was kept in a cooler until that time. (they picked it up BEFORE it was unsafe) There was a butcher where they sliced meat like at the deli, and when they got towards the end of the cut, the slices would be smaller and less meaty, so instead of making the smaller slices, they just threw the ends away. They went to a couple of farms, like apple orchards and such, and they said anything on the ground would never be picked up and almost all of it would be thrown into the compost heap, even though it was in perfect condition and at the peak of its harvest. There was a chicken farm where all the chicken that had a wing broken during processing was thrown out, because no one would buy them. Everything they got had to be checked by a Food Safety inspector and all but one chunk of meat passed the inspection.

01-28-2012, 05:12 PM
Did anyone watch the Food Network show about waste? They Bobby Flay, Alex Guarneschelli, Anne Burrell, and Michael Simon cook an entire gourmet dinner for 100 foodies and critics, etc.. made COMPLETELY (other than seasonings, maybe) out of wasted food. They found bags and bags of food thrown out at groceries, meat that butchers were going to throw out because it was too "small", produce that was going to be thrown out because of purely cosmetic blemishes, and tons of other stuff. It was CRAZY how much food is just thrown away by people and businesses.
That really is amazing isn't it? All the while people are dying of hunger in other places. Wow....

01-30-2012, 12:40 PM
we have poeple here that are hungrey feed our own then think else where

Jolie Rouge
03-10-2013, 07:55 PM
Dry Pre Measured Food Storage Meals In Jar Recipes – Big List

I quite the collection of pre measured dry meals & cookies in a jars in my pantry.

I also print out the recipes in small print and attach to the side of the jars.

They are great to give as last minute gifts, to sick friends (with their promise to return my jar,lol) or if my family needs a quick meal before running off to an event.

I use my Foodsaver to vacuum seal dry meals to make my own MRE’S for food pantry, Bug Out Bag and a few even in my vehicle.


Jolie Rouge
04-24-2013, 10:42 AM
Simple Bites website shares how to make Mozzarella cheese within thirty minutes in your own kitchen.

It is so simple and easy to do that you will never buy it in the supermarket again. You can save money with a time and effort and having the comfort of knowing how the cheese you are feeding your was made and the ingredients that went into it.

Each project ( skill ) we learn gets us back closer to our homesteading dreams of self sufficiency…. this is how we make them a reality.

Click here to read the recipe: http://www.simplebites.net/the-best-party-trick-ever-how-to-make-thirty-minute-mozzarella/

The following is a guest post from Andrew Wilder of Eating Rules. Welcome, Andrew!

A couple of years ago at a Fourth of July party, I pulled off one of my best party tricks ever.

Showing up with a gallon of milk in hand, I asked my friends if I could borrow their kitchen. Spying the other items in my bag — a bunch of fresh basil and cherry tomatoes — they knew I had something good in store. They eagerly let me take over.

Half an hour later, I emerged victorious from the kitchen with a platter of fresh caprese, made with still-warm mozzarella.

I’ve been using this “30-minute Mozzarella” recipe, from Ricki Carroll’s book, Home Cheese Making, for a few years now. I’ll admit, it comes out slightly different each time (the type of milk, how quickly you heat it, and how much you stretch it will affect both the flavor and texture), but it’s always been a big hit.

Homemade Mozzarella Tips & Tricks

1. This is a great recipe to make with kids. They’ll be completely mesmerized watching the milk curdle and turn into cheese — and it happens quickly enough to hold their attention. The last few steps can get pretty hot, so please do be careful when making this with children.

2. Do not use “Ultra-Pasteurized” milk for this recipe — it won’t curdle properly. If it says just “Pasteurized” on the container, you’re probably fine. Of course, you can also use raw milk instead, if that’s your thing (I’m not going to get into the pros and cons of raw vs. pasteurized milk — just remember that Ultra-Pasteurized is a dealbreaker.)

3. Depending on the fat percentage of your milk, you’ll get a very different cheese at the end. Whole milk produces a very rich, soft mozzarella, whereas 1% will make a harder, more string-cheese-like cheese. Fat free can get a bit too rubbery, so I don’t recommend it. I usually use 2%, which is what’s shown in the pictures here.

I’ve also made this recipe with goat’s milk, and it should work fine with sheep’s milk as well.

4. This recipe is a “shortcut” to mozzarella, since it uses a microwave to speed things along. If you don’t have a microwave, you can use a pot of very hot water and float a bowl in it instead. The goal is to get the curds hot so that they melt together and become stretchy like taffy. Also, the curds will get quite hot — it’s really helpful to have a pair of clean kitchen gloves to protect your hands.

Jolie Rouge
04-27-2013, 09:43 AM

Find Fresh Local Produce =>

Jolie Rouge
04-27-2013, 07:07 PM

1 c. sugar
2/3 c. water
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. flavoring-Vanilla extract
3/4 c. light corn syrup
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
Food coloring of your choice

Grease a square 8x8x2 inch pan with butter. Mix together in a saucepan the sugar, water, corn syrup, and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until candy thermometer reads 256 degrees. Remove from heat at once. Stir in desired flavoring and salt; pour into a well-buttered pan. Allow candy to cool. When candy is just cool enough so that you are able to hold it in your hands, pull taffy until it is light in color and stiff. Add food coloring if you like, now. Continue pulling until the candy is cool and is difficult to stretch. Pull into 2-inch strips, cut and wrap in strips of waxed paper, twisting ends in different directions.

Makes 1 pound candy.

Jolie Rouge
04-28-2013, 05:09 PM
Crock Pot Apple Butter

Here's what you are going to need:

5 1/2 pounds Gala Apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Here's what you need to do:

Peel, core and thinly slice 5 1/2 pounds of Gala Apples. You can certainly use any kind or any combination of apples you like...there aren't any rules but you may need to adjust the sugar depending upon how tart your apples are.

In a large bowl, combine the sliced apples along with all of the spices.Pour into a large slow cooker.

Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 10 hours.Use a stick blender to puree the apple butter. If you don't have a stick blender, you can use a blender but be careful because the mixture is HOT. If you use a blender, puree small amounts at a time until all of the mixture has been pureed and then return the mixture to the slow cooker. Continue cooking on low, uncovered for another 2 or 3 hours until the mixture reaches the desired thickness.

**Makes about 4 pints depending upon how thick you like your apple butter.

Share this to your wall and you'll always know where to find it: www.facebook.com/BakeByKim

I have a friend who makes PEAR BUTTER with the fruit from her tree that is too hard to eat fresh

Jolie Rouge
05-05-2013, 11:07 AM
Bean Recipes. Beans Are Healthy, Nutritious and Gluten Free

If you store a lot of beans or want to use beans to save money or to replace meat in your diet US Dry Beans has an entire site chock full of recipes for beans. They have a whole list of categories from appetizers to wraps and sammies. Beans are so much cheaper than meat and very nutritious, full of fiber,low in fat and cholesterol free. They are a great food source for celiacs as beans are gluten free. The site has info and just about everything you ever need to know about beans. Awesome source.

Bean Recipes http://www.usdrybeans.com/recipes/

Samples :

Tuscan White Bean Hummus

1 1/2 cup White Kidney Beans, Drained
3 tablespoon Tahini Butter
2 fluid ounce Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Basil, Chiffonade
1 fluid ounce Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until smooth


Pinto Bean Applesauce Raisin Cookies

Nutritional Information

Calories: 79
Total Fat: 3g
Sodium: 47mg
Total Carbs: 12g
Fiber: 1g
Protein: 2g

Recipe courtesy of the Northarvest Bean Growers, www.northarvestbean.org

Yummy! What more can we say?

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies

Ingredients1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or shortening
2 eggs
3/4 cup pinto beans, cooked and pureed
3/4 cup chunky applesauce
2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a food processor or blender put sugar and shortening and cream, add eggs and blend well. Add pureed pinto beans and applesauce, beat until fluffy.

Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl; add to creamed mixture and mix until smooth. Stir in nuts and raisins. Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 - 17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on rack.

Jolie Rouge
05-05-2013, 08:17 PM
Keep reaching for a soda? Give the sugary drinks a rest with these 10 refreshing and healthy soda alternatives, including this tip: infuse water with fresh fruits for a healthy (and sweet!) drink http://www.everydayhealth.com/photogallery/soda-alternatives.aspx?xid=fb_EH_sf#/slide-2

Flavored waters have been popping up all over the place, but many still contain sugar or artificial sweeteners. A healthier choice is natural flavoring: Just add slices of your favorite fruits and veggies — lemons, oranges, watermelon, cucumber, mint, or limes — to a pitcher of ice-cold water for a refreshing and flavorful drink. Another great option is to put chopped-up fruit in an ice cube tray, add water, and freeze. Place these colorful fruit cubes in your beverage for instant flavor and color!

Jolie Rouge
05-05-2013, 09:01 PM
20 Dandelion Cooking Recipes – Wine, Bread, Syrup, Soup, Pancakes and more

Jolie Rouge
05-28-2013, 07:51 AM

Untrained Housewife website share how to make herb butters.

It is really easy to take fresh herbs from your garden and create a butter mixture to add layers of flavor to your culinary adventures.

Five star restaurants commonly add herbed butter as a side condiment…. why not eat as well at home ?

Click here to read the recipe:


Jolie Rouge
06-15-2013, 09:08 AM
11 Secrets To Properly Freezing Produce
June 14, 2013

Design Mom website shares elven tips to properly freezing fruits and vegetables. This is one option to preserving our garden harvest or amazing sales we find at our local supermarket, farm stand or farmer’s market. Personally, I find that if I am going to freeze anything – I use a Foodsaver machine because it removes 95% of the oxygen therefore saving nutritional value, stopping freezer burn and keeping the delicious flavor.

Click here to read the article: http://m.designmom.com/2013/05/living-well-11-secrets-to-properly-freezing-produce/

Jolie Rouge
06-24-2013, 10:38 AM
$50 Weekly Menus
Grocery budget 101 shares a weekly menu for breakfast,lunch,dinner and snacks for her family of 4 and the kids friends. And she does it for about 50 dollars per week! I love the recipes she has and especially the copy cat ones like copycat Gatorade and copycat Arizona green iced tea. If you need ideas for meals and want to save some money on groceries bookmark this site so you can follow along. She puts it up weekly. She gives all the meals for the week and most of the items on the list have the recipes available to make it even easier to use her lists. Great site.


2013 $50 Weekly Menu Plan Week #26: This weeks menu plan is a "Camping Menu" where the majority of the meals are quick and easy to throw together on a campfire or grill.

This week we purchased the following: chocolate bars, marshmallows, canned biscuits, cabbage, pepper jack cheese, provolone cheese, french dressing, miracle whip, mayo, burger buns, chips, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, Apricot Jam, mango, strawberries, coffee, kielbasa, potatoes- total spent $44.12

The following items included in this weeks menu plan were harvested from our small garden: Fresh radishes, tomatoes, jalapenos, Zucchini, Summer Squash, cucumbers, fresh beets, a few carrots, okra and green peppers.

GroceryBudget101.com- - 2013 $50 Weekly Menu Plan Week #26 | Menu Plan Monday http://www.grocerybudget101.com/content.php/639-2013-50-Weekly-Menu-Plan-Week-26?#ixzz2X9jB5tyt

Breakfast Options for this week:
Blueberry Maple Refrigerator Oatmeal
Walkaway Breakfast Burritos (Cheese, eggs, diced onions/green peppers/ sausage/bacon/ diced tomatoes, etc)
Raspberry Lemon Delight
Cranberry Pecan Refrigerator Oatmeal
Mandarin Orange Refrigerator Oatmeal
Toasted English Muffins with Mock Raspberry Jam
Mango Almond Refrigerator Oatmeal
Griddle Pancakes, Breakfast Sausage
Chocolate Chip Muffins

Monday June 24th:
Lunch: Cucumber Sandwiches & potato Salad
Dinner: Campfire Pig Greens
Tuesday June 25th
Lunch: Chicken Spiedies & cucumber spears
Dinner: Honey Dijon Marinated Grilled Chicken, Dilled Zucchini & Summer Squash
Wednesday June 26th:
Lunch: Cool Cucumber Soup, armadillo Eggs
Dinner: Hearty Zucchini Casserole
Dessert: Strawberry Eclair Cake
Thursday June 27th:
Lunch: Tailgaters Sticky Turkey Balls, potato Salad
Dinner: Garden Bounty
Summer Saute
Friday June 28th:
Lunch: Tuna Pasta Salad
Dinner: FireCracker Burgers & macaroni salad
Saturday June 29th:
Lunch: Beanhole Beans & Hot Dogs (These are cooked in a cast iron pot that is buried in the ground over hot coals)
Dinner: Italian Marinated Pepper Steaks,Southwestern Cheddar Steak Fries (grilled)
Sunday June 30th:
Lunch: Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers (using leftover steak)
Dinner: Campfire Sausage & Veggies& Leftover Bean Hole Beans

Various Snacks:
Fresh Fruit- Home-Canned Peaches, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, blackberries
S'more Puffs
Strawberry Jello Pie
No Bake Nutella Dreams
Campfire Cinnabursts

Drinks Available: A note about our drink offerings, while we do always have coffee and tea in the house, coffee is usually with breakfast, hot tea is usually in the evening and for the most part our other drinks consist of Water. We don't "drink milk" at all, it is usually used in making homemade yogurt, or in cereals, baking, etc.
* Iced Tea (Unsweetened or Sweet Tea)
* Coffee
* Hot Chocolate/Cocoa
* Copycat Gatorade
* CopyCat Arizona Green Tea

For Further reading/help we recommend the following:

June Sales Trends- not sure what Should be on sale right now? Here is a list of the current Sales trends for the month of June, so you know what savings to expect

The 2012 Family Guide to Groceries under $250 a Month- a guide of how and where to cut grocery expenses to get spending under control while providing an eye-opening view of the dirty manipulation tactics retailers use to keep you spending.

$50 Weekly Menu Plan Help across the USA- Do you find yourself struggling to reduce your grocery bill each month? Check out our Menu plan help across the USA to see if your area has been featured for more 1-on-1 help, if not, feel free to add your request to have your city/state featured.

Making Fruits & Veggies Last: At the beginning of each week we prepare the vegetables and fruits to make meal preparation easier during the week and to save money by preventing waste. You can read more about that here.

How Spending $25 Now can save you Hundreds Later - if you gain nothing else from this site, don't overlook this tip. It has been an EXTREME money-saver for our family. http://www.grocerybudget101.com/content.php/575-Salad-in-a-Jar-Savings

Jolie Rouge
07-07-2013, 06:42 PM
10 Freezer Meals in 1 Day! - July 6, 2013

This is such a cool article. This Lady’s house had a mass cooking day and made 10 freezer meals in one day. She did it with her sister in law and they made 20 meals in six hours. You could do this with more people and have fun while everyone ends up with 10 meals for the freezer.

She has the list of ten recipes, the grocery list and they are both available in pdf form or an excel version. They also have an option on the grocery list for the amount of families you will be cooking for and she says each meal should feed 4 to 6 people. This would be kind of a fun weekend project for couples or just for the girls.


12-10-2013, 03:28 PM
I realized I was wasting a lot of food one day. I had a lot of food going in the trashcan. Then I looked at why I was having to throw stuff in the trash. I was cooking too much food. I was used to having 5 people to cook for when now I only have 3. So now when I buy big packs of meat I divide it up into portions for a couple meals. I know how many each person will eat so that's how it is divided. Kinda keeps us from over eating when I cook something really good too. (which is everyday!) And I immediately pack up any leftovers for work lunch the next day so it will be taken instead of buying fast food.

Jolie Rouge
12-31-2013, 10:24 AM
the epic tale of freezer meals + shopping list

Last week, on an absolute whim, I decided it was time to try my hand at freezer meals. I figured if I could learn to declutter the rest of my day, it was time to simplify supper time. It happened innocently enough: I was making chicken & dressing for dinner and realized I’d made way too much for us for one meal. I thought “why not put half in the freezer?” I’d done it before with lasagna, so I knew it would mean the meal would hold a pan hostage for a few weeks, so I decided to pop over to the dollar store and buy some aluminum pans to put the second batch of dressing into so I would have a ready made meal without losing a pan.

The trip to the dollar store led to me finding 15 different kinds of pans, which got my wheels to turning… I could buy a few (I think I bought $10 worth at 3/$1) and stock up on meals of all different kinds. I left with my pans, went straight to the grocery store, bought up a ton of stuff that I knew I could normally cook with (like chicken breast, hamburger, veggies, etc.) and then went home and started a four hour cooking marathon that ended up with 28 meals in my freezer.

When I was finished, I mentioned it on Facebook, and there were lots of questions about what I made, recipe requests, and even tips for what I did. So I thought I’d write a post to share with you how I made 28 freezer meals in about 4 hours.

Before I get started, I’m going to tell you this post will be long…. very long. I could have easily broken this into a dozen or so smaller posts, but this is a DIY blog, not a freezer meals blog, so I figured my regular (non-freezer-meal-loving) readers will hang with me for one post – if I started posting all of this separately you might think I was nutso and quit reading. Please don’t. Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk about lighting or sewing or something, m’kay? And also, know I’m not a professional cook – I’m a southern mom who’s raised four children and they’ve grown up on eating this food. I stuck to the basic recipes that we have eaten for years – so I knew what my family would actually eat.

First, the tips (in no particular order):

1) Make sure your kitchen is clean to start. You don’t want to have to clean then cook, because you’re going to be washing dishes while cooking at a rapid fire pace. At least I was. I only have a few pots and pans, a few mixing bowls, a couple of whisks, etc. I don’t have a fully outfitted kitchen big enough for an army. On a regular basis I feed four people – so my kitchen reflects our needs.

2) Think about what you want to stock up on. I know we eat a lot of chicken meals, some with hamburger, and a lot of casserole type meals. You can start with what’s in your pantry and build from there. It’s a great way to make the most of what you have/

3) Clean your freezer. I only have the freezer on my side by side refrigerator. I have had a couple of different deep freezers in the past, but they never got used properly, so I got rid of them. I thoroughly cleaned out my freezer and found that once it was all cleaned up, not only did I have enough room for all those meals, I even had a leftover shelf to fill with my favorite ice cream (which I totally did.)

freezer meals - how to do it all in one day4) Stock up on freezer bags and aluminum pans. Those 3/$1 pans come in all shapes and sizes. I bought ones that hold about 2 pounds of food, because 4 people divided by 2 pounds is 8 ounces each. That’s plenty for the main dish for us. Buy good plastic baggies (I recommend Ziploc) in both gallon and quart size.

5) Wear comfortable shoes. I did it barefoot and my feet were killing me at the end of four hours.

6) Have help, if you can. I wish I had done it on a Sunday when my girls were home to help wash dishes, open cans, etc. I did the bulk of the work when they were at school, but by the last hour I had help and it made my life much easier.

7) Remember this isn’t a fairy tale. Half way through you’re going to start thinking “Why in the crap did I think this was a good idea?!?” Well, at least I did. When you’re up to your elbows in marinara and casseroles, putting stuff into pans over and over again, you’re going to question the whole mess. It’s worth it. Well, it was for me anyways.

8) Sharpies are your friend. You can mark every meal with the name and date, so if you have a straggler hanging around in your freezer 2 years later (which may or may not happen here), then you don’t have to wonder when it was made or what in the Sam Hill is in that dish. Plus, with the lids on, they’re all going to look the same. Sharpie it up, baby.

9) Prep in batches. Need onion for 4 recipes? Chop it all at once to make your life easier. Poach all your chicken in one pot (which will also give you some decent broth). Brown all of your hamburger together then divide it out for the different meals. If you’ve got to do a lot of it, do it all together.

10) Free pep talk. I think that’s all my tips, but wanted to throw in one more to just say if you really want to do this you TOTALLY can. Once again, I have a basic set of pots and pans plus one large stock pot, a couple of mixing bowls (one large, one medium), a few wooden spoons and some whisks. Plus ten is a good stopping point, which my OCD brain appreciates.

Now for the cooking segment….

I started by putting 5 packs of chicken breasts (15 pieces total) in a stock pot with water, to boil them all for the meals I needed. I used the biggest pot I had and boiled them all.

While the chicken was cooking, I used another pot and began to brown 12 pounds of ground beef (in a smaller stock pot.) Once all the ground beef was cooked, I drained it all and added 1/4 of it back to the pot to make my marinara.

Meat Marinara Recipe
3 pounds ground beef, cooked and strained

1 medium onion, diced finely

4 cloves of garlic, minced

4 large cans of crushed tomatoes

1 12 oz. can tomato paste

1 huge (the double size) jar of good store bought marinara

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

Salt to taste (1 1/2 Tablespoons or so)

Pepper to taste (3/4 of a tablespoon)

To the ground beef, add in the garlic and onions and let cook until onions are soft. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook for 45 minutes or so on medium heat, until flavors are combined.


Freezer Lasagna

I used the marinara to make 5 small lasagnas in 2.5 pound size aluminum pans.

Easy Lasagna Recipe

(makes 5 freezer meals)

Meat Marinara

Ricotta Cheese (largest tub)

1 large egg

1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper

1 cup grated Parmesan

No bake lasagna noodles (2 boxes made all of mine)

Shredded mozzarella cheese (the bag kind totally works for me) – it’s hard to say how much, but I used about 10 cups total

In a small bowl mix together the ricotta, egg, pepper and Parmesan until thoroughly combined.

On the bottom of your pan, ladle in enough sauce to lightly coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer. Using a small spoon or tablespoon scoop, add in dollops of the ricotta mixture (I did 5 drops on each layer, one on each corner and one in the middle). Add more marinara onto and around the ricotta, sprinkle a thin layer of mozzarella, then add another layer of noodles. Do three layers, topping it off the final layer of noodles with sauce and good layer mozzarella cheese and cover with cardboard top. Set aside to cool before putting in freezer.

When you’re ready to cook, take off the top, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees, take off aluminum and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until top is lightly browned and bubbly.

Add a salad and some garlic bread and you’ve got a meal in just a few minutes.


After I made my lasagna, I put the rest of the marinara into gallon Ziploc bags, two cups in each, then squished all the air off and froze them flat in the freezer. When I want to make spaghetti, I cook the noodles, warm the sauce, add a salad and some bread and I’m done.


Easy Chili Recipe

2 pounds of ground beef

1 onion, diced

3 cans of chili beans

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 can of diced tomatoes (14 oz can)

2 packs of chili seasoning

1/2 table spoon salt

2 cups water

Put browned ground beef into a pan with onions and cook until onions are soft. Add in all the other ingredients (including the juice of the tomatoes) and cook for 30 minutes or so until flavors have combined.

It’s hard to measure, but I used two gallon bags to put in 1/3 of the mixture into each, and then split the rest up into a couple smaller quart bags for chili dogs or chili chips and cheese (things where chili is not the main meal.)


Easy Cheeseburger Casserole

(makes 3 freezer meals)

For the topping:

2 pounds of ground beef (again, mine was pre-cooked)

1 onion, diced very finely

Six cups Cheddar Cheese, grated

For the crust:

5 cups of self rising flour

3/4 cup of sour cream

1 egg

1 cup (more or less) of water

In a saute pan, cook together the ground beef over medium high heat until onion is soft. Set aside to cool.

Make the crust first by combining the flour, egg, sour cream and enough water to bring it together into a thick, but spreadable consistency.

Spray the pans (I used three round pans) and spread a layer of the dough into each one. Sprinkle the cooled meat mixture over the dough, then top each one with about 2 cups of cheddar. Top with lid. To cook, bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.

For a variation, you could put some of the marinara on the dough, and have a cheeseburger pizza casserole. We sometimes use marinara for dipping – it’s the perfect finger food!


For the rest of the ground beef, I divided it up into a couple of quart Ziploc bags for sloppy joes or tacos.


Jolie Rouge
12-31-2013, 10:27 AM
Now let’s work on the chicken recipes. I shredded all of the chicken and used it in several of the recipes below. After they were all made, I put the rest of the shredded chicken into quart size Ziploc bags and froze them flat for Chicken Tacos, BBQ Chicken sandwiches, etc.

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe

(makes 3 freezer meals)

3 cooked, shredded chicken breasts

2 boxes of pasta (I used penne), cooked and draine

2 cans of Campbell’s cheddar soup

2 cups of chicken broth (I used the broth from cooking the chicken)

2 bags of frozen broccoli

1 Tablespoon Salt

3 cups of shredded cheddar

Combine all ingredients except shredded cheddar into a bowl, divide out into three pans, the top with cheddar cheese. When ready to cook, bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until warm and bubbly. Because I’m getting carbs, veggies and protein all in one dish, I usually add another veggie and some garlic bread and that’s it. So yummy!


Tex Mex Chicken Casserole

(makes 4 freezer meals)

4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

8 cups of cooked rice

2 can of Rotel tomatoes

2 packs of taco seasoning

2 cans of whole kernel corn, drained

2 cans of black beans (undrained)

1 small can of black olives, drained

6 cups of cheddar cheese, grated

Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl, except the cheese. Divide out into four pans, then top each with the cheddar cheese and top with cardboard topper. To cook, remove cardboard piece and bake at 350 until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted (all ingredients are already cooked, so it’s just a matter of heating it well.) I serve with sour cream and salsa on top and tortilla chips on the side.

Basic Chicken Casserole Recipe

(makes 3 casseroles)

4 shredded, cooked chicken breasts

5 cups of cooked rice

2 cans of cream of chicken condensed soup

1 cup of chicken broth

2 bags of frozen peas and carrots (I used mixed, but you could use one bag of each)

1 Tablespoon of salt

1/2 Tablespoon of black pepper

3 cup of French’s onions

3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

In a small bowl, combine the cheese and onions together – set aside (for the topping)

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients together, then separate into pans. Top each one with 1/3 of the topping mixture and freeze. When ready to cook, bake at 350 until thoroughly warm and cheese is melted (everything is already cooked in the casserole.)


Chicken & Dressing

(makes 3 freezer meals)

A big pan of cornbread (use your own fave recipe) cooked and crumbled

2 cans of cream of chicken soup

1 can of chicken broth

1 medium onion, finely diced & sauteed in butter

2 Tablespoons of ground sage

1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt

3/4 of a Tablespoon of ground black pepper

2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken

*you can also add a couple of stalks of celery, however we don’t like it – so my dressing doesn’t have it.*

Mix all of the ingredients together, put into pans and freeze. When you’re ready to cook, bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Make sure to have chilled cranberry sauce and basic chicken gravy for the side, because that’s what a good southerner would do :)


My total freezer meals recipe stash:

5 lasagnas
2 bags of pre-made marinara (for spaghetti)
2 bags of chili (plus 2 additional small bags for chili dogs/nachos)
3 cheeseburger casseroles
3 broccoli cheddar chicken pasta bakes
4 Tex Mex chicken casseroles
3 basic chicken casseroles
2 bags of ground beef (ready for sloppy joes, etc.)
3 bags of shredded chicken breast (ready for tacos, etc.)

Plus the original Chicken & Dressing that started it all

Grand total – 28 meals (plus two small bags of chili)

a month of freezer meals in one afternoon Final Notes:

If you get going, you can really crank out a lot of this very easily. I spent an hour at the grocery store (and spent $300 to produce all those meals, plus all of my other essentials for two weeks – so maybe $200 of it went into this), and spent four hours cooking to get all those meals into the freezer.

Will we eat these every night? Probably not. There are things my family likes that takes very little time to make and should really be made fresh (like potato soup.) These meals will probably last us two month total, if you take out a couple of nights a month to eat out, making fresh meals in between, etc. But those four hours basically gives me an easy meal every other night for two months. Totally worth it to me! I don’t know that I could force my family to eat lasagna five times in one month. But five times in two months is pretty realistic.

Now that I know what’s for dinner, I think I’m gonna go sew something… or paint a chair… or rearrange furniture. Whatever it is, something that’s way more in my comfort zone than making freezer meals.

And… because my awesome reader Paula put it together, I have added in the shopping list for the meal! I never thought to do it, so a big thanks to her for sharing it with us all :) Just click on the image below to open into a new browser, save to your computer and print. Easy peasy!



Jolie Rouge
01-21-2014, 10:15 AM
50 Supermarket Tricks You Still Fall For

Food experts, industry analysts, and store employees share their insider strategies on how to save money on groceries, stay healthy, and beat the supermarkets at their own game.

We’re very aware of the role that the senses play in marketing.

When you walk in the door, you smell bread baking or rotisserie chicken roasting in the deli area because we know those smells get your salivary glands working. When you’re salivating, you’re a much less disciplined shopper. —Paco Underhill, consumer expert and author of What Women Want: The Science of Female Shopping

It’s no accident that shopping carts are getting bigger.

We doubled their size as a test, and customers bought 19 percent more. —Martin Lindstrom, marketing consultant and author of Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy

The more people buy, the more they consume.

If you used to buy a six-pack of soda and drink six cans a week but now buy a 12-pack because that’s the current standard size, you’re probably going to start drinking 12 cans a week. Be mindful when buying larger sizes to make sure your habits don’t change as a result. —Jeff Weidauer, former supermarket executive and vice president of marketing for Vestcom, a retail services company

The average consumer tends to remember the price of only four items:

Milk, bread, bananas, and eggs. Ninety-five percent of shoppers have no idea what all the other items cost and don’t know if they’re getting a good deal when they buy them. —Martin Lindstrom

The produce department is at the front of the store because...

its bright colors put you in a good mood and inspire you to buy more. That’s why I recommend that you start shopping in the middle of the store, with its bland boxes and cans. —Phil Lempert, grocery industry expert and editor of supermarketguru.com

Over 60 percent of shoppers off-load products as they check out.

So supermarkets started making checkout lanes narrower, with less shelf space, which means it’s harder to ditch goods at the last minute. —Martin Lindstrom

We let you linger … and it’s good for business.

Customers would tell me as they went through the checkout, “I just stopped in to get eggs,” and they would have $250 worth of stuff. —Jason Swett, former bagger and cashier at a grocery store in Kalamazoo, Michigan

To save money, wear headphones and listen to upbeat music as you shop.

Many stores play music with a rhythm that’s much slower than the average heartbeat, which makes you spend more time in the store—and buy 29 percent more. —Martin Lindstrom

Supermarkets aren’t out to steal from you.

The average supermarket makes about 1.5 percent net profit a year. To give you some idea of how low that is, the profit margin for clothing stores can be several times that. —Phil Lempert

Kroger uses heat sensors...

...to track where people are in the store to determine when there’s likely to be a rush of shoppers to the checkout counters so that they can get cashiers to the front in advance. —Jeff Weidauer

Please have your money or credit card ready at checkout.

Some stores time each transaction. If you take too long, we get in trouble. —Aimee Brittain, former grocery cashier, prettyfrugaldiva.com

In my experience, food safety is the biggest priority...

...especially when it comes to produce. Employees were required to sterilize cutting boards every four hours; they had to fill out a cleaning log each time the boards were washed. Some employees would try to get out of doing the dirty work, so it was my job to pop into the department throughout the day and check the log. —Linda King, former store and department manager for a Connecticut chain

One thing that shocked me...

...is that prepared food in the deli area, like chicken or potatoes, is thrown away at the end of the day. Stores can’t save it. They won’t even give it to their employees. —Aimee Brittain

Grocery stores can’t compete with Walmart on price.

So what are they doing? Bringing in people who are passionate about food. They’re hiring butchers who are skilled at cutting up meat, produce managers who are experts on fruits and vegetables, and a few dietitians who give seminars on healthy eating habits. —Jeff Weidauer

Most grocery stores have a budget for supporting local causes...

...and are interested in being a part of the community. So if your school is having a fund-raiser, don’t forget to talk to your nearby store. —Jeff Weidauer

You can’t win when you’re a bagger.

If you put a loaf of bread in a bag by itself, some people get mad because they want it with their other groceries. But other customers get mad if you don’t put the bread in a 
separate bag. —Jason Swett

People believe milk is located in the back of the store...

...so that they have to walk through the aisles to get to it. But the real reason is simple logistics. Milk needs to be refrigerated right away; the trucks unload in the back, so the fridges are there so that we can fill the cases as quickly and easily as possible. —Jeff Weidauer

About 80 percent of what shoppers buy, they buy every week.

Keep your receipt, which shows the item and the price you last paid, so you can tell when something is on sale. That’s when you should stock up. —Phil Lempert

If you need a cake, don’t buy it the day you need it.

We’ll have to give you one from the display case, and those cakes have often been sitting out for a while. If you order in advance, we’ll make the cake for you that day or the night before, and it will be a lot fresher. —Lindsay Smith, former cake decorator and bakery worker at a grocery store near Birmingham, Alabama

Believe it or not...

...my years of research have found that the average apple you see in the supermarket is 14 months old…or older. —Martin Lindstrom

Some of the same cheeses displayed behind the deli counter...

...are available in the dairy case. The packaging isn’t as fancy, but they’re much cheaper. —Phil Lempert

The mist that’s sprayed on your fruits and veggies...

...may make them look fresh, but it can make them rot faster. The water also adds to an item’s weight, so make sure you shake off leafy greens. —Martin Lindstrom

Our French bread was exactly the same as our Italian bread...

...which was the same as our White Mountain bread. They were all made with the same dough and then shaped differently. —Lindsay Smith

There’s a lot that grocery store employees will do for you if you just ask.

The butcher will tenderize meat for you, the baker will slice a loaf of bread, and the florist will usually give you free greenery to go with your loose flowers. At some stores owned by Kroger, the seafood department worker will even coat your fish in flour or Cajun seasoning and fry it up for free. I couldn’t believe it the first time they did that for me. —Teri Gault, grocery savings expert and CEO of thegrocerygame.com

If we’re having a sale on a baked item...

...and you don’t need it until the next month, ask if you can buy it now, during the sale, but not pick it up until your event. We let people do that all the time. They bring back their receipt a month later and get their order. —A cake decorator in an Ohio grocery store

Is there a product you want that the store doesn’t carry?

Talk to the manager. A lot of today’s supermarkets will special-order things for you. They’ll even arrange to bring something in for you on a regular basis. —Jeff Weidauer

Jolie Rouge
01-21-2014, 10:17 AM
If you see something in the bakery...

...or meat department that will expire the next day, say, “Hey, this is expiring tomorrow. Are you going to mark it down?” A lot of times, they’ll mark it down for you right then. You’re really doing them a favor, since they have to unload it anyway. —Teri Gault

In a supermarket, a good sale is anything that’s half price.

“Buy one, get the second one 50 percent off” discounts are not good sales—that’s only 25 percent off each. Almost everything is reduced to 50 percent at some point. —Teri Gault

The store I worked at would make some of its sales very specific...

...and, in my opinion, very deceptive. For example, it would offer 50 percent off a ten-ounce package of deli ham and put the sign right between the ten-ounce packages and the 16-ounce ones. Shoppers would wind up grabbing the wrong one and paying full price. —Jason Swett

Customers think that when they buy in bulk, they end up with a better deal.

But that’s not always the case. In the produce department, individual peppers are almost always cheaper than those in the multi-packs, and loose avocados are usually cheaper than the ones grouped in mesh bags. —Teri Gault

The ten-for-$10 promotion is one of the most effective.

When a store does it, volume takes off, even if the promotion raises the price of something. We’ll take an 89-cent can of tuna and mark it “ten for $10,” 
and instead of buying six cans for 89 cents, people will buy ten for $10. —Jeff Weidauer

Do not assume...

...that if something is displayed at the end of an aisle, it is a good deal. Often, it’s not. Those endcaps are sold specifically to companies trying to promote a product. —Paco Underhill

Just because something is advertised in your grocery store circular...

...doesn’t mean it’s on sale. There’s a whole lot in there that’s full price. —Teri Gault

Grocery stores usually don’t have the best milk prices.

The milk at drugstores and convenience stores is typically priced 30 to 50 cents less per gallon; it may even be locally produced and hormone-free. —Teri Gault

Do you like the hot pizza from the deli?

It’s likely the same store-brand pizza offered over in the freezer section for almost half the price per slice. —Bradley McHugh, meat manager and deli clerk for an independent grocery store in Ohio

At the fresh seafood counter...

...most products are labeled previously frozen in small type. Those same products are probably for sale in the frozen-food case for 40 percent less. Not only that, but you won’t have to use them right away, since they haven’t been thawed out. —Phil Lempert

I’ve tasted every item in our deli case...

...and there’s very little difference between what’s been prepackaged and what we slice fresh. A lot of times, it’s the exact same product. But you’re paying $1 to $2 more per pound for the same product just to have us slice it for you. —Bradley McHugh

When you buy fresh bread...

...we give it to you in a brown paper bag. Why? Because the bread may go stale faster, sending you back to the store to buy more. A quick fix: Place loaves in airtight plastic bags as soon as you get home. —Lindsay Smith

If you can, shop when the store is not busy.

Studies show that most consumers buy more when the store is crowded because they 
subconsciously want to be part of the group. Mondays and Tuesdays are the best days to shop. Whatever you do, avoid weekends. —Phil Lempert

It’s almost always cheaper to buy a large cut and have us trim it for you.

We can cut a chuck roast into stew cubes, a whole boneless strip loin into New York strip steaks, or a flank steak into stir-fry strips. We’ve had people buy one big roast and have us remove the bone for soup, run half of it through the grinder for hamburger, and cut the rest into a pot roast. That can save you about 30 percent compared with buying everything cut. —Bradley McHugh

Just because a cut of meat is labeled Angus doesn’t mean it’s going to be a great steak.

What you really want to check is its USDA quality grade. Prime is the best, then choice (usually the highest grade available in grocery stores), followed by select, and finally standard. —Kari Underly, former grocery store meat cutter and author of The Art of Beef Cutting: A Meat Professional’s Guide to Butchering and Merchandising

Find out when your butcher marks down meat.

At most stores, it’s between eight and ten in the morning. —Teri Gault

One of our best-kept secrets...

...is that you get filet mignon much cheaper by buying whole T-bone steaks. Every T-bone has a small filet mignon on the bone, and a New York strip on the opposite side. The price difference can be $3 to $5 a pound. —Bradley McHugh

If you’re worried about what’s in your ground meat...

...buy a piece of roast when it’s on sale and have your butcher grind it up for you in-store. A sirloin roast would be so delicious as hamburger. —Kari Underly

When I was training as a health inspector...

...the instructors beat into our heads how to inspect restaurants. But there was very little training focused on grocery stores. They took us through a grocery store in one day and then turned us loose, even though the stores have all this processing equipment that’s tough to clean. And I have to admit, I’d look at some of these machines on my inspections and say, “Yep, looks good.” But I didn’t really know what I was looking for. —Grocery store public health consultant

When you buy prepackaged ground meat in one of those tubes or foam containers...

...it may have come from hundreds of cows. If just one of those cows had E. coli on its hide, it’s now in your hamburger. If you ask a grocery store meat cutter to grind your hamburger in the store, it’s coming from just one cow. There’s still a risk of contamination, but it’s a much lower one. —Bill Marler, food-safety advocate and Seattle attorney who has frequently sued food companies

Everyone handles the produce.

I’ve seen customers drop something, pick it up, and put it back on the shelf. I’ve seen kids take a bite and put the item back. It took me a long time to start eating fresh fruits and vegetables again after working in a store. —Aimee Brittain

In almost every store we walk into...

...the employees tell us they don’t have enough time to clean properly. The result: I’ve seen some mice infestations so bad that they were living in the dairy cooler. —Grocery store public health consultant

We recycle the vegetables and fruits that don’t sell in time...

...by using them in our prepared foods. —Bradley McHugh

The carts never get cleaned.

I’ve seen babies soiling carts and carts with chicken juice leaking on them. That’s why I give them a once-over with my own sanitizing wipes. —Aimee Brittain


Jolie Rouge
01-27-2014, 03:13 PM
34 Creative Kitchen Hacks That Every Cook Should Know

Cooking is hard enough, but there are a lot of kitchen hacks that can help make that easier. These will help you become creative and efficient in the kitchen.


1. Use a Mason Jar and a Salt Lid for an Easy-to-Use Container for Coffee or Sugar


Use a Mason Jar and a Salt Lid for an Easy-to-Use Container for Coffee or Sugar

2. Use Your Blender to Make Ice Cream

Forget having to use salt and ice, you can actually make ice cream using your blender!

Here’s how and 13 recipes for it. http://www.blendtec.com/blog/2013/08/30/13-ice-cream-recipes/

3. Aerate Wine With Your Blender or Pitchers



For real, cheap wine will taste 10 times better and more expensive.

4. Know Your Wine and Cheese Pairings


9. The Anatomy of a Cheese Plate


31. Know Your Knives and How to Use Them


34. Know the Tastes of Different Wines



Jolie Rouge
02-22-2015, 08:34 PM

Who Knew???

Post-Workout Drink:
Forget coconut water. Athletes swear by pickle juice's scientifically proven benefits to exercise recovery. In one 2010 study, pickle juice halted post-workout muscle cramps in 85 seconds. That, plus its electrolyte-restoring powers has even yielded Pickle Juice Sport - a dill-flavored sports drink. But really, most athletes stick to good old Vlasic!

PMS Remedy:
For those same reasons, pickle juice is widely used as a cure for menstrual cramps. It may also prevent you from eating four bags of potato chips in one day. Not that we ever did that. That was a friend.

Potato Pick-Me-Up:
Add a heavy splash of pickle juice to a pot of simple boiled potatoes for a fantastic side dish. The flavors absorb so perfectly you won't want to add salt, butter, sour cream, or anything to these taters once you're done. Making potato salad? Skip the mayo, and toss with veggies and pickle juice for a much healthier (and more flavorful) version.

Pickleback Shot:
Odds are you've seen this cocktail on a bar menu sometime in the last couple years (lore has it they were first sold out of a London food truck in 2011). Perhaps you scoffed or called it a fad, but the truth is bartenders claim this to be the perfect complement to whiskey, instantly soothing the taste buds and aftershock of a rough liquor. Order one, and you will order five. For bonus points, follow that up with a

Hangover Cure:
If you can stomach it on a hangover tummy, pickle juice is a known folk remedy that actually works. It replenishes your depleted sodium levels and helps to assist in rehydration. In many countries, people even take a shot of pickle juice before going out to help prevent dehydration in the first place.

Vinegar Replacement:
Pickle juice works in place of vinegar in salad dressing, soups, or virtually any recipe. It is essentially vinegar on steroids.

Heartburn Cure:
Along with its flavor-boosting benefits, pickle juice seems to have the same health effects as straight-up vinegar. Particularly effective as a heartburn soother, pickle juice may also help to avoid blood-sugar spikes if taken with a meal.

Bloody Mary Booster:
On the not-as-healthy-but-just-as-important side of the spectrum, pickle juice is absolutely dynamite in a Bloody Mary. When its hangover-killing benefits combine with a little hair of the dog, nothing could make your Sunday morning any greater.
Except cronuts

Cleaning Agent:
Food industry insiders have been using pickle juice to clear blackened copper pans for years. It also works well as a grill cleaner, making those charred, crusted-on bits much easier to scrape off.

Dill Pickle Bread:
Make this. Make it now.

Pickle Popsicles:
True, you can buy these on pickleaddicts.com (actual, real thing), but you can also just pour some of this glorious nectar into pop molds, paper cups, or ice-cube trays and make your own savory summer snack.

Or maybe you just want some more pickles? Empty your vegetable drawer and throw some onions, carrots, peppers, whatever, into the jar of leftover pickle juice. Let them sit for a few days and BOOM: new pickles!

Meat Tenderizer & Marinade:
Pickle juice has amazing meat-tenderizing abilities and, as a marinade, will add a ton of flavor to your meats, without the extra cals in heavy sauces or marinades. It works exceptionally well on chicken - some claim a skinless breast soaked overnight in pickle juice will taste like fried chicken when cooked, and we say that is voodoo but we're okay with it. Try it on cuts of pork and beef, too.

Fish Poacher:
There is very little in this world that sounds more healthy-boring than poached fish. But, add your pickle juice to the poaching water and you will never look back.

Weed Killer:
The high vinegar and salt content of pickle juice has made it a longtime favorite with gardeners. Dumping it on dandelions, thistle, and virtually all common weeds that crop up around your home. Bonus, it's pet-friendly and you probably already have it in your fridge!

Recipe Add-On:
We lost track of all the things you can add pickle juice to, but some favorites include: BBQ sauce, hummus, chicken salad, mac 'n' cheese, gazpacho, deviled eggs, vinaigrette, borscht, beet salad, salsa, bean dip, and meatloaf.

Hiccup Stopper:
We've found little scientific evidence backing up this claim (and, frankly, we're glad the scientists are working on other things), but many, many people claim that the number-one cure for hiccups is a small glass of pickle juice. Given how well this stuff works on everything else in the world, we believe it.

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Scott W
03-28-2015, 06:04 AM
Probably the best way is to grow your own food in your backyard. Even if you don't have a lot of space there are plenty of creative ways to grow food in small areas.