Moneysaving with Meatless Meals

Like most people I am trying to "watch my pennies" in this economy and I have been discovering the joy of meatless meals! Even ground beef is expensive, and now that stores are eliminating "pink slime" from the mix, it's going to get worse! Substituting beans, or veggies for meat is moneysaving - and maybe a little more healthy!?

The Sauce Makes the Spaghetti

I love spaghetti but I usually add meat to whatever (cheap!) sauce I buy - a $1 can of sauce almost begs for something to make it more tasty. But I've started keeping an eye out for coupons for name brand spaghetti sauces. The name brands are usually thicker, and more flavorful, than the cheaper sauces so they lend themselves better to meatless meals.

I had come across a coupon a while back for Newman's Own Sockerooni Sauce - I love this sauce! My sister had made spaghetti for me for my birthday one year using this sauce and since then I have been standing and drooling over it in the grocery store before I reach for the cheaper, canned sauce! Anyhow, I found a coupon for fifty cents off of a jar of Newman's Own Sockerooni Sauce, so I held onto it and watched out for a sale - finally, the Giant store had Newman's Own Sauces on sale for $2 per jar - my fifty cents off coupon doubled to $1 so I got this delicious sauce for only $1!  I added the sauce to a bunch of San Giorgio Spaghetti, which I'd bought at "Sav-A-Lot" for $1, and hubby and I had enough spaghetti for dinner, and lunch the next day - for only $2! Using this yummy sauce, which contains tasty ingredients like peppers, onions, and mushrooms, the spaghetti didn't need meat.

Easy Beans and Rice

Another meatless dish I've started enjoying is beans and rice.  I just cook up some rice - (you can use long cooking rice, or instant white rice) - and then dump in a can of chili beans and heat through. The beans add substance to the rice, so I don't miss having meat in this dish, and chili beans are already flavored with chili sauce, so there is no need to add extra spices. Super simple and tasty!

Substituting Veggies

Stir-Fry

I substitute veggies for meat in stir-fry and fajitas. Instead of using a pound of meat for stir-fry, I use a broccoli, cauliflower, carrot blend.
I precook the frozen veggies a little first (because I like more tender veggies), and drain them.  Then I add a packet of stir-fry seasoning and soy sauce and/or whatever is listed to add on the stir-fry seasoning packet, and  stir-fry the mix until blended. I serve this veggie stir-fry over rice. The broccoli, cauliflower and carrots also have 'substance', so I don't miss the meat in this dish, either!

Note - If I don't have stir-fry seasoning on hand, I just mix up some soy sauce, ground ginger, and powdered garlic in some water and add to the veggies!

Fajitas

A broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mix can also be used as a meat substitute in fajitas - I precook the veggies a bit, and drain. Then I add a packet of taco seasoning and the amount of water called for on the packet and cook as directed.
I warm up some tortillas, spoon in the seasoned veggie mix, top with some shredded mild chedder cheese, and roll up the tortillas. Then I bake them for a few minutes so the cheese melts and the fajitas get hot and a little crispy. Yum!

Saving Money

A dollar saved here and there by substituting inexpensive beans, veggies, or flavorful sauce for meat in a dish adds up!

Do You Have A Favorite Meatless Dish?





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Money, Couponing and The Minimalist lifestyle

Forget The Pop-Tarts and Pass the Toast-ems

I heard on the news the other day that "Ralph's," a large west coast grocery store chain is ending "double coupons." According to the story, some other stores are also starting to implement stricter couponing policies. Isn't that just what we need right now in this bad economy with gas prices over $4 per gallon?
But, this news will be a plus for stores like "Aldi" and "Sav-A-Lot" - even more people will be passing up the higher priced name brands for cheaper alternatives.
I admit, though, that I've never understood why some name brand companies haven't just lowered their prices; there are certain products that always seem to have available coupons, so then why not just lower the prices so everyone can enjoy the product, coupon or not?

Money and Minimalism

I read a story this morning that really has me bugged. It was about an older gentleman in Greece that commited suicide and the reason for it that most people seem to be pointing to is economic. This isn't the first story I've read about people who've committed suicide because of economic reasons and it has me wondering about the real meaning of life. Is life about money? Is life about "stuff"? Could I reduce what I "have" and find peace as a Minimalist?
But what kind of "stuff" could I give up? How can I change?
Get rid of the computer? Just about everyone has embraced the computer - people communicate through emails; hubby uses the computer for his job hunting.
Get rid of the TV? Could I learn to live without "Dancing With The Stars" and "Dr. Phil"?
Get rid of the microwave? It's a lot easier to defrost tonight's pink slime for dinner in the microwave.

Oh, wait... we are among those who don't have a lot to start with - we are among the poor who are being forced into Minimalism!

Maybe all I can change is my attitude?