Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Cheap Eats

Every since reading the book Real Food by Nina Planck several years ago, my view of food has been totally changed.

Wholesome fats, meat, and eggs from pastured animals raised the way God intended, soaked and/or sprouted grains, homemade when i can do it, unprocessed, local, sustainably raised products and raw and/or fermented foods, these have all become our diet now.

Of course, this has increased our food bill and my time in the kitchen has also increased, but with all the reading I have been doing, it’s become more important than ever to me to stretch our dollars into covering nutrient-dense, wholesome quality foods and avoiding the cheap, processed, nutrient-poor foods that are so  much more readily available in our country even if that means going without certain things, like pastured meats, and relying more on organically grown veggies (yes, I know “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean much but for the produce that carries high chemical residue loads [follow this link to figure out where to spend your organic dollars and where to skip it], it does mean avoiding all that crap) and dishes made from those.

This has become more of an issue now that Baby 2 is on the way and having 2 cars with high mileage, we’re looking into replacing at least mine.  And of course with the savings account hit hard with selling our house last year and all those last-minute, high-ticket fix-its that needed doing and moving house not once but twice, the dollars we bring in now are more important to save than before.  I’ve been balking at the idea of buying substandard food but have decided to view groceries as a challenge instead of an obstacle.

Lots of my recipes contain meat, however, and so I’m searching for delicious alternatives to that pricey commodity (altho, this very morning I am getting a second-hand deep freeze chest delivered that I found on Craigslist for a good price meaning…you guessed it…I can now look into saving up for the big bulk pastured meat expenditure).

I’ve decided to start posting the recipes I find that you might be interested in. My main priorities are cheap but clean and, of course, delicious and flavorful.  Lots of cheap eats cookbooks seem to rely heavily on factory farmed meat and BPA-lined canned soups but I will be eschewing those.  There’s no sense in saving a few dollars only to be eating food that could possibly cause cancer or disrupt your endocrines.

So I’m leading off this Cheap Eats section with a review of the Corn Chowder from the DK published book Everyday Easy Cheap Eats that I got from the library.  it was GOOD.

Sweet Corn Chowder

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely  chopped
Salt and pepper for seasoning
6-8 med potatoes (I only had 3 so that’s what I used.  They were organic since potatoes, as a tuber/root vegetable carry high chemical residue), cut into bite sized pieces
24 oz corn (I used frozen organic)
5 c. vegetable stock (I only had 4 cups on hand)
handful finely chopped parsley (I usually buy a bunch and freeze what ever is left to use later)
1/4 c cream (it says optional in the recipe but since when is cream optional???)

Directions
1. Saute onions in oil, till soft. Add salt and pepper to tase, add potatoes and cook 5 minutes
2. Add corn and stock, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are done. Stir in parsley; reseason if necessary
3. Stir in cream and serve

This made quite a few servings (also a bonus), was fairly cheap and was relatively fast and easy as well as healthy.

The corn was $3.20, the potatoes $1.50, broth $2.59 so for about 8 bucks it made 8 servings or so (that’s what the book says it makes), which is $1 a serving and that’s using organic ingredients. I don’t think you can beat that.

I hope to blog more about my food changes but if you are interested, you can head over to my friend Emily’s blog since she does a fabulous job of detailing the kinds of food that are also going on in my kitchen as well.  There’s lots of other sites out there related to Nourishing Traditions and I’ll try to add some of the links I use over to the side.

Meanwhile, with the cooler weather coming, the gardening activity ratcheting down and diaper sewing to look forward to, I am hoping to add blogging back into the mix 🙂

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rachel
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 16:26:08

    Yea! I’m glad that you are doing this. The chowder sounds good, so I’ll definitely try it. The stuffed cabbage was fine, but the stuffing was a bit bland. I’m looking at spicing up the leftovers somehow and stuffing some peppers for dinner tomorrow night.

    I had some websites that I’d used in the past for cheap eats. I’ll have to find them again – I lost all my “favorites” when I was having computer problems a few months ago…I find it interesting that sweet potatoes would be more resistant to pesticide, or maybe there aren’t as many bugs that like them…

    Reply

  2. Sharon
    Oct 23, 2010 @ 09:00:23

    Hooray! I’m looking forward to more recipes!

    Reply

  3. Emily
    Nov 04, 2010 @ 12:20:09

    Thanks for giving me a shout out. Yay for recipes.

    Reply

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