Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Frugal Eating In The Summer Heat

I'm on a goal to cut my food costs, especially since I was on Jenny Craig food for a month and really destroyed the budget.

I need to keep food costs as low as I can. At the same time, its in the nineties here in Texas, and since I already keep my heat at 79 or eighty degrees, warming up the house with the stove is not my goal. Also, I prefer to eat summer foods (grilled mainly) at this time of year rather than winter meals, so I am adjusting my menu rotation. Unfortunately the kind of foods that can be grilled or cooked in the skillet are generally a bit more expensive than the cuts of meat that can cook for three or four hours in the stove and the crock pot.

I have started buying grillable meats at their cheapest cost. Although they cannot be cooked and frozen like a casserole can, I am doing serious prep. When I buy the meat (say chicken breasts), I divide them into Ziploc bags, put various marinades in the bags and freeze. This way when I thaw them, they are already marinated. I'm generally putting three to four breasts in a bag. This way we have our meal, and enough to make a salad or a different meal the next day (leftover grilled breasts with black beans and salsa, or on a salad with rolls)

When I do decide to cook to save money (make biscuits or muffins or whatever), I am cooking one day a week only and freezing the rest to cut down on the heat and energy usable.

I figure our grocery bills in the summer are a bit more than in the winter, but with all the fresh produce and fish and meats around, I want to take advantage of those fun meals while I can. So I'll continue to look at ways to cut expenses but still eat "summer food", using all of the techniques I can come up with.

I often wonder if it would be worthwhile to have a toaster oven, just for a quarter of the year, if it would really keep the house cooler?

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