Welcome, to Supper for a Steal. I'm Lane the face behind the blog. I hope you enjoy my shopping lists and recipes. Click here for more.
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I just recently started making my own chicken stock, and it could not be easier. Like I mentioned on Facebook last week begin saving leftover chicken bones and veggies that are about to go bad. I keep a chicken bone and a veggie Ziploc bag in the freezer. Don’t throw the tops of the celery away, instead stick it in your veggie stock bag. Anytime we have chicken on the bone, a rotisserie chicken, etc the bones and even skin go into my bag. Once I have collected enough of each I make up a batch of stock and the collection process starts all over again.
I love using my pasta insert in my big 8 quart pot to make the stock, that way I can just toss all the chicken and veggies once I am done and place a strainer over my measuring cup to collect anything that fell through the cracks.
There is no reason to ever buy store bought stock again. Making your own is easy and free. Collect and wash out jars from pasta sauce, they make great (free) containers to hold your stock. Make sure to not fill up your jars all the way, like I did. Do as I say not as I do. I had one explode in the freezer this morning.
How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock
- Chicken bones and skin
- Assorted vegetables and herbs (I use carrots, onions, celery, parsley, garlic)
- In an 8qt stock pot, using a pasta insert if you have one, add chicken bones and veggies. Fill about ¾ of the way up with water and bring to a slow boil. Skim off foam.
- Reduce heat and allow to simmer covered 2-3 hours. Add salt to taste after simmering. I typically only use about 1 tsp.
- Set aside and allow to cool before jarring.
- Divide the stock among your jars and freeze. Be sure to label how much is in each jar. Typically I freeze in 1, 2, and 3 or 4 cup portions.
If you have noticed by now most of my recipes use fresh ingredients, which are often hard to find coupons for. When I plan out my grocery trips I only have 2-6 coupons to use. Some weeks I don’t use any. I save money by buying with the sales. On a recent trip butter was on sale buy on get one and I had a coupon for $1 off two. It will take me a while to use two tubs of butter, but I stuck the extra one in the freezer and now when I am running low I know I have a backup in my freezer and don’t have to pay full price when it is not on sale.
I most often use coupons for frozen vegetables, coffee creamer, boxed potatoes, rice, canned tomatoes, cheese, and breakfast products. I always like to have frozen vegetable and boxed potatoes or rice on hand to make easy side dishes. They aren’t necessarily the healthiest, but sometime convenience wins out.
For fresh fruits and vegetables I shop around. I have a produce stand nearby that often beats the prices of Publix. Sometimes on a good sale I can find better prices at Publix though. I encourage you to find a local market and walk around to get a feel for the prices. They usually don’t fluctuate too much week to week, only seasonally. I have found that I can always purchase tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, and herbs for cheaper prices at the produce stand, but others such as berries, lettuce, even zucchini and asparagus can sometimes be a better buy at Publix. I try to use the produce that I think is the best buy at Publix in most of my recipes, but for a vegetable side get creative and find some fresh local veggies.
If a meat we like and eat a lot of is a great price I stock up. At Publix $1.99/lb for boneless chicken breast is a good price. This sale only happens every 6-8 weeks or more. When boneless chicken breasts are on sale again I will probably buy 7-10 lbs so I don’t have to pay $2.99 or $3.99/lb. When I get home from the store I break the packages down and individually freeze each breast. A meal for the two of us is one breast, split. I also freeze a few two to a bag incase I will be making a bigger casserole.
For our family of 2 I try to keep our grocery budget in the $25-$40 range each week, trying to stay towards the lower end of the budget. I make a trip to the produce stand about every other week where I spend $5 or less.
I have never had a trip to the store where I save 80 or 90%, but we also don’t eat boxed macaroni and cheese every night. Buying with the sales is a great way to begin saving money and adding in coupons for pantry staples is helpful. Begin by buying items your family eats a lot of and only purchasing them on sale. Buy enough each trip to last 6-8 weeks, until it comes back on sale again. When I see meat at a great price I will point it out. Following these tips and buying with the sales should help lower your grocery bills and feed your family a healthy meal.
For prepared beans at 1/3 of the cost of canned beans I love to cook them in the crockpot. We are huge black bean fans and I like to always have them on hand. A 16oz bag of dried black beans makes almost the same amount as 3 cans. At my store a 16oz bag of dried beans is $1.67 and a can is $1.19. The best savings though is in the larger amounts, a 32oz bag of dried beans is $2.75 and would make the same as about 6 cans. You save over $4.00 by doing the simple prep yourself.
Crockpot Black Beans
- 16oz dried black beans
- 1 tsp salt
- bay leaf
1. Begin by sorting through the beans throwing out any that are cracked or broken.
2. Pour beans in the slow cooker pot and add enough water to cover. Soak overnight in the refrigerator.
3. In the morning drain the water and rinse out the pot. Return the beans to the pot. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Add bay leaf.
4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, when finished mix in 1 tsp salt.
Adjust the recipe accordingly for larger packages of beans. This method can be used on any variety of bean except the kidney bean. Kidney beans need to be boiled for 10 minutes prior to being placed in the crockpot to cook. They contain a toxin that is not killed during the crockpot method of cooking.
For storage I use 8 and 16oz mason jars, leaving a little cooking liquid in each container. Cooked beans should be used within 1 week in the fridge or within 6 months in the freezer.