A Very Frugal Meal

In our household we have five children, and two adults. With that, comes a much higher percentage of having a picky eater. It is almost a given, and of course we have one. She is our oldest girl, and she could live on Macaroni and Cheese, almost any form of standard Pasta, and Ramen Noodle Soup. Those are her very favorites, and if ever given a choice, one of those items will end up on the table.

Several months ago, I figured out that if I didn’t encourage her to try new and different foods, either I was going to gain 100lbs eating pasta every night for dinner, or I was doomed to create two separate meals a night. Because honestly, living on Mac and Cheese, Pasta and Ramen Noodle Soup is not an option in this house.

So we began sampling new foods. And that worked for awhile. However, what I found is that she only enjoyed new versions of pasta, and my home made version of Hamburger Helper. Otherwise it was like pulling teeth to get her to try anything. In fact, we made stew that was exactly like our roast is, only with the thicker gravy sauce, and she wouldn’t even try it.

I finally said enough is enough. With my naturally frugal way, there was no way this was working and the other four children, not to mention my boyfriend and myself, were so tired of eating the same meals. It was getting harder to do my freezer cooking unless it involved pasta, or frozen hamburger casseroles of some kind.

I took a mental note of what Vanessa would and would not eat. She seemed to love salads, a quite nutritious item if you ask me. She also really seemed to like baked potatoes a lot. In fact, everyone liked both of those items. So now, once a week, to supplement the very odd dinner’s we have to subject ourselves to, on an almost daily basis, we now have a meal that consists of Salad and Baked Potatoes. I realize that to some, they are wondering how that is nutritious since children need meat as well. Vanessa, as well as all of our children love bacon. So the meat item is typically some fresh bacon cooked to add to the potatoes as a topping. The dairy comes from butter, sour cream or a glass of milk for dinner. The salad dressing typically has a form of dairy in it as well.

So although, it would not be my first choice in a dinner, it’s an extremely frugal alternative and very tasty. We can buy huge ten pound or larger bags of potatoes for a couple of dollars. It usually estimates out to be somewhere around .10-.25 a potato depending on the size of bag we purchase. If you store the potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place, they can last for months! The toppings, with the exception of the bacon for the salad and the baked potatoes total well under $1.00 per person, and we purchase the bacon whenever it is on sale and freeze it. The only thing left is the lettuce which is often extremely cheap and we purchase several different heads of lettuce to create a “multi-leafed salad”, as we call it. All in all the dinner winds up costing under $5.00 for the entire family of seven to eat!

You cannot get much more frugal than that!

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