Thursday, January 31, 2013

The basics

Good morning. If you are just looking at this blog for the first time, this blog is about eating on the cheap.
Almost everyone has times in their lives when they need to economize. People loose their jobs, decide to save for a vacation or the down payment on a home, or just don't want to waste money. This blog is designed to save 1/2 on your grocery bill.

1/2 price groceries takes a three pronged approach :

Plan and organize
Shop wisely
Cook from scratch

1) plan and organize
Any endeavor starts better with a plan. Start with comimg up with at least 7 main dish recipes that use inexpensive protein sources that your family will eat. Try to eventually get tp 14 so that you have variety.

Plan your meals after you get home from the shopping trip. Use what you have in the refer that you need to use up and the new things that you bought. It doesn't have to be fancy, just jot down om a piece of paper the main dishes. One of the best way to derail your budget is to not have a plan. Having to answer the question " what's for dinner" after a long hard day makes it too easy to say. "take out".

Make a list of the staples that you use often. In our house it would be cheese, beans, refried beans, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, some tuna and canned corn and green beans. Make a spread sheet or a small spiral notebook that has the name of the food, the size of the container, the date you bought it, the store, and the price. Pretty soon you will get a consensus of what the cheapest price for that food. This is harder with rising costs right now, but it still helps. When something is the rock bottom price, buy

A) as much as your money will allow
B) as many as the store will allow you yo buy
Or C) as many as you need to replenish your stock.
If I use the item once a week, I want to have 24. If I use it once a month I keep 6.
This isn't about hording.
Havimg a stock gives you a sense of security, you have enough to make a meal no matter what happens and makes you prepared for a natural disaster.

2) shop wisely
When the grocery ads come out. Take a piece of computer paper, divide it into fourths. Put the name of the store on the top of each quarter. Now go over the ads and write down everything you are out of, the meat and veggie ads Ttat are cheapest, and anything that you stock. Now cross off anything that is higher priced than somewhere else, cross off anything you don't need. Skip the snack and ready made foods. For the most part, they are a lot more expensive than scratch. There are a few things that are cheaper than scratch or are just too labor intensive to make scratch. Tortillas, mashed potatoes, refried beans pasta sauce are all cheaper at least some times of the year.

Now, pick the two stores that have the cheapest prices. Go there with your list and the grocery ads, get in and get out. The more time you spend in the store, the more money you will spend. The grocers have researched our spending habits and know what to do to get us to spemd more. The bigger the grocery cart the more you will spend. The fancier the store, the higher the prices. Someone has to pay for that fish tank. LOL And they have many more tricks too.

If you can, invest in storage solutions that keep your veggies fresh longer.
I keep a cooler bag in my car to store frozen and perishable foods between stores. I try to keep my shopping trip at a minimal time, and a route that takes the least gas.

3)cook from scratch

his isn't as daunting a task as it sounds. There are ways to make the task as fast or nearly as fast as the ready made.

If you spend more time on the front end of the "get the dinner on the table" train and less time on the back end, you will be better off. You gent"paid" for shopping-- not for cooking. If you save 75.00 a week on shopping and spend an additional 1/2 hour shopping, you are making 150.00 an hour. And if you work for a living, you would have to earn an additional 15 percent at least to spend that 150.00.

Back to strategies. Buying meat in bulk and batch cooking and storing with portion control saves time, dishwashing and money. your slow cooker and pressure cooker can be your best friends in the kitchen. Anything that you can prep quickly and put in the oven to cook while you make more things or do other chores is also a time saver.

Making a double batch of things like rice and pasta to use the other half another dayy is a great help. I call that stair stepping. I try to post ideas on the blog frequently.

next time-- what your grocer doesn't want you to know!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013


in ran on to a booklet that I had bought years ago. we all like easy recipes in this day and age of busy lives.


2/3 cup of flour
1 tsp EACH of salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning

1 cut up chicken or chicken parts to your liking

Butter, or butter and olive oil

2 cups chicken broth

Dredge chicken parts in seasoned flour.

brown chicken parts in skillet with butter and or olive oil

remove chicken from skillet to the slow cooker

Make a sauce using the remaining flour for a roux and the cynicism broth.

Pour sauce over chicken .

Cover and cook on high for 2-2-1/2 hours or untilmchicken is do e and the juices run clear.


1 package frozen chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1T butter
3strips bacon, crumbled

Cook spinach according to package directions
Drain well
in skillet, cook onion on butter. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat through.


Bacon was a buck at grocery outlet . I might use fresh spina h instead.
minced garlic is really cheap at Costco--cheaper than buying the heads of garlic and chopping them yourself.
If you don't think you can use that much, co sider sharing with a family member or neighbor.
I found split peas in bulk at Costco a lot cheaper than even grocery outlet. I just split them between my husbands siblings.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The ads

Here are the ads for this week.


Beef Top Sirloin 3.99
20 percent beef 2.49
Milk 2.59
Shrimp 5.00...Friday thru Sunday
Strawberries 5.00
Salsa 5.00
Shredded cheese 5.00--24-32 ounces. Get 32
Chili .99


dryers ice cream 2.99
Buy 10
Chili .75
Sour cream 1.49
Sirloin 3.49


chicken breast 1.49
Dryers ice cream 2.79
Sour cream 1.49
Frozen potatoes 2.49

Buy 5
Hebrew national. 2.99
Johnsonville brats. 3.49
Yoplait .50
Pasta 1.00


blues 1.99
Apples .88
Dryers ice cream 2.88 coupon 1/31-2/3
Buy 10

Best foods 2.99
Coffee 7.99
Sour cream 1.49
Refried beans .49

Hot dog and hamburger buns 1.00

That's all. Not much this week. It is a "holiday " weekend. LOL

Thanks for stoppimg by


And you spend WHAT on groceries?

And you spend what on groceries? There was a piece on the network newscast night about a family of four . They were talking about what they were spending on food and not throwing so much food in the garbage. They spent three hundred dollars a week on food. That's Four months on my budget. It did not sound like they were eating any different than we do for about 65.00. The difference is paying our utility bills and real estate taxes.

Beef Soft Tacos

3/4 pound cooked and defatted groumd beef
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 of a green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup green olives, sliced
1/2 tsp cumin
1can diced tomatoes
6 inch corn tortillas
Romaine lettuce,torn

Cook beef,garlic and green pepper in skillet for three minutes. Add remaining ingredients except lettuce. Cook 5 minutes more.

Heat tortillas accordimg to package directions.
Add torn lettuce to top of taco.

Notes. I would serve with rice cooked with salsa.
Romaine is the least expensive of the lettuces because it lasts so long there is usually no waste. The darker the green, the more food value it has.

Quick Crazy Tamale Dish

Combine 3/4 pound of cooked ground beef, 1-1/2 cups salsa and a can of kidney beans in a microwave safe square dish.
Heat on microwave until warm--about 8 minutes. ( cover to reduce splattering.)

Place a tube of polenta on a 9 inch square casserole. (microwave safe) Cut in slices to cover bottom of pan.
Place meat mixture on top of polenta.
Cover dish with plastic wrap and cook for 6 minutes or until thoroally heated. Sprinkle with cheese and heat until
cheese is melted. Serve with salsa, as spicy as your family likes.

You could substitute small pieces of cubed cooked chicken foe the beef and make polenta and spread it in the pan.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday madness

It's Monday. We went to world market yesterday because I got a coupon for 49 percent off. My husband likes their fancy olives. We had to go for some supplies at Michaels too. I try to group my trips so that we use less gas. We stopped by Grocery outlet on the way home. I got feta cheese with roasted red peppers and basil, pepperoni with cheese, and my husband got bacon for a buck a pound. He came home and cooked it on the George Foreman. I like to use a little bacon in some things for flavor. One slice of bacon in a dish cam make a real difference. They have a wide variety of cheeses for a reasonable price. They had 32 ounce jars of mayo too, but their pull date was Jan 11---too far out of date to make it safe in my book. Wen can freeze the cooked bacon and pull it out when we need it. You never know what you are going to find-- not everything is full of sodium.LOL. they have good prices on other things too.

I think my point is that I am cognizant of prices where ever we go.Good prices on food can be everywhere. Often times good buys can be in stores who's main focus is not food. I watch pull dates and brands.

I had always gone grocery shopping by myself. Since we have been retired, my husband goes with me. He also went with me when we were both out of work. I didn't think he was paying attention to anything as he wheeled the cart around. One day we were at a store and there was and end cap with 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce for .25. He said, that's not on sale, we paid .10 last week for them. Boy, was I surprised!

A bit of a splurge, but sometimes Bartells has artichokes on sale. The price of tuna balances it.

Tuna melt on English Muffins

1/2 cup artichokes, drained and rinsed
1/4 sliced green onions
1-T lemon juice
1tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1can tuna, drained and flaked

2 English muffins, split and toasted
1-1/2 ounces of grated provolone or sharp cheddar.

Preheat broiler5
Combine first 7 ingredients and a dash of pepper.
Divide evenly among English muffin halves
Sprinkle with cheese.
Place on baking sheet. Boil 4 minutes until golden.

Serves 2


This calls for canned artichokes. Artichokes in a jar are cheaper.
Just. Don't use the oil. If I didn't have green onion, I would use some onion powder and parsley. English muffins are at the bread store often.Sometimes they are on sale 2 for at the regular chains.

I also read Panini with chickpea spread and sautéed spinach. itncaught my eye because I got garbanzo beans for .50 last week.

Process 3/4 cup garbanzo beans
2T lemon juice
2tsp capers
1 T water

Combine in a food processor until blended.

Sauté spinach on 2tsp olive oil. Add dash of pepper and 1tsp garlic minced.
slice sub rolls lengthwise. Fill sandwich with a layer of bean mixture and a layer of spinach. Top.

This would also taste good with thinly sliced chicken or pork and maybe a little white cheese.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Suddenly Sunday

It's already Sunday. The weekend goes to fast!

Twenty years ago, I was published in the Woman's Day magazine for a recipe for economical pizza. Since then I foumd an easy recipe for pizza crust in the food processor. The kids always liked watching the sponge develop. --great science experiment. ( see earlier post). They insisted on substituting sausage in casing for bulk sausage. Sausage is cheap at Costco and sometimes Grocery Outlet.

Breakfast Pizza
Cooking Light All Time Favorites

1-8 oz can low fat crescent dinner rolls

Cooking spray

12ounces turkey breakfast sausage
1cup shredded hash browns, thawed
1cup shredded cheddar no fat cheese
1/4 cup fat free milk
1/4 tsp pepper
1-8 oz carton egg substitute
2 T parmesan

Preheat oven to 375

press dough together to form a 12 inch circle. Make a rim and place on a pizza pan that has been coated with cooking spray.

Cook and drain sausage.

Top dough with

Combine milk, salt, pepper and egg substitute. Whisk.
Carefully pour into crust. Sprinkle parmesan.
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes until crust is browned.

8 pieces. Cal 203, carbs 20

Note. Cost over the top! Eggs are a dollarmandozen at QFC. If you are worried about whole eggs, use one egg and supplement the eight ounces with egg whites. I would bet that somewhere on the Internet there is a recipe for egg beaters.
The other thing that is expensive is the dough.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Notes on Fridays shopping

I was surprised to find out that I could have vegetarian refried beans and low sodium beans as well. All of the canned goods were at least a buck a can off. That ads up fast. I got ten refried beans, 10 diced tomatoes and 10 beans. They had garbanzo beans too so five of them were garbanzo beans. My daughter likes humus. I spent 15.00. I saved over thirty dollars from the regular price-- I paid 33 percent on the dollar.

Another way to look at it is that no bank is ever in this day and age going to give you 67 percent interest on your money.

The more meat skyrockets in price, the more recipes we will see for token meat dishes and rice and beans. I so far, am seeing meat on sale for a reasonable amount. Certainly, it is not as cheap as this summer, but it isn't too outrageous yet.

Meals from the ads

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian
1 fish

1) meat ball subs, vegetable chips
2) tacos, refried beans, rice
3) chicken ( oven fried) mashed potatoes
4) sausage and saurkraut
5) quiche
6) pizza
7) salmon

Notes. Spinach artichoke chips were 2.00 at big lots. Refried beans were .50 at albertsoms. We got groumd beef for 2.50 a pound at Safeways a few weeks ago. Chicken is a buck a pound at albertsoms. Sausage is 5.00 for 10 large ones Safeways Five dollar Fridays that have been extended with just 4U. Eggs are a buck at QFC.
Carrots were .79 a poumd at Albertsons. sauerkraut is cheap at big lots.

Fusilli with creamy panchetta pea sauce

About 1 ounce of panchetta or bacon
1tsp olive oil
1cup diced onion
1tsp minced garlic
2T flour
2cups low fat milk
1/4 cup low fat cream cheese
2-1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1-1/4 cups grated parmesan cheese
Salt, pepper

5 cups cooked fusilli

cook panchetta or bacon, remove from skillet.
Add oil to skillet. Add onion and garlic
Add onion mixture to meat.
Add flour to pan. Make a roux with milk.
Add cream cheese. Stir until cheese melts and sauce is smoot.
Stir in basil, salt, pepper, and 1cup parmesean. Add cheese sauce and parmesean to the
meat mixture. Toss with pasta.

From cooking light

Notes. I got low fat cream cheese at QFC last week for .50.
I think almost any small pasta would work for this.

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I would like to stop for a few sentences and talk about learning how to cook from scratch. I dont know the age group of my readers, so I'll address this issue anyway.
It is well worth your while to get a basic knowledge of cooking. It's not hard. I went to cooking school when I had a chance, but I have also learned a lot from Tv cooking shows. PBS has a lot of them. Martha Stewart has a series going on about basic cooking and there are more. Kids need to know that food doesn't always come out of a box or the deli! LOL

Chicken strips are on SALE for 7.49 for 2 pounds or less. Chicken has been on sale for a buck a pound lots. one week I got it for .88. crispy chicken strips is breaded chicken that has been baked. It takes as long to cook the frozen pieces as it does doing it from scratch. I got bread free at the bread store. It took a few minutes to dry it in the oven, put it in the food processor, and dry it . I did it while banana bread baked and put them back in the oven when the banana bread was done and I turned the oven .

This is a good week to stock up. refried beans, beans and diced tomatoes are all .50. That is the lowest price that I have seen. A lot of times, they are close to a dollar.
There are a lot of dishes that you can make from them, and they are good for you. beans are good for your cholesterol. Just rinse them well to reduce the sodium.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013


I finally got the ads.


Sirloin Roast B1G1 nets 3.25
Strawberries 2/5.00
Eggs 1.00
Tomatoes and beans .50
Brats 3.49
Raspberries, blackberries 2.99

Pot roast 2.69
Loin chops
Top round, London broil

Grapes 1.99

5 buck Fridays
Blues -18 oz
Cream pie
Diced tomatoes .75 ***
Donuts 4.00. Just for u


10 for 10 sale

Carrots, baby
English cucumbers
10-16 ounce frozen veggies

Chuck roast 3.00


chuck roast 2.99
Chicken, whole, drums, thighs
Green peppers .50
Carrots .79
Refried beans .49. (10)
Chili .99


Note spread on canned tomatoes, pot Roast.
.50 on beans and refried beans is the lowest price they have been in a long time.
Fresh veggies are an additional 20 percent On just4 U.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The OTHER white meat

The ads on TV and the print ads a few years ago Refered to pork as the other white meat. They have made pork lean and more healthy. It is also less expensive than beet generally. I had not cooked pork until I got married. My husband cooked pork chops and I learned to cook more. I found pork tenderloin and loin roasts. I can still fimd pork chops and roast for 2.00 a pound or so. Basically, you can cook pork the same as chicken.

Pork loin roast can become chops before it is cooked, or sliced as roast and thinly sliced to make a bbqnpork sandwich.

Years ago, I made up a recipe for a pork hero sandwich that was published in Taste of Home.

Note, there was a typo in the recipe.

1 loaf French bread
3T olive oil
2 pounds pork tenderloin cubed
1 julienne green pepper
1 julienne red pepper
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1small onion, chopped
2tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1tsp pepper

1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cups sliced plum tomatoes
1cup shredded mozzeralla cheese.


Cut the top fourth of the bread off, reserve.
Hollow out the bread leaving a 1 inch shell. Save the extra bread for breadcrumbs.
Set aside.

In large skillet, heat oil. Add pork cubes and brown. Add vegetables, except tomatoes, and cook until pork done and vegetables are tender. Add chicken stock and simmer until mixture is reduced.

Set aside 1/2 of the filling and freeze.

spoon 1/2 of filling into bread shell. Mixture should not be soupy. Top with tomatoes and cheese. Replace bread top.

Wrap in foil. Seal tightly. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.


I would use pork cubes that have already been cooked and might use pork loin instead of tenderloin. I would use Roma tomatoes that have been seeded.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday notes

Yesterday my daughter and grandaughter and I went shopping. I found a blank weekly calendar with big squares for writing. It was 2.00 less 70 percent. Itnwould have been less if I had the 25 percent coupon from the Internet. We went on the spur of the moment and I didn't prepare. I am going to use it for meal plans.

My husband is not particulary fond of chicken and pork. He wants us to go back to the good old days when pork hadnfat on it. LOL. Because of trying to eat a bit more healthy, we are eating a variety of meats. His main beef about chicken is that it has no taste. I am trying to find chicken recipes that are more tasty.

Jerk Rub for chicken

1T allspice
2tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg
2tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper

Combine ingredients. Rub on chicken or pork. Grill or broil.

Balsamic vinegar glaze
Thyme, berry preserves, and a touch of balsamic vinegar.

chicken and pasta.

1/2 package of a long pasta....spaghetti, linguine, fettichini
1/2 pound cooked chicken cubes
Olive oil
1small chopped onion
1tsp minced garlic
1cup chicken broth
8 cups spinach
4 ounces swiss cheese

Sauté cooked chicken in olive oil. Add chicken broth,onion, garlic,salt, pepper. Combine pasta, spinach, and cheese in large bowl. Add chicken mixture and toss.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Dinner

We don't always have Sunday Dinner.That is, we have dinner, it just isn't always a special dinner. It depends on what is going on that day.

Rosemary Potatoes

1T butter
1tsp minced garlic
1tsp dried rosemary
1/2tsp salt
1-1/2 pounds red potatoes, quartered

Melt butter and garlic in a 8 inch square baking dish in the microwave. microwave on medium high for 45 seconds.
Add rosemary, salt, pepper and potatoes. Toss.
cover, and microwave on high for 15 minutes


1-10 ounce bag of spinach, torn
8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
2-11 ounce cans of mandarin orange, drained well
1ounce crumbled blue cheese
2T chopped pecans
1/2 cup raspberry vinaigrette

Toss all ingredients

NOTE.. To make this low-cost, I would use a regular orange or a tangerine. you use walnuts if pecans are more expensive or dependimg on what you have after Christmas.


4 pork chops
2tsp olive oil
1-1/2 cups white wine
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

salt and pepper pork. Brown on both sides in oil about 5 minutes each side.
Add honey, mustard, and wine and bring to a boil for three minutes.
Add the pork to the pan. Simmer for 6 minutes A SIDE or until pork is done.

Adapted from Cooking light
NOTES. Honey is the one food that never goes bad. If it crystalizes, heat it in the microwave or in it's glass jar , uncovered in boiling water.

chicken broth would be a substitute for white wine.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Suddenly Saturday

It's Saturday and I have three days off.Yeah! I have a sinus infection but I am going to enjoy them anyway.

New Menus from the WinCo shopping trip. Not having an ad for WinCo, I went with my ten dollar coupon just looking for bargains and knowing what I was short of. I bought just the amount of particular product that I knew I had used up lately.

Almost everything that I purchased was either the same as a sale price ( Roma tomatoes )or cheaper than my current lowest price--about twenty to twenty five percent for the same or comparable brands. Add another twenty percent and I averaged 40 percent off of SALE prices or about sixty percent. Our car uses little gas, but the savings was well worth the trip. you have to know your prices, some things were more.

Not knowing what you are going to find, or NOT find, is why it is prudent to do your meal plans after you shop. Case on point-- QFC had pork loin on for 2.00 but when I got there, they looked terrible. The strawberries had gray hair prettier than mine!!

Two beef, two pork or chicken, two vegetarian and a fish.

1)sloppy joes, oven baked fries
2)spaghetti and meatballs
3)roast chicken
4) chicken pot pie
5) quiche
6) pizza
7) tuna melt

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Winco buys

I got a ten dollar coupon on 50 dollars worth of food at WinCo. it is not spend 50 at the grocery store. If you combine the coupon with specials,the net cost is really low.

I had to spend 50. at winco. I spent 51.28! Less Sunflower seeds 2.41 equals 38.87
I got almost everything for 20 plus percent off the regular lowest price on my list.

a few things were more expensive, so I didnt buy them. Cheese was 2.79 per pound.

Parmesean cheese was about 1/2 what I paid last week. Ground Pork was 2.18 a pound.

Pepperoni was 1.88
Pizza shells (like Bomboli) were 2.18 each.
hamburger buns 1.98
JWhite Bread .88
Roma Tomatoes 1.
Fuji apples .87
American Cheese (Kraft) 8.78
Nallys chili .98
olives .95
Mayo 2.98
Taco Chips .98
Mashed Potatoes .88 usually 1.00 on sale
Green Beans, corn .33
Pasta Sauce .79
red pepper.68
Tuna .68
canned chilis ..79

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

I'm watching the chew

Today I am watching the chew. they are talking about leftovers. Their stays say that we throw out half of our food. They are advocating 3 trips a week to the store. That is a way to spend twice what you need to spend. That's probably why they think a meal costs 25.00 Lol. The trick is to stay on top of your perishables and find ways to use then up or pit them up.

Roast chicken is becoming chicken salad and chicken crepes.

Chicken crepes are white sauce, leftover veggies, parm and chicken. Sounds good with spaghetti or noodles.

Just a note

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Meals from the ads

Traditionally, groumd beef is one of the cheapest ways to buy beef. It os also one of the most versital. by buying in bulk you can portion control and avoid waste. Sometimes I have been finding low fat for 2.50. When a roast is cheaper, I grind my own. You can de fat hamburger and make it have less fat than a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Beef has some nutrients that you can't get in any other meat. Moderation is the key. It seems like what is good for you today, isn't good for you tomorrow. Remember liver on the 60's?

On to meals... I'm talking my mindset so you can do it yourself using you families tastes. I am just doing the main dish, fill on with what's appropriate and inexpensive.

I'm still with

2 beef
2 chicken or pork
2 vegetarian

Using last weeks ground beef at 2.50 a pound

Taco soup
Spaghetti and meatballs

Chicken is .88 at QFC. That is about 1/2 of the price of a deli chicken. Buy a 4 or five pound one.

Roast chicken.
Chicken pot pie. If you make your own white sauce and portion control the bisquit, you can control the fat and calories.

Mac and cheese

Tuna is .80 at Top.
Tuna melts

That's all.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The ads

I finally got the ads .


flour tortillas 10 ct for 1.00
Pork loin 1.97
1/2gal milk 1.00
QFC pan bread 3/4.00
Strawberries 2/5
Yoplait 10/5.00
Chili 1.00
Chuck roast B1G1. Nets 3.50....this summer 2.00


Ground sirloin 3.77 ***
hagan tomatoes 15/10.00. .67 each
Apples .89
Pork chops 1.99
Boneless bottom roast or steak 2.74 net B1G1. ****
rice 4lbs 2.99

Tuna 10/8.00
Blues 3.00


ground beef 3.99***

Tomato or chicken noodle soup 4/3.00. .75

Blues 2.99
Lettuce .99
tuna 1.25***


pot roast 2.49
Sirloin tip 2.99
Bottom roumd 2.99

Boneless pork loin 1.99
Chicken parts, thighs, drums, split breast 1.25
Apples 1.00

5 dollar Fridays

Sub sandwich
Clementines 5 lbs
Canola oil
Shrimp per pound

Milk 2.59
Coffee 7.99

Chili 1.00

Blues , blacks. 3.00
Oranges 8 lbs 5.99
Grapes 2.99

Just 4 you. Nathans2.99
Pudding ring. 2.88


Note the variance of prices of ground beef. That is why we bought it for 2.50 last week.

At the difference between 4.00 and 2.50. (1.50). Times 8 poumds is 12.00 .

Boned chicken breasts 1.25. Boneless 3.99. (2.75) and you get the start of chicken stock to boot.

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it's Wednesday,mid week for most people. We used to have Pizza establish,nets that had all you can eat pizza on Wednesday night. Kinda like the all you can eat tacos Tuesday now. But, you could bring the kids.

It was a great inexpensive way to have a night out mid week.

I thought I would talk about different pizzas. The recipe for crust is on a older post.

Spinach mushroom | Very well Ed and squeezed spinach, feta, mushrooms, garlic, diced tomatoes, garlic and Italian seasoning.

Bacon and clam pizza

olive pizza


Mushroom and black olive

Chicken and olive

Ham and pineapple

Thanks for watching.

Ads later


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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Terrific Tuesday

I watched the chew yesterday.They are advocating meatless Monday. Their stats say that if you eat vegetarian one day a week, you reduce your chance of heart disease by 19 percent. They also say you reduce your chance of diabetes by 15 percent and you reduce your food bill by 100.00 a month. The 100 dollars a month is had for me to believe. if don't spend 25.00 a meal, you can't save 25.00 a meal. LOL

They made two vegetarian burgers. The lentil one doesn't appeal to me, but the mushroom one sounded ok.

The news yesterday was about beef takimg a LARGER HIKE. It already is almost double.
My plan is to watch for sales and hang on until it is never cheap enough and rework my menu spread to eat more chicken and pork if they don't skyrocket too. This is hard, because my husband only likes beef.

My plan will still reduce food costs, but maybe not to 75.00 a week. With the drought and the freeze in California, I suspect the average grocery shopping bill will increase significantly. We can, adjust as our grandmothers did in WWII and the great depression. Not to mention the Nixon years. Stocking now , without overstocking, will hedge it.

On to a more positive subject.
Ground beef was 2.50 a pound for 10 percent .
One of the ways to reduce your protein costs is to stretch it and use less. Another point they made on the chew.


1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup dill pickle relish?
1tsp salt
1/4 tsp EACH mustard and pepper

2 T flour
1/3 cup water

Cook everything in a skillet until the meat is no longer pink.
Make a slurry of the flour and water and add and cook until it thickens.

2cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup plus 2 T milk, divided

Combine dry ingredients . Cut in shortening. Stir in 3/4 cup milk. Stir into ball. Roll or pat into a 12X 9 rectangle.

Set aside 1/4 cup meat mixture. Spread remaining beef mixture on dough within 1 inch of edges. Roll up starting with the large side. Pinch edges ton seal. Place seam side down on baking sheet that has been greased. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

For gravy, melt 2 T butter, stir in 3 T flour, salt and pepper. make a roux. Gradually add remaining milk. Heat, storing, until gravy is smooth. Nstir in reserved meR.

Slice roll, serve with gravy.

From Taste of Home.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday madness

It's Monday again...funny how that works. Back to the old grind. I thought I would talk about the Family Circle magazine that I got at Joann's for 1.80.

I think that it is interesting that they always have a really good desert on the cover right when everyone is trying to diet. It is next to the 35 ways to be healthier.

I bought it because the cover talks about cooker recipes. They are in the very back of the magazine. There are also ideas for organizing-- that dreaded kitchen counter catch all!

Chocolate caramel brownie stacks....
Sharp cheddar shells and cheese
grilled cheese and tomato
Chicken and dumplings
pomegranate chicken
Meatball and barley soup
Apple, sausage and walnut pasta
Salmon tacos

White chocolate peppermint yum!

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Game day

Football Frenzie is upon us. Todays game is in the morning. Breakfast parties are going on all over town.

Breakfast for Dinner is a good way to cut your food bill. Traditionally, breakfast foods are cheaper than dinner foods. Some kids think it is fun because it is out of the ordinary.

Besides the standard quiche, there is sausage, eggs, and hash browns. Waffles and bacon, frittata,omlettes, fruit, French toast.

The bakery outlet sometimes has Texas toast. One time I got it for .50 at Grocery Outlet. It makes really good French toast.


2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1cup fresh cranberries, chopped

2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1tsp grated orange rind
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 slightly beaten egg

Preheat oven to 400. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Sir in cranberries. Make a well. Combine wet ingredients. Fold together. Do not over mix.
Coat muffin pans with cooking spray. Spoon batter in to cups. bake 18 minutes ormuntil muffins spring back when touched. Cool on a wire rack.

From Cooking Light.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yesterdays grocery trip and more comfort foods

Yesterdays grocery trip was a real eye opener. It os going to takema lot of ingenuity
To keep a 75.00 a week budget. The salmon that used to be 1.1 pounds for 5 bucks os now 12 ounces for 5 bucks. the hamburger that was supposed to be 7 percent was really 10 percent. Still a bargain and actually 7 percent is harder to defat and still get enough fat to not make it dry.

I did manage to spend less than 75.00 takimg in consideration that my husband bought his beef jerky ingredients. He went to Costco and picked up bisquick, bananas, and brown and server bread. Still itmshould be close to the 75.00. itsna marathon cooking day today!

There are lot of recipes for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. It happens to be the most expensive way to buy chicken. It is worth your while to either learn how to cut up a raw chicken,or adjust the recipe to compensate for cooked chicken breast. Use the same flavors as the regular recipe.


1 pound chicken breasts, boneless

1 tsp oregano
Olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced
1.5 cups chicken broth

1/3 cup raisins
2T lemon juice
2T capers
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Lemon slices

1) flatten the chicken breasts that have been cut into portions. Dredge in flour that has been seasoned with oregano.

2) in a skillet with olive oil, brown chicken. Cook about 4 minutes each side.

3) remove chicken from pan, keep warm.

4) sauté onions about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, raisins and juice. Cook a few minutes, deglazing the pan.

5) return chicken to pan and cook until chicken done. Remove chicken, stir capers into sauce.

Serve chicken by pouring sauce over it and sprinkling feta on top. Garnish with a lemon wedge if desired.

Serve with couscous and zucchini that has been steamed.

NOTES: you could Make the sauce and add Cooked chicken breast to warm at the last minute and cook the sides before or while you cook the sauce. This would shorten the time in the kitchen. You might have to add a flour slurry to thicken then sauce to compensate for not having dredged the chicken.
Couscous is cooked almost like instant rice.
Don't overcook the zucchini...threaten it!

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Comfort Foods and menus from the ads

I was watching then chew yesterday. They were talking about how each generation has different comfort foods. I always thought Mac and cheese was comfort food. Interpretation is that for the older generation it is Mac and cheese, and braised meats. For the X generation it is fast food burritos and hamburgers. For the y generation it is ramen noodles-- not the kind out of a package--more like foo.

I would love to kmow you take on comfort foods. You can leave a comment below and still remain incognito LOL

Now, on to the meal plans from the ads.

My formula is still 2 beef, 2 pork or chicken, 2 vegetarian, and 1 fish.

Good ground beef is on sale at Safeways as is salmon--hopefully I can get some this time. Chicken is still a buck.

1) meatbLls and spagetti, green salad, bread
2) tacos, refried beans, salsa rice

3) roast chicken, mashed potatoes
4) pork chops, red cabbage, applesauce

5) no brainer pasta, salad
6) quiche, salad

7) salmon on potatoes and tomatoes

To make fish on potatoes and tomatoes. Slice potatoes and tomatoes. ROMAS are cheaper and have less seeds. Layer them in a greased baking pan drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper. Place fish on top and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 until potatoes are tender and fish is done.

No brainer pasta is on an earlier post, as is taco seasoning.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

agh...the ads

Truly, I dont live for the ads!LOL


Buy one, get one meat sale. If you don't want to buy double packages of meat, I would suggest that you getbwith a sister, cousin or neighbor and buy in bulk. Saco fs are worth it.

Round steak nets 2.50
7 percent ground beef 2.50 ******net
Pork ribs. 1.75net
Chicken 1.00 net

5 dollar Friday
Baby back ribs 5.00

Frozen potatoes...fries or tots 1.99
Brownie mix 1.00*****coupon
Tuna 1.00
Ice cream 1.99***coupon
Eggs 18 count 2.39****coupon

**** note ground beef is a REALLY good buy. At that fat content, when you defat it, you havE LESS than boneless skinless chicken breast that four dollars a pound.
I batchncook ground beef and meal size portion it. Tacos, meatballs, beef crumbles for pizza or pasta sauce, no brainer pasta and a meat loaf.


chicken .99
Pork chops 2.40 net. B1G1
Sirloin steak, 3.50. Net B1G1
Frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast 3 lbs 4.99 weekend only
Pasta sauce 1.00


Whole salmon 3.97
Iceberg lettuce 1.00


Yoplait .50
Boneless chicken breast 3.75 net B1G1
16 ounces blueberries 5.99

That's all.
Remember to cross off anything that is a more expensive price and anything you don't need to stock.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

OOPS, no ads yet again.

Wednesday and yet again another day without the ads. I went to the Goodwill yesterday and found a couple of magazines (small books actually) for .49 a piece. You can get inspiration anywhere, and it is expecially nice if it is free or next to free.

From cooking Light

Tuscan Chicken Stew , Drop Bixcuits

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into one inch cubes.
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 can white beans
1 can (7ounces) roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
3.5 cups torn spinach.

Combine chicken , rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss well. Heat oil in skillet and cook chicken for 3 minutes. Add garlic, saute 1 minute. Add broth, beans, and peppers. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes until chicken is done. Stir in spinach. simmer 1 minute. Yield 4 servings.

Note: You can use already cooked chicken and toss with the spices. add chicken broth and beans, and roast your own peppers. I call adding the spinach for a small time , threatening it. LOL

The other alternative to boneless, skinless chicken breast (the most expensive way to buy chicken besides the wings,) is to cut up your whole chicken raw. Its not hard, but it is a little time consuming if you aren't an expert butcher.

Drop Bisquits

2 cups flour
1T baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup butter, chilled , cut into small pieces
1 cup milk

Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup, level with a knife.
Combine dry ingredients and 1/2 tsp salt. Cut in butter. Add milk and stir JUST until moist.

spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray,
Bake at 450 for 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan immediately, place on wire rack.

This is supposed to be a thirty minute meal. It would be less if you use already cooked chicken. In that case, I would cook the bisquits first, and then cook the chicken.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013


It's Tuesday. I thought I would talk about comfort foods. Winter is upon us. they are calling for snow in the convergence zone!


1-1/2 pounds chicken breasts

2 cans cream soup

1cup sour cream

1-1/2 tsp onion, chopped

1 tsp minced garlic

2 cans chopped green chiles

1/2 cup vegetable oil

12 tortillas

2 cups grated cheese

Serves 6

preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 pan.
Cook the chicken and cut into bite sized pieces

In a large pot, mix together soup, sour cream, onion, garlic and chilis. Simmer 5 minutes.

In a skillet, heat oil. Soften tortillas on oil avout 2 minutes.

Top each tortilla with chicken, and 2 T of sauce. Roll up.

Arrange rolled tortillas in pan. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas.

Top with cheese and baked covered for 20 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.

From Comfort Foods Cookbook.

note. As is, this would be a time consuming and expensive recipe. The secret to low cost cooking, is to adjust accordingly. this recipe feeds six. I would 1/2 it and serve a salad along with it or some rice For four people.

You can use a can of green chill is or pickled peppers that have been rinsed.

The chicken is probably already cubed and in your freezer.

Chicken Breast was a dollar a pound at Albertsons last week. Tortillas I got for a buck.
Cream of mushroom soup is .75 often or you could make a white sauce and use pRt of the sour cream for the milk.

With some substitutions, this can become a low cost dish. Remember, if you replace an expensive ingredient, use something that takes the same space and substitute the same flavors.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Madness

And we start the madness all over again. I don't think that I have ever talked about leftovers. When I was in junior high home ec class, the teacher insisted we call them planned overs. LOL. Leftovers are an easy way to give the cook a night off or take advantage of cooking a larger batch of something and have the leftovers for lunch the next day. Last night we had roast chicken breast, mixed veggies, baked potatoes and fruit salad. Today I am making a chicken waldorf salad.

Taco meat can become nachos or a taco casserole or the meat in no brainer pasta. The recipe for no brainer pasta is on an earlier post-- a good cheaper, better, faster alternative to hamburger meal boxes-- more food, less money.

Pot roast can become pulled beef sandwiches.

Pasta sauce is 1.00 this week (ends tuesday) at Albertsons. Pasta was .93 at Safeways just 4 U. If You haven't signed up for it, it is well worth your while. Usually there is a electronic coupon for 3 dollars off 15 dollars off produce--that's twenty percent if you watch your totals.

If a large package is cheaper, take advantage if the cheaper price and freeze some of it, make a concentrated effort to use it up...blueberries can be in banana bread, waffles, pancakes, on top of cereal or use the "green" boxes so they last longer. organize your fridge so that things don't get shoved to the back and forgotten.

A good trick for this is the mid week inventory. Take a quick minute and make a mental note of what's in the fridge and what you can so with it. I usually do that when I am
Putting away the leftovers so that I can think about what to do with them while I am doing the mindless task of the dishes.

I am out of ideas and time...

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sweet Sunday

good Mornimg! While researching some non-related subject, I found a video on UTUBE.
it was for a speedy pie. you make a pie, use cooked filling, and "bake" it in the microwave until the crust is done, then bake it at 425 for 8-10 minutes until the pie is golden brown. I haven't tried it yet, Dont know if it is a real time saver or not. She used canned pie filling. Canned pie filling is usually a lot of juice and cornstarch, and a little real fruit!

Brownies are quick and easy. We usually don't frost them. When cooking for a group, chocolate decadence is Devine and it's easy--cooks itself in the crock pot. I found low carb ice cream on sale at Albertsons. You have to look through the flavors to find the ones that are lowest. What's in the product description isn't always a clue. low carb on the label is decieving. My mother used to say she wanted to EAT it, not just smell it! LOL

Yesterday, my husband brought me my grand baby. She had been shopping with her mother, and her mother was unpackimg her car. I asked her what she had on her face, what had her mother been feeding her. I swear she said" canny". now, she only BABBLES and doesn't know what candy is, but it was really funny at the time. she had been given a goldfish cracker.

Yesterday I made banana bread with blueberries. It is a bisquick recipe and has oatmeal in it. Bananas are cheapest at Costco and are pretty steady in price. I make banana bread when they stRt to have black spots. I hear that they are better for you then, something about reducing cancer risk. my family won't touch them then, so I make banana bread. It works and it is quick and easy! LOL

We don't always have desert. We always have fruit in the house.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Meals from the ads

We did a grocery shopping trip yesterday. I don't usually go to Albertsons because it is hard to get in and put of and they usually don't have enough good buys to warrant the trip.

In did go this week. The buys were better than usual and a lot more of them. Besides, I needed an embossing folder from Hobby Lobby. LOL

To recap the ads...

Apples were .88 a pound and if you bought the bag, there was a buck more off. They had a large variety of hunts pasta sauce and it was a buck. Pasta was .93 on justn4 u at Safeways. And, shrimp was 5 bucks.

On another note, I happened to open two cans of diced tomatoes to make vegetable soup.
One was hagan brand, one was hunts. Both were good. The Hagan brand had less chunks than the hunts one did. Hunts steam the peels,other companies use chemicals to peel their tomatoes.

Chicken was a dollar a pound for nw grown breasts.

I found tortillas for a buck and ice-cream for three dollars that had 17 grams of carbs.

Roast was cheaper than the good hamburger. We will grind our own.

On to the meal plans...

My formula is 2 beef, 2 chicken or pork, 2 vegetarian, and a fish.
I suspect that this will change when the drought prices truly kick in. We will have to adjust accordingly.

1) spaghetti with meatballs, green salad, French bread
2) tacos, refried beans, rice

3) Chicken Breast, baked potato, green beans, salad
4) pork chops, red cabbage, apple sauce

5) Breakfast for Dinner. Scrambled eggs, hash browns, oranges and grapes
6) Mac and cheese, broccoli

7) shrimp stir fry, rice

I would plan the shrimp and the tacos back to back so I made one rice cooker of rice.
Taco seasoning is on a previous post.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

The ads --just in time

The ads


Chili .99
Pasta .99


Oranges .53
Apples 1.00


Broccoli .99
Roma tomatoes . 99
Yoplait .50
Franz bread B1G1
Chuck roast B1G1. Net 3.50
Pork Loin Chops nets 2.49

Cukes . 69
Chicken 1.00


sirloin steak 2.99
Pork loin 1.79
Blueberries 4.99 for 2
Milk 2.59

5 dollar Friday
Boston cream cake
8 pounds oranges


Chicken breast or thighs .99
Bottom round 2.99
Broccoli . 88
Apples .88
Oranges 4/ 1.69
Bread 1.00
7 percent hamburger 3.99

Ice cream 3.00

Hunts pasta sauce 1.00

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No ads yet

Again, because of the holiday, we have no ads.

Safeways just for u , came in the e mail. They have a few things, but not as good of a buy as before. The three dollars off 15 dollars worth of veggies is still there.
It's not hard to amass fifteen dollars worth of fruit and veggies.
Five dollars off 20.00 of Ranchers reserve meat.

Last night we had sausage bean soup. I was watching the chew, and apparently, bacon is going to take a big leap next year. I suspect alL pork will and we will have to adjust. Kind a like a two percent payroll tax hike. The good news is they left the milk prices alone. LOL


2 cups flour
1 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening ( substitute )
1 cup sour cream
1egg yolk


3/4 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp EACH salt, oregano
2tsp water

Make dough

Combine fry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add wet ingredients. Form ball.
Cover and refridgerate two hours.

Filling :

Cook meat and onion and mushrooms until meat is no linger pink and veggies are tender.
Take offnheatnand add sour cream and spices.

On a board, roll dough until 1/8 inch thick. Cut with a three inch cutter. Placena rounded teaspoon on each round. Fold over and pinch edges with a fork. Prick turnovers.

Bake on greased baking sheet. Top turnovers with an egg wash. Bake 450 12-14 minutes.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Peanut butter and jelly beans

I decided I would start off the new year with nonsense....The nonsense of children not eating a variety of real food. There are a lot of kids that have a problem with eating real food. It makes budget cooking a challenge. It is also disconcerting to take a child out to someome else's house for dinner and have them fuss over their plate all through dinner.

My mother used to board children during the second world war. The children's mothers had husbands in the military overseas, and they were nurses at Harborview and stayed at the hospital. The doctor that cared for the children told my mother not to make a big deal of children being picky eaters. He said to put a balanced plate of food in front of the child, leave it there for twenty minutes and take it away. Dont give the child any snack foods and repeat the process at the next meal time. Kids will regulate their diet if left to do so without the benefit? Of garbage food.

On another note...

Inspiration for recipes can come from anywhere. There is a recipe on the fall candle that I got for my birthday! Keep your eyes open. When you don't like the sounds of an ingredient or ingredient is pricy, substitute.

Pasta Primavera

12 ounces rotini pasta, cooked and drained
1cup chopped and seeded tomato
2/3 cup chopped onion
10 ounces peas
1-1/2cups cheese cubes, assorted varieties
3 T Parmesan
1/2 cup Italian vinaigrette
Parsley, basil, salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately or at room temperature.
Store leftovers in fridge.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I have actually got the day off. Yesterday we took care of the grand baby and went down to Tulwilla to deliver cards for the troops.
I am going to make sausage and bean soup. Not exactly what some people make for good luck. But it sounds good to me and its easy and cheap.

The recipe is on an older post.

Creamy Carrot Soup (Taste of Home)

3/4 cup chopped onion
3T butter, divided

3 cups chopped carrots
3 cups chicken broth
2 T uncooked long grained rice

1/2 cup cream
1 to 2 T tomato paste
Salt and pepper

1) In a large saucepan, sauté onion in butter.
2) Add the carrots, broth, and rice. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
Or until the carrots and rice are tender. Cool slightly.
3) Process carrot mixture in blender in batches until smooth.
4) return to pan and add remaining ingredients. Stir. Heat until soup is warmed through.

Note. I would garnish with bacon and have toasted cheese sandwiches with it.
If I didn't have cream, I would use just a little less milk to maintain the consistency. A good vegetarian meal without the garnish. Sour cream? Croutons?
Grated carrots? Popcorn?

In remember in junior high home ec, putting popcorn on tomato soup.

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