Thursday, September 8, 2011

Str-e-t-c-h-ing the Budget

Lately, many of us (actually, millions of us in the USA) who are underemployed or unemployed, are having to stretch our budgets.  Money is in short supply and expenses are at the same level that they were when we were employed.  In our experience, budgets now only cover housing (if we haven't already lost our homes), food, utilities and maybe a car payment (so we can get to interviews and also answer in the affirmative on an application that we DO have transportation!).  Other debt payments are waiting to be resumed when jobs are obtained.  Anyway, stretching our budget is the norm.  We don't eat out anymore.  We don't drive far, since gasoline is expensive. We get help from a food bank and our family. And we stretch our food budget.  We have reverted to cheaper casserole recipes rather than a more expensive roast.  I'm not complaining (just saying it how it is) and believe this is just a phase--how long we don't know--and know many of us will find work eventually.  I am grateful--and I'm sure others are too-- for the many resources available to us.

Anyway, I just want to share this "stretching" recipe.  Instead of having a single small steak for each person, and supplying several side dishes, like potatoes, salad, veggie and bread, you can make a one pot meal that is good for you and use the summer veggies in the refrig that you have on hand. 

1 small top round steak (enough for Two servings)
2-3 teaspoons fajita seasoning
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
various vegetables of your choice i.e. onions, carrots, broccoli, radishes, cabbage, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers

Cut steak in thin 2-3 inch long slices.  Brown meat in  a fry pan with the oil or butter until no pink remains in the meat.  Add fajita seasoning and the water.  Simmer till most of the liquid is gone.  Add vegetables that have been cut julienne style and cook/steam and stir until vegetables are tender crisp.

Serve as a stand alone stir fry dish or serve with rice, if desired.   Enjoy! 

Any budget stretching tips to share?


Della said...

Whether on a budget or not, I love my old southern stick to your ribs food. Chicken and Dumplings, Beans with Ham hocks, Dirty Rice, Biscuits and Gravy, etc... you know, all the delicious and fattening foods we try to avoid...but they are like pure heaven to the taste buds.

Lostlemonade said...

Much like your stretcher - I make "Mommy's Ramen Noodle Surprise". Use a pack of ramen's per family member (20 cents per pack), add leftover veggies and meats from the week, 1 seasoning packet per 2 packages. Add soy sauce (from leftover chinese takeout splurge)and voila - meal in minutes! Add veggies to spaghetti also makes a great stretcher.

Pretty Pretty Swicy said...

Umm, that looks and sounds yummy!

Our mother called it American Chop Suey:

Elbow maccaroni (cooked per package directions), browned turkey/beef/chicken (your choice) with onion cooked w/the meat, and tomato sauce. Mix all of the above together.

We also ate chipped beef over bread, leftover baked bean sandwiches w/mayo, and mixed dry milk into the regular milk to stretch it.

storybeader said...

we sound in the same situation, with only one salary for a two-person household. Luckily, when things need repairing, DH is there, and very handy. We entertain ourselves around the house and not movies, dinners, sports games, etc.