Low-Cost Cooking

It is good to have recipes that you can make for very little money or with things you already have in your pantry. 

Rice & Beans

When you use dried beans and brown rice you can feed your whole family a healthy meal with lots of fiber. And it costs the same as one kid’s meal at a fast food restaurant. 

How to Cook Dried Beans

Before you cook dried beans, sort them and look for pebbles or broken pieces. Rinse the beans in a strainer before cooking, and soak them at least 4 hours or overnight. If you are in a hurry, do a quick soak or use canned beans.

Did You Know?

One cup of dried beans makes about 3 cups cooked beans.

 

Long Soak

Step 1: Cover the beans with 2 inches of cold water.
Step 2: Add 2 tablespoons of salt.
Step 3: Let the beans soak for 4-12 hours.
Step 4: Drain and rinse the beans before using.

Quick Soak

Step 1: Put the beans in a large pot. 
Step 2: Add 6 to 8 cups of hot water.
Step 3: Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.
Step 4: Remove from heat and cover. Let stand for 1 hour.
Step 5: Drain the beans and rinse with fresh water. The beans are then ready to be cooked.

Once your beans are soaked, put them in a pot. Cover with 2 inches of fresh water and put on low heat. Don’t let them boil—this can make the beans split or get mushy. Cook 1-3 hours or until beans are soft. Be creative—add onion, spices, veggies, and meat to make a delicious meal. Serve with rice. 

Did You Know?

Canned beans cost more than dried beans, and they can be high in sodium (salt). To lower the salt in canned beans, rinse them with water.

 

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Buying a whole chicken is one of the most affordable ways to feed your family. And cooking it is easy!

Raw Chicken Safety

Always make sure you follow safe steps when handling raw chicken.

  • Do not allow raw chicken or its juices to touch other foods, especially fruits and vegetables. 
  • Do not rinse raw chicken. Splashing water can cause cross-contamination.
  • Have one cutting board for just raw chicken. Plastic ones are easy to clean.
  • Before and after you handle raw chicken, use hot, soapy water for 20 seconds to wash: 
    • Hands
    • Cutting boards
    • Knives, scissors, and any other tools
    • The sink and counter

How to Cook a Chicken

Make sure your chicken is not frozen inside. Check that there are not any giblets (in a little bag) inside the bird. 

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Step 2: Pat the chicken dry. 
Step 3: Rub the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. 
Step 4: Put the chicken breast-side up in a roasting pan or cookie sheet. 
Step 5: If you want, you can put seasonings inside the chicken. Try herbs, onion, apple, or lemon.
Step 6: Roast the chicken for 50 minutes. Take it out of the oven and baste it with the juice from the pan.
Step 7: Keep roasting 10 minutes longer or until the juices run clear.
Step 8: Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before you carve it.

Source: NYTimes

Don’t overpay for chicken pieces!

You can cut up a whole chicken yourself. Check out this step-by-step guide with pictures.

 

Mom Tip

“When I started my family, I had not been the best eater. I did not know how to make a whole chicken, in the oven or cut up. But I read an article about it, and now I help my friends.” –Elizabeth

 

Veggies Cost Less Than Meat

Meals do not always have to have meat to be yummy. When vegetables are in season, they taste better and cost less. Here are some tips for getting the most out of the vegetables you buy.

  • Roast veggies for great flavor. Roasting brings out the sweetness in carrots, onions, and red peppers. Roasted broccoli has a nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch. If you think you don’t like vegetables, try roasting them. You might be surprised. Try this recipe for roasted cauliflower.
  • Store fruits and vegetables separately. Storing them together will cause them to go bad sooner.
  • Buy locally grown vegetables when you can. Local produce lasts longer because it is sold right after it was picked.
  • Buy only the fresh vegetables you will eat in a week. 
  • Wash fresh vegetables before cooking.
  • Some vegetables are better frozen. Peas are great to keep in the freezer. Fresh peas take time and energy to shell. Frozen peas are already shelled and they thaw quickly. Add frozen peas to macaroni and cheese for a quick, easy nutrition boost.  

Mom Tip

“I save by buying some things in bags, like potatoes, apples, and onions. Things we use a lot.” –Jillann

 

Storing Veggies and More

Check out this helpful guide for storing vegetables and other kinds of food.

 

Make-Ahead Dinners for Busy Nights

One of the best ways to save money is to plan ahead. Think about your family’s schedule. If you have a busy night coming up, make a meal ahead of time that can be pulled out when you need it. Your family can eat a healthy meal at home instead of fast food on the go. That saves you time and money, and it keeps your family healthy.

Mom Tip

“If we have fruit that’s getting old, I cut it up and put it in the freezer. Then we use it in smoothies.” –Maggie