Invariably there will be weeks you come up short. You overspent, money's gone, you miscalculated, i.e. you are living on a prayer and down to your last dollar, dime, nickel, penny. If you have stocked your pantry, shelves, and freezer with some key items for times like these, you can still have a great meal.
Many of these items come with coupons or go on sale. Even if you don't plan on using them that week, pick up one or two extras for the "lean weeks".
I would suggest stocking your pantry shelves with high-yield, nutritious dried goods with long shelf-lives:
--green beans, corn
--tuna in water
--tomatoes, crushed, whole, diced
--a few slices of bacon
--single serving meats
Keep in your fridge "longer-lasting" items as much as possible:
And sometimes, no matter what you do, you may have to borrow. During such times (hopefully, far and few between), making simple, high volume, protein-packed recipes like soup and stews can be a life- and money-saver. Additionally, they fit in one pot and require little skill to keep you well-fed.
I will be featuring a monthly series "A Dollar In My Wallet" to highlight such recipes when roadblocks come your way. Simple preparation may make such moments less painful!
(Adapted from my own recipe and Martha Stewart's Fresh Food Fast cookbook)
Simple Lentil Soup
Dutch Oven or 5-quart Saucepan with lid
3 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (replace with 2 Tbls olive oil if vegetarian)
1 large onion, chopped
3 medicum carrots, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbls tomato paste
1 (28oz) can San Marzano tomatoes, diced or crushed with juices
3 1/2 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
1/2 tsp thyme
1 Tbls lemon juice or red wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1. Wash your hands.
2. Prep all of your ingredients, i.e. carrots, onion, garlic.
7. Add lentils, thyme, broth and water.
10. Get your bowl ready and top off with grated parmesan and parsley.