Food Talk And Fabulous Finds Recipes, Healthy Cooking, and General Food Topics

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Old 07-14-2009, 04:07 PM   #31  
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nelie -

You rock!

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Old 07-14-2009, 05:22 PM   #32  
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Near the rice yes but if you have a bulk section (Whole Foods for example), it'll be a lot cheaper than if it is packaged.
Cool, thanks for the info.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:42 PM   #33  
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I prefer the tofu that comes in waxed paper cartons (like milk comes in) to the kind that comes in plastic (which I think tastes like plastic).

Hubby hates firm tofu - it's the texture he says. Which I think is rather strange, considering he loves indian paneer which I think has a similar texture. He argues that it's because paneer is a "real" cheese made from milk.

He'll eat silken tofu in soups without complaint because he says it's almost indistinguishable from the egg in good egg drop soups.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:14 PM   #34  
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Oriental grocery stores are a great source for saving money, if you can shop carefully (as in american groceries, staples are cheap, and extras aren't).

I can buy a quart bottle of gourmet soy sauces for the price of a small bottle of kikoman's. $1.50 to $2.50 a bottle (almost always a quart, I've seen 2 liters of kikomans sell for under $4, but I prefer mushroom soy).

Fish sauce. I buy a thai fish sauce that's about $1.49 for a quart bottle. I use it in asian recipes, but also use it in place of worcestershire sauce.

Sweet chili sauce makes a great dipping sauce for chicken strips, and is pretty cheap also.

I buy only the cheapest condiments and then use them to make the more expensive ones ( for example fish sauce or worcestershire sauce mixed with ketchup and a drop or two of liquid smoke, makes a really good steak sauce. Mayonaise, chopped onion, and a little dill and/or sweet pickle chopped fine or a spoon relish to make tartar sauce. Ketchup, a dash of lemon juice (optional) and horsereadish, make cocktail sauce. Ketchup, diet coke and a dash of liquid smoke makes an awesome barbecue sauce.

Bean sprouts are super cheap in asian groceries. They sell for about the same as in chain grocery stores, but you get about four times as much.

If you're able to buy in bulk, you can get a very good price on rice, especially on the better varieties like jasmine, basmati, and the hybrid jasmati. Black rice (which is really a purple whole grain rice - all whole grain rices can be called brown rice so black rice is a brown rice, but is neither black nor brown, but purple - how's that for nutty).

Everone probably knows my favorite budget slashing technique is mixing dry tvp granules (textured vegetable protein, also sometimes called textured soy protein or soy crumbles, they need to be reconstituted with water) with ground meat. The tvp itself is only about 15 cents for the equivalent of 4 oz of ground beef. I buy it in bulk from whole food and health food stores usually for about $2.50 per lb (which is the equivalent of about 4 lbs of grond beef).

I put my recipe on my blog a while back, as I've often been asked for the recipe.

http://www.3fatchicks.com/diet-blogs/kaplods/

I keep experimenting with different combinations of ground meats and tvp. With sausage or chorizo I can add a lot more tvp - even when calculating in the fat from the sausage, I can bring the calorie/fat content down at least to about that of extra lean ground beef chicken or turkey.

The batch I currently have in the fridge was made with 1 lb of ground pork (.99 per lb), 1 lb of 80% lean beef (2.29 per lb on sale), and 1.5 lbs of tvp. In addition to my standard seasonings, I added dried shiitake mushrooms (I put a handful in the food processor to break them into small bits).

After freezing it so it freezes crumbly, I use it in any recipe that would call for browned ground beef.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:34 PM   #35  
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I forgot to mention TVP but I use that less than I use tofu

One other thing I forgot to mention is soy milk but only because I just found an awesome brand at my asian market. It has 2 ingredients, soy beans and water. It is also 99 cents/carton.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:35 PM   #36  
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I absolutely AM going to try that TVP stuff.

I have to 2nd how much I love Asian groceries for fish and produce. Another HUGE bargain are the garlic pods (peeled and ready to use) and the fresh herbs. My asian market charges $1.49 for a huge pile of garlic--probably a pound. Fresh herbs (mint, oregano, basil, etc.) is just .69 and is probably five times the quantity you would get at an American market. Any day of the week I can find fresh fish of some sort under $2 a pound--with or without the heads. I have them take the head but have been told by many friends they are great for flavor.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:38 PM   #37  
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Thighsbegone - I made a cranberry/quinoa stuffing for Thanksgiving. It was really good. One of my favorite things to do these days is mix quinoa/amaranth and eat. Amaranth is kind of like cream of wheat in texture but mixing it with quinoa gives a nice texture and makes a good breakfast.
The stuffing sounds fantastic!

I haven't heard of amaranth. Is it in the bulk bins? Sounds yum.

Julie, we eat your "cocktail" almost every morning for breakfast. YUMMY!
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:58 PM   #38  
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Yup, amaranth should be in the bulk bins.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:05 PM   #39  
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A lot of these have been mentioned but my favorite money savers are:

TVP (it's SO much cheaper than ground meat, even if I can't find it in bulk and have to buy a package of it)

Dried beans (cooked ahead in the crock pot and frozen)

Chicken leg quarters

Grains - brown rice, quinoa, bulgar wheat, barley for soups

Anything that's marked down because it's about to expire! In the case of meat, I can always freeze it if I don't want to use it right away.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:22 AM   #40  
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I would suggest, your first go with tofu, to freeze it, then thaw it and press all of the water out of it that you can. DH has always had an issue with the texture of tofu, but cooking it that way he loves it. Gradually I've been using it different ways, and he's eaten it just fine. It just took getting it to have a meatier texture at first for him to get over his fear.

This thread makes me want to move! I live in a small town, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are an hour away (I make the trip every 2 weeks or so), and I've yet to find a really good asian market. The one I go to is great for shelf items, but the produce is seriously lacking.

Something we eat a decent amount of that I don't think I've seen listed is lentils. They're ~$1/lb and that's a LOT of lentils!
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:33 AM   #41  
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Thanks for the tofu tip .

My boyfriend says there's no Asian market around here . This place sucks , lol
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:13 PM   #42  
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This thread is bump-worthy to me so come on people and let's add to this list
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Old 08-22-2009, 11:38 PM   #43  
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Hmmm, I'm not sure that I'm adding anything new, just adding my agreement with some of the previous posts.
I tried both tofu and quinoa for the first time about a month ago and am pleased with both of them. I really like the quinoa, I add it to sandwich wraps and soup and sometimes just have it by itself, I like the taste and texture. I get it at the bulk bin at Whole Foods, I forget the price right now, like 2.99 a pound or so, but that goes a long way. I also started buying tofu, the extra firm, I use it to stretch my soups and pasta, I brown it up quite a bit in the pan first, it's pretty tasty with some garlic and some sort of marinade.
When it comes to produce which can be pretty expensive I always think that bananas are the moneymaker.
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Old 08-23-2009, 05:14 PM   #44  
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Quinoa in my area goes for about $4 a pound, even in bulk, so it's not something I use regularly. I love barley, though, and I have a great recipe for a wild mushroom barley risotto that is a great vegetarian entree.

Quote:
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Anything that's marked down because it's about to expire! In the case of meat, I can always freeze it if I don't want to use it right away.
Glad to see I'm not the only one who does this! A gallon of milk marked down - $1.40. A dozen eggs - $.57 A pound of gizzards and hearts - $.63

Nice and cheap.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:39 AM   #45  
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Bulk grains
Fruit
Soup cups at Safeway (their Lucerne Brand 4 for $5- ok a little ver $1 but SO worth it) in Black Bean and Potato Leek...1-3gms of fat, high protein and low carb/high fiber. These were discovered by a co-worker that has vowed to eat healthy w/ me. *He was a Taco Bell/Carl's Jr. guy but stopped since we sit across from each other- He has actually lost 7lbs w/o trying! lol




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