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Budget Recipes from our Readers

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In our Budget Recipe Challenge, we got some excellent recipes and money-saving tips from a seasoned group of food bloggers.  After going through our comments in The Whole Deal™, it's clear that we've got some creative customers who've come up with their own frugal gourmet creations from the items on our shelves!  From simple, hearty, weeknight friendly recipes to making your own prepackaged foods - there are a ton of ways to save time and money, while still feeding you and your family nutritious and tasty food.We thought we'd share some of our favorites with you this week...From Katrea:


I shop at Whole Foods about once a month to stock my pantry and to get in season fruits and veggies.This year I have found that there are many great soups that can be made from simple fruits and veggies. One can make a few family meals worth of soup and store it in the freezer for later use. Soup makes a great meal in itself and a great side item to perfect a meal.Please see this great recipe for Butternut Squash and Apple Soup!:2 tablespoons unsalted butter2 tablespoons olive oil1cups chopped yellow onions1 tablespoons ginger (optional)2 large butternut squash1 1/2 pounds sweet apples, such as McIntosh (4 apples)2 teaspoons kosher salt1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper2 cups chicken broth/stock (about 1 can)2 cups apple cider or juice2-4 tbs.turbinado sugarWarm the butter, olive oil, onions, and curry powder in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.Peel the squash, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into chunks. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut into chunks.Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apples are very soft. Process the soup through a food mill fitted with a large blade, or puree it coarsely in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.Pour the soup back into the pot. Add the apple cider or juice and enough water to make the soup the consistency you like; it should be slightly sweet and quite thick. Check the salt and pepper and serve hot.

From Elaine:


Frugal Recipe:Shredded Saucy Chicken & Vegggie Healthy Burrito Filling(This recipe makes quite a bit & you will have left overs. )4 Bonless Skinless Chicken Breasts, shred them using two forks1 can black Beans rinsed & drained1 can kidney beans rinsed and drained2 green peppers diced2 red peppers diced2 yellow or white onions diced4-6 celery stalks diced (I use 6)4-6 carrots peeled & diced (I use 6)1/2 bag frozen corn1 cup uncooked brown rice2 1/2 cups chicken stock3 cans diced tomatotes1 package of taco seasoning (your choice)Fresh Cilantro to your taste.In a large frying pan, or stock pot, Saute’ onion, celery, carrots red & green pepper in olive oil, for 2 minutes, add diced tomatoes,chicken stock, brown rice, taco seasoning, & chickn broth, stir this mixture well. Bring to a boil & then lower heat & simmer 45 minutes, add shredded chicken kidney beans, black beans & frozen corn, cook until chickn is heated. Add fresh cilantro just before serving.When I make this, I usually get 4 - 2 quart containers of this as left overs. I put the left overs in the 2 quart size food saver bags (I make them), so this will lay flat in the freezer and not take up so much space.This is a hearty but frugal burrito/taco/quesadilla/enchalada filling, since it makes so much.

From Carolyn:


Save money and eat healthier by making your own instant oatmeal packets, hot chocolate powder etc using ingredients from the bulk food department (keeping the salt and sugar content down). My favorite instant oatmeal is apple and cinnamon. I make up a bag of mix at the beginning of the week, then just add water each morning.For two for a week.7 cups small flake oatmeal1 cup powdered oats (grind in food processor)1/2 tsp salt1 cup diced dried apple1/2 cup brown sugar2 tsp cinnamon1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmegscoop 1/2 c of mix into a bowl cover with boiling water. Let sit 5-10 minutes. Enjoy. (for creamier oatmeal, add 1/2 cup dried milk powder to mix)

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