Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Frugal Meals For A Tiny Budget

In response to the FAQ: What can I make that is healthy and filling for $20/ week?

The following answer is based on a willingness to cook, and but uses only basic cooking skills and utensils usually found in a kitchen.

1. turkey sandwiches
2. turkey stew
3. turkey pies
4. turkey soup
5. basic turkey burgers
6. french onion soup
7. sliced fresh veggies
8. fresh bread

Shopping List:
*prices are based on standard prices in Southern Ontario, the weight ranges reflects the standard amounts that sell for those prices

1 small turkey ($6-7)
2.5 kg all purpose flour ($2.50)
1 bag 2.5-5 lb carrots ($2)
1 head of celery ($1)
1 bag of onions 5-10lb ($2)
cheese ($3)
yeast (from bulk foods store) ($2.5)

Pantry ingredients:
spices (parsley, thyme, basil, bay leaf salt, pepper)
condiments (mustard/mayonnaise/etc)
sugar/honey/corn syrup/maple syrup (to make bread)

Use a sharp knife to remove 1 or both of the chicken thighs (set aside for later in the week)

Poach the turkey (using a big pot or slow cooker)
    1. Rinse the turkey, remove any organ meats (discard or use as preferred) but save the neck. 
    2. Place the turkey into the pot (with the neck), 
    3. Chop into quarters and add 1 carrot, 1 medium-large onion, 2 celery stalks. 
    4. Add about 1 tsp each of parsley, basil, thyme, pepper, and 1-2 bay leaves. 
    5. Cold tap water to just cover the turkey
    6. Place a lid on the pot and set to high for 3-4 hours or until done if using a slow cooker, or bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer for the stove top. Cook until the breast registers 180F or the meat is cooked and juices run clear.
Remove turkey meat and separate broth
    1. Remove the turkey to a large plate or baking tray to cool slightly
    2. Strain broth through a sieve and discard veggies
    3. Place broth in fridge to cool
    4. Using forks an a sharp knife, remove all the meat from the turkey bones and shred/tear into small pieces.
    5. Reserve bones for stock
Turkey stock
    1. Place bones, chopped veggies as before, and spices as before into a large pot/slow cooker.
    2. Cover with cold water
    3. Set to High for 6-8 hours (slow cooker) or gently bring to a simmer without boiling on the stove for 4-6 hours.
    4. Strain stock and discard bones and veggies
Bake bread (any recipe should work, or try this one)
    1. 2 1/4 tsp yeast, 1 cup warm water(slightly warm but not hot to the touch), 2 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 3-3 1/4 cups all purpose flour.
      1. mix yeast, water and sugar in a large bowl and let stand until the yeast begins to make a foam/bubbles
      2. add salt and 2 cups of flour, mix into a paste
      3. add 1/4 cup of flour at a time kneading until a smooth elastic dough forms (about 5-10 min)
      4. lightly oil the dough and place it into the bowl to rise in a warm place for 30-45 min (try placing the bowl in a microwave oven with a glass of hot tap water).
      5. Once risen, gently squish dough down and form into a loaf shape. 
      6. Place in a bread pan and allow to rise until doubled (about 30-45 min).
      7. Bake at 350F for 30 min or until bread makes a hollow sound when you knock on the bottom of the loaf.
Sandwiches with shredded turkey and bread

Creamed turkey and veggies stew with the left over turkey (reserve some meat for soup)
    1. chop 1 carrot, 2 celery stalks, 1-2 onions finely and fry until soft in a large pot with spices
    2. add 4 tbsp oil/butter/margarine and 1/2 cup flour and stir into a paste. Cook for 1 min.
    3. remove from heat and add 3 1/2 cup broth slowly while whisking to keep the sauce smooth.
    4. return to the heat and cook, stirring constantly until it thickens.
    5. stir in chicken and adjust seasoning to taste
Turkey Pies
    1. Make a pie crust.(I like to use personal sized pie tins)
    2. Fill with leftover stew, and top with more pie crust
    3. Bake at 350F for 30min or until crust is golden and flaky
    4. Freeze extra pies uncooked and bake from frozen for 60min
Turkey Soup
    1. Bring a pot of stock/broth to the boil (make sure to reserve 4 cups for french onion soup).
    2. Add chopped veggies (same as above) and spices (same as above)
    3. Once veggies are crisp tender stir in reserved shredded chicken and adjust seasonings.
Basic Turkey Burgers
    1. Break a slice of leftover bread into crumbs
    2. Use the previous bread recipe, but shape into burger buns and bake at 400F for 15 min
    3. Remove meat from the uncooked turkey thighs and chop roughly
    4. Pulse in a food processor until coarsely chopped, but not pasty
    5. Add thyme, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, a squirt of mustard and the bread crumbs and mix (if you have an egg add it, but it isn't necessary)
    6. Form into patties and grill/broil
    7. Top burgers as desired
French onion soup
    1. Fry 5 medium thinly sliced onions in 4 tbsp of oil/butter with a pinch of thyme
    2. Once the onions begin to brown, turn down heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 40 minutes until the onions are a deep brown (stir occassionally)
    3. Add 3 1/2 -4 cups stock/broth and bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 20min
    4. Add 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper to taste
    5. Serve with stale bread sprinkled with cheese (broil briefly to melt cheese)

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