Saturday, March 6, 2010

Food Programs to Help the Budget

To make my dollar stretch a bit further, I found a couple of food programs in my area that can help. They are called SHARE Foods and Angel Food Ministries. I have mentioned them before, but it doesn't hurt to mention it again.

They benefit me because they are located closer than any grocery store saving me gas. Also the packages are usually a good deal. It might not work for everyone depending on location and costs of different regions. Also I do not do Angel Food Ministries every month as I skip the months where the majority of the food is either beef or prepared foods. I prefer to buy a side of beef from local farmers as it helps my community and tastes better. I also cook from scratch due to allergies in our household. It also has less sodium and tastes better according to my family.

Last Saturday, I picked up food units from both programs. I picked up two basic units from each program plus an additional fruit and vegetable unit and a seafood special from Angel Food. We have Restaurant Nights at home instead of taking 9 people out to eat. Also I can control the allergens better since we have a child that can't eat dairy, eggs or red dye. The Restaurant Night was Red Lobster this past week. $35 is whole lot cheaper than eating at the actual restaurant.
I get ahead of myself, though. I thought I would tell you what my haul got me and the meals I have or plan to make.

2 Ground Sausage, 1 lb rolls
2 Italian Meatballs, 1 lb pkg
2 Tilapia Fillets, 1 lb pkg
2 Popcorn Chicken, 1 lb pkg
4 Pork Roasts, 24 oz. pkg
2 Beef Steak, 4 ct pkg
2 Hamburger, 1 lb roll
2 Breaded Drumsticks, 1.5 lb pkg
2 Bnls/Sknls Chicken Breasts, 2 lb pkg
2 Lasanga, 2 lb. ready meal
4 Popcorn Shrimp, .5 lb pkg
1 Stuffed Crab, 8 ct pkg
1 Shrimp, raw & peel-on, 1 lb pkg
1 Crab Legs, 2.5 lb pkg

(1) Raisins, 6 pk
(2) Spaghetti, 1 lb pkg
(2) White Rice, 1 lb pkg
(1) Pinto Beans, 1 lb pkg
(2) Spaghetti Sauce, 25 oz can
(2) Milk, 32 oz shelf-stable box

2 Pineapple
4 Fuji Apples
12 Pink Lady Apples
2 lb Red Delicious Apples
1 lb Plums
9 Grapefruit
2 Pears
2 Tangerines
3 lb Oranges
2 Heads of Iceberg Lettuce
3 Heads of Cabbage
13 lb Red Potatoes (1 3-lb pkg, 2 5-lb pkg)
2 3-lb Russet Potatoes
4 bunches green onion
2 bunches Broccoli
2 6-oz pkg Radishes
2 1-lb Carrots
1 lb pkg Baby Carrots
2 lb yellow Onion

2 1-lb Lima Beans
2 1-lb Broccoli Cuts
2 1-lb Green Beans
2 1-lb Blueberries
2 Pumpkin Pies
2 dozen Eggs

I got all of that for $165. Yes, that is a lot. Let's put that into perspective though. There are nine people in my family. That food will feed us for over two weeks. My normal food budget is $150 a week. It sounds a lot better now.

What did I make with that food? Well, for starters, the kids eat the apples for snacks. I keep those on the counter with other fruit for that purpose. So most of the fruit goes toward snack and breakfasts. The baby carrots are used in lunches as are the raisins. Here is a list of the other meals that used my food program bounty:

Dishes Made
Sausage-Egg Rolls (sausage, eggs)
Honey-Pineapple Shrimp Kabobs (shrimp, pineapple)
Side Dish of Steamed Broccoli (raw broccoli)
Caesar Salad (eggs)
Pumpkin Pie (pumpkin pie)
Chocolate Chip Muffins (eggs)
Sausage Apple Skillet (cabbage, apples, yellow onion)
Spinach-Carrot Salad (carrots)
Shepherd's Pie (hamburger, carrots, green beans)
Tossed Salad (iceberg lettuce, carrots)
Crazy Stir-Fry over Noodles (cabbage, yellow onions, carrots)
Egg Drop Soup (green onion)
Restaurant Night: Red Lobster (popcorn shrimp, tilapia, stuffed crab, crab legs)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes (red potatoes)

I also used what I had in my pantry and freezer. I did go grocery shopping but it was items for snacks (baked pretzels, s'more fixings using chocolate syrup, nacho ingredients) and perishables like yogurt, cheese and milk. The shelf-stable milk is used for a back-up. I didn't use all I bought will move the planned items to next week.

Speaking of next week, stayed tuned for I use more of the food program foods!

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