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Bargain Foods…that are good for you too

With food prices set to go up this year…I think I saw some evidence of this at the grocery store the other day, it’s time to start thinking about foods that give you the biggest bang for your buck. Here are some of my favorites-

Canned Salmon

When fresh salmon goes on sale I buy it in bulk and freeze it, when it’s back to normal prices I opt for the canned variety. Pink salmon is a bargain, even red salmon isn’t that expensive. In the summer I use it on salads, in sandwiches, pair it with sliced cucumbers and it’s one of the best combinations. I sometimes use it with pasta. A favorite of mine is the salmon burger. My old recipe used mashed potato, then I switched to breadcrumbs but now I have yet a new one.(serves 4)

 This one was created just the other week when I discovered I had no breadrumbs and didn’t have time to head to the store. I’d stockpiled some boxes of crackers  (Townhouse Flipsides) during the holidays while they were on sale. I used about 15-20 of them. I crushed them in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. And then added them to the drained salmon, and a beaten egg. You mix it together and form into four patties. Heat some oil and cook them on either side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. I served mine in a bun with oven fries. I think just the burger and a side salad with be good too.

This is a three ingredient recipe that is so simple to make and the best thing is the crackers have so much flavor you don’t need seasoning or salt and pepper.

Lentils, Beans etc.

I bought all these goodies while they were on sale for just 99 cents a bag. I do buy canned beans but you can save even more money using dried ones. You can make bean and veggie burgers, lentil soups and stews, green pea soup etc. Best thing is most of these recipes can be made in a slow cooker. I’ll be featuring recipes using all these items in future articles on the site.

Eggs

I know eggs took a bad rap because of their high fat and cholesterol content but even nutritionists now say eaten in moderation, they’re okay. I stock up on them each time I visit the store. They’re great for egg and cheese burritos, frittatas, your own homemade egg muffins for breakfast, quiches, and omelets. Keeping a some hard boiled eggs on hand also make great snacks too.

Fruits and Vegetables

Don’t know whether you heard but Walmart is lowering the prices on fruits and vegetables to help shoppers save money on good for you foods.http://finance.yahoo.com/news/WalMart-Takes-a-Healthy-nytimes-2153254849.html?x=0&.v=1

 Produce has gotten more expensive recently but I think it’s still a good buy because it full of fiber so it fills you up and if you use more veggies than say meat or chicken in a dish the recipe goes further. Eat in season and it’s a great way to save even more money. For example, this week my local supermarket had a sale on citrus fruits so I bought oranges and have been using them as snacks and dessert.

Oatmeal

I know some people turn their nose up at it but it’s a good for you food at rock bottom prices. I’m working on a great oven baked oatmeal recipe that once perfected I’ll be sharing it with you. No more cooking oatmeal every day and this one is packed full of flavor with oranges and sweetened cranberries.

Another way you can use oatmeal is in things like meatloaves to make it go further.

Tofu

Okay, for those thinking about running away from the computer right now. I say give this a chance. I think I’ve mentioned I now freeze and then defrost tofu before I use it and sometimes marinade it all day for maximum flavor and chewiness that closely resembles meat. Here’s how I use it for making a shepherd’s pie-

I 10 ounce package tofu

I jar Heinz mushroom gravy

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1onion, peeled and chopped

Mashed potatoes for topping,

optional- smoked paparika and parmesan cheese

Freeze the tofu for a few days and then defrost it. Drain the tofu and squeeze out all the water, crumble into pieces that resemble ground beef.

Place it in a glass dish and add some oil, soy sauce, pepper, Worchestershire sauce and chopped garlic. Let this sit for at least six hours. Then heat a skillet, add some oil and saute the tofu until it’s crisp and brown. Add the onions and carrots and cook until almost tender. Add the mushroom gravy and stir everything together.

Transfer into a baking dish and top with mashed potatoes. I like to sprinkle them with smoked paprika and cheese.

Place in the oven for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees or until the top is lightly browned and the tofu mixture is bubbling. I usually serve this with peas or green beans.

Serves 6

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