Stretching your dollar ... Creative Cooking

Monday, February 27, 2012 AnnMarie Brown 12 Comments

We have done the grocery shopping, it is now time to cook the meals. There are many ways to do this but I prefer to cook and freeze meals so that during the week when things are really busy we have the meals waiting to come out of the freezer and no need to go pick up fast food instead.

photo via Piyachok Thawornmat /
Let's go over what counts as a Serving?

Breads, Cereals, Rice and Pastas
The amount you eat may be more than 1 serving. A dinner portion of pasta would count as 2 or 3 servings.
½ cup of cooked pasta or rice
½ cup of cooked cereal
1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal

Milk, Yogurt and Cheese
1 cup of milk or yogurt
1 ½ ounces of cheese

½ cup of chopped raw or cooked vegetables
1 cup of raw, leafy vegetables

1 piece of fruit or melon wedge
¾ cup of juice
½ cup of canned fruit
¼ cup of dried fruit

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs and Nuts
2 ½ to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish
1 egg or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or 1/3 cup of nuts count as 1 ounce of meat

If you are thinking of doing freezer cooking my best advice would be to start out small. Instead of doing a whole months worth of freezer meals try doing just a week. I also start with our tried and true recipes that my family loves and I know they freeze well. It is the perfect way to ease into  freezer cooking. Below I will post links to some of my favourite freezer cooking websites to help get started.

Photo via piyato /
Here are some other ideas on how to save on cooking:
  • eat a meatless meal once a week (or more)
  • never eat out
  • eat from our stocked pantry
  • eat leftovers
  • get creative with your leftovers (make up new recipes)
  • scrap out the last little bit from the jars or cans
  • cook from scratch
  • bring your lunch from home
  • grow your own produce
  • eat less (most people are eating more than the proper serving size.. see above)
  • I can not stress a meal plan enough.. ALWAYS have one!
  • base most of your meals on rice and beans (helps eat less meat)
  • don't drink pop/soda, drink water instead!!!
  • make your own applesauce and pudding cups for lunches
  • make your own baby food
  • always take your own snacks and drink with you when heading into the car then you are not tempted to stop for fast food saving dollars!
  • cook with a crockpot to avoid using the oven and heating up the house (also uses less hydro)
Freezer meal websites:
Once a Month Mom
30 Day Gourment
Everything Mom
Bulk and Freezer Cooking

I plan on posting my freezer cooking next week after I do it later in the week. The links will be updated then. 

You can find the rest of this series here:

Week One - Stretching your dollar ... not your budget
Week Two - Setting your food budget


  1. I've started making larger meals so when I go back to work we have a bit of a stock pile in the freezer. So far meatballs for 3 meals, 'almost lasgana' for 3 meals, and enough taco meat for 5 meals. That's pretty much just in one week. Yesterday evening I thought I really would like french tonight it's meatless and the kids will also love it.

  2. @VMS and ScrapbookingOasis

    I know it is great.. wish others realized how much it makes life run easier with just some time.

  3. Fab post,we really should plan ahead better...

  4. Fantastic tips. I really need to work on serving sizes, and getting creative with the leftovers.

  5. I absolutely love cooking aand baking and I always have. Since all of my children have grown up and left the nest though it almost doesn't seem woth my while unless they come home for holidays then watch out. (Debbie C)

  6. It does take planning doesn't it! Some people think it can't be done... eatting healthy on a budget... but effort needs to be put into it and is so worth it! Great tips...thankyou. I think it's a skill needing taught to those who never had it roll modeled to them for sure.

  7. These are really great tips! Money is a bit tight right now and this is very helpful. Thank you!

  8. I love doing freezer cooking - good way to buy bigger packages of vegetables etc and use them all up before they go bad. And it is so nice having meals in the freezer that you can pull out. (Judy Cowan)

  9. I use leftovers from our supper for my boys lunchtime at school or supper the next day.We never eat out or buy any sweets,I bake too which is much cheaper than buying any goods.
    Lynn M

  10. Everything we eat bakery-style is homemade. I buy flour at Costco and that makes a huge difference.

  11. These are some really great suggestions. I never thought of making my own pudding cups!