Kitchen Notes: On “Repurposing” meals

candles with s&p grindersPM

So, it’s really funny how things work out. I have been thinking about trying to get this concept worked into one of my menu/kitchen posts for a few weeks, but hadn’t quite figured out how.

Then I read Emily’s post today on repurposing and I think now, I have a bandwagon I can jump on :). And I definitely think she’s right, “repurposed” sounds better than “leftovers”. Especially considering that I don’t actually like leftovers…. We should definitely make it a *thing*.

But anyway, moving on. In my last issue of Southern Living, I happened  upon a recipe in their “Meals under $10” section. I liked it well enough, but I got to thinking {imagine all this happening in my brain in the space of 15-20 seconds}…

Ok, this meal supposedly cost’s $10 (for 4 people), that’s not bad… So if I spend $10 on every dinner of the week that’s $70 (ummm….), well not that that’s terrible, but what about breakfast? Or lunch stuff?… and what if I want to make something a little more elaborate (and by elaborate I mean, buy a roast… ) for Sunday dinner? And, as much as I’d rather not buy them, what about snacks? or coffee?

For a good portion of our married life, we’ve had a pretty tight food budget (think in the ballpark of $300/mo.) So, when I see things like $70/week (on dinners only), that just doesn’t really work.

I tend to do more thinking along the lines of this:

1. Make pot of black beans, serve with rice. = one meal for five people

Black Bean Recipe
1 lb bag of black beans quick soaked in the AM (or overnight if you’re organized)
Add 2 Tbsp of butter (or bacon grease), small tomato, diced, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 c. recaito (if I don’t have that I’ll put some fresh cilantro in, but if I don’t have that I’ll use the dried stuff, it’s not near as good but it works)
Simmer 3 hours (or until beans are tender)
Note: DO NOT LET THE WATER TOTALLY EVAPORATE (or you will end up with scorched beans and pan… just ask me how I know that…)

2. Make lunch of rice and beans for the kids the next day = one meal for three people.
3. Make chili a few days later, use remainder of black beans = one meal for five people.
4. Take leftover chili put on top of tortilla chips, cover with cheese, call it Nachos = one more meal for five people.

Which works out to roughly $10-$12 for three dinners for five people, plus at least one lunch.

I usually do this rotation about once every two weeks.

Food that can be bought and used for more than one meal is a huge bonus. Then if I decided to change things up in the menu I have ingredients I can work with, instead of meal-specific ingredients.

What are some of your “repurposed” meals?

Linking with Try a New Recipe Tuesday 

4 thoughts on “Kitchen Notes: On “Repurposing” meals

  1. Check out Most make-sense, I can do this, food advice. Easy recipes for RF (repurposed food). Enchiladas and tacos can be made from so many things… Heck, we have been known to throw leftover black beans into some sautéed onion/squash, heat up some tortillas, put sour cream and grated cheese, and diced tomatoes son the table… And call it fajitas. Ha

  2. When our kids were growing up, it was rice and beans everyday for the main meal (except Sunday), not so much for economy, though that was important, but because of availability. There was no way to feed us all, with two weeks between shopping trips, and only an 8 cu. ft. refrigerator (yes, 8 ft., not 18 ft.) unless I used dried beans, rice, etc.. Cabbage would keep relatively fresh out on the back porch, so we had cabbage salad every day. Meal planning was quite easy. I expect your mom has told you all about it.

    I cooked the beans in a pressure cooker after a pressure soak (bring the pot up to pressure, turn it off and wait a couple of hours before actually cooking it). I put onions in it, but not tomatoes. I used grease, but not butter or bacon grease. It was the local vegetable shortening. Salt, of course. For some reason, they called beans cooked without salt or grease, etc., frijoles parados. I guess that would translate as stand-up or stand-alone beans. Only for sick people!

    Love, Grandma

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