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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A frugal meal. . . .

This month, I'm giving myself a total of $100 for grocery purchases; next month, I hope to decrease that to $85. With only $15 left in my grocery budget for the month of January, I've been casing my cupboards looking for items that can be combined into wonderful meals. Added bonus for meals that create leftovers that I can take to work and school.

Looking for inspiration, I delved into my trusty Tightwad Gazette
(written by the Queen of Frugal, Amy Dacyczyn), and found this gem:

Mix and Match Seafood Casserole (makes six servings)

4 to 5 ounces of pasta
1/2 cup dry white wine or milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 cup American cheese, shredded (I used cheddar)
1 can condensed cream of celery, shrimp, or mushroom soup
1/2 tsp dill
6 to 8 ounce can of seafood (tuna, salmon, crab, etc)
Topping (stir two tbsp melted butter into one cup of soft bread crumbs. Can also try one cup of crushed corn chips, chow mein noodles, or french-fried onions, or 1/2 cup sliced almonds).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the pasta, drain, and set it aside. Mix the white wine with the mayonnaise, add the cheese, soup, and dill. Gently combine the noodles and the seafood with the moist ingredients. Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish, cover and bake for 30 mins. Remove the cover, top with Topping, and bake for an additional five minutes. Serve hot.

Since I had all of these ingredients (although I used buttermilk in place of the milk), I decided to try it out. This ended up being a cheap, tasty meal. It was quite rich, but definitely a useful 'filler' when one doesn't want to go to the grocery store. Of course, the best thing was the two or three days of leftovers I had, meaning that I didn't have to purchase anything at work or before school.

In my opinion, this isn't the most healthy meal I could have made--however, I've been eating beans and rice, spaghetti, and stir fry regularly, so I think my body can stand some added cholesterol. Plus, this warm, rich dish is perfect on a cold January day.


RTC said...

This does sound like a keeper for those times when I'm "eating out of the cupboard".

marci357 said...


For those days when you are at the bottom of the cupboard and looking for inspiration, go to www.supercook.com and plug in the ingredients you do have. It will spit out a list of things you could make with them. I find it helpful, even when I am just looking for new inspiration for old favorites :)

DarcyLee said...

I love the Tightwad Gazette. Amy Dacyzyn is amazing, isn't she?

Finally Frugal said...

Ooh, ooh, I've been looking for a website that spits out recipes based on what's in my cupboards! Bookmarking www.supercook.com now. Thanks, Marci!

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