Saturday, January 28, 2012

Shopping For Food Frugally

I am shopping for potatoes today!

Frugal shopping takes planning, as I told in my previous post, Making A Plan For Frugal Shopping. Walking into my local grocery store, Mainesource in Binghamton, NY, with my well planned list should result in a good supply of food for my family. Now if you shop in the discount grocery stores, you will get bargains. Bargain food in those stores though, is usually not quality grade food. It is good and safe, but most times the meat is greasy and the produce has seen better days. Not so at Mainesource, which is where I do most of my shopping.

Plenty of choices for potatoes or onions here!

Upon entering the store, the first thing we encounter is the fresh produce. My plan included potatoes and onions, as we eat a lot of them and are always running out. Have you ever bought those five and ten pound bags of potatoes and get them home to find they are spongy, full of sprouted eyes and some are really dirty? Many times the other stores put them on sale to move them out of the store. At Mainesource, the potatoes are always fresh, clean and almost perfect.

Top quality food for restaurants is good for consumers too!

After paying more money for those small bags of potatoes, I was pleased to see the prices on these bags. We bought one 50 pound bag of potatoes for $13.49. Potatoes is a good food to serve your family as it helps you to fill up those with big appetites. There are so many ways to serve them and usually everyone likes them. I like to find recipes for old favorites and add some variety to our menu.

Good sized, fresh potatoes!

The next time you go to the store you make your big purchases for something else. After all, you shouldn't need more potatoes. If you find you do, because you used them all up, then you should buy two bags instead of one. By knowing your family's eating habits you will know whether they will go through something quickly. Sometimes it maybe that having something new in bulk makes them eat more of it. After a period that may wear off. Then they'll be saying they are tired of it, unless you fix it in different ways.

Home fries in the making!

I like serving potatoes for breakfast as home fries or hash browns with eggs and toast. Makes your family members starting the day out with a full stomach. There are many recipes for potatoes online, you can make so many dishes with them. Here is one from my friend, Paula, Fanned Potatoes. That is a recipe I will be making soon, as I know Paula is a fantastic cook! Here are some of my own:

   Steamed Potatoes

Wash clean a dozen well-grown new potatoes, steam
until a fork will pierce, dry in heat five minutes, then peel, and throw
into a skillet, with a heaping tablespoonful of butter, well-rolled in
flour, half a pint of rich milk, ten drops onion juice, salt and pepper
to taste, and a teaspoonful of chopped parsley. The sauce must be
bubbling when the potatoes are put in. Toss them in it for five minutes,
put in deep dish and pour the gravy over. Serve very hot.

Easy Shepherds Pie

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Cream of Mushroom Soup, or whatever you have
1 tbsp. ketchup
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
Mashed potatoes to cover the top.

Cook beef and onion in 10" skillet over medium-high heat until well browned, stirring to break up meat. Pour off fat. Stir soup, ketchup, black pepper and peas and carrots into skillet. Spoon beef mixture in 9" pie plate. Spoon potatoes over beef mixture. Bake at 400°F. for 15 min. or until potatoes are lightly browned.

Parmesan Corn Chowder

2 cups water
2 cups diced peeled potatoes
1 cup sliced or diced peeled carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk
1 can (14 3/4 oz.) cream style corn
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, combine the first five ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender (do not drain).

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth; gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir into the vegetable mixture. Add corn and Parmesan cheese. Cook 10 minutes longer or until heated through. Yield: 7 servings

Parmesan Potato Casserole

2 cups mashed potatoes
8 ounces cream cheese
2 eggs
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs; set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, combine mashed potatoes, cream cheese, eggs, onion, and flour. Beat with a mixer on low speed until blended. Beat at high speed until mixture is light and fluffy. Add salt and pepper. Pour potato mixture into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with bread crumb/Parmesan cheese mixture. Bake for 35 minutes

Potato Deutsch's

7 potatoes
6 slices dry bread
2 cups milk
2 eggs
salt and pepper

Grate potatoes, rinse in cold water, press dry. Soak 6 bread slices in milk, then beat in 2 eggs, salt and pepper, to taste.  Stir in the potatoes. Pour into a greased dish, top with sour cream, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


Potato pancakes are really tasty!

2 cups grated peeled raw potatoes, well drained (about 2 large)
1 beaten egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 - 4 Tbsp. flour (just enough to make a thick batter)

Drop by spoonfuls (spread with spoon to 3/8" thick) on a well greased griddle or heavy frying pan containing hot oil. Brown on each side. Drain on paper towels and newspaper before serving. Great with applesauce!

A pleasant buying experience at Mainesource!

I am trying to buy most of our food in bulk these days. The reason is that you get more food for less money. Once you get started doing this, you will really see the savings over time. You will be paying less money per pound. So for me it is worth the drive 32 miles away to buy the food. Buying not only potatoes, but other produce, meat, dairy products, canned goods, condiments and pasta this way, will really stretch that food budget in these tough times.

$13.49 for 50 lbs.

By the way, According to the FTC Blogging Disclosure, I have to let you know that Mainesource did contact me about writing a post about how to save money by shopping in bulk. That was after I had posted about their store in several past posts, since it is my regular store. In no way did they influence me on what I wrote!

If you already shop in bulk, put a comment in telling your tips for buying, storing and using your bulk food. I'd love to hear from you and may use it in a future post on this blog.

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

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