Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Ambitious Housewife

Any time I get ambitious enough to cook up a batch of anything it's wise to take a photo! But I seem finally to be pulling out of the energy hole moving put me into, and either I'm possessed by my younger self or it's a swan song, because I spent two or three hours cooking today.

There are many days when I don't feel much like cooking, so having something in the freezer is a real bonus. Plus Tony's favorite snacks are baked beans (cold from the can - shudder) and creamed corn (cold from the can - gag) . And while there's no accounting for taste I sometimes worry about the amount of Bisphenol A he could be ingesting from all those can linings.

So, since baked beans are the world's easiest food to make, I decided to replace his canned beans with home-cooked ones. And, as we shopped yesterday I found several bargains, which combined with food from my pantry, inspired me and turned me into the cooking queen today.

When you compare home-cooked with buying prepared food you really save money, which is something lots of people are thinking about right now. I made 24 - 1/2 cup servings of pasta sauce, 12 - 1 cup servings of chili, and six servings of those baked beans Tony loves so much.

Aside from knowing that what he's eating doesn't have gluten in it, I have a bunch of meals in the freezer available for those nights when I am not feeling up to cooking. And I saved a bundle! Compare the costs of what I cooked with the costs of the same items bought.

A can of generic baked beans at WalMart = 87 cents for 400 grams = .00217 cents a gram. Home cooked baked beans = .00128 cents a gram. The entire batch cost $2.00 to make, and I got 1560 grams of cooked beans, or six one serving containers. Taste? Tony pronounced them better.

Chili? Our "emergency" meal is a can of Stagg's chili and crackers. I buy the chili at WalMart (cheapest place for them) at a cost of $2.67 a can (.006675 per gram). This is for 400 grams of chili, or a 200 gram serving for each of us. I made 12 - 250 g (1 cup) servings for $9.73 or .00325 a gram. Lots better chili too!

Then there was the pasta sauce. You can't buy pasta sauce like mine in the store, but I made 24- 125 g (1/2 cup) servings, for $7.67 or .002556 a gram.

In each case I saved approximately half and ended up with a far tastier and healthier product, made with no added fat, a generous number of vegetables and no preservatives or chemical additives.

Recipes? Tomorrow

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