My Frugal Life: Cooking For One

I am a 63 year old female, and I eat on an $80.00 a month food allowance. I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, so I have to watch what I eat. I have found cooking for one is very hard and to avoid any waste, I purchased containers from the dollar store. When I make a casserole, pot of stew, beans, soup or anything that I have leftovers from, I make meal sized portions from the leftovers and freeze them. When I don't feel well or just don't want to cook that day I use them as you would a frozen TV dinner.

I also use a lot of the vegetables I have leftover to make the soups with. Just freeze the portions you have leftover until you have enough, take it all and make a wonderful pot of soup with it.

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I also freeze spaghetti sauce, and when I get the urge for that italian taste, I use it with either vermicelli, or macaroni, and make a casserole topped with cheese and have an entirely new tasting meal.

By freezing leftover corn bread, packaged bread, rolls or biscuits, I can make my own croutons, bread crumbs, corn bread stuffing, and puddings from the biscuits and bread. You can freeze all breads and use them as needed in place of many products you would have bought at a much higher price at the store, and they are both fresher and taste better.

I hope this will help someone who lives as I do, alone and on a very small food allowance. I have many more ways to save money on your food bill and ways to use almost all the food you have leftover. If you would like more ideas, please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to share them with you.

By Mary from Spiro, OK

Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml

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April 20, 20060 found this helpful

Congratulations! Although I do not live alone, I am on a special allergy avoidance diet, which means I usually prepare separate meals for me and my husband. So your hints are just right for "my meals". Thanks.

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April 20, 20060 found this helpful

Would you be willing to share some of your recipes with us? I'm wondering how you buy and serve meat. Thanks,

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April 20, 20060 found this helpful

My Mom passed away last year, and my Dad has to cook for himself. He needs some one skillet recipes. As easy as possible. I have run out of ideas for him.

Thank you,

Lorraine

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April 20, 20060 found this helpful

What a WONDERFUL post to share. I too live alone and if I didn't know better I would think that all your helpful hints had been written by me.

:-) As I do much the same thing. I try to live on $100 a mo. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Depends on what sale I am able to take advantage. Thanks for sharing.

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April 20, 20060 found this helpful

Do you have any recipe ideas for left over pot roast?

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April 21, 20060 found this helpful

We too collect all leftover vegetables, beans and meat (like swiss steak or roast) and place in a large plastic contaier in the freezer. Whenthe bowl is full we make vegetabel soup. It is a GREAT way to eliinate the waste of a leftover tablespoon of corn or any leftover not worthy of an entire serving. You can also save the water you boil potatoes in as this enriches the stock. It is Yummy and my kids love it!

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April 21, 20060 found this helpful

Hi Mary, My brother-in-law and his family live in Spiro! What a treat to get your posting.

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April 22, 20060 found this helpful

Yes, I would like more ideas from you. How do we contact you?

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March 19, 20100 found this helpful

Hi Mary. My husband is a long haul trucker and is gone 3-4 (or sometimes longer) weeks at a time, so I had to learn to cook for one too. I agree it's hard! I learned to cook for just myself, but the first time I got sick and didn't feel like cooking so had to resort to simple sandwiches, I knew I had to do something.

That's when I started doing like you say, and cooking for more than one, and freezing the leftovers in individual size containers. I too, freeze everything. I also started making my own TV dinners. My favorite is sliced meatloaf with a couple of sides. Doing like you do and putting them in individual containers makes it so much easier, cheaper, and less waste.

Also, every mid-fall I begin making soups for the winter. I make big batches in the crock pot and freeze it all in individual containers. I make the soups pretty basic. Just meat and veggies along with of course the spices. This way when I go to eat it, I can add potatoes, pasta, rice, or whatever to make it different every time.

I also make huge batches of chili at the same time to last me through the winter.

By doing all this tho, when my husband does come home I am able to give him a good home cooked meal without having to spend all day cooking it! This leaves me all that extra time to spend with him, which is very precious indeed when he's only home a couple of days a month.

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March 20, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks for the post. I'm widowed & share my household with indoor cats & a dog. Cooking for myself, even though it helps feed them too, seems too much of a burden too often. So any suggestions would be vastly appreciated.

Just a note. How large of a freezer do you all have? Mine's fairly small, so I can't store lots of extras.

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June 4, 20110 found this helpful

After living "the good life" on the Pacific Ocean beach for 13 years, I discovered that we Americans do not need 90% of our "stuff". I sold everything, felt free for the first time in 70 years. Now, at 80, I live on $600 per month in downtown Paradise, in a 350 sq ft penthouse, beautifully decorated over looking the Rockie Mountains. All furnishings were thrift shop purchases. No vehicle, I walk everywhere, am a size 4 petite and in great health, look to be in my 60's, so "they" say! I spend my "extra" money on money market savings and fine dining life is good.

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June 5, 20110 found this helpful

Hi Mary,

I love the ideas you shared with us. How may you be contacted for more of your great ideas?

Thanks, Elvie

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February 21, 20120 found this helpful

Very wonderful post! I love to make soups too!

Blessings, Robyn

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February 21, 20120 found this helpful

Mary, please post again with more tips! Your public is clamoring! More tips! More tips! I will renew my efforts in the leftovers and soups department. First, I have to get some freezer bags because they take up less room in the freezer than containers. Also must remember to label things that go into the freezer.

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February 22, 20120 found this helpful

Great ideas, give us more. I have a foodsaver and it is great.

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