In the winter one of the things I do to try to stretch our budget is to make hearty stews and soups. It doesn't cost much to make a crockpot full of beef, chicken, or veggie stew or soup. It is filling, even by itself, but I also like to make a batch or homemade biscuits or some cornbread. Makes a great meal and cheap!
Editor's Note: Find some soup recipes here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/Recipes/Soups_reccat.html
One great way to make inexpensive stews is to get different curry pastes. A container of paste usually contains onions and various spices, depending on the cuisine. You can also get lemongrass paste. The pastes cost $0.50-2.00 at Asian food stores, some are hot and others are very mild. Use 1 tsp - 1 tbsp depending on your tastes into any vegetable or meat stew. Serve with rice, bread, crackers or some kind of starch to take the heat out if you are using a spicy paste and your guests are sensitive. One container of paste lasts me six months or longer, and is all you need to change the flavorings of the same old beef/chicken/vegetable stew or soup. It has the spices already and is less expensive than making a curry or lemongrass dish with bulk spices and onions.
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