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How to Stretch a Thin Grocery Budget with Recycled Stew

saving-pennies-on-groceriesFirstly I would like to send Greetings from Cardiff, South Wales to all my “Grow Your Own” brothers and sisters worldwide. I want to share an idea that my wife and I use in the kitchen. This idea is not new, and it is probably being used by thousands of you, but we have added a slight twist to it that we wanted to share with all of you.

My wife is severely disabled and with the recession we have been forced to cut back drastically on what we spend on groceries, as we are currently on a very tight budget. I grow as much of our food as I can, but we only have a small postage stamp garden, and now that’s been taken up with my 10 foot x 8 foot polytunnel. So this idea came to us as a way of making the pennies stretch even further. If you are struggling to make ends meet, try this out and see how much you can save.

We make loads of stews in large quantities during summer and winter, and there is always plenty left over for storing. There are two techniques we use to turn the leftover stews into new meals, so that we don’t grow tired of eating the same stew over and over.

Sometimes we blend the whole stew down to a liquid and have it as a thin soup with big chunks of home made bread. Occasionally we have to add extra stock to get the desired consistency. Other times, we take the stew and blend it down to a small chunk type soup, so that it is still chunky but not with too much liquid. We serve this chunky soup over a bed of rice. Believe me when I say that when you use either of these techniques, you can get a flavor that is altogether different from the original stew – here’s how:

For both methods, you can add extra vegetables from your garden at the cooking stage – this improves the nutrition and freshens up the flavor. But to change it around and keep things interesting for every meal, we add different spices each time. The spices we use depend on the meat that was in the original stew. For a nice beef or chicken stew, blend in a little cayenne and curry powder, and it becomes like a nice curry served over rice. Chicken stew becomes sweet and sour chicken, just by adding sweet and sour sauce at the time of blending. You can make “sweet and sour pork” this way as well. My personal favorite is to add a little extra minced meat to a blended stew, put it in a bowl and top it with creamy mashed potatoes and a little shredded cheese, and hey presto, you have a good old English shepherd’s pie. Very tasty, and very filling.

And of course, once you have eaten, any reasonable amount of the mixed stew can be frozen again. So it’s down to using your imagination and creating new masterpieces from basic stews. Even if you are on a very low income, you can still eat healthily and save money by growing your own vegetables, even in the tightest of spaces. With fresh vegetables and a good imagination, the possibilities are endless. The extra money you save on your grocery bill can help you keep ahead of the other bills that are always coming in.


Thanks to Steve the UK Prepper for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest. We have over $1,500 in prizes lined up for the current writing contest, with more to come. Here is a list of the current pot of prizes:

– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $380 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $279 value
– 1 year of free membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $240 value
– A copy of The Summer of Survival Complete Collection from Life Changes Be Ready, a $127 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $60 each
– The complete 2014 Grow Your Own Food Summit interview series, a $47 value
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $42 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $40 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $32 each

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