Inexpensive healthy recipes are a must-have if you want to save money while pursuing joyful homesteading, especially if you are trying to get out of debt so you can get that acre of land or save money while investing in your health.
One of the biggest benefits of homesteading is not doing what everyone
else is doing, meaning not spending a lot of money on unhealthy fast
food or highly processed meals you buy from the grocery store. Not only
do you save money, but you also improve your health by staying away
from harmful chemicals and preservatives, using inexpensive healthy
recipes like the ones I have listed below.
But for many people, the challenge is where to begin, especially if you work full time.
It's so exhausting by the end of the day, you're
naturally tempted to stop by a fast food place on the way home or pop
that TV dinner in the microwave.
I'll be the first to admit that after a long day, the last thing I want
to do is to cook a complicated meal; or even worse, to stare at the
contents in my freezer, trying to figure out what I'm going to cook for
dinner that night.
This is where a little planning and preparation come in. The secret is to set aside a few hours on the weekend, such as a Saturday morning or afternoon, and cook a little extra to last you for the week.
There are thrifty souls out there who advocate once-a-month cooking; I'm not one of them. That's simply too much cooking in one day or two. You're talking about cooking for one to two full days, and if you work full-time, it's too tempting to put that cooking off.
But once-a-week cooking only involves a few hours of work and is doable, as long as the recipes are:
With that in mind, I have come up with some inexpensive healthy recipes that are easy on your wallet, taste great with enough leftovers to be used in lunches the next day, assuming you and your kids have access to a microwave.
My kids' school has a microwave, so I will take a kid-sized portion, wrap it in wax paper and place it in a container with removable compartments.
(You can see what I'm talking about with the picture on the right, and you can find them here).
In the other two compartments I usually put fruit and graham crackers.
A lunch container with compartments, like this one, allow you to microwave part of your meal and keep the rest cool.
The manufacturers promise the containers won't stain even if you microwave food, but I don't trust them, especially with a meal that has tomatoes.
The wax paper keeps the food from staining the compartment.
The following two recipes are from my upcoming book, Joyful Homesteading's Inexpensive Healthy Recipes, which will be available for purchase in early 2017.
This is easy to make, a favorite with my kids and very satisfying. This recipe fills a 9 x 13 baking dishes and makes 12 servings at a total cost (in 2016) of $11.50 or about 95 cents per serving.
This casserole freezes nicely. Wrap a portion in wax paper and then in foil; it will stay good in the freezer for up to six months. Then to reheat, remove the foil and heat it in the wax paper, poking a few holes in the paper to allow for ventilation.
You will need to parboil the potatoes in advance. If you parboil them the day before and then refrigerator them overnight, they will be much easier to grate.
Scrub the potatoes in water and then place them in a large dutch oven, covering them with water. Bring to a boil and then remove the dutch oven from the heat. Put a lid on the pot and allow the potatoes to sit in the hot water for ten minutes. Drain and allow the potatoes to cool.
Chop the onions. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil and cook the onions until they are soft. Add the sausage and cook until the sausage is well cooked and there is no longer any pink. Remove from the heat.
Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with a cooking oil, such as coconut oil or lard. Add half of the grated potatoes to the dish. Then layer on half the sausage and cover with half the cheese. Repeat the layers ending with the second layer of cheese.
In a small bowl stir together the eggs and the whipping cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the hash brown casserole. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
This recipe costs about $17 dollars for 12 servings or $2 per serving at 2016 prices. Don't knock it until you've tried it; zucchini in spaghetti sauce is very, very good and a great way to get your vitamins in.
Grease a 13-9 baking dish. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring it to a boil. Break the spaghetti in half and add it to the boiling water, cooking it per instructions on the package. Drain the spaghetti and stir in the eggs and the Parmesan cheese. Pour the noodle/cheese mixture into the dish.
In a large saucepan, saute the onion in coconut oil or other oil. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring for several minutes until the zucchini is tender. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil and salt to taste, stirring to mix well. Pour the zucchini mixture over the cooked spaghetti and top with the grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
By the way, yes, I do realize that microwaving the leftovers from these inexpensive healthy recipes isn't going to be as healthy as cooking it on a stove, but it beats fast food health-wise and economically any day. You have to weigh the pros and cons and decide what's best for you. In any case with these recipes you will avoid the chemicals and preservative, allowing you to lose weight and save money. Enjoy!