Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Money! Making it S-t-r-e-t-c-h

With gas prices soaring, and the
ripple down effect of that into
everything else, I am tightening
spending here at Hospitality Lane.

Remember...technically we are not in a
recession. I still get frustrated when
I hear commentators in the media talk
about this recession. They don't know
what they are talking about. But, we are
in a very slow and very hard economic place
right now. If we allow it, it is possible
it could lead to a recession.

As I have stated before, one of the biggest holes
in our budget is eating out. We simply love to
do it. There are so many good restaurants here in
Lancaster County. This is an area that we must
change in the months and year to come as this
money will then be available to pay for the
increasing gas prices.

With this goal in mind, I am in the process
of recreating many of our favorite Restaurant
dishes. Not that it is the healthiest, but the
children love fried chicken tenders. I can buy
a huge bag of these for $7.99 at a local Amish
Grocery. The family gave me a Fry Daddy for Mother's
Day. These and fries come in at just a fraction of the
cost of taking all of us out which usually runs about
$45. for the five of us each time.

Other favorites are:

Steak Salad - It is so easy to grill a small piece of
steak and slice it for the top of a luscious salad.
Just a fraction of the cost.

Grilled Chicken Salad - Again the grill is a great tool.

Taco Salad - I love my chili and use it on top of Doritos
and lots of fresh veggies with sour cream and grated cheese.

Chicken Parmesan - The ingredients for this are not that
expensive in comparison to the charge at restaurant prices.
Some pasta, the same chicken tenders as mentioned before, sauce
and cheese. Yum!

Pork Tenderloin- This was our dinner last evening with seasoned red
potatoes, succotash, watermelon and salad.
Very good and very satisfying.

Then, of course, grilling burgers is great this time of the year. We
often order burgers when we go to Friendly's. Ours can be a more reasonable
size and we can pile them high with vegetables.

Other than the time it takes the results are at least as good, usually
better than eating out. I am really going to attempt to cut our food
budget in half and enjoy the process. There is NOTHING that gets me
going more than a challenge. Bring it on!

The other part of this challenge is the presentation.
I am using my favorite square plates which serve two
purposes...they are smaller, so look full with less food on them
and I enjoy eating from them. It's the little things that make
me happy!

Of course, I'll be changing the presentation to go with the
food being served but the point is I am paying attention to the
details and making it attractive and fun. Moms have been doing
this for years...I am the prodigal returning home to my roots.
Back from the restaurant....lol.

What are you doing to respond to rising gas prices?
What restaurant items would you recreate?


Anonymous said...

You still need to buy Turkey Hill Ice Cream!! It's the best!!

We are down to once a week dining out. Although last night was an exception as we went for a friends birthday!

I don't drive to much so that isn't a problem. The HS is a mile away.

We do a lot of grilling and fruit.

Alicia said...

For my hubby and I we really try to walk if we can. A lot of things are really close to us so walking definitely saves gas money. We also try not to eat out too often. On average I make three/four meals a week and we do leftovers or eat with family and friends. I also am trying to make more basic meals instead of making it fancy. Its really hard to cook for just two!!! I am with you on eating in more often, that is definitely an area that takes the money!!!

Mrs. Rabe said...

We have had to cut back on eating out as well!

I like to grill chicken, have salad and cantelope and Voila! A delicious meal! We also do burgers, and now that we have a side of beef in the freezer, we have some steak to enjoy as well!

The best Turkey Hill ice cream is "Rocky Road"!!!!

Terri and Bob said...

We love eating out too. However, we only eat out at places we can't replicate at home.

We are cutting back on our use of electricity and buying expensive food. I am watching the grocery ads carefully and taking full advantage of the sales.

lady jane said...

We grill about 10 pounds of chicken breasts at a time, then put 2 per freezer bag and freeze them. Sliced very thin at a slant, they go a long way to feeding 4 people quite nicely. We try and make salad or other vegie the big part of the meal, with meat as a side dish along with a starch item. We use leftover steak and hamburger much in the same way.

We went out quite a bit on our vacation - I'm thankful to use my stove again!

Oh! Utah has a Cracker Barrel! So we ate dinner there since we were passing through. YUM!