Eggs can help you do a lot for a little
The Frugal Kitchen: Eggs
The Frugal Egg
Chickens in Your Backyard
Grade B Savings on Eggs
I think that many of you moms out there have the same goals that I do when feeding my family. I do my best to cook from scratch, to provide well-balanced meals and snacks and to do so on a budget, always looking for new recipes, tricks and tips to save in this area (one of the few areas I feel like I can control!). One of the ways I'm trying to accomplish these goals is by really thinking about nutritional items that are inexpensive and diverse in the kitchen. This post I'll talk about my favorite: Eggs!
Eggs are a great protein source and in that regard they are very cheap compared to other options. Having an egg as the main breakfast ingredient is a great way to start your day and will help you to stay full longer (as will any protein item versus carbs). Eggs are inexpensive and can be stored in the fridge for several weeks, eliminating the need to "re-stock" all the time. Store-bought eggs usually have a "sell by" or "use by" date stamped on the carton. Most agree that eggs, as long as kept refrigerated, can be used well after that date (the standard is 4-5 weeks after the julian/packaged date). Fresh eggs (meaning from a chicken in your yard) will last much longer than store-bought. For information on how to tell if an egg is good or "bad," check out the post here at one of my favorite blogs.
The use of eggs in the kitchen is almost endless! Not only is it usually an important ingredient in recipes, but as the "main dish," it makes a very frugal meal! For breakfast, you can do plain old fried eggs but you can also do things like scrambled eggs or omelets that will allow you to experiment. This experimentation not only helps you to jazz the "dish" up a bit, but it also provides an opportunity to add veggies both for nutritional reasons and also as a way to use up any small portion of leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Also, one of my favorite frugal and quick dinners is "breakfast." I'll make eggs, toast, and either bacon or breakfast sausage for dinner and it's always a hit. Eggs can be used in sides such as "deviled eggs" or as the main ingredient in an "egg salad" mixture for sandwiches. Boiled eggs with a little salt and pepper make for a great snack on the go.
A great way to beef up your emergency food supply is to invest in some powdered egg. This can be substituted for fresh eggs just as you would use powdered milk instead of fresh. Not only would it be essential in an emergency situation (short term or long), but also I like the idea of having them on hand to avoid having to run to the store just for replenishing my egg stock (which would potentially mean other random purchases). I got my whole egg powder 10-pound can at BePrepared.com. It may not be as cheap as fresh eggs, but it's a very handy item to have around the house and definitely a wise food storage investment. For more information about conversion, uses, etc., visit Everyday Food Storage's page.
Fresh eggs also are a great incentive to look into venturing into small livestock. Chickens are a great place to start if you don't have much experience with "farm animals." They take up little space and can be fed cheaply with the help of free range (i.e. they eat stuff they find around the yard and do a great job of balancing their own diet). And the best part is that, if you choose the right laying breed and depending on the weather conditions in your area, you can have fresh eggs year around with only a couple of hens! Raising your own chickens, for eggs, meat or both, is a great way to become more self-sufficient. Check out BackYardChickens.com for some great information on how to get started with chickens.
Ok, I'll be honest here. I'm sure that this post hasn't provided any information that most of you don't already know, but my point isn't so much to bring you an "expert" post on this subject. Instead, I want to make you stop and remember that providing healthy options in your kitchen doesn't always have to be expensive or time consuming. There are "ingredients" that we can keep in our kitchen and focus on when cooking that will allow us to save money but still provide a well-balanced daily menu for our family. So, take up the challenge. Try searching in your cookbooks, finding recipes online and/or experimenting with eggs a little more. Your pocket book will thank you!
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- For more on the nutritional value of eggs and a quick and easy quiche recipe, please click here.
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