Thursday, May 27, 2010

Feeding Guests When You're Out of Money

Picture courtesy skenmy

There was so much month at the end of the money this month. Goodness! Several hundred dollars of mainly medical bills vacuumed up our funds until my husband's next payday (Friday--praise the Lord!). This major budget setback meant I absolutely could not go to the grocery store for "just a few things" (although I did pick up two gallons of milk, a bag of sugar, and some lettuce and spinach last week).

Concerning food, boy was I ever thankful for my shopping habits of buying extra when pantry staples hit rock-bottom prices. I knew my family would have plenty of food to eat, as long as I diligently and creatively cooked from scratch. What I didn't know was that we would have two extra adult mouths to feed every day, for every meal (another story for another time). This required even greater creativity, and even more cooking from scratch. If you don't have the money, you've gotta make the time.

When a pantry is properly stocked, a woman can cook up plenty even when the grocery money is gone. I remember a Little House episode where the Ingalls were out of just about everything, but that didn't stop Ma from feeding her family three square meals a day. One just has to become a bit more resourceful.

So what have we been eating?

Breakfasts consisted of:
  • pancakes, sausage patties
  • oatmeal
  • waffles, sausage links
  • blueberry muffins
  • homemade granola
  • french toast
  • homemade wheat toast
  • scrambled eggs, toast, canned mandarin oranges
  • To stretch our milk, I mixed up some dried milk and added that to the gallon. I also added a can of evaporated milk and one can of water to equal whole milk. Not sure that I would want to drink a cup of it now, but it is fine for making and using in soups.
  • Tuna noodle casserole, salad, watermelon
  • Macaroni and cheese, mixed vegetables
  • Leftovers
  • Chicken tortellini soup, bread
  • Baked potato bar (with cheese, frozen veggies, bacon), salad
  • Sloppy Joes
  • (more that I can't remember right now!)
  • Turkey (bought after Thanksgiving), potatoes, carrots
  • Turkey noodle soup, bread
  • Chicken enchiladas, homemade salsa, chips and salad (my mother-in-law bought the salsa ingredients and salad when she was visiting)
  • Roast, potatoes, carrots
  • Beef stew from leftover roast
  • Beef Tips in gravy with noodles
  • Spaghetti, salad, homemade french bread
  • Parmesan pork chops, baked potatoes, green beans
  • Homemade pizza
  • Apple crisp
  • Texas sheet cake
  • Peanut butter Rice Krispies
  • No Bake cookies
  • Granola
  • fruit (fresh when we still had apples and bananas, dried and canned when we ran out of fresh)
  • Graham crackers--plain or with peanut butter
  • muffins
  • bread and butter/peanut butter
There's so many other ideas, too. As long as you have flour, some sugar/honey, a little milk and some eggs, you can make so many breakfasts and snacks: coffee cakes, muffins, pancakes, crepes, waffles, biscuits, tortillas, and more.

Potatoes were recently on sale for .98-cents for a 10 pound bag. You can do so much with potatoes: mashed; potato pancakes/patties; make your own hashbrowns; bake them; use them in casseroles, egg dishes (see my recipe for Tortilla Espanola), or soup, and on and on.

I love to buy oats in bulk, and I am feeling blessed that I stocked up. I've made not only oatmeal, but also granola, no bake cookies, and an apple crisp. You could make a meatloaf if you had a little ground beef.

At the last case lot sale, I purchased flour, evaporated milk, mandarin oranges, and some vegetables. These, too, were wise investments. I am grateful I have them on hand to get us by when we don't have money on hand!

Through a little ingenuity and, admittedly, a fair share of time in the kitchen, it is indeed possible to feed guests well even when the money's tight. Practicing hospitality is always in style no matter what is going on in the economy.  These are good habits to learn and live by!

linked to Frugal Friday and Menu Plan Monday


  1. After a year of not shopping, we were able to have 45 adults over for dessert during a progressive dinner. I served three desserts and a fruit juice punch that made with items I had canned.

    It's nice that you know that you have a payday coming up. For those of us who don't know when the next time we'll have a payday will be, it's still possible to have people over.

    Your meals sound a lot like ours!

  2. I came here from Life As Mom... enjoyed your post! :)

    Off-topic, but I was wondering if you have read the 52 Weekly Moments e-book that's advertised on your left side bar, and if so, how highly do you recommend it? :)

  3. What a great post! You are so right, when you don't have the money, you have to spend the time. Glad there is an end in sight for you.

  4. Great post! I try to make sure we are somewhat stocked, although I'm in need to go to store again. I need to do more of your thinking instead of running to the store to get things to impress guests.

    Have a great weekend!

  5. Inspiring to me! Even if you just want to challenge yourself to use up what you have and save $$ and stay out of stores. Staci from

  6. Awesome post! I guess it's time for me to stop using "no money" as an excuse for not inviting people over. :D

  7. Encouraging post! This happened in our household a few weeks ago, and I had $10 of grocery budget to get us through to the next pay check. It was definitely an adventure: I learned just how much I can do with freezer and pantry items, and making a lot from scratch. It's good to see sometimes just how much we can do in a pinch. The Lord is good!