We don't usually eat convenience foods in our home for dinner. The occasional chicken nuggets and tater tots, hamburger helper, or frozen lasagne is about it. Those are often for busy nights when I'm working late, have a moms' devotional, or am not feeling well.
I think all of you would agree that it's not the healthiest, and it certainly isn't the most frugal of food choices. That has all changed lately. I am now 32 weeks along. My multiples book recommends that women quit working at 28 weeks. Many women I know that are carrying twins are already on bedrest. Me, I still get up and fix Dana and I breakfast, pack lunches, get the kids dressed, take Kaia to school, drop Mo off at Grammy and Papa's and then go to work. So when I get home in the evening, dinner has to be prepared and eaten quickly so that I can lay down and get off my swollen legs, cankles and feet.
It's been hard to find convenience foods that still fit into our budget. I've decided that the extra dollar or two spent on a dinner is worth it to keep Brendon and Bryce in longer and out of NICU, and therefore have allowed myself to spend a little more than I normally would on our dinners. I have been surprised to find that not all convenience foods are overpriced.
Flav-R-Pac makes a stroganoff frozen meal that only requires the addition of ground beef and water. It was $2.69 for the bag. The bag contained approximately 3/4 of a pound of their mixed veggies (the fancy kind with water chestnuts and french cut green beans), approximately 2 cups of egg noodles, and a packet of frozen sauce. For once a meal actually called for 1/2 pound of ground beef, rather than a full pound. I never add a full pound of beef to anything, but I never follow directions either. The meal was quick to prepare, tasted great, and made plenty of servings. The 4 of us ate, and had a small amount leftover for my lunch the next day.
I wanted to figure out if this was a good deal or not. The frozen mixed veggies in this mix go on sale for $1.25 a 1 pound bag. I can buy a bag of egg noodles for $1 if I find them on sale. I have no idea what was in the sauce mix, but to make this homemade, it would likely cost me about $2 for the ingredients in the bag (depending on the sauce mix). So I think the $2.69 price tag was well worth the 20 minutes I didn't spend in meal preparation.
Photo from Farmhouse.com
I also found a hamburger helper style boxed dinner last night at Albertson's that was excellent. It's made by Farmhouse and it was a salisbury dinner. It was mini-lasagne noodles and a sauce packet. I paid $1.19. The only additions were hamburger (I added about half a pound) and water. I also chose to add the last of the frozen peas in the freezer (about 1/4 cup). It made plenty of servings, and tasted good. The noodles and sauce made from scratch would probably only cost 40-50 cents, but once again, the extra 69 cents or so was worth it.
Tonight it's pork ribs that I bought for 50% off, and they've been in the slow cooker all day. I just need to microwave the broccoli, and top it with cheese and we have a meal. Good thing too, as my cankles are looking forward to the rest.