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Stretch Your Budget

How can you sretch your Weeknight Budget? It's easy with this simple idea that lets you do more for less.

Wed, 6 Oct 2010|

- Better Homes and Gardens is pleased to partner with General Mills to bring you the weeknight budget series. Everybody wants to serve their families delicious, nutritious dinners. But can you do it on a budget? You bet---- with some timely tips from Better Homes and Gardens. Let's face it. If it doesn't include meat, a lot of people don't think it's a meal. But meat can be a budget buster, so let's make a meal that doesn't focus on meat---- stir-frying. First thing, always have your ingredients prepped and ready to go. You don't wanna be chopping stuff while you're trying to cook. It helps to chop things the same size as well, so that when you're cooking, they cook evenly. If you don't have time to chop the fresh vegetables, just grab a bag of frozen vegetables and look for the brands that are flash frozen because they hold in more of the vitamins and minerals, and let those thaw before you use them. Here's where you save the money on stir-frying. You don't need to use a lot of meat. A little goes a long way especially if you slice it thinly. So, for example, if you're normally gonna serve a whole porkchop per person, in a stir-fry, you can get away with just a half of the porkchop or less per person and it won't feel like your skimping on the meat. You've got so many great vegetables in there. Everything is ready to go, so let's stir fry. You could use a wok like I am here or you could just use a very large skillet, and you wanna heat it up and get it good and hot so the meat gets nice and brown. You wanna add a little oil and heat it for a couple of seconds here. So, the first thing you wanna add is the meat. You wanna stir fry it around so it cooks evenly, and after it's browned up and cooked through, you wanna transfer it to this plate so that it doesn't get too chewy. Next, add your vegetables, and you wanna make sure you add your denser vegetables first because they're gonna take longer to cook. And then, near the end, you wanna add in your vegetables that cook very quickly. You could use a bottled stir-fried sauce. I'm just gonna make a quick one here---- just a little orange marmalade, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, cornstarch. Stir it together, and you could add some grated ginger in here if you wanted to or some minced garlic and then you just wanna finish up your stir fry here and then push the vegetables to the side, and you wanna add the sauce in the center here. Let it come to a boil. It's gonna thicken up a bit here. You wanna add your meat and the juices. Stir it until it's heated through and you're ready to go. Serve this up over some rice and no one will know you stretched your budget.