Couponing for the Rest of Us

Labor Day Stockpiling & Recipe Ideas

 

grilling

Image courtesy of Brian Chu

Labor Day sales can leave you with a stockpile of rather random items – mostly condiments – so we thought we’d share some recipe ideas for those items!  One of our favorite reader/contributors “Deal Detective Kim” wrote this Labor Day Recipe post for us a couple years back, and I thought it was time to get it out and dust it off!  Kim always has good ideas of how to shop and cook frugally :)

Well, Labor Day is almost here, and you all know what that means at the grocery store — cookout stuff is on special!!  And the only thing the Deal Detective loves more than a good sale is some good barbecue, so I’m happy….

There is such a thing as strategic stockpiling.  Cookout fixings (condiments like mayo, ketchup, bbq sauce, etc..) go on sale in a big way pretty much 3 very predictable times each year:
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  • Memorial Day
  • 4th of July
  • Labor Day
(In fact, check out the FREE Heinz Ketchup deal you can pick up this week!)
Here are some great ways to use up some of your stockpile once you’ve built it up.  (Besides the obvious hamburgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches…)

First, I want to suggest one of my all-time favorite dips.  Half of America makes this dip, but the first time I ever had it, my co-worker made it for an employee potluck.  I’ll be honest, I used to be a lot pickier eater until I stepped out of my comfort zone a couple of times and really liked what I had.  If I had known, way back then, that what was in that dish was artichokes, I wouldn’t have touched it!
Now it’s a go-to wintertime appetizer, and one of my favorites.  What’s great is, you can keep these items in your pantry and you always have something quick and easy on hand.  If you have picky eaters, call it “Hot Cheese Dip”–they’ll never know if  you don’t tell!
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Hot Artichoke Dip:

1 can artichoke hearts (NOT marinated), drained and rough chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup parmesan cheese
Mix all ingredients together in a casserole dish and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Great with crackers, tortilla chips, or whatever you have for “dippers”.
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Up next, a casserole courtesy of my dear friend Rita.  She got this from her mom, who satisfied den after den of Cub Scouts with it.
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Pork and Bean Casserole:

1 lb. ground beef
1 med. chopped onion
2 cans pork and beans
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. bbq sauce
1 can biscuits (buttermilk–DO NOT use flaky layers kind)
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Brown ground beef and onion together in skillet until done; drain.  In a 2 qt casserole dish, combine beef and onion with beans, brown sugar, and bbq sauce.  Top with biscuits, leaving space between them, then spread cheddar cheese over top.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.  Rita says it’s a good thing this goes fast, because it doesn’t really reheat that well–the biscuits get soggy.  You could also substitute hot dogs, cut up, for the ground beef–just cook the onion by itself with some olive oil.
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Tip – Speaking of kids, they are a lot less likely to be picky eaters if you involve them in the food selection and preparation.  When you go to the grocery, show them how to tell good produce from not-so-good, let them help pick it out, and then let them do a simple, age-appropriate task or two.  When they help make the food, they are proud of it and more willing to try it.  Be sure to praise their efforts.  “Wow, this is the best this casserole has ever tasted, it must be because I had help!”
This next recipe is a Paula Deen recipe, and to avoid any issues with copyright infringement, (because no matter how much we coupon, we’re never going to save enough to pay a lawyer!) I’m just linking to it on the Food Network site.  This is one of the best baked bean recipes I’ve ever had!  Sue and Gloria’s Baked Beans
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That being said, no matter what your Mother told you, it is OK to play with your food–at least in the kitchen!  If you read a recipe and there’s something in there you don’t like, unless it’s a key ingredient, it’s probably OK to leave it out.  Try it and see.  Soooo, when I make this recipe, I add little sprinkles of me here and there, like onion, if the baked beans I have on hand don’t have it in there.  I add cumin and cilantro and garlic, sometimes a dash or two of hot sauce.  Basically, whatever sounds good THAT DAY!!  :-)
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Which brings me to my last tip:
Don’t be afraid to experiment.  For instance, say you want meat loaf and you always fix it the same way, with ketchup on top.  Suddenly you discover you’re out of ketchup, and it’s the day before payday, so you’re flat broke. Ya know what?  NOWHERE is it written in stone that meatloaf MUST have ketchup on it. Seriously, I searched, there is no law about that.  Use salsa.  Use bbq sauce.  Use gravy.  Leave it naked.  At the end of the day, you fed your family a delicious meal–and who knows?  They might like it better that way!
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Feel free to send me your questions, comments, whatever you have — I love hearing from you guys.  (Pssst–how did it work for you?)  DealDetectiveKim@gmail.com

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