Money Saving Tips and Recipes

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

The damage is done: you’ve overindulged, and there’s no going back.  Well, maybe for your waistline, but your bank account is a real problem.  Of course, some of the most effective ways to cut food costs are the hardest (eat and drink less; don’t go out so much), though not all are impossible (make it yourself instead of buying the packaged version; buy in bulk; substitute dried herbs and spices where possible).

But here’s a few more creative and hopefully more moderate things you can do in the kitchen to curb your spending and maintain more sustainable habits, along with some relatively low-cost recipe suggestions from the Paula Deen Test Kitchen:

1. Get organized! Make lists and plan your menus to incorporate leftovers and use up all perishable ingredients.

2. Seek out what’s local and in season - it’s a good habit for life. Produce can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be if it hasn’t been shipped from another hemisphere.  Depending on your region, common cold weather crops include spinach, kale, winter lettuces, Brussels, broccoli, cauliflower, some onions, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, cabbage, and collards.
Broccoli Soup
Garlic-Lime Spinach
Corny Coleslaw
Stewed Collard Greens

3. Opt for more legumes, whole grains, or pastas.
Paula’s Italian Pasta Salad
Hearty Beef and Noodle Soup
Sausage, White Bean, and Swiss Chard Soup
Shaggy Man Split Pea Soup
Hoppin’ John

4. Be selective with meats. Meat and dairy are often the more expensive ingredients, and let’s face it, eating more vegetables would probably be good for you right now too!  But if you need your meat, try these cheaper options, keeping in mind that they might require marinades and longer cooking times for more flavorful, tender results.  Get two meals out of one purchase by using chopped meat as a main dish over rice the next night.  Also, it’s hard to say no to burgers or hotdogs, for which Paula has many recipes.
-From the cow, try grilled (or ground) chuck, flank or hangar steaks, tri tip, brisket, ribs, or oxtails:
Texas Oven Roasted Beef Brisket
Michael’s Favorite Oxtails with Buttered Rice

-From the bird, which is often cheap unless you’re buying breast meat, try chick thighs or turkey parts:
Bobby’s Lighter Un-Fried Chicken
Mexican Chicken
Chicken Brunswick Stew
Turkey and Black Bean Ziti

-From the pig, there’s always the porok shoulder, which can be transformed into all kinds of deliciousness including pulled pork and stews. And a little ham goes a long way:
BBQ Pork Sandwich
Ham Fried Rice with Pineapple and Fried Egg
Simple Southern Ham and Bean Soup

-From the sea, try tilapia, mahi-mahi, or canned tuna:
Bobby’s Baked Tilapia
Faux Crab Cakes

5. And lastly, casseroles can be good and last for days!



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Reader Comments:


I miss your show so much - will be happy to see you on TV again. Your recipes are the best by far. Best of luck to you Paula!

By Helen Wilson on August 17, 2014


Hey Paula, I have nothing but respect and admiration for you my dear southern sister. You are a woman of much talent, a huge heart, and a love for life that is only surpassed by her love for her family. You are genuine and wonderful person. Shame on those who get pleasure from others pain. At the end of the day, we all answer for our own transgressions, and to that I will add;we are all only human. With that being said, girlfriend, what a human being you are. And you are truly missed. If I were fortunate enough to be a person of money, I would buy a network just so we could have you back on tv. God bless you Paula Deen. You are a good person. Please don't ever let anyone tell you differently and don't ever change. You have brought so much to my life over the years. I am both blessed and grateful to you for that. Cook on sweet southern gal!

By Peach Roberts on April 06, 2014


Loved you and your show. Miss you. Please add me to your mailing list. Merry CHRISTmas and wishing you a blessed 2014. Mimi Lathan

By Mimi Lathan on December 24, 2013


Hey Paula!! I hope you and Michael had a beautiful Valentines Day!!! I just wanted to thank you for all you do for everybody. Whether its your cooking shows that rock btw or your cookbooks, everything you do is an inspration to us all and for that I humbly and sincerly thank you!! Keep on doing what you do and know you are appreciated more than words can say!!!!!

By stacy mitchel on February 15, 2012


Love This site

By Josie Neubert on February 15, 2012


I can cut my grocery bill almost 66% by driving 40 minutes to Michigan. Y'all are so fortunate, when you live up here for a bit and pay $3. for a single loaf of bread or $6 for a gallon of milk, or the unfathomable to most Americans $5.70 for a gallon of gas (which is the average price up here right now), you'll realize what a deal y'all got!

By Jeff on February 15, 2012


Paula,Ham is so good to help make your food dollars go further.A shank ham is about 15.00.I can get 4 meals out of one ham. Have my meat man to slice 2 Ham steaks,Slice 4-5 slices for sandwich,split the shank to go in dryed butterbeans.Now for the forth one take left over ham from the steak,cube it add to mac and cheese when add english peas.Is a comfort meal.This just 4 way to make it last.They are a lot more.Thanks Paula,you are a great cook,keep on cooking girl.Love ya

By Pegi Carlisle on February 15, 2012


Dear Paula, i have been watching your shows ev er since they started, my husband and i have been to the Lady & Sons ( loved the food!) , and i'm sad to hear about your diabetes. My hubby is diabetic also, so we have had to alter some food choices. I'm happy to see the recipe's involving leftovers and cheaper ideas of using produce . I'm always looking for simpler ways to fix salads, and soups and casseroles. I really don't like throwing anything out when i went to the trouble of buying the things to prepare it. Thank you again.. just for being you ! Joei and Tony Porter

By joei porter on February 15, 2012


I just recently discovered your cooking show and I just love it! Of course, I love butter and cream so all of this is "right up my alley", I have worked for years and didn't get to watch much daytime TV, then we had to sign up for the GAC channel in order to watch the National Finals Rodeo, and wow! Here you are!! I am learning lots and I love your accent, I have to granddaughters who are originally from Alabama and you really remind me of one of them. Anyway, thanks for all your ideas!

By Linda Duncan on January 20, 2012


Paula , you have always been my number one cooing show. Keep on cooking, if you quit I just might quit watching cooking shows,take good care of your health and keep those recipes coming, those of us who have health issues will act accordingly. We always need a good recipe for special occasions. I for one , will never hold you responsible for my health. Love you and those boys of yours.

By Gladys Davis on January 19, 2012


I love your ideas and it is great when you are retired and have to save money........Thanks,Pegi

By Pegi Brown on January 18, 2012


HI! Paula love watching you and your boys in the kitchen. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.Love that grandbaby he's handsome could just kiss his face off. Love ya DEVON

By DEVON JARRELL on January 17, 2012


Paula, Thank you so much for the recipes of the splitpea soup i have been wanting to make this but didnt know how my mom made it she would allways make a big batch and bring me some.... And i really want to try the sausage white bean soup that sounds great and it down take a arm and a leg to by the stuff as every time i go to the store every thing goes up.... Thank You Kelly

By Kelly Bell on January 10, 2012


Paula so happy to see Bobby;s new show, but we still watch his Mom, lol.Enjoyed him on the Chew today-Jan10 Would love to see u on some of his shows. So enjoyed him cooking with u. Thanks for all your advice and tips. Got your calander as a Christmas gift, so love it. I have a toaster that u endorsed also has a place to do an egg muffin on end, have had it for sev. years and love it. God Bless May we all see wise and healthy changes in 2012 Rosie in Ct.

By Rosie Herdman on January 10, 2012


I have a question for Paula and/or her staff: My friend and I have a probem with meringue shrinking. We are making it correctly, we think. Whipping the egg whites, 3 to 4, for a pie, adding quite a bit of sugar; 1/2 cup or so. Teaspoon of cream of tarter. After taking it out of the oven, I carefully left it on top of oven so as not to cool too quickly, but even so, after a couple of hours, it still shrank. I also was careful to make sure meringue went to all sides and corners, nothing left uncovered. Can you help? We would both be so grateful; it is very frustrating to have a beautiful pie or banana pudding and have that happen!!Value your opinion very highly!!

By Sharon Thiel on January 10, 2012


I've sent several emails wishing Paula would come to Des Moines (that's in IOWA) --- perhaps Bobbi or Jamie would be interested. It's a great place!!!!

By Julie Wilson on January 10, 2012

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm