Like so many homesteaders, we are definitely living on a tight budget. We never seem to get ahead. Food is one of our biggest costs, and we are always looking for ways to save, but still eat healthy. By using our rice cooker to cook a variety of foods like quinoa, lentils, and millet, we save money and end up with an easy-to-make meal.
Using our rice cooker to cook things other than rice gives us variety, but it still allows us to be frugal with our meals. Most everything I use goes with a 2-to-1 ratio just like the rice (one part rice and two parts water). Sometimes I add broth, but many times I just stick with some favorite spices. I like to use onion and garlic powder in most everything I cook. I also like cumin, coriander, basil, oregano and pink salt. Sometimes balsamic vinegar or soy sauce can be a nice addition.
Our rice cooker is one of our most used kitchen appliances.
I usually cook some meat separately to add to the dish when it is done. To save money on meat, I always cut the portions. If I am using 1 pound ground meat, I divide it into four portions for separate meals. This is a real money saver. Sometimes I might use a small steak, cut it up into small sections, and add that to the carbohydrate I am cooking. We try to buy good quality meat that is organic or at least non-GMO so I have to get creative to be able to stick with the good meat on our budget.
To finish off the meal, we usually add some steamed vegetables from the garden if we have them. We use store-bought carrots a lot too because I can generally find organic carrots for a good price. Whenever my husband asks what we are having for dinner, I tell him some concoction. Most of the time, the dishes turn out pretty tasty, but there have been some misses. Having the right blend of spices is definitely the key to good flavor in these dishes. I love our rice cooker and the variety it affords us.