Cooking for 9 on a Dime

When it comes to cooking for an army Anne Thompson knows how to do it, using very little dough.

“It’s a matter of you do what you can with what you have,” Thompson says.

The Bethlehem mother of seven says she can dish out a week's worth of meals for about $150 and that any family can do the same.

“Everyone’s feeling the crunch from the economy from the big to the poorest of the poor,” said Thompson.

Two years ago, the culinary-school trained stay-at-home mom started blogging her low-cost, easy recipes for families on tight budgets -- basic recipes like potato and ham chowder and the unique like Chocolate Whacky Cake that serves 12.

“It’s leavened with vinegar and baking soda instead of eggs. All told it costs three bucks to make the entire thing and it's the best chocolate cake I ever had,” Thompson said.

So how can you do dinner on a dime? Thompson says first, make a list before food shopping and take inventory of what you already have.

“I’ve found two or three meals hiding in the cupboard of freezer that I didn't think about,” says the mom.

She says buy fresh produce, not canned. You'll get more for your money.

Designate one day as vegetarian and don't throw a single leftover away.

“You have half a cup of vegetables left over from dinner…save it, put in freezer, then it can become part of chicken pot pie or nice stew,” Thompson advises.

Thompson never uses coupons, instead she shops farmers markets and certain discount food stores, but warns not all are the same.  She says don't eat fast food and try to see one meal as an investment.

“I’ll look at chicken and see it past Sunday night dinner. Its chicken salad on Monday, maybe then chicken tacos,” she says.

Thompson’s kids range in age from 17 to 2. They're her guinea pigs testing her creations for her blog.

She says every meal can be adapted for everyone’s palate, even her husband who is the pickiest of the bunch.

“I think he'd just eat french fries with gravy rest of his life,” said Thompson

But only if they were homemade…

Check out the Cooking With Anne blog for more frugal cooking tips.

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