Cheap vs. healthy

Is it always one against the other when you are considering what to feed your family? Or is there a way to keep meals both inexpensive and healthy?

According to author Jennifer Maughan, there is a way to do both. "It is possible to lower the amount you spend on food without resorting to drastic measures, such as serving boxed macaroni and cheese five days a week. With strategic planning and flawless execution, you can still get good food for less than you’re spending now."

In her new book 100 Meals for $5 or Less, coming out in Spring 2009, Jennifer shows weary grocery shoppers the way to an enlightened—and lightened—food budget.

Her suggestions?

Have a plan
Figure out what's on sale and where
Do recipe research
Make a shopping list
Buy house brands
Use coupons if you're up for the challenge
And many more . . .

There are numerous ways to save on food. What are some of yours?

As a bonus, here's one of Jennifer's simple and cost-effective meals:

Farmer’s Strata
Use leftover mashed potatoes or instant—either way it’ll taste wonderful.

8 cups mashed potatoes
1 (16-ounce) can corn, drained
1 (16-ounce) can creamed corn
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare mashed potatoes. Mix the corn together in a small bowl. In a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, layer the following: 1⁄3 of the mashed potatoes, 1⁄2 of the ground beef, 1⁄2 of the corn, 1⁄3 of the mashed potatoes, 1⁄2 of the ground beef, 1⁄2 of the corn and top with remaining mashed potatoes. Pat the potatoes with a spoon to form small peaks. Bake 30 minutes until potato peaks begin to brown and mixture is bubbling in the center.

Serves 4–6

Serve with sliced strawberries, bananas and apples.

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