Are you a frugaltarian?

October 4, 2009 in recipe


If you choose to delve deeply enough, you will find a food-atarian of every sort out there! If you are a foodie, you like know most of the sorts, I dont need to get pedantic about it.

Amongst the various types of -tarianisms that I play with, the one that is most apropo for today’s economic uncertainty and one that likely most of you practice at times is what I call Frugaltarianism.

Frugality is a spectrum that shines brightly in different places for different people.

Some people like to pinch a penny till it bleeds, just to do it (conquest). Some people think that eating a meal cooked at home on rare occasion is being frugal. Some will re-use plastic bread bags while others will think eating leftovers a couple times a month is really pushing the boundaries of frugality into disturbing realms.

We live in the boonies and have three young kids so we have not been out to eat as a family in 6 or so years (we have never taken the youngest out to eat). For one, there is no place worth the trouble around here and another – the budget really doesnt allow it.

I am not so good at pinching pennies to the point of blood loss. I can not bring myself to buy truckloads of ramen noodles or velveeta cheese just because its so cheap that it would feed us until the next millennium. It might literally have enough calories but those calories are profoundly empty. In addition to being empty, they are actually negative because they rob my children of nutrients their little bodies are trying to hold on to.

Some people are able to be frugal and vegetarian. Vegetables can cost less than meat. Good vegetables (organic small farm, preferably my back yard) and good meat (free range and 0% CAFO GMO Soy, etc) are expensive. Crappy conventionally grown veggies and CAFO meat – much cheaper, up front.

The quickest way for people to become more frugal in the US, assuming they are already saving by cooking at home 100% of the time, is to eat much less meat and make the meat they do eat high quality. But if your barrel is getting really low, any meat will do, I totally understand that.

When its time to stretch what meat you DO have, the following method is by far the most delicious and satisfying way I know how to cook it – with a pressure cooker. Investing in a pressure cooker requires some up front cost but then you have a way to take tough meats (like an old rooster or laying hen!) and make an amazing meal.

It also works magic on tough cheap beef cuts and beans and I can imagine a to DIE for vegetarian meal based on the powerfully meaty flavor of shiitake done this way.

Frugaltarian Cooking: served

Flavor Blaster Chicken Stew


  • 2 lbs chicken parts
  • 5 potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 vidalia onion
  • teaspoon minced garlic
  • Bells Poultry Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons saved up bacon grease
  • you can add anything else that looks appetizing
  • enough water to cover chicken
  • 1 tablespoon salt


Saute onions in bacon grease until translucent. Add bells seasoning and sprinkle of salt. Add garlic. Add diced potatoes.

Frugaltarian Cooking: saute onions and potatoes

Add chicken parts.

Frugaltarian Cooking: add chicken

Add enough water to cover the chicken and only as high as your pressure cooker directions advises.

Frugaltarian Cooking: water and then peel for color

Bring cooker up to pressure and back off the temperature until it just barely rocks the pressure gauge. Cook for 1 – 2 hours.

Frugaltarian Cooking: on to cook

Remove chicken and allow to cool enough so that you can pick the meat off the bone and then put it back into the brothy stew.

Frugaltarian Cooking: done!

Cool and serve straight or over rice as shown here. You will need to taste it to see if you need to correct the seasoning!

Frugaltarian Cooking: served

I would love to hear about your favorite frugal comfort meal!