We run a Tuscan kitchen: Our pantry is usually always full but extremely humble. As far as feeding a family in a budget-conscious way, we believe that some staple foods, like canned beans and tuna, rice, pasta and canned tomatoes, and obviously the basic condiments like extra virgin olive oil and a few spices should always be available for a quick meal on the go. We shop for vegetables, fruit, meat and dairy on a daily basis, after we decide what we are going to eat for dinner — a decision that is usually made at breakfast. Knowing what is in your fridge is a great way to save money, as it helps you plan meals and consume what is available; limiting the amount of food that ends up in the garbage is a great step toward saving a lot of money.
We are big fans of leftovers. We recycle whatever vegetable is left from the evening before into a pasta sauce or a frittata, and we shred our leftover roast to make tacos (not really Tuscan but darn cheap!). We find our way to eat everything we have in the house, most of the time.
Tuscans have, throughout history, been called “the bean eaters,” to stress how sparse our diet can be and how easily we can find satisfaction in a spoonful of Borlotti beans cooked with some herbs and a few dices of pork fat.
Gabriele bakes bread daily, so we always have a decent amount of stale bread that we can incorporate into our soups, either as a base or as croutons; in winter we can make a delicious soup of bread and kale and feed the whole family for about $5.
Tune in to Season 4 Premiere of Extra Virgin, Weekend on the Cheap, tonight at 8pm ET to watch Debi and Gabriele show you how to make a full family meal for under $15.