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Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar’s Tips on Eating on the Cheap

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.

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Comments (5)

  1. Lourdes posted 04/03/2014

    I always enjoy your show. I am glad you are back for new season. I even got my husband to watch your show today. He like especially the part of making fresh pasta, He expect me to make fresh pasta now.

  2. [...] Tuscans have, throughout history, been called …read more [...]

  3. Nathalie posted 04/04/2014

    Really, Is it possible to feed the whole family for just $5?
    Nathalie

  4. Jibs posted 04/05/2014

    I like the food thay cook but don't like the fake performance for the camera and trying to make like your viewers are dumb. ( I love the earthyness of the cabbage and the herbs. Really bay leafs and parshly don't think so.) My market sells professonial foil. It's called heavy foil !! Your bread lady friend is exploiting disandvantaged possible illegal women and profitting from cheap labor I bet they don't get entry level baking salary. $12-16 an hr while training. Plus her bread is not cheap her bakery is making a tides profit.

    Oh ps. I asked my baker to come over for dinner. He said don't bother me again

    • Kathy posted 04/15/2014

      REALLY???? They are all very entertaining. Isn't that the whole point? Watch, learn and be entertained. Get over it!

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