Eating on a budget? We've got ideas for you

If you’re worried about the fluctuating state of the economy and worsening unemployment rate – and still have to figure out how to feed your family every day – finding groceries and recipes that can accommodate both the household and the budget will require a new train of thought.

More people are trading in their regular Saturday-night table at a restaurant for a couple of trips a week to the grocery store:

The Food Marketing Institute has found that more people are eating home-cooked meals – 83 percent do so at least three times per week.

FoodChannel.com’s 2009 trend forecast places a return to home cooking at No. 1 on its top 10 list. People will be “turning to online sites and TV cooking shows, taking cooking classes, and sharing family recipes.”

Borders lists “Cooking on a Budget” as one of its categories at the top of its Web site, pushing books such as “$3 Meals” and “Dining on a Dime: 1,000 Money Saving Recipes and Tips.”

Today’s issue of Feast (www.feastnh.com) is dedicated to meals that can be made at home for less money:

Columnist Marc Bouchard shares three foods that can help out a tight budget.

Pasta dishes come in cheap, with Sausage, Spinach and Cheese-Stuffed Shells costing less than $2 a serving.

The money saved skipping the coffee and breakfast sandwich at the drive-through in the morning quickly adds up to big savings, though making breakfast at home will take a few minutes more.

Other key tips to remember are to shop around for deals, to only buy foods you will use, and to plan ahead for that trip to the grocery store.