Posts Tagged ‘hard times’

Utility Assistance

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Utility Assistance        

Between these difficult economic times and extreme weather (how’d you like that heat wave?) it is easy to understand why some households may be having trouble paying their energy bills. PSE&G has recognized that many of their customers have fallen on hard times and so they’ve come up with a new program to offer assistance.

The program is called TRUE, Temporary Relief for Utility Expenses and it is designed to help moderate income households who are having difficulty paying their PSE&G bill. The TRUE program provides a one-time grant of up to $1,500 ($750 for gas and $750 for electric) for households that are not eligible for other low income programs.

To be eligible for TRUE customers must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Must have an annual income for a one person household of at least $21,672 and not more than $57,120. A two person household income between $29,000 and $69,853. A household of four must have an annual income between $44,112 and $103,034. To see income requirements for other household sizes visit, www.pseg.com/true_guidelines
  • Be 45 or more days past due on their energy bill and/or have received a service discontinuation notice (shutoff notice)
  • Demonstrate that four payments of at least $25 each have been made with the past six months
  • Not have received LIHEAP or USF benefits in the last year.

In addition to the TRUE program, there are other programs available to help customers pay their energy bills:

  • The Universal Service Fund (USF) (1-866-240-1347) helps make energy bills more affordable for low income customers with a $5 to $150 monthly credit.
  • NJ SHARES (1-866-657-3273) helps moderate income customers not eligible for low income programs to the TRUE program, with up to $300 toward electric bills and $700 toward natural gas bills.
  • NJ Lifeline (1-800-792-9745) helps seniors and disabled adults with a $225 yearly credit towards their PSE&G bills.

 For more information on energy assistance programs or to download applications, please visit www.pseg.com/help or www.pseg.com/ayuda. Applications are also available at all PSE&G walk in Customer Service Centers listed on your PSE&G bill. For access to billing information and payment history, customers can sign up for My Account at www.pseg.com.

Five Meals, One Chicken- Money Saving Options

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

In a recent issue of Renaissance Magazine, viewable at: www.njfoundationforaging.org/ren.html, we featured an article and recipe focusing on cooking in a tough economy. The article talked about how to be creative and how to get the most out of money you spend in the store. We thought we’d continue with this theme is our blog and share with you a way to not just get 2 meals out of one chicken, but 5 meals!

Meal #1 – Roast chicken, stuffing and oven roasted vegetables

Take advantage of the fact that the oven is already on to bake the stuffing and vegetables. For this first meal, if you are a two person household you could split one breast and each take a wing.

While you have the cutting board and knife out, dissect the uneaten part of the bird for easier future meals. Take the meat off the second breast, thighs and drumsticks and cube it up for use in upcoming recipes. The yield is several cups of chicken meat. Everything else: bones, cartilage, and skin goes into a storage bag for soup-making (coming up in another meal).

Meal #2 – Chicken pot pies

You can make extra gravy so you will be able to add it with some of the chicken, diced potatoes, peas and carrots to individual pie crusts.

Meal #3 – Chicken soup

Boil down all the bones with onions, garlic, carrots, celery and spices for a couple hours until all the meat that was left on the bones falls off and the bones have released their collagen (the gelatinous protein) and you’ve got homemade chicken stock. Strain it, pick out the chunks of chicken, add more ingredients like noodles or rice and new vegetables and you’ve got a pot of chicken whatever soup.

Meal #4 – Chicken Tetrazinni

This is a simple dish to prepare by stirring cubed chunks of chicken into cooked spaghetti noodles with a Parmesan cheese sauce, you can use a store bought jar and even opt for a tomato based sauce if cheese sauces aren’t your thing.

Meal #5 – Chicken quesadillas

Mix shredded chicken with a bit of salsa, spread over tortillas and sprinkle with Cheddar cheese. Fold over and heat on a griddle until the cheese melts.

There you have it: one chicken, five meals! It’s frugal in terms of money and it’s also frugal in terms of time. You cooked one “big” meal which gave you the ability to make four additional meals more easily than if you had to cook more chicken each time. By varying the types of dishes, it seems less like “leftovers” and more like a different meal each time. These are just some ideas for making the most of a whole chicken. Another great tip is to freeze your leftovers, if you will not be eating your Chicken Pot Pies right away, or want to save your left over chicken to do something with it a week or 2 weeks from now, throw it in a freezer safe container and freeze it until you are ready to use it!

What recipes would you use?