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5 Tips To Reducing Your Recipe Costs
Do you ever look at a recipe and think I would love to make that, but I don’t have all the ingredients? Usually having to make an extra trip to the grocery to get the extra ingredients will put you over your budget and cause you to impulse buy. Well, at least that is what always happens to me.
Below are a 5 areas I frequently substitute with what I have on hand to make a recipe work for me.
1. Carbohydrates: I substitute whatever starch my recipe calls for, because I usually have something else on-hand. i.e.) substitute penne for bowtie, use rice vs. pasta)
2. Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs tend to be pretty pricey, especially in the winter when I don’t have a garden to pull from. So, substitute the dried version to save money – use a 1 to 3 ration or 1 tsp dried for 1 Tbs. fresh.
In the summer towards the end of each herbs run, I harvest them and freeze them to use all winter. That way in many recipes I can still use “fresh herbs”. You can see my post here on freezing fresh herbs and pesto.
3. Dairy: One of my goals is to try to keep unnecessary calories out of our meals, and dairy is a great place to do that. I have lots of recipes that call for heavy cream or half and half, but I just substitute it with whatever milk I have on hand, usually 2% or whole. I did that here when I made Tomato Basil Soup. I substituted the heavy cream for whole milk and the fresh basil for dried, and the soup tasted great!
Sometimes the less fat cream can change the “thickness” of the dish. A tip I learned to overcome that is to use cornstarch or flour. I usually opt for cornstarch, because I need a lot less. As a rule, I use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken every 2 cups of liquid to a medium consistency. Mix cornstarch into a little cold liquid (like water), is stirred into the hot food during the final stage of cooking. Go here to read more on using flour and cornstarch.
4. Meats: We make a lot of soups in our house, because they are great “one pot” dishes. One of my favorites is Taco soup or Chicken Tortilla soup. What meat I have on hand usually determines which name I call it! Taco soup has ground beef and the Chicken Tortilla version has diced chicken breast, you could even use shredded roast beef from yesterday’s pot roast.
Another example is my Black Bean Enchilada recipe here. This recipe becomes whatever meat we have on hand. It calls for ground beef, but I have used ground turkey or chicken, sliced chicken and shredded pot roast.
5. Omit Ingredients: Many times items in a dish are very easily omitted without ever noticing the difference. You can leave things out of dishes and substitute them with your family’s favorite picks. i.e. ) savannah pasta, called for celery and green peppers, but I only used peas and shallots, still tasted great!
Main Goal: To use what I already have on hand!
To see more ideas on how to “morph” your recipes to work for you, check out my Cooking 101 series here.
Highlights not to miss!
Workshops: If you are in the Middle Tennessee area, be sure to come to a workshop and learn all the money-saving tips!
Getting Started: A page to help you get started in your savings journey!
Grocery Store Deals: Pick your favorite store and see what deals they have this week.
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