Saturday, August 9, 2014

Money Saving Cooking Tips


Money saving cooking tips

A few blogs ago I promised to give money saving cooking tips how to prepare fresh, healthy home cooked meals that fit your budget.

My point was, quote: “I reject to believe that you have no choice or that your only choice is a 99 cents fast food meal because the organic aisle is too expensive. To me that is just a cheap excuse.” End quote.

This was based on a study with the outcome that white bread and ground chuck were on average cheaper than healthy organic products and that is why consumers grab processed food instead of cooking with fresh ingredients.

Now, I do believe that organic artisan bread is healthier than factory made white bread but I also (strongly) believe that you do have a choice and there are more options than the organic isle.   

When preparing this article, I wondered myself what the best way would be to explain the subject.

You would probably say, easy talking for a chef.
Maybe it is, but read on, I am sure you will find something helpful.

Tip 1:   Vacuum to safe money


My first tip may sound exaggerated, but vacuum – sealing tools are truly revolutionary when it comes to preserving food in your freezer and refrigerator. The ugly food destroying freezer burn is eliminated and your food stays fresh and delicious for months in the freezer. In the refrigerator vacuum prolongs shelf life significantly. If that does not save money?

Tip 2:  Use cheaper cuts of meat

Great Roasting Meat

A cheaper meat cut is not necessarily ground chuck. Pork, lamb, beef have many cheap(er) cuts that are delicious.
You need to get familiar with some different cooking techniques but making a roast it as easy as searing a steak.

Shoulders of pork of lamb cost $ 2.00 to $6.00 per pound compared to steaks $10.00 a pound. These shoulders make a great roast and make one (or two) at a time, use what you need for dinner and use the rest for other means, these roasts make a great sandwich filling (cheaper than cold cuts), or filling for a pasta or a rice dish later in the week. On top of a cracker with a bit of mayonnaise and a salad leave it makes a nice snack to go along with a drink on a weekend.

Consider investing in a slow cooker, these cheaper cuts are fantastic to use in stews, turn the slow cooker on before you go to work and dinner is ready when you come home. 

Tip 3:  Think ahead

Buy meats on offer and prepare all at once and use the balance in a stir fry. Or marinate what you do not use immediately, vacuum and freeze, this way you always have something on hand when there is no time to shop. This saves energy and your time.
Pre-prepared vegetables keep well when vacuumed and frozen; take advantage when you find offers.

Tip 4:  Serve the right portioning

This is not good

Have a look at how much you really need to cook and put on a plate. Tons of good food are wasted daily because of over-portioning.  

Tip 5:  Clever ways to use left overs

Overripe fruits are sweet, take advantage and turn them into dessert toppings by simmering them for a couple of minutes with sugar, a bit of water, a slice of lemon and a cinnamon stick , vacuum and freeze.

Tip 6:  Make the best of fruits

Turn overripe bananas into banana bread, this can be done in an hour inclusive baking, lovely for breakfast or a snack when the kids come home from school. A lot cheaper than throwing them in the rubbish and buy ready- made jars of toppings and packets of snacks.

Tip 7:  Make your own juices


When the store has overripe fruit and sells it cheap, blend it with a bit of water or that little leftover of milk or yogurt
Delicious drinks/smoothies, I do that all the time and make healthy fruit juices for less than 0.50 cents per glass. If you know how packed fruit juices are filtered you will follow this tip.

Tip 8: Do not throw bread away

Do not throw stale bread in the bin, grind it in a food processor, fresh or wet breadcrumbs are a fantastic binding agent for sauces and stews. Easy to vacuum and frozen they last for months. If you have a lot consider a bread and butter pudding.

Tip 9: Think traditional

Two eggs, a cup of flour, 2 tbsp of oil and a bit of salt makes dough that gives you enough pasta for a family of four. It takes five minutes to make the dough, then ten minutes to make pasta from the dough and it cooks in three minutes.
With some left over bacon, mushrooms, broccoli or zucchini half an onion and two more eggs you make an unmatched traditional Carbonara. How does that sound?

Fry the bacon, add the vegetables until soft, boil the pasta, add the pasta straight from the water into the bacon vegetable mix. Off the heat, add the whisked eggs and toss. That’s how they make pasta dishes in Italy. Absolutely divine.  
Tip 10:  Spend wisely     
Invest wisely, buy fresh food that fit your budget and remember that recipes are ideas that sprung from somebody’s mind, change to your liking, recipes are no laws.

Shop Smart, Cook Clever, Waste Less

I compiled these budget friendly tips so that you will not be locked up in your kitchen every day. Be inspired and cook healthy foods.

By: Marinus Hoogendoorn

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