Budget friendly cooking ideas

From using less meat to celebrating leftovers, there are several ways to cook for your family on a budget.

Budget friendly cooking ideas

From using less meat to celebrating leftovers, there are several ways to cook for your family on a budget.
  • Most modern families want to figure out ways to spend less on their grocery budget. Cooking instead of eating out is one big step. Here are some ways to save even more while cooking at home:

  • Plan ahead

  • If you plan meals ahead of time instead of doing the last minute scramble, you can take advantage of sales or coupons you might have. Also, many frugal meals take longer to cook (for example, dry beans that need overnight soaking) and require planning ahead to pull off.

  • Use less meat

  • Meat is often the most expensive item in a meal. Although there should always be a source of protein, it doesn't need to be in the form of a single large piece of meat. There are thousands of recipes using meat in small amounts, such as in a stew, casserole, or sauce, that provide plenty of protein, can utilize cheaper cuts of meat, and cost much less than a steak or chop. Bonus: it's a healthier way to eat too, for the most part. There are also several other sources of protein for cooking, such as beans.

  • Cook from scratch

  • Scratch cooking can sound intimidating and time consuming, but with a little practice and planning, you can make delicious, healthy meals without a huge amount of hands-on time. Usually, cooking from scratch results in a healthier product because it utilizes the natural form of basic ingredients instead of pre-packaged food that often has added preservatives or other unknown ingredients. You can make your own versions of many mixes such as pancake mix, brownie mix, chicken coating mix, and dozens more, for significantly less than they cost to buy premade. You'll feel better knowing exactly what is in them.

  • Plan your produce

  • It's so discouraging to throw out produce because it's spoiled before you've eaten it. When you plan your meals, use the produce likely to spoil the fastest first and work your way through. Keep a close eye on produce inventory and use the internet to search for recipes that will help use up the produce you have left.

  • Leftovers

  • on purpose. One of the most frugal ways to cook is purposely to cook extra, creating leftovers that will be used on another night. For example, buying a roast that is a pound too large doesn't cost much more, and is no harder to cook. Then the leftover meat can be used as the basis for a second meal such as burritos or shepherd's pie.

  • Don't be afraid to be creative as you practice and improve your frugal cooking skills.

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Margot Hovley is the author of the novels "Sudden Darkness" and "Glimmering Light." Her self-reliance blog is at mynewoldschool.com, and she blogs about her writing adventures at margothovley.com.

Website: http://www.margothovley.com

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