Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Frugal Kitchen Tips

In keeping with yesterday's post I wanted to share some small ways that I've learned to get the most out of my food dollar. Some of these are ideas that I never would have thought of, but I've tried them all and they really work. I'm always on the look out for new ideas, so feel free to pass any along.

1-When a recipe calls for only half an onion, chop the remaining half. Store it in a zipper bag in the freezer, and the next time you need an onion the chopping is already done.

2-The above tip also works great for peppers.

3-Save any leftover, cooked vegetables. They still taste fine in soups and casseroles.

4-Freeze leftover tomato paste in ice-cube trays, then place into freezer bags when frozen. Each cube is about 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste, perfect for adding a dash of flavor to recipes.

5-Yogurt and wine cubes also work. I haven't tried it yet, but I suspect beef and chicken broth could also be frozen this way.

6-If you're not going to finish a loaf of bread before it goes stale, freeze it. It can be defrosted and used for a strata recipe. With a few eggs and some cheese, it makes a very economical meal.

7-If a recipe calls for buttermilk, an easy substitute is 1 cup of milk mixed with 1 tbsp of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for several minutes, until it curdles.

8-Even small amounts of leftover meat can be saved for use in soups or stir fries.

9-Leftover rice makes great fried rice. Heat in an oiled skillet with onion, veggies and some strips of scrambled egg. Sprinkle liberally with soy sauce and serve.

10-In bread recipes that call for honey, molasses, or maple syrup, any of the three can be used interchangeably in a pinch.

11-Perhaps the most important frugal tip is to schedule a regular leftover night. It's amazing how much perfectly good food just gets forgotten about in the back of the fridge!

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