Friday, June 24, 2011

5 Ways to Save in the Kitchen

I'm always on the look out for ways to save money when it comes to the kitchen. With food prices continually rising, it's becoming harder and harder to save a dollar. I pray for the families that are big and bountiful that God continues to provide for them and allow them the necessities to prepare warm meals.

When I was sitting last night for my quiet time (not a common event), I jotted down some ideas that I thought would be worth sharing. Some areas to focus on to start the savings extravaganza.
1. Staples
The most common ingredients/items used in your kitchen from day to day usually ring up the most expensive. Not so because it's priced high individually but because you use it more so and buy more. In our kitchen we use a lot of stock; chicken stock, beef stock, vegetable stock. Broth too. They all provide more flavor than water and deepens the meal. Instead of buying it at the store at a ridiculously high price and full of excess salt, we make it at home. Here is a great recipe for chicken broth and for chicken stock.
What I love about making it at home is you can measure it out and freeze it. When a recipe calls for a cup, you simply run to the freezer and it's already measured for you.

2. Crock pots and Slow Cookers
Oh they're the same thing. It's like tom-A-to and Anyways. These little gadgets are great for saving not only time, but money. Now, you're not going to get your electric bill and do a whole Popeye the Sailor Man type "WOW-ZA!", but you will however trim off a little here and there. You will also be able to purchase cheaper cuts of meat that otherwise would be too tough cooked in a more conventional style...say in the oven. Awh...the goodness of the crock pot. Have you met mine?

3. Bean Base Meals
I haven't quite convinced my husband that beans are good for you. Not that he isn't aware of the health benefits because I have truly educated him on the matter. He has this problem with the texture of beans. I've attempted to squeeze them into to meals without him knowing and have been very successful. So I press on to win this battle. Beans are budget friendly. It amazes me how inexpensive they are and how few people use them in their weekly menus. It's crazy! You can buy a 1 pond bag of beans at most grocery stores for less than $1.50...and that's a lotta beans yall! After soaked and cooked, they can become the foundation for any good meal. Here are some ideas: Red Beans and Rice, White Bean and Kale Soup , White Bean Gratin. and Yummy Lasagna by my Bestie, Leigha.  Another great place to look is Once A Month Mom. There is a great list of meals utilizing beans. The possibilities and savings are endless!!!

4. Look past the Obvious!
Ok..I know that this one doesn't start out in the kitchen, but the end results will bring you there. I'm talking about drive-throughs. You pick it up and bring it home to eat. Why? It's easier and you've had a rough day and the thought of coming home to cook something for your starving family is fogging your overwhelmed brain as it is. So...something quick and easy is the option. Well, there are other options out there that not only will be just as quick, but lighter on the wallet. Aaaannnnd...probably even tastier.

Example: I bought a big beef roast this week on sale. BIG! BIG! I put it in slow cooker (uh-huh...Sharon!) covered it halfway with water and cooked low and slow for 8 hours. When it was finished, I separated it into meal portions for use later in the week or month. Some meals I plan to create with it are BBQ Beef sandwiches, Beef Enchiladas, Beef and Noodles, Open Faced Beef Sandwiches, and simple Beef and Veggies. (I will post recipes for these soon). All of these options are quick and easy. The bulk of your meal is already prepared.

 5. Buy That Whole chicken


I admit that there was a time when I only bought chicken breasts. It was easier and leaner, but not cheaper. It got to a point where I was skipping recipes that included chicken because it was too expensive. Lame, I know. When I finally woke up, I realized that there are better options out there. Now-a-days I purchase whole chickens. Let's do the math...
 Whole chickens usually run from $0.89-1.00 per pound
Chicken breasts usually run from $1.89-3.00 per pound
You might not think that you'll use it all and that it'll go to waste, but you're wrong. Remember #4? Well, chicken can be used the same way. I'll take a chicken and roast in the slow cooker and use it for supper. The rest of the chicken is pulled off the bones for other meals like: Chicken Salad, Chicken Tacos, Chicken and Yellow Rice, Chicken and Dumplings, Chicken Noodle Soup, and the list goes on and on.

Savings can be a dreadful thing to start thinking about. After attending a class this past week, I quickly learned that there are families as small as 2-3 people that are spending as much as $1,400 a month on food and groceries. That's extreme. There are always ways to cut back. I hope some of the ideas I've shared with you can help you on your raod to savings and easier hours in the kitchen. Good luck!

Do you have any ideas of how to save in the kitchen? I'd love to hear some of them. Please leave a comment or shoot me an email. I'm looking for a spotlight guest to share some worthy advice.

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1 comment:

  1. Slow cookers do save the day, especially when it's a chaotic one. My favorite ever slow cooker meal was "cooked" by a friend--Cube Steak! YUM! Great tips!


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