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Cooking On A Budget
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Cooking on A Budget

In my previous article, Eating Well on a Tight Budget, I discussed ways to save money on groceries without sacrificing quality meals. Knowing how to buy food is helpful yet only part of controlling cost. Coupons and store sales go a long way in saving money but you also need to learn budget wise cooking to increase savings.

Cooking on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor or nutrition. By changing your shopping and meal planning habits you can make inexpensive and satisfying meals. I recommend cooking in bulk and freezing so you always have easy to make or ready-made meals. Thaw breakfast, lunch or dinner items then heat for a quick meal. I like making breakfast burritos for breakfast in our busy household. Other foods that freeze well are macaroni and cheese, stroganoff, stews, soups and chili.

I love to bake. I get better taste and I know exactly what is in my baked goods.

Learn to buy food item that will both stretch your dollar and save time.

  • Hamburger: A staple for all budget crunching pantries, hamburger is versatile and delicious. This “super power” is not just for hamburger patties. Try making meatballs, bake them then freeze. Make these in bulk for a ready supply for spaghetti night. Try making a master mix for a homemad Hamburger Helper type meal. It's easy and takes inexpensive items.

Here is one of my recipes:

3 ½ Tbs. beef bouillon granules

¼ C instant onion

3 Tbs. onion powder

1 Tbs. garlic powder

2 Tbs. parsley

1 Tbs. paprika

1 Tbs. sea salt

1 ½ tsp. black pepper

1 2/3 C. dry instant milk

Mix together and store in sealed container. Use ½ cup for each pound of ground beef.

Use this mix with noodles, macaroni, or rice. Add a cup of sour cream and a can of mushrooms for stroganoff. Use your imagination.

  • Chicken: Always buy with the bone in; you can save over a dollar per pound. Buy thighs, they are cheaper and more flavorful. Save the bones and freeze for later to make a flavorful chicken stock.
  • Eggs: A great source of protein. Use this wonder food for salads, sandwiches or breakfast. If you cook with egg whites, save the yolks and freeze them for future use. Once thawed, use them in homemade pastas, custard or a glaze on various baked goods.
  • Roast: While a little more pricy than the previous mentioned meats, you can use roast in a wide variety of different meals. After Sunday dinner, slice the leftovers for French dip sandwiches or mince and cook with potatoes and onions for hash. You can also make a great stir-fry with your favorite vegetables. One large roast can provide you with 2 or 3 extra meals throughout the week.
  • Mexican Food: A cost-efficient meal, tortillas and beans are not only cheap but are a filling meal when combined. Buy dry beans and cook them yourself for the biggest cost savings. Just add some cheese, rice and salsa and you have a meal. Try making your own taco seasoning to save even more money.

Mix together:

1 Tbs. chili powder

2 Tsp. onion powder

1 Tsp. paprika

1 Tsp. ground oregano

1 Tsp. ground cumin

1 Tsp. garlic powder

½ Tsp. salt

1 Tsp. sugar (optional) I think the sugar helps to balance the spices

Mix ingredients together and store in airtight container.

This recipe is equal to 1 package of commercial taco seasoning

To use: Fry hamburger and drain. Add seasoning, mix will. Add ¼ cup water, stir and simmer till done.

  • Ham: Another of my favorite meats for stretching the budget. Once you bake your ham, use the left over for adding to scrambled eggs or omelets, ham steaks with French toast for a quick evening meal or add to macaroni and cheese for a hearty supper.
  • Beans: When making this dish, be sure to double your recipe. With a pot of beans you can make chili one night then a Frito pie another night.

As you can see, by using inexpensive ingredients and cooking in bulk you not only save money but you save time as well. You really can eat well on a tight budget.


Street Talk

Kylie R  

It's definitely easy to eat healthy on a tight budget. You've outlined some goods tips and examples!

Reply
  about 3 years ago
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