To get the most out of your every food dollar, learn how to avoid waste, using leftovers wisely, and cut energy costs.
When you think about it, you don’t want to save money at the grocery store only to throw away much of that hard earned savings in the kitchen, right?
What is saving money?
Saving money seems to be something that we all struggle with at one time or another in our lives. Sounds like a fairy tale for some of us, doesn’t it? But truly, saving money is a good thing. And something we should aspire to, especially in the kitchen. Saving money in the kitchen can actually one of the easiest tasks.
Save: to avoid unnecessary waste or expenses; productive without waste
Here are some tips on saving money in the kitchen:
1. Preventing Spoilage
Spoiled food is simply money lost. You can greatly reduce kitchen waste if you store all your foods properly so they do not dry out or go bad. Make sure your refrigerated items are wrapped or covered and that the containers they are stored in are sealed to keep air out. Some tips for storing some hard-to-keep foods:
- Green peppers can be chopped and frozen in a plastic bag for use as needed.
- To keep parsley fresh, wash gently in cool water, cut off the stem ends at an angle (as you would cut flowers), then stand the parsley stalks in a glass of cold water. Slip a plastic bag over the glass of parsley and store in the refrigerator. The parsley should keep for 10 days. Parsley can also be frozen. Just chop it up, store in a plastic container. And because it does not freeze completely, you can spoon out just the amount you need.
- Don’t slice a lemon when you only need a few drops of lemon juice. Instead, puncture it with a toothpick. The lemon will keep longer whole than halved.
Much of what gets thrown away in our kitchens can be used. Some tips for putting new life into items that usually get tossed out:
- Single rolls will be perfectly good if you spray them lightly with water, place them in a paper bag or bundle them loosely in foil, and warm in a 375 degree oven for about 7 minutes.
- Turn pickle juice into a salad dressing by mixing it with vegetable oil and some dried herbs. Use it to marinate thinly sliced cucumbers or beets.
- Save the nutritious water from cooked vegetables to use as a base for soup or a substitute for chicken or beef broth in recipes.
We all know that recipes are not carved in stone.You will enjoy them just as much if you use less expensive ingredients. A little experimentation can produce some wonderful tasty dishes that cost less than “the real thing”.
- Try using pork or lamb instead of beef; they are often cheaper per serving.
- If crab is too expensive, try tuna.
- Make your own natural food snacks from dried fruits and nuts.
Last night’s leftovers can be today’s main course, salad, or sandwich, or they can be frozen for use later as ingredients in soup or casseroles. Some tips to remind you of the many uses of leftovers:
Leftover vegetables can spoil more quickly than you might think. Either use them or freeze them right away.
- Mashed potatoes can be shaped into patties, roll in flour and dip in beaten egg and then in bread crumbs, and cook 2 minutes on each side.
- Cold cooked vegetables make a great salad. Just toss with dressing.
- Freeze leftover vegetables to use in casseroles or soup.
5. Poultry, Meats, Fish
A number of recipes I make are using leftover chicken and turkey, beef or pork. Some ways to use these leftovers:
- Dice cooked chicken for use in soups, salads, sandwiches, or chicken pot pie.
- Chopped chicken, turkey or leftover beef mixture is great in spaghetti.
- Turn leftover spaghetti sauce into chili by adding pinto beans, onions, beef and chili powder.
6. Dairy Products
Lots of people are not sure what to do with the other half of an egg where the recipe calls for egg yolks but not the whites, or vice versa.
- To saved unused egg whites, freeze them in ice cube trays, one white per segment. They will thaw easily for later use in angel food cakes, meringues, macaroons, and soufflés.
- Use uncooked egg yolks for making mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, or custards.
You can definitely cut back on your utility bills with efficient use of your kitchen appliances. You’ll find, over a period of time, the small savings will add up.
- Your oven will do double duty if you cook two items rather than one whenever possible.
- Turn off the oven after most of the cooking is done. There will still be enough heat to finish things off.
- If you have an electric stove, be sure the bottoms of your pots are smooth and lie flat on the stove.
- Put a lid on the saucepan when you are boiling water. The water will come to a boil faster.
- Whenever possible, use your toaster oven or electric skillet instead of the oven.
- Whenever possible, cook stews, pot roasts on top of the stove instead of the oven.