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Tightwad top ten: ways to save in the kitchen

In Tightwad's house, the kitchen is an area in particular that seems to drain our budget. Here are some ideas to help tighten the reins.

10. Save veggie peelings by popping them in a Ziploc bag and into the freezer. When you are ready to make some stock (read: after Thanksgiving when you are staring down a huge turkey carcass), they are a good go-to for adding flavour and nutrition.

9. Reduce the weekly grocery bill and make your own bread - lots of room for creativity here! Along these lines, don't discard old bread ends... they could either a) provide a fun outing to the duck pond for the kids or b) be used to make croutons for your next salad or soup.

8. Buy in-season fresh fruit in bulk and make your own jams, jellies and chutneys. This way you can control the amount of sugar in them and they are easy to bling out with pretty ribbon for quick hostess gifts.

7. Why stop at just composting citrus peels? If you grate orange and lemons before peeling, you can store the zest in a covered jar and have it on hand for adding some zing to salad, baked goodies, dressings or marinades.

6. As everyone knows, bananas ripen before you know it. Put them in the freezer when they are too ripe to eat and you can use them for baking banana bread.

5. Much cheaper than buying fresh milk, consider experimenting by substituting powdered milk in recipes that call for regular.

4. Try bulk cooking to save money on grocery bills, as well as having prepared meals ready in a pinch (Tightwad finds this especially handy for when she is reaching for the take-out menus).

3. Skip expensive flavoured vinegars - they are easy to make if you have an herb garden or a great farmer's market nearby where you can get bunches of herbs for next to nothing. The same can be said for making your own loose teas and gourmet dried seasonings.

2. Leave the expensive breakfast cereals on the grocery shelf and serve hot and healthy oatmeal instead - it's a fraction of the price and much better for you.

1. Introduce yourself to the crock-pot you got for a wedding gift. Buy less expensive cuts and choose slow cooking recipes to create healthy, hearty and delicious dinners.

Speaking of slow cooking, when you spy a fridge drawer full of root vegetables on their last legs, chop them up, throw them in a roasting dish with a light layer of olive oil, a lashing of balsamic vinegar and some salt 'n' pepper, and roast away. Roasting also works well with tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, mushrooms and asparagus (asparagus should be parboiled first). Roasting keeps the veggies longer if you don't use them that day and makes a great pizza topping, omelette, quiche or panini filling, or tossed in a cold salad. Yum - time for lunch!

This was previously published as a guest post on Foodie Mommie on July 11, 2010.


LisaDay said...

I am glad you found my blog so I could find yours.


Team Chastain said...

We are an oats loving family, and all during summer, we eat it Swedish Muesli style, which is to put 1/2 cup of whole, rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind) into a bowl, then pour in 1 cup of milk of your choice (we use Almond milk) -- cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight. In the morning, you can add whatever sweetener you'd like, toss in a handful of blueberries and almonds, or whatever, and enjoy. Lots of folks around the world enjoy raw oats this way, and they are delicious and very healthy. Cheers!

Sherri said...

Great tips here.

Kate Murphy said...

Love the idea of saving veggie scraps for stock. I always save my roast chicken scraps for that reason but it never occurred to me to save the veggies too! Love the milk idea- I've had powdered milk in my pantry forever, maybe it is time to give it life. Great tips! Thanks for joining my community too!

Thrift Boss said...

That's great frugal living advice for the kitchen! I would add that first and foremost, mastery over a wide variety of cooking techniques gives you freedom from recipe books.

Recipe books can be treacherous, in that you always need to run out for an ingredient that you don't have. This makes for wasted gas, time and increases your risk of an impulse buy at the grocery store.

The more you know about cooking, the more you can make it happen in the kitchen, no matter what the ingredients. Roasting, braising, sauteing, frying, poaching, preserving, curing, grilling, butchery, blanching and so many more: are all it takes to produce you own frugal recipes daily. By the way, the carrots above look very delicious!

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