In today’s economy, it seems everyone is looking for ways to cut back. The problem is, most people don’t know where to start. If you’re looking to cut back, I suggest starting in the kitchen. There are multiple way to save money in the kitchen, and you can tailor how you cut your food budget so it doesn’t impact your lifestyle.
If you eat a lot of convenience foods, you can save time and money by doubling each recipe you cook and freezing half for those busy (or tired) nights. If you are attached to eating meat with every meal, focus on cutting your use of paper products or expensive side dishes. You can save a lot of money by making small changes. You put in minimal effort and get maximum savings! Don’t believe me? Here are some things I do to save money in the kitchen, and my family doesn’t even notice.
I've included a Homemade Bisquick recipe at the bottom of this article.
2. Use less meat. By weight, meat of any kind is the most expensive part of your meal. You should try to use less of it. Notice I didn’t say cut out all meat. In fact, you don’t even need to make meatless meals. If a recipe calls for a pound of ground beef, try cutting back to 3/4 lb. or even 1/2 lb. I use between 1/2 and 3/4 lb. meat for every pound in the recipe for all of my casseroles.
3. Buy spices in bulk. Spices are incredibly expensive as well as those little pre-packaged taco/meatloaf/chili seasoning packets. I purchased a large bottle of taco seasoning at Costco a few years ago for about $6.00 and still have 1/2 a bottle left..I keep it in a dark cabinet and it tastes just as good as when it was purchased. My advice is to figure out which spices or pre-packaged mixes you normally use and invest in bulk sizes/or from bulk bins. Don’t waste your money on fancy little spice jars. Costco has high quality spices at low prices when figured by the ounce cost...your checkbook will thank you! Dollar stores and ethnic grocery stores are also a great place to search.
4. Skip the paper. Begin using cloth napkins and dish towels in place of their paper counterparts. Besides being better for the earth you will save money. You can find both inexpensively at yard sales. I found a stack of napkins at a yard sale last year and a dozen pack of bar towels from Costco. The cloth napkins and towels are so small, they only add a little bit to our weekly laundry cost.
5. Eat leftovers. Much of the money that is wasted in the kitchen is from food that is tossed out. If you know that leftovers won't be eaten then why not immediatley freeze whatever is left over? You will have a convienant dinner, lunch or snack ready for you when you don't feel like cooking. Also consider stocking up on item like eggs, salad greens, and tacos. These are great “left-over” extenders. Eggs can be used with many left-overs to make great omlettes. Left-over meat and vegetables can be added to salad greens to make a dinner salad for the next night, and meat and vegetable left-overs can be combined with cheese to make great tacos.
6. Outlet stores. Search your local area for a bread or canned foods outlet or a food co-op. If you have a freezer you can purchase bread at huge savings from an outlet and freeze until ready to use. For additional savings consider purchasing produce that is in season or pick up some dented cans of food.
7. Make a menu. Try to use what is the pantry when making the menu, and then make a list of the items you need to pick up. I have saved tremendously by menu planning. Plus when you do this you can incorporate expected leftovers such as turning leftover roast into beef stew the next night or roast beef sandwiches, etc.
It can take a bit of work, but you can save a ton of money on groceries if you’re willing to put in a little time.
What are your favorite tips for cutting the grocery bill?
9 cups flour
1 1/2 cups non-fat dry milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cups vegetable shortening (Crisco)
Mix this biscuit mix up in advance and keep in an airtight container on the pantry shelf. No need to refrigerate. Use in any recipe that calls for store-bought biscuit mix. Keeps for up to 3 months.
It's important that the ingredients be very well mixed. In a very large bowl, stir together all ingredients except Crisco until very well combined. Cut in the Crisco using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Store in airtight container. If a leaner mixture is desired, or you prefer to add some butter when making the biscuits up, the shortening may be reduced by 1 to 3 tablespoons.
Cooks Tip: Leave a 1 cup plastic measure in the container for easy measuring.
2 1/4 cups biscuit mix
2/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Combine ingredients and mix for 30 seconds or just until mixture comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured board; knead 10 times and cut into rounds using a floured biscuit cutter. Arrange biscuits on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 7-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown (depends upon size of biscuits).
2 cups biscuit mix
1 cup milk or buttermilk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Combine ingredients mixing together with a fork or whisk. Pour a small circle of batter onto a hot griddle or skillet brushed with butter or oil; flip pancakes when tiny bubbles begin to form around edges and bake second side until cooked through. Serve with melted butter and syrup.
Yield: 10-15 pancakes (depends upon size).
2 cups biscuit mix
1 1/4 cups milk or buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat waffle maker according to manufacturer's instructions; spray waffle maker with non-stick spray before heating.
Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Pour onto hot waffle maker and close cover (fill only the center - the mixture will expand). Bake until mixture stops steaming or until desired doneness. Remove from waffle maker and serve with melted butter, syrup or jam, or sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Note: If batter is too thin, add another tbsp. biscuit mix; if batter is too thick, add another tbsp. milk or water.