I gauge good recipes by the ingredients listed in the recipe. I do not like to have to go to the store and purchase a spice that I will only use for one recipe. I have tried to make sure the ingredients are the ones you have in your pantry.
Speaking of pantries, there are a few things that are essential for your pantry and these are items that you can buy in bulk, on sale and store safely for long periods of time.
Flour, yeast, salt, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, corn meal, cocoa, vanilla extract, cooking oil (canola or olive), spices, honey, powdered milk, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips (store in plastic bag), nuts, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, canned meats (tuna, salmon, chicken, etc), rice (store box in plastic bag), dried pasta, beans, peanut butter, jelly, jam, tomato based products (sauce, paste, stewed or crushed, diced), popcorn, ketchup and mustard (unopened).
Your refrigerator can store: eggs, hard boiled eggs, cheeses, sour cream, refrigerator biscuits, soy sauce, hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, jars of olives, salad dressings and tortilla shells.
Your freezer can store: taco shells, wraps, flatbread pizza, pie crusts, bags of frozen veggies and cheeses.
Buy fruits and veggies in season fresh. They are less expensive and healthier.
Plan your meals in advance and try and not go to the market without a list and your coupons.
Avoid buying items such as detergent, shampoo, napkins, toothpaste and tissues in a supermarket. These are cheaper at the dollar store, discount warehouses.
Purchase cheaper cuts of meat and cook them in a crockpot. This makes even the cheapest cut of meat tender and juicy.
Use leftovers for soups. Just put them in a plastic zip lock bag and freeze. Even the smallest amount of leftover veggies can be added to soups and stir fries.
Go out to eat for lunch instead of dinner. Lunch menus have much lower prices.
Look for coupons in your Sunday newspaper and take them when you shop. Take the ones for brands you don't use and try a new brand--with cents off !
Plan purchases in advance. Shopping with a list is a good idea not only for groceries, but for household items and clothing. Scan the store ads for items you need and some stores match prices of other stores. You can shop at one store and get most of what you want at the sale price of another store.
You will spend less if you use cash. Sounds crazy, but seeing the actual cash used for a purchase is more sobering than handing over a piece of plastic and less shocking when the bill comes due.
My method of cooking stems from my grandmother. She cooked using a "handful" of this and a "smidge" of that. It took me many batches of biscuits to the get the handful of flour correct. I was determined to master this skill. I practiced so much that today, I can measure a teaspoon of sugar for my coffee using my palm. My recipes are ones that I make for my family. They are from my love of cooking and my even deeper love of simple recipes. My recipes are basic and use everyday ingredients in your pantry No need to run to the store for my ingredients.
A neat trick when using tomato paste in the little cans. Use a can opener to open the the and the bottom. When you open the bottom, open it in the center of a large bowl. The paste will just slide out. The amount of water needed per can is a scant 3/4 cup. A little word of caution. Be sure to count your bottoms and tops when using more than one. I used three for a large batch of spaghetti. I was stirring in the water and found a bottom !
Wash all fruits and vegetables under running water-even the ones with rinds you plan to cut off.
Use separate cutting boards for fish and poultry than you use for fruits and veggies. If not, use a wooden one that you can sterilize.
Refrigerate or freeze prepared foods within 2 hours of end of meal.
In refrigerator, ground meat and poultry will last safely for 1-2 days. Cooked ground meat and poultry are good for 3-4 days. After that, freeze for safe storage.
Uncooked meat and poultry can be frozen for 3-4 months and cooked meats and poultry can be stored in freezer for 2-3 months.
Red bell peppers are really riper green peppers and contain twice the vitamin C.
For a hint of garlic in your salad, cut a clove of garlic in half and rub on the inside of the salad bowl.
Chocolate cake is tastier when you dust the cake pans with cocoa instead of flour before you pour in the batter.
Cool cakes completely before frosting. Cake will be more solid and the icing will lay better.
Freeze tomato paste in ice cube trays and them transfer to Ziploc for those recipes that require a tablespoon of tomato paste.
Peaches can be de-skinned with a potato peeler.
Put flour in a Ziploc bag and use a whisk. Will aerate and make measuring more accurate.
Pizza cutters can be used to cut cooked spaghetti, French toast, waffles and pancakes into bite size pieces for your kids.
I will be adding more later, recipes from my friends. They may not be as cost efficient or cheap to prepare as mine, but every now and then you need to splurge--it is good for the soul. And if you save money preparing my quick and inexpensive meals, and using my tips and tricks on this site, there will be money left to make a special meal sometime.
Here are a few of my personal recipes for fabulous meals that are flavorful, tasty and will save you money for that expensive lunch you can now have!
Copywriter: Karen B. Cardwell 2012. Email me at: cradwell.kc@Gmail.Com
Tweet me at: Karen Cardwell@blairie12.
Original Artwork Images by Tom Wilson.