Sunday, December 21, 2008

Healthy, Money-Saving Cooking Tips

This is a list of healthy, money-saving cooking tips that I share when I speak to groups about cooking.  I have collected these tips through reading and my own cooking experiences.  I am constantly adding to it and I will try to post new ideas as I come across them.  I hope this list is as helpful to you as it is to me.
  • Use Dry Milk:  I don't use this for my regular drinking milk.  I tried to substitute it and it did not go over well.  However, my mom's family used this regularly at one point when my grandma was concerned over the cleanliness of the local dairy's milk bottles, so it can be done.  I mainly use it in recipes that call for milk.  It takes 1/3 cup dry milk and 1 cup of water to get a cup of milk.  When I make muffins, I'll add the appropriate amount of dry milk to my dry ingredients and then use water instead of milk when mixing the wet ingredients.  I also use it for white sauces and cream soups.
  • Buy fresh and in-season foods.  Personally, I try to shop the local farmer's markets and community supported agriculture to support the local economy (when I can).  To find a farmer's market or CSA near you, visit the Local Harvest web site.
  • Watch for and take advantage of sales.
  • Make a white sauce instead of using creamed soups in recipes (I'll post a good substitue for condensed soups later.  It can be found in the More with Less cookbook).
  • Avoid processed foods.
  • Use more recipes that call for beans (canned or dried).
  • Use foods wisely (i.e. use leftover bones to make your own broth).
  • Use broth instead of water for rice for added nutritional value.
  • Make your own broth from meat bones and carrot, onion, and celery scraps and freeze it for use in future recipes (another recipe I plan on posting later).
  • Freeze leftovers for future meals/lunches instead of letting them go to waste in the fridge.
  • Use more rice.
  • Use less meat.  As a culture (American), we tend to eat more meat/protein than we need to.
  • Eat more grains, fruits, and veggies.  I know, we hear this all the time!  If you take a close look at your food prices though, you will notice that pound for pound these are cheaper than meat.  Yet we over-eat meat and eat too few fruits and veggies.
  • Cook from scratch as much as possible.
  • Buy in bulk and cook multiple meals at once, or double/triple a recipe and freeze extra for future meals.
  • Snack less and snack on healthy foods when you do snack.
  • Reduce desserts.  They increase your grocery bill and we eat more than we should as it is.  Try saving them for special occassions.  If you are really craving a dessert, try fruit.  It will help satisfy your sweet tooth and it is a healthy alternative.
  • Purchase store brands over name brands.  The quality is frequently the same.

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