Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cheap Cooking Tips

By: Tash Hughes

When you are operating on a budget, every cent can be important. It is not easy to make a little money go very far, but we all need to eat to survive and to enjoy life.

Enjoyable food does not have to be caviar, champagne and gourmet; as long as it is fresh and full of flavor, food can add pleasure to even the tightest budget.

Here are some simple tips for eating well on a budget:

1. Splash out and buy a few herbs and garlic. You can add a lot of flavor and interest to any meal by adding a pinch of herbs or a clove of garlic rather than adding commercial sauces or frying the food.

2. Visit your butcher towards the end of trade, especially the end of trade before a weekend, as they often reduce prices to sell things quickly. This also applies to green grocers and bakeries.

3. Buy in bulk for non-perishables such as tinned tomatoes, oil, vinegar and pasta – but check that the bulk price really is less than the usual price.

4. Grab opportunities. For instance, if you see a box of tomatoes very cheap take them home and make huge batches of pasta sauce to freeze for later use. If you make chutney, jam or preserves this can be a very effective way of eating delicious food for less.

5. Learn to cook only the amount needed or be sure to use leftovers otherwise you are wasting money when you throw out the uneaten portions.

6. You may be surprised to find that homemade soups are quick and easy to make, fill you up and cost less than a take away meal would. Try some chicken stock, water and a tin of creamed corn, or boil some bacon bones and split peas. It really is that simple!

7. Use every part of the food that you can. For instance, keep all chicken bones and then boil them up to make chicken stock. You can add onions and other vegetables as you make stock, but you do not have to. Once made, the stock can be used as chicken soup or form the base of other soups and casseroles. Chicken stock adds a lot of flavor to dishes and this homemade stock is much cheaper than stock powders and the like.

8. Grow some herbs and veggies in the garden or pots. The result is fresh and tasty food that costs practically nothing, yum!

9. Buy generic products instead of branded ones, and shop around. Some generic items will not suit your taste so it is then worth paying more for another brand – it is not a saving if you buy the cheaper item and do not eat it.

10. Look out for discount shops and discount racks in major stores. You will often find perfectly good food here that is close to the use by date so they want to sell them quickly. As long as you use the product soon, you will not notice the difference between it and an unreduced item. Remember that the use by date is actually a guide so many foods are fine for a period beyond those dates anyway.

11. Be willing to experiment. Use a little imagination, some left overs and herbs to create some great meals. If you have a collection of left overs, serve them up like a smorgasbord and enjoy the variety!

12. Find some simple recipes that you are happy to eat once a week or so, even if they are a bit less exciting. One very cheap meal a week may allow for one delicious not-so-cheap meal a week, too. Noodles with some veggies, scrambled eggs with tomato, spaghetti with yoghurt and garlic, toasted cheese sandwiches and baked potatoes with cheese and ham on top are some basics you can fall back on.

Bio: Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions and is available to solve all your business writing problems! From letters to policies, newsletters to web content, Word Constructions writes all business documents to your style and satisfaction.

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