Food and kitchen tools and supplies can be a major part of the family budget. This is a guide containing frugal kitchen tips and tricks.
I am dependent on a small monthly check for all my outgoings. Recently, I realized that I had absolutely no money left AT ALL and ten days to go before that check arrived. At first I wondered how I would eat. Then I sorted out my cupboards and it was a revelation to me that I actually had plenty of food on hand. I just had to be more creative as to how I used it.
Canned tomatoes have been a great help. Fortunately I had quite a few of those and they have provided pasta sauces, soups, and even a stew (with a small amount of beef I found at the back of the freezer and my last remaining cloves of garlic). Instead of buying bread, I've been using up my stocks of rolled oats and having delicious porridge for breakfast, sprinkled with blackberries I picked last year and froze. Frozen peas have gone into pasta sauces and soup. With my last two eggs, I made a Spanish omelet with onion and potato.
Today for lunch I had red lentils simmered with a stock cube, a bit of the slightly withered leek at the bottom of the fridge, and half a tin of sweetcorn - and it was delicious, with some mint from the garden snipped on top. I've been stewing prunes too from the TWO bags I discovered I had bought at a discount months ago and had forgotten about. When my four year old nephew came round yesterday, we had hot chocolate made with powdered milk - even better than the fresh kind!
I now have three days to go and stores are running low. But I haven't spent one single penny for a week and I've discovered how much wonderful food I've already got and how a little bit of ingenuity is a useful challenge.
By Lucy from Oxford, UK
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I know exactly what you mean...I've had to search the cupboards for the same reasons. Ingenuity is our friend. I remember really craving something sweet and realising we were several days away from a payday. Lo and behold! There was a cake mix at the back of the cabinet and powdered sugar. Add butter and there's a frosted cake! It was delicious and we had desert for several nights thereafter!
Thank you for sharing your story.
Looking into my pantry and frig top freezer, I am inspired by this post to try to live out of both for the rest of this month - and it's only the 9th! I will have to purchase a few perishables, but I would like to spend as little as possible. When my children were young and funds were tight, and sometimes very tight, "mother-love" propelled and inspired me to be very creative with meal planning; those are the meals that have become my children's favorites! There were times it seemed a bit like 'the loaves and the fishes,' as there didn't seem to be enough to make a meal, yet I began and by the time I finished, low and behold, dinner was on the table. I mentioned it once to my own Mother, and she knew immediately what I meant. (They raised 9 children thru the Great Depression, WWII, and the lean years following). God blessed them with 20 years of peace-filled, happy and loving retirement together :)
I've been dismayed for years at the unspeakable waste in our country, esp. food while so many still go hungry. While my actions this month won't change all that, it will make a difference to me and to how I choose to live.
My mom grew up in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains with six brothers and sisters. Her father died before she was a teenager, leaving her mother with no income to feed a large family. Meat was a rare and precious commodity in their home - they mostly ate meals made from their garden harvest.
If you are in a hurry and need a funnel just double a sheet of aluminum foil and then roll in a funnel shape. It works for me!
You can also cut off the corner of a envelope and that will also work.
By Dorothy from New Creek, WV
I really do not like any posting involving aluminum foil. It is expensive to buy and it is expensive to produce using the highest proportion of energy of any synthetic product.
Please do not use it for such a frivolous activity, especially as you say an envelope also works, and is recyclable.
If you buy the foil @ the Dollar Tree, it is not a costly item. Tthe envelope is for dry items. Use the foil for wet items.
When I make beef stew, I will freeze 1/4 of the stew. I later use this to make a pot pie to have with a salad. Also, I will take left over chili, roll out biscuits, and make individual pies. I also fill the pies with cheese.
This might seem like a little thing, but I was tired of not being able to get the last of the chocolate syrup out of the squeeze container, frugalista that I am. You know that awful spitting that it does at the end and it splatters all over your clothes and the kitchen walls? Aggravating, right?
Next time you think no more will come out without the awful spitting, unscrew the top and pour some milk in, then put the top back on - tightly. Now shake like crazy (the container that is) and pour into a glass. Fill the rest of the glass with milk and enjoy.
By Gloria from western NY
My pleasure, Maryeileen.
Another way is to pour in a little hot milk, then shake well.
A corner cut from an envelope and pierced at the point makes a good funnel for filling salt and pepper shakers.
I love a certain mug for just about everything from soup to stew, ramen and hot beverages. But sometimes, I have to wait for a toasted sandwich, toast, etc.
Using my favorite and best cooking pot, I put some green beans on to cook and went to the computer to check the weather while the strings beans were coming to a boil. Next thing I knew, the smoke alarm was blaring...
It is easier and more efficient to plan your menus rather than cook whatever comes to mind. When you plan your menu out, it is easier to keep your meals balanced and healthy, and to plan for variety.
These might be well known to some of us "sage" cooks, but here's hoping they help those new to the wonderful world of cooking!
Today, I tried the spaghetti server to take the cabbage from the steamer. It works better than anything else I have tried because of the longer handle.
If you're in a bind, you can make a quick, disposable colander by punching holes in an aluminum pie plate and bending it a bit to the shape you need. This is especially useful for picnics and camping.
I had a pasta sauce jar that wouldn't open, no matter what I did. Out of desperation, I tapped it lightly with a rubber mallet. It worked!
When I make dressing, it's usually in a round bowl like this. Once it's down to just enough for a smaller salad, I don't bother trying to scrape enough out and messy up another bowl.
One of the most frugal tools in your kitchen is the rubber spatula. I use it when I have gravies, pasta sauce, etc. You would be shocked at the amounts of sauce, etc are left in the jar after pouring it out By using the rubber spatula you can clean out all the excess clinging to the can or jar. My husband even got him a set of rubber spatulas to clean out paint cans.
My elderly friend pierces 3 small holes at the other end of the carton, away from the opening. He says that this will stop that awful splutter of liquid from going everywhere when you open these types of cartons.