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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.

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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

Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml

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15 More Solutions

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Patti McKenna
April 28, 2006

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.

Scattering of dried pinto beans with red peppers and cilantro. Cooking Dried Beans

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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!

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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?

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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!

Eggs with marks to show the oldest ones.

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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.

Seal a Soup Mug

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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.

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June 7, 2005

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.

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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...

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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.

A bowl with surimi, cauliflower and dehydrated cranberries.

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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!

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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.

Piercing Cartons for Easy Pouring

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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.

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I love these cylindrical drink bottles. They not only hold a lot of liquid, but other things like rice, pasta, oatmeal, etc. Being a lover of hot cereal at night, I hated to put the cereal in a measuring cup then having to wash it. So I came up with this wonderful idea.

A drink bottle being used for hot cereal.

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September 20, 2007

1. When using the vacuum sealer to keep meat fresh that I buy on sale, I often find that I need to stack things in the bag like hamburgers. Instead of using wax paper, I use the leftover small parts of vacuum sealer bag to separate the layers of meat.

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April 19, 2013

This is a page about using kitchen utensils in unusual ways. Many of us have grabbed a kitchen tool and used it successfully in ways other than the one for which it was intended.

Kitchen Utensils

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