Tuesday, July 6, 2010

$tolen Post-Tip Hero commentary on Cooking

I have been out of town on a yoiuth mission trip...sorry I was unable to post
I hope you enjoy this stolen post from a Tip Hero reader. I don't agree with all the tips...but you may find something of value for yourself!

Saving Money on meals

1) EAT what you cook, prepare, or buy ready-made. You'd be surprised how much gets wasted. And I mean all of it, not most of it. When the kids or the spouse want something new, just look at them sympathically and say "I'd love to make some choc chip cookies, but I can't until we finish the ones we have open". Or, "I'd love to make you some hot dogs a'la BBQ sauce, but we have to get rid of that dab of pasta first." DON'T stick it in the freezer, that's just a way of fooling yourself into thinking you'll use it later; it wastes plastic bags, and delays the inevitable throwing away, when you'll feel virtuous for 'cleaning out the freezer' and 'getting organized'!!

2) Get creative with the leftovers. Personally I found a HUGE amount of dessert items went out the back door to supplement the wildlife. Crush cookies NO ONE will eat for a crumb crust, or make yogurt parfaits, or sprinkle over ice cream. Make mini-ice cream sandwiches. That one leftover hot dog can be cut up thinly, added to a can of any kind of beans, and give one big eater or two small ones lunch. Serve over that one last stale hot dog bun.

3) Learn to cook. This sounds obvious, but it often goes unmentioned. You might think you can cook; can you really? Know how to make a thick white sauce? Because that's all cream soups are. Start with simple things you really can't screw up, experiment with those, and move on to one new dish a week if you can afford it.

4) Ramen noodles. Enough said.

5) Rice. If you can't afford to waste that buck and a half on screwing up a meal because you can't cook rice (and some of us can't), then use instant. The nutritional difference isn't huge.

6) When making things like hamburger helper, double the noodles & sauce but only use one pound of burger. Just break it up very fine while cooking and add some canned peas or other veggie to flesh out the dish.

7) When you can possibly afford it, hit Goodwill for kitchen gear. Lots of people never learn to cook because they can't afford the tools needed to do so. Tin foil only works for so much!

8) Can't afford a ham? Pick up a little canned one at the Dollar stores for about $2.50. They're pretty salty, but used in other dishes it evens out. Learn to live with generic Spam, canned Jack Mackerel, Tuna. Chopped up, those little canned ham products can stretch further than rubber bands.

9) Shop in your own pantry and Fridge. What is about to go South on you? Use up those carrots, that one bell pepper, the half of the onion that isn't soft and sprouting a hail-mary offspring. There---you have some ingredients for an omelette or hearty scrambled eggs. Can't afford eggs? Saute' those veggies & put'em in beans or rice. Oila', instant rice pilaf.

10)Stop throwing away stale bread or the heels. Spread with butter, sprinkle some sugar, broil for seconds & instant cinnamon toast. Kids love that stuff. They just have to be fed. They don't have to have gourmet breakfasts.

11) Don't let friends, family, or others embarrass you into doing things you just can't afford.

12) Find an elderly lady who is willing to give you kitchen advice. LISTEN.

13) When you're really, really busted, Ramen noodles & hot dogs will get you through the week. Spring for a package of cheese if you can afford it. Personally, I am from Kentucky, and have spent many an evening eating beans and cornbread.

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