While we all think of how we shop as the main way to save money on our food budgets, there are things that you can do at home that will help trim your family food cost. By making some small changes in how you do things at home you can show significant savings in your overall food budget. Here are some cooking techniques that can save you money-
· Cook something every day. All you have to do is make soup one day or cook a roast on the weekend. You can put together a grain-based salad that will last several days. Just cook every single day. When you reach a point where the fridge is stocked with a few days of food you can then celebrate by cooking something special like brownies or muffins. The objective to this is to never be faced with cooking an entire meal from scratch, which is too overwhelming to contemplate at the end of a long workday.
· If you cannot cook every day then cook with regularity. Some home cooks have had good luck feeding their families by investing much of one weekend day cooking for the entire week. Whatever the rhythm that works in your particular circumstances, it’s done to avoid the vicious cycle of the drive-through and the convenience of carry-out and delivery. Keep in mind that the less we cook at home, the more we pay someone else in order to eat. The more we can cook at home, the more we can save.
· Recycle and repurpose your food. Remember that pot of soup you threw together? You can also make enough for lunches during the week and some for the freezer. That roast you cooked can give you enough for sandwiches and a casserole later in the week. And if you reach the end of the week and all that’s left are bits and pieces of more leftovers just make Saturday Soup!
· Extract all the value from the food you purchase. When you splurge on bacon, save the fat in a jar in the fridge: it adds great flavor to stews and eggs. When you roast a chicken, after supper throw the carcass into a pot with sliced onion, chopped celery and a bay leaf to make chicken stock. If there is not time after supper, you can place the carcass in a freezer bag and freeze for cooking on the weekend.
· Have a handful of recipes that feed your family “on air”. Some of these economical ideas are: cooked pasta tossed with cooked onion and frozen peas, quick tomato sauce, French eggs and oatmeal with peanut butter stirred in. Then the trick is to never allow your kitchen to be without one or more of these on hand.
· Turn pre-made into your own. There are so many simple items that can be whipped up quickly and economically from home. Love those small bags of trail mix? Try mixing dried fruit, nuts (that can be bought cheaply in bulk), chocolate candies and bag them in small bags for handy eating. You have not only saved on the costs of the ingredients but have cut down on paying for disposable packaging as well.
· Grow an herb garden. Even if you do not think you have a green thumb, growing herbs requires little skill. Simply determine what you will use the most. During the summer luxuriate in being able to snip fresh herbs into your food without paying the premium at the grocery store. When winter hits dry out your final harvest (instructions on many sites online) bottle them up and you can enjoy them all year long. Love the pre-made spice blends? Check online as there are many sites that offer the recipe to blend your own spices for better taste and significant savings.