18 Tips For The Frugal Cook
By: Cyndi Roberts
When you make mashed potatoes, make an extra big batch and freeze leftovers in muffin cups. Once they are frozen transfer to a zipper bag. Just get out as many as you need and heat up in the microwave.
Use leftover beef stew to make beef potpie. Just put it into a shallow baking dish and place a pastry crust on top.
If you use applesauce to replace oil in baking, you can buy the large size jar. Pour leftover applesauce into a freezer container and freeze until the next baking day.
If your recipe says use an 11 x 7 x 2 inch pan and you don't have one, you can use your 9-inch square baking pan instead and you won't even have to adjust the baking time.
When you find chicken on sale, before you put it in the freezer, go ahead and coat it with seasoning mix. Then it's so easy to just remove as many pieces as you need to thaw and bake.
Check the prices at your grocery store: it may be cheaper to use squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate than chocolate chips, when your recipe calls for melted chips.
An easy way to drain browned ground beef is to brown it in the microwave oven in a microwave-safe colander, so the fat drains into another bowl underneath.
When making carrot cake or muffins, try using baby food carrots instead of regular grated carrots, to save time.
For a thrifty dip for fresh fruit, add a little brown sugar and some cinnamon to vanilla yogurt.
Write your grocery list on the back of a used envelope. Your coupons go inside the envelope and everything's handy!
Save your bacon grease to make a treat for your feathered friends this winter. Mix some birdseed in and put it in a shallow dish, maybe a leftover plastic meat tray, and place it in a handy place (for the birds) outside.
Adding a few grains of rice to your salt shaker will absorb moisture and reduce those clumps.
If you have school-age children, keep cupcakes in your freezer. When your child needs a treat for the next day, take them out and frost. You can even frost them while they're still frozen.
If your chocolate chip cookies spread out when you bake them, chill the dough for an hour or so before baking.
Buy your fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season and they will be cheaper.
Use frozen bread to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunches. Spread peanut butter on one slice and jelly on the other. The sandwich will be thawed by lunchtime and the jelly won't soak in.
Do you need chunks of pineapple for a recipe and all you have is a can of pineapple slices? An easy way to make chunks is: take the top off the can and use a sharp knife to just cut through all the slices at once at several intervals.
Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the "1 Frugal Friend 2 Another" bi-weekly newsletter, featuring creative ideas and tips to help you "live the good life...on a budget!" Visit http://www.cynroberts.com/ to download a free "Recipe Sampler". Subscribe to the newsletter and receive the free e-course "Taming the Monster Grocery Bill".