Friday, May 14, 2010

Do the Cooking

This is the next idea in the series for saving money on your grocery budget.  I start out with a disclaimer, lest you get the impression that we do not pull hot dogs, buns and fries out of the freezer on a regular basis.  We do.  And we eat mac and cheese out of the box etc.

However, it is important to remember that food is usually cheapest in the least processed form. Every processing step ups the price tag. For instance, I can pay $1.29 for 2 lbs of large carrots, or I can pay $2.50 for a 2 lb. bag of "baby" carrots, that are already peeled and cut. This is a tricky area, because we are trading time for money.  Time is worth money too, so if it is not worth it to you to peel carrots, fine.  But the general principle is sound and looking for things we can do, will allow us to save money.  Respect savings of a few cents, it all adds up in the end!

One of my favorite ways to apply this is with pre-cooking meat.  It is so convenient, but expensive to buy pre-cooked, frozen chicken breasts,  or pre-cooked bacon, or meat balls.  But all of these things are easy to cook at home, and you can freeze them for a later time.  Take a package of boneless, skinless chicken, season and bake. It takes almost no time for preparation, and you can be busy with something else while it bakes. When it is done, and cooled, you can package it in meal-sized portions, label and freeze.  I love to have already cooked chicken or ground beef in my freezer! 

Another way to do this is to make extra and freeze it.  Children at my house love cookies.  They will eat as many as I bake at any given time, but there are several recipes in my stash that make many dozen, so after I bake part of the dough, I take part and roll it into a log and wrap it in plastic wrap, and pop it in the freezer.  When the next cookie panic sets in, we pull it out, slice it while frozen and bake the exact same way as if it were not  frozen.  I even write the baking instructions on the package, so I don't have to look it up. Work once, eat twice or more. Now we have saved time and money (and, most importantly, we STILL HAVE COOKIES)!

Just some ideas to get you thinking.  I would love to hear how this works in your home!  I am always looking for new ideas too.  I will try to actively point out ways to apply this principle as I add to the blog, so look for them.

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If you are visiting, welcome! I am in the process of a Vulcan Mind Meld with my computer to put all of my right hand recipes for feeding my family on here as fast as possible. Please come back often and stay awhile. There are so many exciting things to come!

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A clearing house for all my favorite recipes. All my food musings. All my favorite cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. If you enjoy it here, and find it useful, welcome!