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Some of the best tips for frugal cooking include buying produce in season and purchasing weekly supermarket specials. For frugal healthy cooking, it's best to avoid processed and packaged foods as much as possible; these are typically expensive for their weight and contain excess sugar, fat and/or salt. Preparing cheap meals and stocking a pantry are other ways to achieve frugal cooking on a regular basis.
When coming up with cheap meal solutions, it's a good idea to first make a list of the household's favorite foods in each group such as proteins, dairy, fruit, vegetables and grains. It then makes it easier to plan meals by choosing items from different groups to create them. The most money saving way is to coordinate this with what is on sale at your local supermarkets. When your household's favorite items go on sale, stock as much as storage and "best before" dates will allow; having to throw food away negates the whole idea of frugal cooking. To avoid wasting food you buy, make weekly menus and be sure you'll be able to store, freeze or can any excess ingredients.
Buying fruits and vegetables in season for canning or freezing means that you'll be able to enjoy them year round. There won't be a need to buy expensive commercially frozen versions, or at least as much of them. Buying items such as meat and cheese on sale at discount warehouses or stores with good weekly sales can also aid the goal of frugal cooking. By dividing the large packages into smaller containers or freezer bags, and labeling everything with the date and what it is, you can always have a variety of foods on hand to thaw, cook and serve.
Stocking up on staples such as flour, sugar, rice and pasta when these items are on sale means that if you always try to have them on hand, it will allow you to prepare many frugally cooked dishes. For instance, if you keep the ingredients for the household's favorite baked goods on hand, there won't be as much temptation to buy commercially packaged treats. Home baking and frugal cooking are typically much healthier since the cook can control the amount of fat, sugar and salt in his or her dishes.
It's been a fun process to put together meals once a month and freeze them for when you need a quick meal on the run.
A friend of mine and I like to make about six or eight meals one night a month to freeze for later.
These meals come in so handy when we are busy driving our kids to and from their activities. We save so much money by not buying our kids junk food or fast food just because we're tired.
Some of these frugal cooking recipes include pre-made enchiladas, shepherd's pie, meatballs, quiches, and soups. We also make different flavored croutons to put on salads. It's a fun evening together and we share in the bounty. It's something we look forward to doing every month.
Cooking on a budget means keeping my pantry full of the items I need to create a variety of different recipes. Staying out of the grocery store for as long as possible saves me plenty of money.
Stocking up on dry goods with coupons or with a buy one, get one free coupon saves me more money.
When I need fruits and veggies (every week), I go to my local farm stand and get whatever is in season and stock up. I've learned that bananas and avocados can be frozen in their skins for later use.
Bananas are perfect for smoothies and can stay in the freezer for up to six months. We never eat them all when they're fresh, but we always seem to use them in frozen concoctions.
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