Planning Makes a Little Go a Long Way
By choosing the right recipes and planning ahead, you can economize while treating your whole family to delicious and healthy homemade dishes. Planning your meals ahead is smart and fun and makes it easy to use up leftovers. Plan shopping, buy in bulk to generate even more savings.
Choose Inexpensive Ingredients
Choose in season, inexpensive but nutrient-rich produce, such as carrots, sweet potatoes or cabbage. In off season, canned vegetables, such as tomatoes or artichokes, or frozen vegetables are also cost-effective and full of vitamins. Flavorful stews or curries with pulses will satisfy the hungriest palate.
Meat is often expensive. Try to minimize the role of meat in your menus by decreasing the quantity and serving it as an additional bonus on top. You can stretch it out to feed more people if you grind it and serve it in meatloaf, meatballs, dumplings, hamburgers or empanadas.
Substitute expensive ingredients, particularly if you will not use up the whole packet. For instance, if your risotto recipe requires 2 oz wine, you don’t have to open a bottle: with 1.5 oz water and 1 oz vinegar, you’ll get the right acidity needed for the dish to sparkle. Avoid investing in saffron for a recipe where it is not the star ingredient; in most cases turmeric will do the job quite well. Be creative: you may discover you love your tomato sauce with parsley even more than with basil.
Make Your Own Staples
Buy your staple ingredients in bulk and transform them as you need, stretching the budget. Confectioner’s sugar made at home from ordinary granulated sugar is less expensive than store-bought and you save space by only storing one ingredient. Buy spices whole, as they keep fresh longer than ground. You can make your own Greek yogurt simply by draining plain yogurt through a cheesecloth, saving even more if you make it yourself. Proudly serve your own homemade bread, made from low-cost ingredients.
Waste Not, Want Not
Use overripe red peppers and carrots that are no longer crisp and give them a second life by adding them to a soup or to a vegetable and potato purée for color and flavor. Zero-waste tastes good when cooked right. If your Gruyère has become too strong to serve after dinner, cut it up in smaller pieces and freeze it. Next time you need grated cheese, grate the frozen cheese directly in Thermomix®. Finally, don’t throw out the stale bread: grind into bread crumbs and store in the freezer.
Batch Cook and Freeze Portions
Take advantage of promotions on ingredients, buy larger quantities and prepare extra portions to freeze and enjoy later. Freeze stews in individual portions to make a delightful and easy packed lunch. Cookie doughs and pastry are made in an instant in Thermomix® and freeze beautifully. Portion and bake when ready and never buy store-bought again.
Use the Weekly Planner
Our weekly meal planner can help you get organized and save money. Search for recipes on Cookidoo® that use ingredients you already have, build your menus around them, and only shop for the missing essentials. With a clear plan in mind you won’t be tempted to purchase unnecessary items that might go to waste in your kitchen.
Here are a few recipes that are delicious and budget-friendly. Make sure to bookmark them and start planning your meals around them. Next time you want to cook, all you have to do is look in My Recipes or My Week to find them.