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How to Make The Most From Your Ingredients

How to Make The Most From Your Ingredients

How to Make the most from your ingredients

Everyone has a budget nowadays and there are a bunch of pages on the web related to this subject so I won’t re-invent the wheel.
This article "How to Make the Most from your Ingredients" and others like it, is something anyone who cooks should read at least once.
Free information like this can help to save you money.

For my business, and like every other business; every penny counts, yet I still have to maintain an excellent quality of cuisine while not appearing to skimp. 

My food costs are at, what I would call, an acceptable percentage despite the cost of produce escalating. If I’m not careful food costs can get out of hand quickly which can lower profit margins. Likewise, if you have a tight personal budget it’s a good idea to keep tabs on what you are spending your food money on before ending up in difficulty.

I talk about my business and the costs associated with the catering of it but I, like a lot of others, have a fairly tight personal budget and so the things I mention on here are also applicable to everyday kitchen management.

For most of us there are never enough hours in the day to do what needs to get done besides thinking about how to save money in the kitchen; so not all of the things I have written will apply to everyone but if you have the time then not only will you save money but your dishes will be healthier than before.

Decoration and food presentation go a long way towards a dining experience regardless if it is for a paying guest or not.
I definitely subscribe to the “good looks are half the battle” saying.


 

 


15 Ways to Make the Most of Your Ingredients:

1. Get back into cooking! 

There are many people out there whose easy option is to buy pre-packaged food, shove it in the oven and that’s dinner. 
By spending a bit of time preparing your own food, not only will you gain long lost skills, but also your dish will be way healthier.

2. Be inventive! 

Don’t be scared to try new things.  
Go where you have never been before and you’ll be amazed at what you can dream up.

3Know your prices

When you see a sale or special offer you’ll know if it’s worth buying it or not.
Don’t be fooled by the sign, the deal isn’t always a deal.

4Bulk-buy

Preferably when on sale.
Freeze, what can be frozen and take out when needed or store in a pantry until called for.

5. A little goes a long way

It’s not all about large portions.
If you need filling up then use more starch (potatoes, rice, pasta etc) but if your ingredients are good, fresh and flavorsome you shouldn’t need a ton of it to satisfy your appetite.

6. Buy a Mincer (Grinder)

You can then buy cheaper cuts of meat, mince them and know exactly what you are eating. 

Experiment with different kinds of burgers for summer bbq’s or meatballs for great pasta dishes.

7. Cheaper Meat

Get used to buying cheaper cuts of meat and learn how to make new dishes using old techniques, stewing, braising, using a pressure cooker etc.

8. Buy Big

Larger cuts of meat or whole chickens, cut them up and use them for different dishes; there’s more value for money.  

Example – Chicken:

Roast it whole then use the breasts for your recipe and reserve the rest for other dishes, starters etc (as above)

Cut off the breasts, legs, thighs and wings, use the breasts for your dish and you still have plenty of meat for other dishes.

Boil the carcass to make stock or soup

9. Offset your expensive items

If you do have an expensive item in your menu save costs by using cheaper produce to accompany it.

10. Use your vegetables smartly

Mushrooms - Use the top of the shrooms in dishes that are going to be visible – sauces etc and keep the stems for stuffing or dishes where they will be chopped up

Tomatoes – When slicing your toms keep the tops and bottoms for sauces or purees

Be sneaky - Carrots and courgettes are cheap as chips. If you find it hard to get veggies into your family diet try adding carrot or courgette (zucchini) to pasta or stir fries by using a Spiralizer.
It's a great tool for making the boring become exciting again.

Soups - Almost every vegetable can be used in a soup of some sort.
Invest in a Soup Recipe book and get cracking, they're not just cost effective they're tasty and healthy too.

Compost - Don't throw away skins, roots and other vegetable bits, get a composter and compost your veggie waste.
If you don't have a veg patch to out your compost on use it on your grass or in your flower beds and save money on fertilizer.

11. Hard Cheese

If you can’t eat the rind (i.e.: Parmesan) add it to a savory sauce like Bolognese, the flavor it gives is sublime.

12. Soft cheese and off cuts 

Put them in the freezer and when you have enough use them to make a sauce.
Just chop it up and whisk it in to a spot of hot milk, season and bob’s your uncle.

13. Over ripe fruit:

Coulis - Blend with a touch of sugar, add a splash of your favorite booze, pass through a sieve and freeze in small bags.
Instant coulis that will just need a stir when you need it.

Jams - Make a quick pot of jam or chutney – you don’t have to make 10 jars at a time, 1 is unique and you won’t have too much to get fed up with it.

Smoothies - Some fruit tastes better when it's a bit over ripe so why not benefit by making a healthy smoothie from it.

14. Tarts or Pies 

If you only need a couple of portions and don’t want to make individual ones buy or make a large one, take what you need, cut the rest into portions, freeze it and take out when you need it

15. Left over croissants (for those that have them!):

Breadcrumbs - Crumble into breadcrumbs for a rich and flaky coating.

Snacks - Slice through the middle, add a slice of ham and cheese, and whack it in the oven for a tasty snack or a breakfast treat.

Easy starters - Fill with a savory filling like creamy chicken and mushroom for a delish starter


 If you have any other ideas or would like to share your tips on How to Make The Most From Your Ingredients i'd love to hear them so feel free to post them below.
 
 

Drink This: 

Red wine boosts your memory apparently!

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