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.
3. Know 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.
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.