Thursday, January 28, 2010

How I Save Money in the Kitchen

Prone to waste food, I try to pinch every penny in the kitchen. ... okay, not EVERY penny ... I throw away styrofoam plates when I use them, and use paper napkins ... but I'm pinching more pennies than before. The goal is improvement, not perfection.

Anyway, here are some of the little things I do that, I think, go a long way to stretch my grocery dollars:

  • limit chocolate milk.
    • My son loves chocolate milk, and would drink nothing else if I allowed it. For a long time I did allow it - it is milk after all, and he's a growing boy, right? Yes ... but we don't really need to drink ONLY chocolate milk. Now we do white milk mostly, and add water and juice to the selection too.
  • No more chocolate chips.
    • I'm baking more raisin cookies, pies, and healthy muffins. ...I thought I might go into severe shock and withdrawal without some source of chocolate in my house, but it's been fine. And, when I do need a chocolate fix (I used to climb into a bag of chocolate chips for that...) I bake a brownie. ... of course, having a giant Toblerone bar on hand from Christmas has really helped to take the edge off :)
  • Ration raisins in baking.
    • This one is a slow, sneaky process. I don't want to be cheap with raisins ("we eat oatmeal raisin cookies for the raisins!"), but I think I can use fewer raisins and still have a satisfied family. ... they haven't said anything so far ... :)
  • Use leftovers
  •  This one is big for me. I had no idea how much planning and creativity is required to fully use a meal (and subsequent leftovers). So, I'm working on better meal planning. If I plan to serve Ham Roast on Sunday, then Monday I can use some in sandwiches for lunch, chop and use in Quesadillas or pizza for supper, and freeze the remaining (chopped), for omelettes, quiche, or these Cheesy Apple Bacon Muffins.

These work for me so far. How about you? What are some ways you pinch pennies in the kitchen?


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