Cooking on a budget

 
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Cooking on a budget

10/07/2018 20:11:47

In South Africa, it is time to learn how to cook on a budget. With great weekly specials from all major retailers, this can be a breeze. Check out some tips below for cooking on a budget.

 

1. Embrace meal planning.

Planning meals and snacks ahead is essential. We talk all the time about having a mindful plan for your meals and your groceries, and for good reason — it's so simple, yet the payoff is huge. When you have a plan, you'll cook smarter, create more focused shopping lists, and have an easier time staying within your budget.

2. Cook with what's in season.

I love cooking with fresh produce as much as I can, but there are certain times when it just doesn't make sense — like cooking asparagus in the middle of February. While I may be able to track it down at the grocery store, it's going to be pricier than when it's in season, and it's probably not going to taste as good. Stick with using in-season produce. It's readily available and usually less expensive. (And "in season" doesn't just apply to produce — we have a new grocery column launching soon that's going to divulge perhaps surprising tips on other things that also have seasons at the grocery store.)

3. Embrace chicken thighs (and other inexpensive meat).

Cooking on a budget doesn't mean you need to cut meat out of your diet altogether; it just means you need to be smart about the cuts you buy. Even if I wasn't cooking on a budget, chicken thighs would still be at the very top of my list. Whether you buy them skin-on or skinless, bone-in or boneless, chicken thighs are inexpensive, meaty, full of flavor, and really versatile. Other smart buys include meats for braising, like pork butt, where the investment of time makes inexpensive meat delicious.

4. Use the slow cooker.

And when you do try those more inexpensive cuts of meat, the slow cooker is your best tool. My slow cooker has been one of the best kitchen tools to help me embrace cooking on a budget. It's ideal for cooking inexpensive, tougher cuts of meat, like bottom rounds and roasts. Cooking these cuts over low heat for a longer period of time transforms them from tough and chewy to tender and delicious.

5. Regularly cook down the pantry and freezer.

Right now, sitting in your pantry and freezer, you probably have the makings of more meals than you realize. Last week Jessica told us how her family saves money by eating through their freezer twice a year. Most of us could probably go one week without grocery shopping, cooking meals based on what we have handy.

Challenge yourself by "eating down" your pantry and freezer regularly. If you can avoid spending as much money on groceries a week out of the month, that adds up to major savings.

Read More here: https://www.thekitchn.com/5-simple-habits-that-help-me-cook-on-a-budget-kitchen-habits-215770

 

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