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Gluten Free Homemade Newsletter, Issue #002-- Low Budget Cooking Tips
April 06, 2016

Low Budget Cooking Tips

Dear Friends,

Gluten-free groceries are more expensive than regular groceries. With food prices increasing weekly at grocery stores; it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep those food dollars reined in.

Here are some low budget cooking tips to help stretch your food dollars.

It’s about getting the most nutrition for your money.

Protein foods, especially animal based proteins, are your most expensive food expenditure. Choose recipes that make the most of these pricey ingredients, such as soups, stews and casseroles, and use cheaper cuts of meat.

Complement your frugal main dishes with tasty side-dishes and desserts made with inexpensive ingredients that make the whole meal pack a nutrition wallop. At, you will find servings suggestions aimed at creating the most nutritious meals possible for you and your family.

Use historic recipes, especially from periods of challenging economic times, such as the Great Depression of the 1930’s, or the World War II era.

When you do cook, let nothing go to waste.

Freeze water used to boil potatoes, other vegetables, or fruits. I call this liquid, vitamin water; it’s a shame to dump such good nutrition down the drain. Use the frozen vitamin water to make flavorful soups, stews, gravies and sauces, or even for your baked goods.

Save bones, skin and fat from steaks, roasts and other cuts of meat. They are loaded with health building minerals. Freeze them and use them later to make delicious soup stocks, gravies and sauces.

Instead of peeling your vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, carrots, apples and peaches, learn to enjoy eating your fresh foods with the peelings left on. Most of the vital nutrition of a fruit or vegetable is located in the membrane just under the outside of the peel. Cook your fresh produce with the peels on and eat them that way, too.

Buy whole foods, especially whole grains. You’ll get more nutrition for your money.

Purchase meat in bulk at lower prices per pound, take it home and cut it up into meal sized portions, and then freeze it until ready to use.

If you can’t afford steak and roast is on sale, buy the roast and cut it into steaks. Sometimes roasts are less expensive than ground meats; buy the roast and grind your own meat with a hand driven meat grinder or a food processor.

Likewise, it always costs less to buy a whole chicken or turkey, than it does to buy chicken or turkey parts. If you want poultry parts, buy several whole poultry carcasses, cut and package the parts at home, and then freeze them.

Never shop for groceries when you are hungry. Eat a meal at home before you leave for the grocery store and pack some snacks to take with you. It’s a proven fact, if you shop for groceries when you are hungry, you will spend a lot more money . . . money you don’t have in your food budget.

Never go shopping for food more than once per week. You will spend more money if you do daily marketing, not to mention the cost of fuel for you automobile.

Make a grocery list based on a menu and make yourself stick to it to avoid impulse purchases.

Build your weekly menu around grocery store sales and coupons; you can reduce your grocery bill by 30% to 50% using this tip, alone! Learn when seasonal and annual sales events happen and stock up for the year on dry goods, and frozen or canned foods.

Plan a frugal menu. Save money by observing “Meatless Monday”, and serve beans, or eggs or cheese, as your protein sources for the day. Make a delicious homemade soup or stew once a week. Have a sandwich night and serve hot meat sandwiches covered with gravy from the last night’s leftover roast, or make chicken teriyaki and rice from leftover roast chicken.

Do you have leftovers stacking up in the refrigerator? Friday nights are the cook’s night off at our house; it’s when we eat up the leftovers instead of eating out at a restaurant. You should hear us banter and barter over who gets to eat what! I always make a nice dessert to look forward to on these nights.

Instead of paying for expensive pre-prepared packaged foods, make your own from basic ingredients you keep stocked in your gluten-free pantry. Not only will you save money, but your food will taste better and you can control the nutrition.

Not only are food prices rising at the grocery store, they are exploding at restaurants! Instead of eating out, spend time in the kitchen with your family recreating your favorite restaurant meals. You can find many recipes online that come close to those delicious chef created wonders and you can enjoy them at a fraction of the price. Besides, it’s fun to cook together!

Grow a garden of those special, expensive foods you enjoy. We love fresh herbs, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, rhubarb and fresh green beans. These are expensive to buy and very easy to grow in our area. Also, learn about the native edible plants in your locality. If you engage in organic practices you can harvest many wild greens and herbs from your yard.

Barter for your food. If you have a product you produce or manufacture, or a service you provide, you may be able to barter for what you need from other like-minded individuals. Sometimes you can save money by belonging to a local food cooperative group or by shopping at your local farmers market.

Use coupons.

Shop sales and buy in bulk whenever possible, even if it means going to more than one grocery store. It’s a great way to build your pantry and fill your freezer.

Buy meat, dairy and packaged products deeply discounted because of pull-dates. Freeze them until ready to use, or use them up immediately. You can purchase higher end cuts of meat you would not normally be able to, such as prime rib roast, ham or “T” bone steaks, for the price of cheaper cuts.

Buy only generic label foods and foods from the bottom shelves at your grocery store. The highest priced foods live on the middle and top shelves at your marketplace.

Don’t overlook discount grocers. You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save by purchasing off-beat brands and one-offs.

Peruse websites and blogs specializing in frugal living for more ideas.

Remember, saving money at the grocery store is all about getting the most nutrition for your money.

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If you have something to contribute to Gluten Free Homemade Newsletter or care to suggest an addition, please contact me. Happy noshing,

Cat McMahon

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