Cooking Up Savings (2 of 4)

Posted 04-19-2010 at 10:15 AM by MyFrugalFunLife

I have always hated cooking and spent as little time in the kitchen as possible. Virtually all our meals were processed concoctions that came in a box or in frozen form that I just had to heat and serve. Not only is this an unhealthy way to eat but it’s also very expensive.

I had to get away from convenience foods and learn how to make homemade meals that were cheap, healthy and filling. I’m still learning but so far cooking from scratch has saved me big money! Here’s a few simple points to remember when you’re starting out:

Simplicity: You don’t need to prepare elaborate meals-simple can be the most filling. I try to stick to recipes that have five or less ingredients; has a great search option that narrows down recipes based on simplicity.

Go Meatless: I’ve cut down our meat consumption since it’s one of my biggest grocery expenses. We have one or two meatless meals every week and the savings adds up fast. Meatless sandwiches and soups are filling meals that can be very cheap to prepare.

Take Breakfast out of the Morning: many breakfast foods are cheap and I’ve started incorporating them into our dinners. Pancakes, waffles, and french toast are meals we eat on a regular basis. Quiche and other egg dishes can also be inexpensive. We usually have one breakfast meal for dinner each week.

Spice It Up: I uses spices in almost every meal I make; they are inexpensive and can make a simple, frugal meal into something amazing! You can also use spices to create parts of your meal like homemade taco seasoning, pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce!

Try New Things: this has been the biggest challenge for me. My husband is very picky when it comes to food and for years I let his food habits dictate how I shopped and cooked. Now I try to incorporate one new recipe into my weekly menu. I’m slowly weaning my husband off of his pickiness and am instilling variety into my kids diets. There’s a great $5 meal thread in the Kitchen Forum here on Diaper Swappers that I get a lot of my recipes from. Another great resource is a site called $5 Meals and has a wide variety of cheap and easy recipes.

Here’s a new recipe I tried this week and it was a huge hit!! I did add real bacon bits to the top, after pulling it from the oven to give it some kick :)    Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Bake

Even if you have always avoided your kitchen, give cooking another try and you might be surprised and how fun it can be! You’ll also be amazed at how cooking can save you money!

Filed Under: Savings Talk


8 Responses to “Cooking Up Savings (2 of 4)”

  1. whitneywalters on April 19th, 2010 5:32 pm

    Great tips.

    I love to cook and I love to save money so it is nice to be able to do both!

  2. ChicanaCoqueta on April 19th, 2010 10:41 pm

    thanks, this is something we’ve been working on recently.

  3. Liz@HoosierHomemade on April 20th, 2010 3:38 am

    I’m so glad you liked my Mac & Cheese, adding bacon bits is a great idea!
    Thanks for the shout-out!

  4. Sassafras on April 20th, 2010 7:33 am

    we use a lot of beans for protein since they are SO much cheaper AND healthier than meat. also, you can check if you are running low on groceries. you type in your ingredients and it comes up with a recipe for you. great for those in between days when you haven’t yet been shopping :)

  5. Havah on April 20th, 2010 2:13 pm

    In addition to Sassafras’ comment — if you have members who can’t stand beans, try bean puree’s in your cooking. Visit “the Sneaky Chef” website — she offers a number of her recipes free.
    Also (if you have the time and gumption), try baking your own bread. It’s the best way to get whole-grain bread on the cheap. Of course, it’s easier if you have a breadmaker collecting dust in your kitchen … seekers might have luck on Craigslist!
    I know this may not be an option for some people, but I also shop for a lot of items in bulk when I can. On the one hand, this means saving for my shopping trips (about once a month) and planning well, but it also means far fewer outings and significant savings per meal. :-)

  6. Katiebug_1976 on April 20th, 2010 2:27 pm

    Great tips! Some of my favorite recipe/frugal sites are and (on this site she shows you how to get 3 meals out of 1 whole cooked chicken!)

  7. MyFrugalFunLife on April 20th, 2010 8:55 pm

    Havah-I do have a bread maker-I actually talk about it in my next article :) I made foccocia bread yesterday and am making honey french bread today-yum! And so much cheaper to make than buy at the store!

  8. 3girlsAndaMommy on April 26th, 2010 6:16 pm

    Thank you for the link to the taco seasoning. It’s on our menu this week and I forgot to buy the seasoning at the store! The best part is I have pretty much all the ingredients except the spicy stuff, so we should be OK and save a trip to the store. YAY!

    Also, can’t wait for the next entry about bread. A friend just dusted off her breadmaker and shared some with me and boy was it good! Much better than store bought and the whole house smelled yummy!

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