Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cooking Smart (Part 2)

In this I'll give you a few suggestions that have helped me save money by cooking smart.  Again, please add your own tips and suggestions in the comment section so that others may benefit from both of our ideas.

Many times I've picked up a recipe, scanned the ingredients and decided that it will become dinner, only to find out that I was missing an ingredient, sending me off to the grocery store to buy that one missing item.  This taught me to READ every recipe completely and check to be sure I have all ingredients that will be needed.  If not, I'll add that ingredient to the shopping list and usually consider another recipe that I do have the ingredients.

I also like to clean as I go.  I've been in many kitchens where the cook puts everything used in the sink to be cleaned all at once.  Might sound like it's a time saver but I personally hate to work around dirty dishes.  It also allows me to use the same pan more than once if needed.  Example - if I've browned meat to add to a casserole I can wash the pan I used to for the meat to cook my sauted broccoli.  Not cleaning as you go and reusing pans can fill up the dishwasher very quickly.

Use your food processor to chop your vegetables.  A few years ago I bought a medium size Ninja mainly to chop onions and peppers.  I've learned that this little device is wonderful!  Where I used to hand chop my chicken for salad, shred my cabbage for slaw and hand chop my nuts, I now place them in the chopper and let it do the work saving me loads of time.  It's small enough that I don't have to store it on the counter but can put it away in the cabinet.  It's easy to clean.  And even though I can only put one cooked large, boneless chicken breast halves in at a time, it takes just seconds to chop, empty and reload. 

Another item that I've invested in was a pair of kitchen shears for snipping fresh herbs, dried fruit and even cutting uncooked meats into bite size pieces.  They are easier to use than a knife and chopping block, clean up easily and are actually a lot faster.

Part 3, which will be the final in this series, will be  on shortcuts for stocking up.  Here's hoping you will learn from some of my mistakes.
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