Oct 14, 2005

Tips For A Frugal Kitchen

Keeping the kitchen well stocked and organized can be a huge time and money saver. But there are a few additional things I do as well to make each grocery dollar count.

* I save the ziploc bags that tortillas come in, in my freezer. Why you may ask. Because when I have leftover pancakes, muffins, french toast or other items I want to pop in the freezer, I have nice cold bags all ready to go.

* I save the ends of my bread in a freezer bag. When I have a few in there I simply drop them in the food processor and grind bread crumbs. I store them in the freezer, they last for months.

* When bananas get to dark to eat, instead of making banana bread like a lot of people do, I put the bananas in the freezer, skin and all. Then when I need a banana for a smoothie they are already nice and icy cold. They can also be thawed for bread, muffins or other banana recipes.

* I make my own cream soup mix. Those small cans of cream soup that so many recipes call for can become costly. With a simple homemade mix you can save quite a lot!

Cream Soup Mix (from www.therecipelink.com)

2 cups powdered nonfat milk
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup (or less) instant chicken bouillon
2 tbsp. dried onion flakes
1-tsp. basil leaves
1-tsp. thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

To substitute for one can of condensed soup:

Combine 1/3 cup of dry mix with 1 1/4 cups of cold water in saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened. Add to casserole as you would the canned product. Makes equivalent of 9 cans of soup.

Vary the spices to suit your own taste or the type of casserole you were making. Yield 9 servings with less than 1-gram fat per serving.


Mushroom Soup: Add 1/2 C finely chopped mushrooms
Celery Soup: Add 1/2 C minced celery
Potato Soup: Add 1 C diced potatoes, cooked
Vegetable Soup: Add 3/4 C mixed vegetables, cooked
Broccoli Soup: Add 1 C chopped broccoli, cooked
Asparagus Soup: Add 1 C chopped asparagus, cooked


Anonymous said...

A combination of healthy and frugal. When I have clean, eatable vegetable peelings (carrot skin, potato skin, celery leaves etc, anything that is conceivably eatable), I put them a ziplock in the freezer then you have 2 options. Add them to a chicken carcass and make homemade broth. Or add some other healthy stuff (lentils, spinach) boil and puree to be added to dishes it can disappear in, like spaghetti sauce. Extra veggies for kids and nothing gets throw out.

Michele said...

Those are great ideas! I think I will start doing that for my broth, those peelings really do have a lot of nutrition to offer!

Anonymous said...

I would like to use this recipe to make scalloped potatoes in my crockpot, is there anything I can use other than chicken bouillon? Idon't have any in the cupboard. Could I use veg stock? Or the water left over from steaming carrots ot other veg? THanks

Michele said...

The bullion really gives it a good flavor, I don't know that you could substitute anything... maybe an herb/spice mixture with a little salt would come close then use vegetable stock instead of water when you make the mix... that might work. Give it a try, it couldn't hurt!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I noticed that chicken bouillon (not the liquid kind) was mostly salt, animal fat and herbs. So I stated using salt and Italian Seasoning in my soups and most other things that call for chicken bouillon. My husband and I like it even better. P.s I love your site! I think I am going to make some of your seasoning mixes for Christmas gifts.

Michele said...

That sounds like a great idea Mrs. Mac. So glad you enjoyed the site, hope your gifts are a big hit!