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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Do It Yourself

Frugal Kitchens 101

One of the first rules for running a frugal kitchen is to do it yourself.  Anytime anything with respect to food prep is done for you ahead of time you will pay extra for it.  Let's consider this weeks chicken deals at the grocery store we regularly shop at.  Fresh skinless, bone-in chicken breast is on for $1.97/lb (less than half price).  Extra lean ground chicken is on for $2.99/lb (savings of $1.50/lb).  Neither are really great prices but chicken has gone up in price so in perspective the prices are rather good.  I want to make a dish that uses ground chicken and one that uses chicken breasts.  If I were a normal shopper I would grab a package of each.  However, I'm not a normal shopper so this week's focuses on Frugal Kitchen's 101doing it yourself.

Doing it yourself when it comes to food prep:

  • saves money
  • gives you a better quality product with less chance of contamination
  • gives you a stronger connection with your food
  • healthier
The grocery store is filled with all kinds of convenience items.  Take the example of this week's chicken sales.  The skinless, bone-in chicken breast although I would prefer skin on is a better deal hands down.  I can remove the bones myself then use them for making chicken stock increasing my savings substantially.  I can grind the amount of chicken myself and may even smirk knowing I've saved over $1/lb. More importantly I know fresh ground at home meat is safer because there has been little time for any surface bacteria to multiply.  Pre-ground meat has a higher surface area so bacteria can multiply very rapidly.  This way I'm not taking any chances. 

There are so many similar savings to be had on your food dollars.  Many foods can be turned into two or three products by doing it yourself and taking advantage of the waste that would normally be tossed away.  It just means getting a bit creative and looking a food from a whole new perspective.  Before any peel or bone goes in the garbage or even the compost ask your self what you could do with it instead.  The number one question to ask yourself when grocery shopping especially for produce and meat is 'Can I do this myself cheaper?".  If the answer is yes, great!  If the answer is yes and I will get a second product of the waste, super!  Those are the foods you want going into your cart to help you stretch your food dollars.

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