Today’s Friday Frugal Challenge: Make a new recipe using your loss-leader savings.
You save money by cooking at home, but you can definitely get into a rut. For awhile there when my son was young we alternated between about three ground-beef dishes in any given week. My son still won’t eat pot roast after overdosing on it during his youth. But my sad fate need not be yours! You can find great recipes to try at home, and your Friday Frugal Challenge is to do just that.
How do you know if a recipe will work for you? The plain truth is, some just won’t. Here’s how you know:
Read the ingredient list. You hate garlic. You love the dark meat of the chicken, not the white. You don’t eat red meat. Tomatoes don’t agree with you. Does the ingredient list appeal to you? Be honest, but leave a little room for flexibility. I didn’t like spinach till I tried it in a chicken Florentine recipe—everything else that went into the recipe sounded great and the result was excellent.
Level of difficulty. There is no shame in not knowing the intricate ins and outs of cooking. If you can make a tasty, nutritious meal, you’re in a pretty good place. I’m willing to try some new techniques, maybe once or twice a month, but in general my life right now is too crazy to spend hours pioneering something I’ve never tried before with no guarantee of success. Choose a recipe that looks like something quite do-able for you.
Can you tinker with it? These days, with only two of us at home, I just don’t cook anything with more than four servings. I usually divide the recipe so that it makes two or three helpings. This hack saves us money because we’re not crazy about leftovers. Can you tinker with the recipe to make it work even better for you? Play with the spices and seasonings, maybe, or experiment with cooking it in the slow cooker instead of on the stove? I’m enjoying adapting recipes to use with my pressure cooker.
Develop trust. I absolutely love, love, love RecipeTinEats.com. The recipes are right at my level, they include a nice blend of new recipes for old favorites of mine and innovative ideas. Maybe you are intrigued by SeriousEats.com or delish.com. There are so many recipes to choose from that if you find a good source for tasty stuff that you enjoy making you should freely experiment from that source.
So this week I found chicken breast on sale for a delectable $1.49 per pound and a fine pork butt roast for just under a dollar a pound. This week looks like carnitas and schnitzel (found a great recipe for it on my go-to site!) with some barbecued pulled pork sandwiches and stuffed chicken breast. Looking forward to trying something new (the carnitas) and using a tried-and-true recipe (the stuffed chicken.)