Here are some tips to help you save money and time shopping and cooking.
- Keep an ongoing list of your grocery needs. Post it somewhere in the kitchen so you can write down items as you notice they're needed.
- Get organized before you head to the store, making a list of items you'll need for a week's worth of meals or more.
- Shop during down times when the market isn't crowded. This lets you take your time to discover new foods and read facts on nutrition labels.
- To cut down on impulse purchases, shop with a list and avoid grocery shopping when you're hungry. Do, however, keep an eye out for specials on items you routinely use -- there's a difference between impulse buying and finding good bargains.
- Check newspaper ads and inserts to take advantage of weekly specials and coupons.
- Use our prep and cook times to help you plan your time. The timings assume that some steps can be performed simultaneously.
- Read the recipe completely before you begin. This will eliminate last-minute trips to the store. Preheat your oven as you begin any recipe that needs to be baked or broiled so the oven will be ready when you are.
- Overlap steps to accomplish two things at once. Chop vegetables, measure ingredients, open cans, or prepare sauces while waiting for water to boil, meat to brown, or appliances to preheat.
- Clean as you go. Before you start preparation, fill the sink or dish pan with hot, soapy water.
- Let timesaving appliances and techniques work for you. Use a food processor to chop vegetables or grate cheese. The microwave is an easy, no-mess method for melting butter or chocolate. Use a toaster oven to toast buns and rolls quickly; use kitchen shears to snip fresh herbs or dried fruit, a garlic press to crush garlic, and a mini ice cream scoop for drop cookies.
Stock Up On Shortcuts
- Call on ready-made entrées such as roasted chicken from the deli and heat-and-serve meat loaf and pot roast from the meat department. Round out the meal with a recipe you've wanted to try. Or simply enjoy easygoing side dishes, such as frozen vegetables or baked potatoes.
- Visit the supermarket deli or bakery for instant appetizers and simple side dishes or breads to add to your meal.
- Stock up on items that take little effort from kitchen to table, such as frozen meatballs, pizza shells, pasta sauce, pasta, cheese, and eggs.
- Purchase shortcut ingredients, such as preshredded cheeses, rice pilaf mixes, packaged salad greens, precut fruits and vegetables, and bottled roasted red sweet peppers.