You can make a price book and stock up on sales, but if what you're buying is Lean Cuisine dinners, Chips Ahoy cookies, and Rice-a-roni, your grocery bills are probably not going to be nearly as low as they could be. Although it takes more time, it can be well worth your while to cook and bake from scratch as much as you can. In addition to saving money, your food will be fresher and you'll avoid preservatives.
Children will usually enjoy helping you, and in the process, they'll learn about how food is made. My son, Will, loves to help me bake from Susan Reimer's wonderful muffin cookbook. Her husband was Eric's PhD supervisor in Edinburgh--the joke around the divinity school was that Susan's muffin cookbook had outsold all the academic books of the divinity faculty combined! Will and I have quality time together, and we end up with an affordable and healthy snack around the house.
Amanda from Cheese-Wearing Theology got me sold on the recipes from Michael Smith, a chef from Prince Edward Island. Yesterday, I cooked up some dried chickpeas so I could make the scrumptious hummus recipe from this cookbook. I'm also a big fan of his recipes for homemade granola, pancake mix, and salad dressings. He offers variations with each recipe, and encourages you to experiment!
Most people seem to have a copy of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I've relied on mine ever since I received it as a wedding shower gift. Whether you want a recipe for homemade biscuits, rhubarb-raspberry jam, lasagna, or oatmeal cookies, this cookbook is a great resource. It also has many helpful tips and charts, such as cooking times for rice and beans, how to can tomatoes, and what substitutions you can make in a pinch.
Even people who are short on time can cook from scratch as they can, and make enough for the freezer. For example, whenever I make homemade tortillas, I double or triple the recipe and freeze the extras. Casseroles and lasagnas can be doubled and frozen. Homemade pesto or pasta sauce can be frozen in ice cube trays and stored in freezer bags-simply defrost the cubes as needed.
Try making yogurt in your crockpot, if you haven't already. Homemade picco de gallo or salsa is so much better than canned. Bake a loaf of Whole Grain Bread with Oats, Flax and Millet, or experiment with your bread machine if you have one! Serve homemade hummus or feta cheese dip with home-baked pita bread at your next party. And on your next trip to the grocery store, as you scan the shelves and freezer cases, ask yourself, "Could I make that myself?"
What about you? What have you learned to make from scratch?
19 hours ago