Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Recipes With Expensive Ingredients.

Every year I like to add two new main meal recipes to the list of family favourites. Picking a new recipe to try can be a bit challenging. I need to pick something that I think my family will like, it needs to be reasonably easy to make,  BUT most of all, it needs to fit within my food budget.

The first thing I do when I've picked a new recipe is to see if I have every ( or at least most ) ingredient on hand already. If I don't have all the ingredients I ask myself a few questions. Does this recipe really need all the ingredients ? Can I substitute some ingredients ?

The next question I ask is can I make this recipe cheaper ? By cheaper I mean can I use less meat or a cheaper cut ? Many casserole recipes I've come across require 500 grams to 1 kilo of meat to serve four people. This seems like a lot of meat. The most I would use is 500 grams. Then I bulk it out with extra vegetables so that the 500 grams of meat will serve 6 - 8 people.  Have you noticed that some recipes only have one or two vegetables in it ? Many American recipes I've come across have huge amounts of meat or cheese in it and small amounts of vegetables. I always change the recipe around to make it healthier.

Another question I ask myself is, if I need to buy a new ingredient, will my family like the new flavour ? I also only buy a small amount of a new ingredient. A few years ago I decided to try a peanut satay chicken recipe for the slow cooker. It needed coconut milk ( or cream ) so I bought a few cans thinking my family would like the recipe. They did not. The coconut flavour was too strong and the recipe didn't have a complexity of flavours. Every mouthful was hard to swallow. Never again !!!

I used the other can in a coconut cake recipe - another new recipe. We didn't like the cake either. Once again the coconut flavour was too strong. By then I think I had one can left. I ended giving it to a food drive for Christmas hampers.

I've now learnt my lesson. Only cook what we can afford and only cook what my family likes. If I need to buy anything different I now give it a lot of thought. Will it be money down the drain ? 

Have you bought different ingredients only to find that the family didn't like it ? 

Have you found strange ingredients in the back of your pantry ? How do you make a meal cheaper ?

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About Crownleye David
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