Cooking from scratch saves a lot of money on groceries. When my husband and I first married we had an extremely limited budget. I’d pay our tithes and all of the bills and then use whatever was leftover for food. Sometimes we’d only have $60 to buy 2 weeks worth of groceries. And I needed to feed 3 of us on that. So, I had to learn how to cook most of our dishes from scratch. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have had enough food to last until the next payday.
Now, it is true that cooking from scratch is more time consuming than just heating up convenience foods. But over the years I have learned many time saving methods that I’d like to share.
Find easy recipes.
Cooking form scratch does not have to be labor intensive. I look for easy but delicious recipes on sites such as AllRecipes.com or Recipezaar.com. To save on a lot of trail and error, I find recipes with high ratings and read the reviews before choosing which recipe to make. If my family likes the dish then I add that recipe to my Home Management Binder for future reference.
I plan my meals a week at a time. I add any items that I’ll need for the upcoming week to my grocery list. In a given week for dinner I usually make the following types of dishes: 2 chicken, 2 ground meat, 1 seafood, 1 rib or pork, and 1 convenience. I just alternate the days that I serve them so that we don’t eat chicken or beef two nights in a row. I pick recipes from my binder with maybe 1 or 2 new recipes that I’m going to try.
Save the majority of your efforts for dinner.
Cooking from scratch means that you will be in the kitchen preparing meals at least 3 times a day. So, keep breakfast and lunch very simple. I don’t make complicated dishes for either of these 2 meals. Breakfast is something that usually requires little to no preparation like cereal or pancakes served with fruit and juice. And I try to make enough dinner to be served as leftovers for lunch the following day. If there aren’t any leftovers then lunch consists of items such as sandwiches, baked potatoes, or Ramen noodles.
Everything doesn’t have to be from scratch.
There are some things that I find to be a drudgery in the kitchen. So I don’t do them. For example, I don’t like rolling out dough. That’s just takes more effort than I care to exert. And since making pizza from scratch does require getting out the rolling pan, I just buy frozen ones instead. Of course frozen pizzas cost more than homemade ones. But the frozen ones still costs considerably less than ordering a pizza. Since I save so much from making most of our foods from scratch, we can afford a frozen pizza or a few other convenience foods every now and then. As long as they don’t put us over budget.
A Valuable Lesson
I thank God that our budget is not as tight as it was when my husband and I were newlyweds. But I’m grateful for those times because I taught myself how to budget and how to cook from scratch. Now I prefer to cook this way because it’s healthy and rewarding.