I love the different vegetables and fruit, and good food that the different seasons bring us. I love to sample a wide variety of different food; after all, variety is the spice of life. But one of the things that I quickly learned is that you can make a wide variety of yummy foods out of the basics too. This has been especially important for keeping our budget down.
For example, I buy a lot of the more inexpensive basic produce in the bulk bags found at my local stores, such as my organic carrots, onions, and potatoes. Then I use those ingredients in a wide variety of ways. Carrots can be added to stews and soups, or made into savory grated carrot salads. Sometimes I use my potato peeler to make “carrot ribbons” too. Potatoes are used to make mashed potatoes or baked potatoes (top with chili or stew!), or added to soups and stews. Onions, of course, are used in a wide variety of culinary applications.
I also buy the bags of 3 pounds of organic apples for $4 dollars. These smaller sized apples are perfect for little people, and I then use this delicious and basic fruit for a wide variety of snacks, smoothies, and desserts.
Besides produce, buying large bags of whole grains, and then cooking them whole, or grinding them to use in baked goods allows you to make a wide variety of things with just the basic ingredients from my kitchen. Everyday life might bring us biscuits, muffins, rice, or quinoa, and a special occasion might find a cake on our table. Buy buying basic ingredients in bulk, I get them cheaper, and then am able to make a wide variety of foods from it.
Items like wheat, rice, millet, chicken drumsticks, onions, carrots, apples, broccoli, lettuce, and celery can be on the frugal side, especially when compared to specialty items. By making good use of these basic ingredients (and for our family of four, trying to buy them in bags or in bulk), I can save a lot of money!
One meal based on basics:
- Chicken noodle soup –Made with drumsticks (organic from Trader Jo’s), carrots, onion’s celery, and inexpensive noodles.
- Biscuits –Made with whole grains and butter
- Green Salad (I also buy my greens in bulk and then use them for many meals).
Grass-fed beef can be more expensive, but when not using my in bulk order of beef, sticking to the more inexpensive cuts, like ground beef, allows me to make a wide variety of different dishes for much cheaper. Basic hamburger meat doesn’t have to be “basic” in taste! It can so delicious!
With a little creativity, you can use the same basic ingredients to make a wide variety of meals…for cheap!