Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chapter 3...Cooking From Scratch

Most times using a mix or buying ready made foods will derail your budget.  If you want to know if it is worth your while to make something from scratch, do the math.

  • Price the lowest price for the ready made item
  • Cost out the ingredients for the scratch version, don't include less than 2T oil or spices etc. 
  • find the difference in price.  If the ready made is lower STOP
  • If the ready made is higher, time yourself while making the scratch version.  
  • Divide the portion of an hour time you spent by the amount of savings.  
  • How much are you making an hour for your time?  
The last time my daughter and I checked it was 212.00 an hour for lemon pound cake.  And that was not what it would be when I found ingredients lower.  A pound cake would be 1.76 instead of 2.50 a slice.  20.00 a loaf.  

Making things from scratch does not have to mean taking a lot of time.  Many times it takes the same amount of time.  I only count actual cooking, not passive cooking.  Passive cooking lets you so other tasks while you let the dish cook.  

Pudding comes to mind.  It takes just about the same amount of time to cook pudding from scratch and you can control the ingredients.  hamburger meal mixes take the same amount of time than cooking it from scratch.  I have a no Brainer pasta recipe that is as cheap and actually takes less time.  

Your slow cooker and food processor can be your best friend here.  There is something very satisfying about coming home from work after a long day and smelling dinner cooked!  Many tasks can be performed quickly.  There is a recipe for easy pizza crust on an earlier blog.  

There are many mix recipes on earlier blogs.  Mixes are expensive and easily made from scratch in a short amount of time.  If you make something like tacos frequently, make a batch.  

There are several cooking styles for lack of a better word, that help you get out of the kitchen and make it easier to scratch cook.  

  1. Prep and forget it.  Use your slow cooker or oven to put your ingredients together and go do something else.  
  2. Prep ahead of time.  I usually cook my meats when I have a relaxing time, not after a long day at work.  That way I can defat my ground meat and portion control it.   You can  make meatloaf, meatballs, crumbles,and taco meat.   Make  a roast and serve roast for dinner that night and slice it thin for sandwiches.  Portion control it in meal sized bags and freeze.  both pork and beef roast works here, 
  3. Stair step.  Cook double of something and use part if it for another meal.  Rice for under meatballs or sweat and sour chicken.  
  4. Roast a chicken and cut it into 2 breasts, the dark meat and the bones.  The dark meat  can go into a Mexican dish or casserole, the bones can be soup, the breast meat can be a Sunday chicken dinner or chicken pot pie.  Deli chicken is twice the cost of raw chicken at a target price.  NEVER buy a chicken that is under three pounds.  That is the break even point for the ratio between bone and meat.  More is better.  Roasting your own chicken is easy, quick, and gives you more chicken for your money.  
  5. Fast cooking, like chips, hamburgers and hot dogs.  I only buy Hebrew national or Nathan's hot dogs.  This is a case where cheaper is not better.  in the summertime when it is hot at dinner time in our kitchen, I make a salad bar ahead of time and we add a entre that can be BBQd. .  
Thanks for stopping by.  

If you have questions, please feel free to comment. Getting feedback just makes my day! LOL

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