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frugalising a recipe

This site enables you to eat healthily and cheaply whilst still having recipes that are enjoyable for all the family, we also realise that some people will want to experiment with different types of food and want to still be able to try new meals without breaking the bank.

Therefore we have compiled some hints and tips from our testers on adjusting a recipe to make it as cost effective as possible whilst not compromising on taste.

One of the best ways of cutting down the cost of meals is to reduce the amount of meat that a recipe states, especially in 'one-pot' types of meals such as Chilli or Spaghetti Bolognese.

Reducing the amount of meat, which is one of the most expensive ingredients we can buy, per person and adding a larger amount of vegetables such as onions or grated carrot gives the family a healthier and cheaper dinner.

Another tip is that if you are following a recipe which calls for a creamy sauce, some of our testers thin out cream with milk to make the cream stretch further and gives a sauce which is just as rich and flavoursome.

One tester believes that buying expensive herbs to go into recipes is not essential, instead by keeping to the basics such as garlic, salt and pepper, and any dried or fresh herbs that are regularly in your house you are still able to flavour your food but allows you to keep your shopping bill down.

Knowing that some seasonings can be interchangeable, for example a recipe calling for cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg would work just as well with one pinch of garam masala, it is easy to use the ingredients in the stock cupboard rather than buying more.

When making some recipes it is hard not buy specific ingredients, if you want to make a particular recipe, we understand this, therefore the most frugal way to do this is to make sure you use the ingredients completely, either by double cooking so you have leftovers for the next day or by having two meals in the week.

Batch cooking and planning your meals ahead makes this easy to do.

Even basic ingredients which are staples in most people's kitchens can be frugalised or indeed used more sparingly.

Garlic powder is around twenty times cheaper than fresh, but just as delicious!

Stock cubes can be replaced by normal table salt, and expensive oils are not necessary, instead they can be replaced by vegetable oil.

In some recipes a large amount of oil is normally set aside for frying with which can usually be reduced by a large volume, even up to half in some cases.

Take the example of a family favourite, a crumble, the butter and fruit are the expensive ingredients.

Knowing this you can decide to maybe use a fruit which is in season, making it cheaper, or fruit that has been foraged on your way home from work.

The butter can also be replaced with oil.

Therefore very quickly a crumble can be frugalised without compromising on size, texture or taste.

Being able to frugalise a recipe comes with confidence, the more cooking that you do the more you will realise that recipes which call for chorizo can have sausages in instead or recipes which ask for three eggs can easily be done with two.

Tasting food as you cook it will allow you to see if your different ingredients are working and before you know it 'frugalisation' will be second nature and your recipes will be as healthy and as cheap as you can possibly make them.