How Condiments and Spices Can Save Money
If you’ve spent a little time in the condiments and spices aisle of your local grocery store lately you may have come to the conclusion that cooking at home is expensive! And it can be, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Those tiny jars of spices and seasoning blends can cost upwards of $4 apiece, and it can really add up. But did you know that condiments and spices can actually save you money? (Not to mention that you can make most of them yourself for less anyway?) Keep reading, and I’ll show you how.
Keep It Tasty
My oldest son likes to ask me if I’m “making it tasty” when I add spices or extras into a meal that I’m making for him. With a nice selection of spices and condiments on hand, even your most basic ingredients can turn into tasty dishes. For example, a piece of toast can go sweet and crunchy with homemade honey butter, cinnamon and sugar, or you can enjoy a savory slice topped with butter and garlic salt. Chicken breasts can be brushed with ranch dressing and baked, brushed with barbecue sauce and grilled, or sauteed with veggies and served over fried rice with soy sauce. Ground beef can be turned into taco filling (using Taco Seasoning), italian meatballs, burgers, sloppy joes (using Sloppy Joe Seasoning) or a meaty marinara all with the seasonings and condiments in your cupboards. The possibilities really are endless.
We all know that one of the easiest ways to save money is to eat at home instead of going out. But the truth is, when your food is bland and monotonous it can be hard to work up the willpower to do just that. With a little cooking know-how, though, and a shelf full of flavors to choose from, you can create fabulous home-cooked meals for pennies on the restaurant dollar. You’ll find it easier to stick to your budget and you might even prefer your home-cooked meals to eating out!
Another big benefit to herbs and spices are also a power-packed source of nutrition and antioxidants. Even though they seem pricey at first, ounce for ounce they are an inexpensive way to make your food more nutritious. Also, since your food tastes better you’ll enjoy cooking healthy homemade meals more often, and avoiding the additives and hidden calories in restaurant foods. You can even grow your own herbs at home by creating a simple herb garden (it could be as easy as growing herbs in flower pots in your window sill) and using the fresh herbs in meals or drying or freezing them to use later.
Love Your Leftovers
If you don’t love leftovers (or even if you do) try giving them a new twist with your growing stash of spices and condiments. Grilled chicken can turn into a yummy stir fry, barbeque sandwich, chicken salad, or fajitas. Leftover spaghetti sauce can be the base for a delicious homemade soup. You can turn stale bread into italian croutons or pumpkin spice french toast. Here are some great tips on How to Use Leftovers.
Looking for more seasoning recipes that you can make quickly and easily? My book,Little House Living: The Make Your Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self Sufficient Life has over 130 recipes just like the ones shared on this article!