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Simple Living


 Frugal Kitchen Tips


Bacon Grease

Bacon drippings are rich in flavor, but for health reasons, must be used sparingly. Freeze leftover bacon fat in ice cube trays. Use small amounts to flavor food or sauté vegetables.

Cooking Double

We've all heard of the "cook for a day, eat for a month" plan. That's a lot of work for one day, and some people are not able to manage it. However, there are many ways to take advantage of the concept. One way is to just make extra when you cook dinner and freeze it for another meal. That's an easy way to cut down on both your cooking time, to save money, and to save your energy. 

Storing Your Leftovers

When you can afford it, but some good Rubbermaid type storage containers for your leftovers. This is a long term investment, so buy the best you can afford. Make sure you can see the food through them. Until then, a simple alternative is covering your food with plastic shower caps.  

Keeping Track of Your Leftovers

You have a much better chance of using up all your leftovers if you can easily see what you have in your refrigerator. Here is one idea to keep you organized. Use some chalkboard paint on the inside of the cabinet nearest your refrigerator. Use chalk to write down all the leftovers that are available. When you eat them, just erase the entry. You are also going to save money by not opening your refrigerator door as much as just "browsing". 

Divide up Your Leftovers

Here is another kitchen tip that may help you save money on leftovers. Many of our family members are in a hurry when they open the refrigerator looking for something to eat. When you have things like leftover casserole, divide it up into single serving size portions. Put these in individual containers, such as small bowls or baggies. It will be much easier for them to grab them, and put them in the microwave to heat up. Anything that is easier to do is always done more often. 


Save leftover pasta. It freezes well, and is easily added to soups and stews also, or made into a cold salad. Just be sure that after you boil your pasta you run it under cold water to stop further cooking. This will keep it from overcooking and getting soggy. Then you can freeze it. 


There are several ways to reuse vegetables not eaten at the dinner table so that you do not have to serve leftovers. Many people keep a container in their freezer for leftover vegetables, and then pull them out when they make soups and stews. Another alternative is to puree them, and add them to any tomato based sauce, such as Spaghetti sauce.

 Aluminum Pans

If you own, or are thinking of purchasing an aluminum pan that is discolored, here is the way to make it look better. Fill the pot with equal amounts of water and vinegar. Bring it to a boil. Continue boiling until the pan looks good.  

Aluminum Foil

Remember that you can save money by re-using your aluminum foil. Just wash it off and let dry. The exception to this would be if you have used it with something that could contaminate it, like raw meat. If you are going to reuse your aluminum foil, be sure and buy a good brand that won't come apart when you rinse it off. Use the cheaper, thinner kind for one use items.

Can Scrapers

You can get every bit of food out of a can by purchasing a can scraper. These work better than a rubber spatula. Another option for some foods is to open both sides of a can, and then using the lid, squeeze all the ingredients out one of the sides.

Copper Pans

Copper pans are wonderful for cooking. They distribute the heat evenly, and make cooking easier. If you should be lucky enough to find a copper pan at a discounted price, buy it, even if it is in bad condition. You can clean it up with a paste of lemon juice, salt, and a lot of rubbing.

Cutting Boards

If you don't have room for a wooden cutting board, or get tired of sanding it down all the time to keep it clean and safe, try a plastic cutting board. They work well, but they do get stained to the point you do not want to use them anymore. Another option is to use a plastic placemat. Some of them are quite heavy. However, to make sure your counter is protected, use it over another surface.  


Funnels always come in handy, whether it is in kitchen, transferring liquid to smaller containers or in the garage, transferring paint to smaller containers. Make a few disposable funnels by cutting the top off of plastic soda bottles before you put them in the recycle bin.


When you grate cheese and other items, you often leave a lot of product on the grater. You try and get it off, but can hurt your fingers in the process. The solution- just spray a little oil on the grater first, and the food won't stick.


Don't waste your money buying expensive knife sets to prepare the food in your kitchen.
To prepare food, all you need is one large knife to slice meat and dice vegetables and a smaller knife for paring apples, coring fruit and other smaller, utilitarian small jobs. A knife with a serrated edge to slice bread, and a tableware set of steak knives will round out all your needs.

Pressure Cookers

Do not be scared by pressure cookers.  The new electric cookers are very safe, and you can just put in your food and leave.  They cook food quickly, and save you time and money.

Busy Days

Everyone has at least one day a week that is very busy, especially in the late afternoon. These are the days when you are going to feel too busy or too tired to cook. One idea is to plan on making a crock pot meal on these days. Get it going in the morning or the night before, when you are not so rushed.  Knowing you have a nice warm meal waiting for you at home will help your stress level and save you from spending the money on fast food.

Extending Pre-Packed Mixes

Many of us like the convenience of boxed mixes at the store, but find that there is not enough product to feed our family. One easy way to deal with this is to buy your favorite mixes, and then just have some extra pasta to supplement the quantity. For instance, if you are making boxed Macaroni and Cheese, you can just add a few more noodles to the pan when boiling the macaroni. You should be able to add extra without any significant loss of flavor. 


Lots of people grill a lot in the summer to keep from warming up their homes with their ovens or stoves. Here is a tip for busy families, with children coming and going. When you are done grilling, put a pan with a little water on the grill, and put your food in it. The grill will stay warm for a long time, and your food will be ready when your kids come home. 

Junk Food

Try and stay away from feeding your family foods with little value. Satisfying your
family's need for recreational eating is not in the job description. Watch those after school snacks and try to choose healthy, body building foods.

Plastic Wrap Mess

Is there anything more aggravating than pulling, or trying to pull off a piece of plastic wrap only to have it come off and immediately form a little ball? One way to cure this, other than buying pricier wrap, is to store the whole container in the freezer.

Preserving Flour

In the past, when people had bugs in four, they just sifted the flour and remove the bugs before they used it. While this can be done, there are other ways to keep bugs out of grain. You method is to place a few bay leaves in it. If you keep your flour in the refrigerator, it will last longer.. If you put it in the freezer, it will last even longer. If you don't plan on using it relatively soon, I would put it in a Ziploc bag or Rubbermaid container and place it in the freezer. 

Putting Away Groceries

Have a plan when you get home from grocery shopping and must put away items in your refrigerator so that you keep the door open as short a time as possible. One way is to place all the items for the refrigerator on a nearby shelf, and sort them according to their place in the refrigerator. For instance, put your salad ingredients next to each other so that you can pick them all up at once and put them in the same drawer.

recipe card


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