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This is a guest post by Yakini, publisher of Girly Home Webzine.

 

I find that one of the greatest ways to save money is cooking at home. I have friends, male and female, who dine out for nearly every meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They certainly have a good time eating out, and they do eat well! However, this is an expensive habit. What I think they fail to realize is that you really can prepare great tasting, restaurant-esque meals at home quickly and with minimal cost. I regularly make inexpensive meals that take less than half an hour of preparation time, with enough leftovers to eat for the next few days. When these same friends visit my home for a dinner party, they are enthralled with the menu. If only they knew how little I had spent! Further, when I prepare meals at home, I can create a variation of that meal and carry it for lunch the next day (i.e., baked chicken = chicken salad sandwich, chicken quesadilla, or a grilled chicken caesar salad).

 

There are many reasons people don’t cook at home, with fear/ignorance of the kitchen and limited cooking skills among those reasons. However, I believe that the biggest obstacle that prevents people from affordable home cooking is that they don’t have a kitchen that is stocked with basic staples. So they end up having to buy every single ingredient at once when they finally decide to try cooking something at home. The idea of this becomes so daunting for people that they ultimately throw in the towel and decide to order take-out. This is what I deem a “lose-lose” scenario. Not only does frequenting restaurants or ordering take-out daily add up, in terms of cost, but take-out food is usually higher in calories and loaded with a whole bunch of other “junk” that we really should be avoiding.

To prevent this “lose-lose” scenario, I suggest that you prepare in advance and begin to stock your pantry shelves today with the basic staples. By “staples” I mean ingredients that a lot of recipes call for, that will keep for a long time. We’re talking about making a very small investment that will ultimately allow you to create delicious meals with minimal fuss. The best part is that all you need spend is $150 and you may begin this process of stocking your kitchen with the basics! So, ladies, by sacrificing that one visit to the day spa for your monthly microdermabrasian you can cook at home for weeks on end.

Will this really save me money? It certainly will! It’s really quite simple. You see, when you already have certain basic staples stocked in the pantry, you are more likely to opt for home cooking rather than eating out. The reason: the ingredients are already on-hand and, thus, preparing your choice meal requires little to no effort (e.g., trips to the grocery store). With each trip to the grocery store you can add more to your repertoire of kitchen staples. I think you’ll discover that, not only are you saving money, but home-prepared food is much more delish than restaurant-food!

Here is my shopping list of staple ingredients for a well-stocked kitchen.

Baking
All-purpose flour
Baking powder
Brown sugar
Condensed Milk
Corn meal
Corn starch
Evaporated Milk
Vanilla
White Sugar
Yeast

Herbs & Spices
Black pepper
Chicken bouillon cubes
Cilantro
Cinnamon
Crushed garlic
Garlic powder
Green seasoning (found in the international aisle of grocery store)
Nutmeg
Oregano
Onion powder
Sea salt
Seasoned Chicken Breader by House Autry

Oils, Stocks, Condiments
Beef stock
Chicken broth
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Red wine
Soy sauce

Tomato sauce
Vegetable oil
Vinegar
White wine
Worcestershire sauce

Miscellaneous
Cream of mushroom/celery/chicken soup (canned)
Pasta
Rice/Couscous

Ladies, what are your kitchen staples? What are those “must have” ingredients that you keep stocked in the pantry at all times?

Ladies, what are your kitchen staples? What are those “must have” ingredients that you keep stocked in the pantry at all times?

Share your own “frugal” kitchen tips with us!


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