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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Nutrition - Food Skills
- Cutting the Cost of Cooking

How to Make a Recipe More Economical

Does a recipe look too expensive to make? There are often easy changes you can make to cut down on the cost of making your favourite recipe. 

  • Do not buy extra things if you do not need to!

  • Use apple juice or chicken stock instead of wine or sherry (for sauces).

  • With stir fry, use any vegetables you have on hand. If the recipe calls for something that is too "exotic" or expensive, simply use what you have and what you like.

  • If a recipe calls for homogenized milk but you do not have it in the house, use whatever milk you have! The only difference will be the fat content.

  • Use dried herbs instead of buying fresh herbs.


It does not have to cost a lot of money to make delicious and healthy recipes!

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THIS…

 ...TRY THIS INSTEAD!

butter

 margarine

sour cream

 plain yoghurt

heavy cream

 milk or evaporated milk

1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk

 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp. (250 mL + 15 mL)
 vinegar or lemon juice

1 cup (250 mL) cake/pastry flour

 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour minus 2 tbsp. (30 mL)

fresh garlic

 garlic powder

1 tsp. (5 mL) dry mustard

 1 tbsp. (15 mL) prepared (liquid) mustard

1 small onion

 1 tsp. (5 mL) onion powder

fresh herbs

 dried herbs (reduce the amount by half)

1 tsp. (5 mL) lemon juice

 1/2 tsp. (2.5 mL) vinegar

bread crumbs (pre-made)

 cracker crumbs (make your own)

brown sugar

 white sugar

1 square unsweetened chocolate

 3 tbsp. (45 mL) cocoa + 1 tbsp. (15 mL) margarine or vegetable oil

2 cups (500 mL) tomato sauce

 3/4 cup (180 mL) tomato paste + 1/2 cup (125 mL) water

Adapted from "Building Collective Kitchens in New Brunswick: A User's Guide" Canada's Prenatal Nutrition Program; Health Canada. 1996.



What About Meat in a Recipe?

  • Buy breast or thigh meat with the skin on and bone in instead of boneless, skinless chicken - you can remove the skin and bone yourself!

  • If making a meat and vegetable dish, try using whatever meat you have on hand. For example, if a stir fry calls for chicken but you only have a steak in the house, slice this up and use it instead! 

  • If you do not have any meat for a recipe, try using some of the Meat Alternates instead. In lasagna, pasta sauce or stir fry, try kidney beans, black beans, or chick peas instead of ground beef, steak, or chicken.

  • Texturized vegetable protein (TVP) is an excellent meat alternative you can use to substitute for ground meat. TVP is made from soybean protein and not only it is much cheaper compared to ground meat, it is also lower in fat, high in fiber and cholesterol free.


Chicken Teriyaki Vegetables

Before

 After

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

 4 chicken breasts or thighs (remove bone and skin yourself)

1 tsp. (5 mL) vegetable oil

 1 tsp. (5 mL) vegetable oil

1 tsp. (5 mL) crushed garlic

 1 tsp. (5 mL) crushed garlic or 1/2 tsp. (2.5 mL)garlic powder

1 large sweet pepper chopped or 1 cup snow peas trimmed

 whatever vegetables you have (fresh or frozen)


Marinade:

 Marinade:

3 tbsp. (45 mL) sherry

 3 tbsp. (45 mL) apple juice

3 tbsp. (45 mL) brown sugar

 3 tbsp. (45 mL) brown or white sugar

2 tbsp. (30 mL) Water

 2tbsp. (30 mL) water

2 tbsp. (30 mL) sodium reduced soya sauce

 2 tbsp. (30 mL) sodium reduced soya  sauce

2 tbsp. (30 mL) vegetable oil

 2 tbsp. (30 mL) vegetable oil

1 1/2 tsp. (7.5 mL) minced ginger root or 3/4 tsp. (3 mL) ginger powder

 1 1/2 tsp. (7.5 mL) minced ginger root 


Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit (220 degrees Celsius).


Marinade: In a bowl, combine apple juice, sugar, water, soya sauce, oil, and ginger. 
Add chicken to bowl and marinate for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken and place in a baking dish. Reserve 2 tbsp. marinade (set aside in a small bowl). Pour remaining marinade into sauce pan and cook until thickened and syrupy. Brush over chicken. 
Bake chicken for 10-15 minutes until no longer pink inside.
In a large frying pan, saute vegetables in reserved marinade. Serve vegetables over chicken.

Remember… healthy eating does not have to be costly or complicated!




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Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
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