One of my goals for the next few months is to step up my grocery savings, while keeping the quality of what I (and my grown children, who come and go) consume. Hopefully I can meet this challenge. I like to eat good food, but don’t necessarily like to pay the going prices for good food. Call me grocery budget challenged.
To do this I’m planning on pulling out every trick in my proverbial bag, and putting them to good use. I’ll return to extreme couponer mode, shop loss leaders, cut waste and use other tricks. One of the major ways I hope to save on food is by making some of my so called pantry items myself. Obviously at this level I cannot make spices, and I certainly will not be trying yogurt or homemade ravioli. There are many other things that I can make, make in bulk and make cheaper than store bought. I hope to try (notice I said try, folks), to make one so called pantry or freezer item a week.
These week I intend to make a large amount of tomato sauce (used for spaghetti, lasagna, even to cover oven pork chops). I plan to use my large slow cooker (as opposed to the small one that cooks two servings) This recipe will not include meat, and will be stored either in glass jars or plastic freezer containers that hold two servings. If I had less space, I would use freezer bags since they lie flat.
Some folks might think this is overkill when cooking for one or two. I disagree. Doing this enables me to control costs. Even if I have to buy a number ten can of crushed tomatoes, the cost per serving in the end is much less than traditional sauce. It allows me to control ingredients. My sauce will contain tomatoes (crushed, diced, and paste), sauteed vegetables (onions, garlic, peppers perhaps) and fresh and dried spices (parsley, garlic, oregano). No preservatives, no coloring, pure food. Good food, cheap, in bulk. I’ve eliminated trips to the store, I have an easily used, prepared item for those busy days. All and all it’s a win.
Over the next few months, I’ll continue “making it myself” and sharing the end results, be they good or bad. Among the things I hope to make from scratch in the future (mostly in bulk, but not always) are Ranch Dressing, Pickles and picked vegetables, home made soups (made in large amounts and frozen in servings of two), homemade crackers, and other items. Some of you may make these things from scratch each time you use them. I’m a fickle cook-when I’m not in the mood I don’t want to bother,. When I’m ready to enjoy cooking, I want to make enough to compensate for the low energy times.
I’ll let you know how the sauce works. Meanwhile, onward and forward in the Living Richly In Retirement challenge.