While there are many ways to incorporate frugality into cooking, the easiest to implement immediately with a variety of uses is flour. Bought in large 25-pound bags, it is quite cost effective costing around $10 in my area, while that cost most likely varies depending on where you live. If you have any cooking skills at all, by just adding a few common ingredients such as eggs, milk, baking powder, butter or oil it becomes almost endless in what you can make. When using milk to make it even more frugal, simply dilute it by using a cup of milk and the rest with water. This works with everything but custards or quiches, which need the milk, as the water would separate in these dishes.
Frugal Cooking – With Flour
With flour, however, you can make your own pasta, biscuits, breads, waffles or pancakes. You can make dumplings, tortilla shells, or even donuts! Flour is a main frugal ingredient that can quickly be turned into a dinner by adding a few things that may already be in your house. For example, homemade tortillas can have a quick filler of sautéed chicken breasts and onions with perhaps even a few mushrooms or green peppers, or they can be used to serve hot tuna melts on or a type of pizza even. Tortillas can be filled with fresh veggies from the garden with either a little dressing or cream cheese perhaps.
Pancakes are not only for syrup and with a little imagination can be a delicious base for a healthy meal. Made with whole wheat-flour and carrots grated into it, they can be topped with a berry yogurt for a healthy meal. Try adding a little oats or corn meal in place of some of the flour and then top with sour cream, green onions and fresh tomatoes, and even crumbled cooked bacon or ham if you have it!
Fry up a little meat with onions, add 3 tablespoons of butter, 3 tablespoons of flour, 1 cup milk and 2 cups water (stirring in liquids slowly) and you have wonderful milk gravy to be served over toast, mashed potatoes or biscuits with veggies on the side. This is always a great frugal meal that costs very little to make but makes for a tasty meal.
If you want to try something challenging, perhaps look online for a recipe on how to make pita bread. Pita bread can be filled with an unlimited amount of different foods to make for a delicious hot or cold meal or even used uncut for personal pizzas.
While there are many ways to bring frugality into cooking, flour should be one of the first things you buy in bulk to start saving in the kitchen. With so many uses, this is one item you don’t want to run out of! One of the nice things about all the different items that can be made out of flour is that they usually are quite filling too! When looking around for frugal dinners, just remember it’s all about the flour, baby!
Carrie Hetu is not a financial expert, but has been passionate about finances since the age of 19 years old when a neighbor introduced her to taxes. From that time, she has made a point to increase her financial literacy into areas of frugal living, investing, real estate, budgeting and passive income. She currently blogs at Poor to Rich a Day at a Time and Simply Homeschooled.