affordable cooking http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10471/all en-US The 5 Best Slow Cookers http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-slow-cookers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-slow-cookers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/slow-cooker-5249149-small.jpg" alt="slow cooker" title="slow cooker" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone knows that cooking your own meals is better than eating out. Not only does cooking for yourself usually yield healthier dishes, but it is often healthier for your wallet as well. However, not everyone has the time to create delicious, <a title="How to Find Time for Home-Cooked Meals" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-time-for-home-cooked-meals">home-cooked meals</a>. This is where a slow cooker comes in &mdash; having a slow cooker do the bulk of the cooking for you frees you up to tackle the rest of your busy day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything</a>)</p> <h2>What Is a Slow Cooker?</h2> <p>A slow cooker is an electrical cooking appliance designed to cook dishes at low temperatures for an extended period of time. There are a number of advantages to cooking with a slow cooker, the most important of which are ease-of-use and time. With a slow cooker, you can have a complete meal ready with little more than a bit of preparation and the push of a button. Slow cookers also save time by removing the need for you to oversee the cooking process. You can set food a slow cooker before you leave for the day to have it ready when you return.</p> <h2>Best 5 Slow Cookers</h2> <p>The primary factors that differentiate slow cookers are size, level of functionality, and special features. To that end, our top 5 recommendations for slow cookers encompass a wide variety of these factors.</p> <h3 style="clear:both;margin-top:15px;">Hamilton Beach 33967 Set 'n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29qgOL2"><img width="300" height="240" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hb33967.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 10px 20px 20px;" /></a></p> <p>A top pick from Consumer Report, the <a href="http://amzn.to/29qgOL2">Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget</a> is the perfect combination of size and functionality. This 6-quart crock allows you to fit up to a 6 lb. chicken or a 4 lb. roast while you select one of three automatic cooking modes. Program mode allows you to program a particular cooking time, probe mode allows you to designate a temperature at which you want the cooker to stop and includes a probe thermometer, and manual mode allows you to select the high, low, or warm temperature setting without designating a cooking time. All three settings switch to &quot;keep warm&quot; when cooking is finished. Currently $49 on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29qgOL2">Click here to see the Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget 6-Quart on Amazon</a></p> <h3 style="clear:both;margin-top:15px;">Hamilton Beach 33182 8-Quart Oval Slow Cooker</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/293xr1V"><img width="300" height="249" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hb33182.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 10px 20px 20px;" /></a></p> <p>The <a href="http://amzn.to/293xr1V">8-quart Hamilton Beach slow cooker</a> sacrifices some of the advanced features and functions of other slow cookers for sheer size. With a basic choice of high vs. low settings, this slow cooker is perfect for those who want a machine that is easy to use and cooks a large amount of food all at once. The Hamilton Beach 8-quart slow cooker gets the job done. Currently $30 on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/293xr1V">Click here for the 8-quart Hamilton Beach on Amazon</a></p> <h3 style="clear:both;">Crock-Pot SCVT650-PS 6-1/2-Quart Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29fQpQX"><img width="300" height="228" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/cpscvt650.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 10px 20px 20px;" /></a></p> <p>The <a href="http://amzn.to/29fQpQX">Crock-Pot 6-1/2 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker</a> is slightly larger than the Set 'n Forget but contains fewer programmable functions. The Crock-Pot allows you to set the cooking time from 30 minutes to up to 20 hours and conveniently switches to keep-warm mode at the end of the cooking time. Outside of that, it has the standard &quot;high&quot; or &quot;low&quot; cook setting, and the entire thing is packaged in a sleek and modern touchscreen interface. Currently $79.99 on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29fQpQX">Click here for the Crock-Pot 6-1/2 Quart Programmable on Amazon</a></p> <h3 style="clear:both;margin-top:15px;">Cuisinart PSC-350 3-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2910n66"><img width="300" height="248" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/cuisinartpsc350.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 10px 20px 20px;" /></a></p> <p>The Cuisinart PSC models are highly rated from both Consumer Report and Good Housekeeping. The <a href="http://amzn.to/2910n66">Cuisinart 3-1/2 quart crock</a> cooks enough food for 2-4 people, contains a total of four cooking settings &mdash; high, low, simmer, and warm &mdash; and is programmable for up to 24 hours. This variant is perfect for those living on their own or in smaller households. Currently $46.24 on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2910n66">Click here for the Cuisinart 3-1/2 on Amazon</a></p> <h3 style="clear:both;margin-top:15px;">Hamilton Beach 33135 3-in-1 Slow Cooker</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29104b7"><img width="300" height="212" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hb3in1.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 10px 20px 20px;" /></a></p> <p>The <a href="http://amzn.to/29104b7">Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 slow cooker</a> is perfect for those that like versatility and keeping their options open. The slow cooker comes with 3 different size stoneware crocks: a 2-quart, 4-quart, and 6-quart vessel. This particular slow cooker comes with your basic &quot;high,&quot; &quot;low,&quot; and &quot;warm&quot; cook settings without any form of programmable functionality. Currently $54.99 on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/29104b7">Click here for the Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 on Amazon</a></p> <p>And there you have our recommendations for the best 5 slow cookers! Remember, when purchasing, keep in mind which combination of size and features work best for you. If you do, then you'll be making delicious roasts and stews from home in no time. Be sure to check out Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">Shopping Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jeffrey-pu">Jeffrey Pu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-slow-cookers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-travel-adapters">The 5 Best Travel Adapters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-hair-growth-products-for-men">The 5 Best Hair Growth Products for Men</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-anti-itch-creams">The 5 Best Anti-Itch Creams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-shampoos-for-frizzy-hair">The 5 Best Shampoos for Frizzy Hair</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-hair-growth-supplements">The 5 Best Hair Growth Supplements</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping affordable cooking crockpot product reviews slow cooker Fri, 08 Feb 2013 10:36:50 +0000 Jeffrey Pu 967596 at http://www.wisebread.com Get a Week's Worth of Dinners Out of One Chicken http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-weeks-worth-of-dinners-out-of-one-chicken <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-a-weeks-worth-of-dinners-out-of-one-chicken" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/334658618_982b99a15f_z_0.jpg" alt="roast chicken" title="roast chicken" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am a part-time vegetarian. Back when I was a starving student with a $40-a-month food budget, I discovered that cutting meat from my diet on weekdays was not only good for my wallet, it was also good for the environment and my health too. <a href="http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/join-preventions-meatless-mondays">Meatless Monday</a> (through Friday) has never been a difficult diet for me to stick to, as I love fruits and vegetables. However, a lot of people have a hard time with Meatless Mondays because they miss the flavor of meat so much that going meat-free feels like deprivation.</p> <p>If you are one of those people who struggle with going meatless, you can still have a greener, thriftier diet by using meat as a flavoring instead of as a main course.</p> <p>Last week, I was able to buy a four-pound chicken on sale for $5, and I was able to stretch that $5 chicken over an entire week&rsquo;s worth of dinners for myself and my husband.</p> <p>I roasted my chicken, but you could easily substitute boiled chicken meat or buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the store if you don&rsquo;t have access to an oven. And, since there are hundreds of chicken recipes available for free online or from the library, my week&rsquo;s worth of chicken-oriented meals can be easily replicated over and over again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-rotisserie-chicken">25 Things to Do With&nbsp;Rotisserie Chicken</a>)</p> <h2>Sunday</h2> <p>On Sunday I did the brunt of my cooking for the entire week. It took two full hours of cooking, but the prep made the other six meals a cinch.</p> <p>As you can tell from the hundreds of five-star reviews, this recipe for <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/juicy-roasted-chicken/">roasted chicken</a> is bullet-proof. I&rsquo;ve used both butter and margarine to make this chicken, and even the white meat comes out juicy. Since I was out of onion powder, I substituted garlic powder and it was just as delicious. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Before I put the bird in the oven, I removed the giblets and the neck from the body cavity. While the rest of the chicken was roasting in oven, I made &ldquo;giblet juice&rdquo; by boiling the gizzard, heart, and neck with just enough water to cover.&nbsp;After boiling the giblets over high heat, I reduced the heat and simmered everything for 45 minutes. Then I added the liver and cooked the broth for an additional 15 minutes.</p> <p>I then pulled the giblets out of the hot broth, removed the meat from the neck, and coarsely chopped all the giblets. I set the broth and the chopped giblets aside separately.</p> <p>Once the chicken was done roasting, I used this recipe to make <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-chicken-gravy/">super-easy chicken gravy</a>.</p> <p>Since I hate washing dishes, I made the gravy by just putting the still hot roasting pan directly on a hot burner and adding the other ingredients. (Obviously, you should remove the roasted chicken and the roasting rack before you commence with your gravy making if you choose to use this method). I only used &frac14; cup of flour for my chicken gravy instead of &frac12; cup. You can add chicken broth or milk if you&rsquo;d like richer gravy instead of the water called for the recipe. Instead of plain water, I used the &ldquo;giblet juice&rdquo; that I made instead.</p> <p>Once the gravy was made, I let it sit in a heat-resistant Pyrex measuring cup until the fat separated. After I&rsquo;d spooned off the fat from the top of the gravy, I stirred in the chopped giblets, and my gravy was ready to go.</p> <p>Sunday night&rsquo;s chicken dinner was an old-fashioned meal of biscuits and gravy. I used the Pillsbury biscuits that come in a tube, but you could substitute homemade biscuits or English muffins. The biscuits are really just the vehicle for the gravy to get to your mouth, so any kind of bread you like will work, really. To compliment the down-home main course, we ate the classic American salad of iceberg lettuce and carrots with blue cheese dressing.</p> <h2>Sunday Night</h2> <p>After dinner I pulled all the meat off the now-cooled chicken. I put half the meat into the refrigerator and the other half into the freezer for later in the week. (Cooked chicken lasts two to four days in the fridge.) I put the chicken carcass into my Crock Pot with 10 cups of water, the cooked celery stalk, and one cup of rice, and I cooked it overnight on high to make <a href="http://www.chow.com/recipes/29184-ginger-chicken-jook-rice-porridge">jook</a>.</p> <p>Jook, or congee as it is sometimes called, is the ultimate Chinese comfort food. Even though it&rsquo;s super easy to make and extremely frugal, most people who don&rsquo;t live near a large Asian population have never heard of this dish. Even if you live near a Chinatown, jook is usually an off-menu item or something that exists only on the late night menu because it takes several hours for the rice to cook down to a porridge-like consistency. The recipe makes two entire quarts of jook, which I then froze in individual-sized Tupperware containers for easy meal planning.</p> <p>Turkey jook, using the turkey carcass, is one of my favorite post-Thanksgiving meals. Pork jook, made with a hambone, is a nice alternative to split pea soup.</p> <h2>Monday</h2> <p>We used leftover biscuits as buns for our Monday night dinner of chicken sandwiches. One half of the chicken breast was enough to make four slider-sized chicken sandwiches. I made a spicy mayonnaise by adding some Sriracha sauce to some mayo, and I piled on the dill pickles.</p> <p>If you are trying to feed more people with your one chicken or stretch your chicken even further, you can add additional ingredients to make <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/ingredients/chicken-recipes/best-chicken-salad-10000001890721/">chicken salad sandwiches</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Tuesday</h2> <p>Tuesday night I made Fettuccine Alfredo&hellip;with chicken. There are plenty of Chicken Alfredo recipes out there, but since I only wanted to use the other half breast for this meal, I made an ultra-rich <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/to-die-for-fettuccine-alfredo/">Alfredo sauce for pasta</a>, and then tossed in the cubed breast at the very end of the cooking process. This was easily enough food for two people and could easily have been stretched to serve four.</p> <h2>Wednesday</h2> <p>After three nights of heart-attack-inducing chicken dishes, I decided we needed a less fatty meal, so I made <a href="http://chinese.food.com/recipe/oriental-chicken-salad-with-crunchy-ramen-noodles-50825">Chinese chicken salad</a> using one of the thighs and a 10 cent package of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ramen-recipes-to-write-home-about">ramen noodles</a> for Wednesday night&rsquo;s dinner. (Use the serving size feature to scale the recipe down for two people.)</p> <p>If you have leftover plain pasta from last night, do not be afraid to add it into this salad instead of the ramen noodles. It will still taste good, but it just won&rsquo;t have the crunch of the original.</p> <h2>Thursday</h2> <p>I had originally planned to make homemade pizza for dinner on Thursday, which would have made good use of a very small amount of chicken, but I couldn&rsquo;t get my act together. I added the meat from the second thigh to cheese and vegetable quesadillas for a quick meal instead.</p> <h2>Friday</h2> <p>On Friday I used the remaining chicken pieces to make chicken chili. Just add chicken to your favorite vegetarian chili recipe like I did. Or, if you need to feed more people, choose a <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-chili/">chili recipe</a> that can double as taco or sloppy joe filling.</p> <h2>Saturday</h2> <p>Saturday night we ate the jook I&rsquo;d made last Sunday. I defrosted two servings, added chopped green onions and some crispy wonton skins, and we were good to go.&nbsp;</p> <p>After eating chicken for one entire week, I&rsquo;m sick of it. But I will definitely menu plan around a single chicken the next time I can get one on sale. Instead of eating back-to- back chicken recipes, I&rsquo;ll cook in advance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-phenomenally-frugal-single-serving-freezer-meals">freeze the chicken in single serving containers</a> for weekend meals down the road.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-weeks-worth-of-dinners-out-of-one-chicken">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tasty-ways-to-use-chicken-stock">25 Tasty Ways to Use Chicken Stock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs">10 Fantastic Facts About Eggs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-rotisserie-chicken">25 Things to Do With Rotisserie Chicken</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginners-guide-to-homemade-bread">A Beginner&#039;s Guide to Homemade Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-time-for-home-cooked-meals">How to Find Time for Home-Cooked Meals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink affordable cooking chicken recipes frugal gourmet leftover recipes Mon, 26 Nov 2012 11:24:30 +0000 Max Wong 955573 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Tips to Spend Less on Eating In http://www.wisebread.com/11-tips-to-spend-less-on-eating-in <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-tips-to-spend-less-on-eating-in" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4824229135_b7abde3d86_z.jpg" alt="home dinner" title="home dinner" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Although we've shared plenty of tricks to <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Save-Money-Restaurants-21090530">save on eating out</a>, you should also be conscious of cutting costs when eating in. Food in general can get pretty expensive, so even when you're cooking at home, it can become one of your biggest expenses. Here are some great ways to save when you're eating at home.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Save-Money-Farmers-Market-24036008">RELATED: How to&nbsp;Save Money at the Farmers Market</a></p> <h3>Don't Buy Too Much</h3> <p>Sometimes it can seem like a good deal to buy in bulk, but you're wasting money if you aren't able to finish what you purchased. Unless you can find a way to preserve the food, you should limit how much you buy. Try not to buy raw brown rice, cooking oil, and <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Items-Buy-Bulk-22919982">these other items</a> in bulk, as they can go bad quickly.</p> <h3>Freeze Your Food</h3> <p>If you have the space, a deep freezer may be a good investment for the items you are able to freeze. And if you're wondering what can be frozen, almost anything can. However, some items may not taste as good after being frozen, such as vegetables and fruits that have a high water content, because they can possibly lose their texture when you're defrosting them. But they are generally safe to eat, so it's all about personal preference. There are many people who can attest to freezing every grocery item imaginable such as eggs and milk, so I would experiment to see what works for you. Personally, bread and cooked rice are two of my favorite items to freeze. Be sure to freeze your food in small portions so you don't have to keep refreezing your food, which can make the food less fresh and lower its quality.</p> <h3>Preserve It</h3> <p>There are definitely other methods of extending the life of your grocery items besides freezing them. Explore other ways to preserve such as canning, drying, and pickling. More suggestions <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Making-Groceries-Last-Tips-16971878">can be found here</a>.</p> <h3>Be Healthy</h3> <p>You'll be surprised to learn that a healthy lifestyle will actually get you a lower grocery bill. There's a <a href="http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/10-ways-save-money-food-shopping" target="_blank">study by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association</a> that revealed families who went on weight-loss diets also spent less on food. That's because they were reducing their portion sizes and buying less unhealthy food such as soda and chips. It's a win-win situation; by being more healthy, you will also be able to save on your medical bills.</p> <h3>Know Where to Get the Cheapest Groceries</h3> <p>It's important to learn how to <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Saving-Money-Supermarket-20773159">save when you're at the grocery store</a>, but it's just as crucial to know where to shop. <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Live-Frugally-24174070?slide=15">Ethnic supermarkets</a>, <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Live-Frugally-24174070?slide=5">local orchards</a>, and <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Save-Money-Farmers-Market-24036008">negotiating at the farmers market</a> can be a bargain. Don't be afraid to check out alternative grocery sources such as the dollar store, a nearby pharmacy, or gas stations. Make a note on what you spend most on when you're grocery shopping, then compare the prices at these different locations. It may sound like a lot of work, but once you know where to buy certain items, you won't have to comparison shop until you notice a price increase.</p> <h3>Know the Frugal but Filling and Healthy Staples</h3> <p>There are some food staples that are cheaper than others, such as beans. Figure out what they are, and try to incorporate them more into your meals. You can also always go for cheaper cuts and buy meats whole and bone-in as they are more affordable in those forms.</p> <h3>Mix It Up</h3> <p>Making a certain type of frugal meal can get old, and when you start getting bored, you may start craving restaurant food. Be creative with your meals and change up things like sandwich fillings. Sometimes the oddest pairings work really well. Take a look at your pantry and experiment!</p> <h3>Crockpot Cooking</h3> <p>A crockpot is a frugal cook's best friend, because not only is it easy to make a slow-cooked meal with a few ingredients, but you'll also have leftovers that can be easily stored in the freezer. Take inspiration from FitSugar's <a href="http://www.fitsugar.com/Healthy-One-Pot-Meals-20429650">one-pot healthy recipes</a>.</p> <h3>Coupon</h3> <p>Watching &quot;Extreme Couponing&quot; on TV can be overwhelming, but there are some couponing techniques that are actually quite doable. You can access online coupons before you go into a grocery store and take a note of what's on sale before buying. You can become a member of your grocery store's reward club to take advantage of special prices. Check out these <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Extreme-Coupon-23755667">realistic insider tips</a> from an extreme couponer.</p> <h3>Use Leftovers for Lunch</h3> <p>Another way to keep your meals exciting is to use leftovers (either from a restaurant or home-cooked meal) the next day or to freeze what you have in the fridge for another day. You can also take leftovers and create an entirely new meal to spice things up, such as turning leftover steak into stir-fry or using fish as a salad topping.</p> <h3>Incorporate Meal Fails With Your Meal</h3> <p>You don't have to throw something away if you happen to dislike it. Just like leftovers, you can create an entirely new meal out of them. What doesn't taste good on its own can taste better when mixed with the right ingredients! And if something is overcooked, you can probably cut out the burnt parts and use the rest of it for another dish.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> It&#039;s almost always cheaper to cook than it is to eat out, but do you know how to keep your home-cooked meals both flavorful and frugal? Follow these tips. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Save-Milk-Beef-Pork-Eggs-24155760">Beat Rising Grocery&nbsp;Costs: Save on These 6 Foods</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Save-Money-Whole-Foods-11376657">How to&nbsp;Save Money at Whole Foods</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Extreme-Coupon-23755667">7 Smart Extreme Couponing Tips</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-tips-to-spend-less-on-eating-in">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-meaning-of-milk-label-colors">The Meaning of Milk Label Colors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs">10 Fantastic Facts About Eggs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-15-foods-that-are-worth-buying-organic">The Only 15 Foods That Are Worth Buying Organic</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sure-savings-at-the-supermarket-how-to-save-25-on-9-staple-items">Sure Savings at the Supermarket</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink affordable cooking crockpot food preservation grocery shopping Wed, 22 Aug 2012 10:36:40 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 952288 at http://www.wisebread.com Turn Off the Oven: 25 No-Cook Meals http://www.wisebread.com/turn-off-the-oven-25-no-cook-meals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/turn-off-the-oven-25-no-cook-meals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5983148937_1406d1a210_z.jpg" alt="spring rolls and salad" title="spring rolls and salad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Making a meal in the summer doesn&rsquo;t mean you have to cook. For many delicious meals, you need only &ldquo;assemble.&rdquo; Below are 25 cool, easy options. A few of the recipes below require just a little bit of cooking: boiling some pasta, making hard-boiled eggs, or frying bacon. Don't let that scare you off! It's maybe 15 minutes of range cooking at most, with no turning on the oven required. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes">25 Great, Cheap, and Easy Crock Pot Recipes</a>)</p> <h3>1. Cold Avocado Soup With Sweet Corn and Bacon</h3> <p>This <a href="http://joythebaker.com/2011/08/cold-avocado-soup-with-sweet-corn-and-bacon">cold avocado soup with sweet corn and bacon</a> from Joy the Baker is absolutely delicious. You can cheat a little and use frozen, defrosted corn, or canned corn and bacon bits, if that tiny bit of cooking is daunting. We liked it with some tortilla chips on the side.&nbsp;</p> <h3>2. Gazpacho</h3> <p>Fire up your blender for this classic <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/gazpacho/detail.aspx?event8=1&amp;prop24=SR_Title&amp;e11=gazpacho&amp;e8=Quick%20Search&amp;event10=1&amp;e7=Home%20Page">cold soup recipe</a>.</p> <h3>3. Cold Russian Beet Soup</h3> <p>This is a very refreshing, pretty soup. The author suggests serving this <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/ninas-russian-cold-beet-soup-kholdnyk/detail.aspx?event8=1&amp;prop24=SR_Title&amp;e11=cold%20soups&amp;e8=Quick%20Search&amp;event10=1&amp;e7=Home%20Page">cold beet soup</a> with pumpernickel bread, and I agree &mdash; that&rsquo;s the perfect thing.&nbsp;</p> <h3>4. Simple Mexican Salad</h3> <p>I have already made this salad four times this summer. I am completely hooked on it! I also made the main recipe (the corn cakes with eggs), which was fabulous. Check out, though, the <a href="http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/3604555-Mexican-Corn-Cakes-Eggs?full_recipe=true">simple side salad</a> (scroll down). Not only is this a very pretty salad, but it can be made &ldquo;main dish&rdquo; with the simple addition of bacon, ham, chicken or shrimp.&nbsp;</p> <h3>5. California Wrap</h3> <p>Wrap it up! This <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/california-wrap-sandwich-recipe/index.html ">California wrap sandwich</a> from the Food Network is made extra-delicious with the homemade ranch dressing. The possibilities for wraps are pretty much endless.</p> <h3>6. Cool Veggie Pizza</h3> <p>When my friend Nancy Jo makes this <a href="http://kraftrecipes.com/recipes/cool-veggie-pizza-appetizer-51172.aspx">veggie pizza</a>, it is a work of art. Me...not so much, but it still tastes great. My modification, because either you love Miracle Whip or you don&rsquo;t &mdash; leave out the Miracle Whip. (Apologies to those of you who love it.)</p> <h3>7. Spring Rolls &nbsp;&nbsp;</h3> <p>A little more labor intensive are <a href="http://whatscookingamerica.net/Appetizers/SpringRolls.htm">spring rolls</a>. I must confess that mine never come out looking very pretty, although they taste good. Just about the time I get the hang of rolling them, I am out of ingredients! If you are good with your hands, these are really popular at potlucks. I love that I don&rsquo;t feel guilty for eating them, because they are so packed with healthy goodies. We especially like the peanut sauce for dipping.&nbsp;</p> <h3>8. Red Pepper Hummus</h3> <p>This is one of my daughter&rsquo;s favorites. She doesn&rsquo;t really enjoy cooking and complains about the heat, so it&rsquo;s <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-roasted-red-pepper-hummus/">red pepper hummus</a> and crackers to the rescue. Hummus is very healthy, cool, and easy to make. It&rsquo;s also very inexpensive!&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h3>9. Cereal</h3> <p>Also from my daughter &mdash; CEREAL! Yes, it's easy. It&rsquo;s cool. It's nutritious. She isn&rsquo;t the only one I know who eats cereal for dinner occasionally, so I had to include it. I am too much the traditionalist to eat cereal for dinner, but I know folks who will defend it.</p> <h3>10. Beans</h3> <p>Inexpensive, protein-rich, easy. Try rinsed black beans with canned corn, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, a dash of olive oil and salt. I like the fat-free refried beans with chips, a little fat-free sour cream, and salsa. Rinsed cannellini beans, cold pre-cooked shrimp, and canned green beans sprinkled with feta &mdash; YUM!&nbsp;</p> <h3>11. Speedy Salade Nicoise</h3> <p>This <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/salad-nicoise/">Salade Nicoise</a> is so delicious that I have taken to cooking extra red potatoes whenever I cook potatoes, just to have some on hand for this salad.</p> <h3>12. Cobb Salad</h3> <p>The best <a href="http://americanfood.about.com/od/allamericansidessalads/r/cobb.htm">Cobb salad</a> I ever had was at Bob&rsquo;s Ranch House, in tiny Etna, California. I hope it&rsquo;s still on the menu. Fortunately, they are easy to make at home.&nbsp;</p> <h3>13. Chef's Salad</h3> <p>Another popular no-cook salad that really has it all is the <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chefs-salad-10000001976656/ ">chef's salad</a>. I like this very traditional version. You can dress a chef's salad up or down, and give it an Italian flair with deli meats and cheeses.&nbsp;</p> <h3>14. Salmon&nbsp;Spread</h3> <p><a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,171,153163-245203,00.html">Salmon spread</a> is something I could devour all by myself. I really have to watch it! Serve with crackers and grapes.</p> <h3>15. Chicken Pesto Croissant</h3> <p>I usually reserve sandwiches for lunch, but I will make an exception for delicious sandwiches like this <a href="http://busycooks.about.com/od/coldsandwichrecipes/r/chixpestocroiss.htm">chicken pesto croissant</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h3>16. Curried Tofu Salad</h3> <p>I have admitted it before &mdash; I am not a big fan of tofu. Add curry, though, as with this <a href="http://www.eatmedelicious.com/2009/01/curried-tofu-salad.html">curried tofu salad</a>, and I&rsquo;m in!&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h3>17. Pasta Salad</h3> <p>Pasta salads are another area where you can have endless combinations, especially if you have cooked ham, chicken, roast beef, shrimp, and beans around. Pick up some herbs to add in. Yes, you have to boil the noodles and chill them, but it&rsquo;s worth the steam. I like to double the recipes and then we have lunch ready to go, too. Here is a good <a href="http://southernfood.about.com/od/pastasalads/r/r70622g.htm">pasta salad recipe</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h3>18. Sardines or Oysters</h3> <p>Chill, and then open, a can of sardines or smoked oysters. This makes a refreshing dinner with some crackers, cheese, and fruit. Enjoy a glass of white wine and feel elegant.</p> <h3>19. Asian Noodle Salad&nbsp;</h3> <p>Here is another popular potluck salad &mdash; <a href="http://www.rimonthly.com/Rhode-Island-Monthly/Food-Drink/Recipes/index.php/name/Cold-Asian-Noodle-Salad-with-Spicy-Peanut-Chicken-and-Chinese-Cabbage/record/26243/">cold Asian noodle salad</a>. Yes, I know, you have to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oodles-of-noodles-25-ways-to-prepare-pasta">boil the noodles</a>, which is technically cooking. It&rsquo;s worth the 15 or so minutes.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h3>20. Curried Rice Salad</h3> <p><a href="http://www.ricearoni.com/recipes/Curried_Rice_Salad">Curried Rice-a-Roni salad</a>, in fact. Again, a minimum of cooking is needed, and this salad needs to chill. When I was a kid, my mother made it, and I just LOVED it.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h3>21. Stuffed Tomatoes</h3> <p>We cannot end this without the stuffed tomato! Scoop out a large, chilled tomato and fill with tuna salad, chicken salad, or ham salad. (Beginner cooks &mdash; to make these salads, add a little mayo to chopped, cooked meat. Add some sliced green onions, pickle relish if you like it, and a little chopped celery.) Serve with Triscuits.</p> <h3>22. Cheese Board</h3> <p>I love a cheese board with fruit and crackers. You don&rsquo;t have to buy gourmet cheeses &mdash; just buy whatever is on sale, and slice. Serve with grapes, apples, and a little Dijon <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-making-your-own-mustard">mustard</a>.</p> <h3>23. Smashed Chickpea Sandwich</h3> <p>If you follow food blogs on Pinterest or Twitter, you would have definitely seen Two Peas &amp; Their Pod&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/smashed-chickpea-avocado-salad-sandwich/">smashed chickpea sandwich</a>. This recipe went viral, and WOW is it delicious!</p> <h3>24. Cottage Cheese</h3> <p>Talk about lazy, but it&rsquo;s cold and it&rsquo;s satisfying &mdash; cottage cheese. Toss it into a big scooped-out tomato, pour salsa over, add fruit, top with hard-boiled eggs...whatever. I love cottage cheese, and it is a good source of low-fat protein. My mom used to slather cottage cheese over a Rye-Krisp cracker, top with sliced tomatoes, and liberally salt and pepper. It is very cool and delicious.</p> <h3>25. Chicken With Tarragon&nbsp;Caper Sauce</h3> <p>I saved my favorite no-cook meal for last &mdash; <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicken-with-Tarragon-Caper-Sauce-with-Mixed-Greens-108454">chicken with tarragon caper sauce</a>. As you can see, this recipe was published by Bon Appetit in August, 2003. I bet I have made it three or four times a year, since. If you cannot get fresh tarragon, you can use dried. This is also a fantastic use for a cold rotisserie chicken. Serve with French bread, because you will want to get every bit of sauce off of your plate (as long as Letitia Baldridge isn&rsquo;t at the table).</p> <p>There you are &mdash; 25 easy ways to stay cool at mealtime, with a minimum of fuss. Readers, any easy ideas to add?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-off-the-oven-25-no-cook-meals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes">25 Great, Cheap, and Easy Crock Pot Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tasty-ways-to-use-chicken-stock">25 Tasty Ways to Use Chicken Stock</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink affordable cooking easy recipes salads summer Mon, 16 Jul 2012 10:24:09 +0000 Marla Walters 940751 at http://www.wisebread.com A Beginner's Guide to Homemade Bread http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginners-guide-to-homemade-bread <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-beginners-guide-to-homemade-bread" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fresh_bread.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="147" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;d venture to say there are very few people who can resist fresh, homemade bread; when I pull a loaf out of the oven, a crowd inevitably forms around it, and we wait for it to cool so we can slather it with butter while it&rsquo;s still warm. A fresh loaf of bread seems a bit miraculous when you make it yourself, as you watch a few simple ingredients rise into a golden dome under the oven light. It always led me to assume that making bread was difficult or complicated. What I found out is that it can be very simple &mdash; if, unlike me, you choose the right approach.</p> <h3>How <em>Not</em> to Start</h3> <p>When I decided to start making bread, I was charmed into it by a beautifully illustrated book and followed book written by a famous artisan baker. I followed the instructions for making sourdough starter &mdash; essentially a smelly, homemade yeast, created by allowing grapes to ferment with flour and water for several weeks. Then I proceeded to dive into artisan bread recipes that involved several painstaking steps &mdash; and many days &mdash; to complete. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-bake-sourdough-bread-and-save-a-buck-on-every-loaf">How to Bake&nbsp;Sourdough Bread</a>)</p> <p>I produced countless loaves of bread that were so flat and dense you could hardly cut into them. One loaf of raisin brioche rose to monstrous proportions in the oven, pushing raisins out of its billowing sides; another burned black on the outside and oozed wet dough in the center.</p> <p>After flipping around in that first book, I realized that there&rsquo;s a method to learning how to bake more complicated recipes successfully. The first page of the book dealt with making a simple white bread.</p> <h3>Step 1: Start Simple</h3> <p>Making bread is chemistry, which means there&rsquo;s a certain ratio of ingredients that will produce that soft, chewy, texture. Most baking books start with white bread. This is because a simple loaf of white bread is the easiest kind to make successfully. When whole-grain flours are added in large proportion, things get a little more complicated, and you&rsquo;re more likely to end up with a brick than anything that resembles real bread.</p> <p>Start with white bread or wheat breads with a low proportion (less than 30%) of whole-grain flour until you get the hang of things. Once you master this, you&rsquo;ll have the basic skills that are required to make more difficult recipes work.</p> <h3>Step 2: Know Your Ingredients</h3> <p>If you haven&rsquo;t made bread before, you might assume that flour is flour. Not so. Bread flour isn&rsquo;t a gimmick; it&rsquo;s flour that contains a higher proportion of protein, or wheat gluten. This is what gives bread dough its elasticity. If your recipe doesn&rsquo;t state the kind of flour you should use, consider trying each once. Some people like the airy texture all-purpose flour can create. If you are sensitive to gluten, getting the right texture will be more difficult, but a good gluten-free cookbook should help.</p> <p>Yeast is another key ingredient in bread baking. Make sure you get the type the recipe calls for &mdash; either active dry yeast or instant yeast. You should also keep your yeast in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer to keep it fresh for longer. It&rsquo;s alive, so treat it gently by letting it warm to up to room temperature before adding it to a recipe.</p> <h3>Step 3: Understand the Basics</h3> <p>Making a simple loaf of bread involves the same basic steps: mixing, kneading, rising, shaping, and second rising. This sounds like a lot, but most of it is actually hands-off; just set your timer and let the flour and yeast mingle in privacy.</p> <p><strong>Mixing</strong></p> <p>This generally involves combining all the dry ingredients and all the wet ones, then combining the two and mixing until a kneadable dough forms. Just follow the directions in your recipe, and pay attention to any instructions about temperature &mdash; lukewarm liquids are often requested and will affect how the yeast responds.</p> <p><strong>Kneading</strong></p> <p>This is the fun part, and it generally needs to be done for 6 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic, but still pliable. You can also do the mixing and kneading in your bread machine using the dough cycle. Just be sure to put the yeast on the bottom, followed by the dry ingredients and then the liquid. This prevents the yeast from being activated too early.</p> <p><strong>First Rising</strong></p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve kneaded the dough, you can make it into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it in a warm place to rise. I like to put it in the oven and turn the light on; the warmth from the light bulb provides just the right amount of heat. This takes 30 minutes to an hour, or until the ball has swelled to twice its size.</p> <p><strong>Shaping</strong></p> <p>This is when you deflate the dough and shape it for baking, either by putting it into a bread loaf pan or shaping it freeform on a pizza stone or cookie sheet. Then, cover the loaf with a towel for its second rising.</p> <p><strong>Final Rising</strong></p> <p>After being deflated, the bread should double in size again. This should take a little less time than the first rising &mdash; about 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to the temperature specified in the recipe during this time.</p> <p>Once these steps are completed, put the bread in the oven, set the timer, and wait for what seems like forever.</p> <h3>Step 4: Learn When It&rsquo;s Ready</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve cooked bread to a deep, acrid brown. I&rsquo;ve also pulled it triumphantly from the oven when it looked just right &mdash; only to discover it was still raw in the middle. So how do you know if your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">loaf of bread</a> is ready? Use the time and temperature specified in the recipe as a guide. When the bread is a deep, golden brown and smells like toast, it&rsquo;s probably ready. To be sure, take it out of the oven, flip it over, and tap the middle of it with your finger or a spoon. If it sounds hollow, it&rsquo;s cooked through.</p> <h3>Try, Try Again</h3> <p>Bread is alive, so learning how to consistently make great bread takes practice and patience. Over time, you&rsquo;ll learn to know when the dough is the right consistency and when and how to make adjustments to fix it. You&rsquo;ll probably also learn that loaves that rose a little too much, rose not quite enough, or are a little overcooked still taste pretty fantastic, especially compared to the dry, uniform <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">slices from the supermarket</a>. Learning to make bread is a process that takes time to perfect. Fortunately, the process is far from painstaking as even an imperfect loaf of fresh bread demands to be eaten.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginners-guide-to-homemade-bread">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-bake-sourdough-bread-and-save-a-buck-on-every-loaf">How to bake sourdough bread (and save a buck on every loaf)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-quick-bread-and-biscuit-recipes-that-bake-in-a-flash">10 Quick Bread and Biscuit Recipes That Bake in a Flash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-simple-tips-to-improve-homemade-bread">4 Simple Tips to Improve Homemade Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-delicious-recipes-for-homemade-bread">10 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Homemade Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink affordable cooking baking bread Fri, 27 Jan 2012 11:24:19 +0000 Tara Struyk 877202 at http://www.wisebread.com It Was on Sale…Now How Do I Cook It? http://www.wisebread.com/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grocery store.jpg" alt="Produce shop" title="Produce shop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="170" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my favorite ways to save money on groceries is to shop based on what&rsquo;s on sale in the meat and produce section. Although this requires a little more creativity, I find that I end up buying a wide variety of healthy foods for cheap. Instead of shopping for ingredients based on a new recipe (have you noticed ingredients are never on sale when you need them?), cook based on what&rsquo;s on sale.</p> <p>Unfortunately, it&rsquo;s not always easy to cook unfamiliar produce and cuts of meat. To help those of us who are trying to eat well on a budget, here are a few simple ways to cook food items that often go on sale. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker's Guide to Choosing Fruits and&nbsp;Vegetables</a>)</p> <h2>Broccoli and Cauliflower</h2> <p>Broccoli crowns go on sale often throughout the year, and this healthy cruciferous vegetable is not only full of vitamins, but it helps prevent cancer too. For a simple salad, blanch the florets of two crowns in boiling water for 30 seconds, shock them in cold water, and then dress them with sliced almonds and a vinaigrette made with 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp sesame oil, salt, and 1 tsp sugar.</p> <p>Cauliflower is also very good for you and is almost as versatile as broccoli. I like to toss boiled broccoli or cauliflower with pasta, cooked chicken, and a few tablespoons of jarred pesto sauce for a quick meal. Cauliflower is also delicious in <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2009/01/dinner-tonight-cauliflower-gratin-recipe.html">gratins</a> and casseroles.</p> <h2>Cabbage</h2> <p>A staple of budget diets the world over, cabbage is nutritious and cheap, but may not seem to be the easiest vegetable to use. Actually, cabbage is very easy to cook; the hardest part is cutting it up. Try cooking it over high heat in a <a href="http://orangette.blogspot.com/2009/01/best-we-can-hope-for.html">cabbage stir-fry</a> with soy sauce and hot sauce. Or shred it for coleslaw or to top tacos (which is much more authentic than using shredded lettuce). <a href="http://foodrepublik.com/braised-red-cabbage/">Shredded red cabbage</a> makes a delicious side dish when slowly braised with red wine, vinegar, and sugar.</p> <h2>Fruit</h2> <p>Aside from eating fruit whole, there are a variety of ways to use up inexpensive sale fruit in cooking. When peaches are in season, buy a case of them and make a few <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Peach-Cobbler-102277">peach cobblers</a>. Plums are delicious in <a href="http://foodrepublik.com/upside-down-plum-cake/">plum cakes</a>, and extra bananas can be used up in <a href="http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/banana-bread/51427396-6764-4b0a-a73a-78c683c703d2">banana bread</a>, smoothies, or super-simple <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/stay-cool/how-to-make-creamy-ice-cream-with-just-one-ingredient-093414">banana ice cream</a>. Grapes, pears, strawberries, and figs are delicious when cut up into salads. Fruit can also be used up easily in pies and tarts. Try a <a href="http://www.kitchendaily.com/recipe/rustic-pear-tart-642/">rustic free-form pear tart</a>, a classic <a href="http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/the-wonders-of-tarte-tatin/">apple tarte tatin</a>, or a decadent <a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/06/sweet-cherry-pie/">cherry pie</a>. Serve up melons in their rinds, scooped into balls and doused with rum, or wrap melons in prosciutto for a classic appetizer.</p> <p>Try using fruit mixed with savory ingredients to make sophisticated canapes. A whole-wheat cracker topped with goat cheese, a basil leaf, and a sweet peach slice is unexpected and delicious. A cracker topped with Brie, thinly sliced apples, and a drizzle of honey is just as good.</p> <h2>Potatoes</h2> <p>Bags of potatoes often go on sale, but make sure they haven&rsquo;t gone green before buying. Store them in a cool dark place to prevent them from sprouting before you can eat them. They&rsquo;re comforting, filling, and believe it or not, they are also a <a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/the-potato-may-be-the-new-superfood">healthy low-fat food</a>, as long as you don&rsquo;t add tons of butter and fat. Try them in a <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Jacquess-French-Potato-Salad-358334">potato salad with a vinaigrette dressing</a>, or have a seasoned baked potato with a dollop of plain yogurt. Be sure to eat the skins too if they&rsquo;re tender enough &mdash; they are packed with vitamins and fiber. Sweet potatoes are also cheap and can be cooked the same way.</p> <h2>Squash</h2> <p>Spaghetti, acorn, and butternut squash are almost always on sale in the fall and are a great way to feed a whole family on a small budget. Squash are healthy, filling, and versatile. To cook squash with a minimum of fuss, prick the squash all over with the tip of a sharp knife, and then place it whole on a baking sheet. Bake it in a pre-heated oven at 375&deg;F for an hour or more, until squash is very tender when pierced with a knife.</p> <p>Once the squash is cooked, you can cut it apart and simply serve with salt and pepper and a little butter. In the case of butternut squash, you can mash it or make it into a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/curried-butternut-squash-soup-recipe/index.html">flavorful soup</a> seasoned with a pinch of curry powder. Spaghetti squash can be served with marinara sauce as a pasta substitute, and I love pieces of acorn squash topped with brown sugar and butter and re-baked until glazed.</p> <p>Squashes like zucchini and summer squash are cheap all through the summer and are delicious grated into<a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/2011/08/zucchini-fritters/"> zucchini pancakes</a> or zucchini bread, shaved into ribbons for <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Ribboned-Zucchini-Salad-109755">zucchini salad</a>, or stir-fried with strips of meat.</p> <h2>Beef</h2> <p>In general, the big chunks of meat go on sale more often than smaller, neatly cut-up pieces. So avoid the pre-cut stir-fry strips and go for a piece of flank steak instead, freezing what you don&rsquo;t need for later (flank or sirloin steak makes a great <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/11/jadens-beef-with-broccoli/">beef and broccoli stir-fry</a>). Roasts tend to go on sale often, especially during grilling season when steaks are more popular, which gives you a chance to stock up on rump roast or round roast, which are perfect for<a href="http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/roast_beef/"> roast beef</a>. When it comes to stew meat, although pre-cut stew meat is inexpensive, it&rsquo;s usually made up of bits and pieces of several cuts of beef, which will take on inconsistent textures when cooked. Instead, buy an inexpensive piece of beef chuck when it&rsquo;s on sale and have your butcher cut it up for free. Then make a <a href="http://foodrepublik.com/bourgignon-esque-beef-stew/">simple beef stew</a> and serve it on top of potatoes or egg noodles for a hearty meal.</p> <h2>Chicken Legs and Thighs</h2> <p>These less-popular cuts of chicken often go on sale, and they are delicious when prepared well. Unlike breast meat, thigh and leg meat stays moist when roasted and is almost impossible to overcook. Bake them with apples for <a href="http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chicken_normandy/">Chicken Normandy</a>, or add paprika, vinegar, and soy sauce for a simple <a href="http://appetiteforchina.com/recipes/filipino-chicken-adobo/">chicken adobo</a>. Marinate chicken legs in BBQ sauce and grill them for a fast meal.</p> <p>Whole chicken is often on sale, and you can make the entire chicken last for several meals. <a href="http://foodrepublik.com/herb-and-lemon-roasted-chicken/">Roast the chicken</a> with a stuffing of lemons and onion, and after you&rsquo;ve eaten all the roast chicken you can hold, use the leftovers for chicken salad and chicken noodle soup.</p> <h2>Fish</h2> <p>Tilapia and pollock are cheap white fish options that often go on sale. Sole and mahi-mahi are also relatively affordable (go for mahi-mahi from the U.S. Atlantic that has been pole-and-line or troll caught), as are cod and haddock. For white fish, I usually dredge the seasoned fillets in flour, pan-fry them, and make a pan sauce out of melted butter, lemon juice, and parsley. When I can find salmon on sale I like to grill a large salmon fillet with a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/indonesian-grilled-swordfish-recipe/index.html">gingery marinade</a>.&nbsp; Often you can find frozen fish on sale that is pretty good quality, but make sure it has not been thawed and refrozen.</p> <h2>Pork</h2> <p>Although it may be hard to think beyond pork chops, many other cuts are cheap and just as delicious. Pork shoulder (picnic roast and Boston butt) benefits from slow cooking in a stew or in a crock pot and makes a great <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/slow-cooker-pulled-pork/detail.aspx">pulled pork</a>. Pork loins and tenderloins are inexpensive but are easy to cook and can feed several people &mdash; a friend of mine roasts <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-crock-pot-pork-tenderloin-roast-53599">pork loin</a> slowly with a couple of cans of mushroom soup thrown over top for an easy meal. Ground pork is a cheap substitute for beef in pasta sauce or chili and makes a mean <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/lucques-pork-burger-10000000637691/">pork burger</a>.</p> <h2>Canned Goods</h2> <p>Canned food periodically goes on sale, and when it does, stock up on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/canned-vs-dried-beans-which-are-cheaper">beans</a>, tuna, diced tomatoes, and soups. A can of garbanzo beans can make a salad a balanced meal by adding protein and extra fiber. Toss a can of beans into a pot of chili, or mix with enchilada filling to make meat stretch further. Creamy soups can be mixed with pasta for an easy dish like <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/easy-tuna-casserole/detail.aspx">tuna casserole</a>. Diced tomatoes are the foundation for a variety of dishes, and in a pinch, can be tossed with pasta, salt, and pepper for an inexpensive pantry meal.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/moments-in-the-garden-of-eatin">Moments in the &quot;Garden of Eatin&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-favorite-summer-produce-last-all-year">How to Make Your Favorite Summer Produce Last All Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs">10 Fantastic Facts About Eggs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink affordable cooking budget grocery cheap groceries produce Tue, 13 Sep 2011 10:24:26 +0000 Camilla Cheung 698103 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Find Time for Home-Cooked Meals http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-time-for-home-cooked-meals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-find-time-for-home-cooked-meals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home_cooked_meals.jpg" alt="Cooking" title="Cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the biggest money drains, especially if you have a large family, is the food required to keep everybody happy and healthy. I hear a lot of talk about how people want to make more home-cooked food, eat healthier, and quit spending so much on take-out or restaurant meals. But I also hear busy moms talking about how they simply don't have the time to make a home-cooked meal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-yourself-to-cook">Teach Yourself to Cook</a>)</p> <p>I hear you, busy moms (and dads). I'm busy myself, with three kids under four, a thriving freelance writing business, and baby number four due in just two months. We also entertain friends (as in, feed them) regularly. I certainly don't have the time or the energy to just hang out in the kitchen baking up gourmet breakfast goodies or complicated, multi-course dinners. That's just not going to happen in my life.</p> <p>For several reasons (such as an unavoidable tendency to thriftiness), however, I do cook most of what we eat: things like chicken pot pie from scratch, homemade soups, crescent rolls, curries, pasta, traditional Southern dishes (I'm from Mississippi), salads, fish, and, yes, the ubiquitous casserole. Breakfast foods and the occasional meal out are the exceptions. I don't, however, spend hours in the kitchen. Here's how I roll with home cooking.</p> <h3>1. Find Convenience in the Process, Not the Products</h3> <p>Convenience foods are going to cost you more; you're paying for that labor supplied by someone else. The other day I saw a pre-washed, foil-wrapped raw potato &quot;ready for baking.&quot; It was $1. For a single potato. Six inches away, you could pick up a 5 lb. bag of potatoes for about $4. Convenience is costly when you depend on someone else to provide it, but you can build convenience into your cooking process and save yourself time and money.</p> <p>For example, think through how you cook. Are all your supplies in a logical, easy-to-reach place? Do you waste time searching for the stuff you use most? Do you have to wash a pile of dirty dishes before you actually start cooking? Do you make fifteen trips to the refrigerator when you could have gotten all your ingredients out, set them on the counter, and gotten to it?</p> <p>Most of us don't really think in terms of efficiency in the kitchen, but how we move, prep, and clean up can greatly increase or decrease the amount of time it takes to prepare a meal.</p> <h3>2. Get Really Good at a Few &quot;Base&quot; Dishes</h3> <p>I can whip up a white sauce in about 10 minutes without measuring anything; however, if I'm going to make a dessert of any kind, I need a recipe. That's because I don't make many desserts, but I use white sauce as a base for chicken pot pie, alfredo sauce, casseroles, and soups like crab and corn chowder. It behooves me to be able to quickly and easily get a white sauce made so I can then morph it for my desired meal.</p> <p>I am, by no means, a gourmet cook. I'm good at what I know, and I know the things I love to cook and eat. If you analyze your own eating patterns, you'll notice that you gravitate toward the same types of foods whether you're eating out or at home. Have a thing for chicken fingers? Learn how to make them like a pro at home and have them anytime for a fraction of the cost. Figure out what you like, break those meals down into a few base recipes or processes, and practice till you're (almost) perfect.</p> <h3>3. Double Up on the Time-Consuming Tasks</h3> <p>It takes a lot more time to boil and debone a whole chicken than it does to simply bake a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts. But you'll pay three times as much (or more) for the prepped chicken breasts than you will for the whole chicken, plus you'll miss out on the ability to make your own chicken broth. It doesn't add much time to boil two whole chickens, debone them, and then freeze half the meat for later use. Look at that: You just created your own convenience food.</p> <p>There are many time-consuming tasks that we shirk in the kitchen because we don't think in terms of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/assembly-cooking-for-newbies">doubling up</a>. But when you're peeling and washing vegetables for a pot of soup, you can do a little extra and have enough ready for tomorrow night's stir fry. Yes, you still have to put in the time to do the tasks, but you don't have to put in that amount of time for every home-cooked meal.</p> <h3>4. Plan Your Menu, but Keep It Flexible</h3> <p>It helps to have a menu plan, not only so you'll have adequate food in the house to feed you for the week, but also so you can think ahead and double up on preparation. I usually plan a menu of seven &quot;main&quot; meals for a week, and I pick one for the night as I have the time or inclination. Wednesday nights are busy for us, so I always plan on something leftover, simple (like sandwiches), or entirely made-ahead (like a slow-cooker meal). For days and nights when you know you have a time crunch, putting a little extra thought into your meals can make home cooking entirely possible.</p> <p>You don't have to be a slave to your menu, however; if you're just not feeling that pasta dish you planned for Friday, switch it up to what you do feel like eating. A big part of making home cooking more fun is working it so it appeals to your own appetite. Hey, if you're cooking, I say you get to make the calls on what you're eating.</p> <h3>5. Spread Out the Tasks</h3> <p>Take the boiling a whole chicken example. If you're going to stand around in the kitchen waiting for a chicken to boil, then wait for it to cool, then debone it and use the meat, you're going to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It's easier to just do one step at a time, as it suits you. I can put the chicken on to boil or make bread dough and then walk out of the kitchen and on to something else, coming back when I need to turn off the burner or punch down the bread dough. Of course, this works best if you're at home (as I am). But even if you're heading out the door in the morning, you can do things like throw your meat and vegetables in the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sort-of-small-kitchen-gadgets-that-equal-big-savings">slow cooker</a>, or use a little time the night before to get your next dinner mostly prepped.</p> <h3>6. Buy Time When It's Worth It</h3> <p>Pie crust is relatively easy to make, but it's also relatively cheap to buy. There's nothing wrong with cutting corners when it works for both your time and budget. Use your kitchen skills to their best advantage, and spend a little bit more on the things that take you too long to do. I could work on making a superb pie crust, I guess, but I don't need to make it that often, so I'm not going to spend my time there. Instead, for the few times I do need it, I don't mind spending a little more for that time-saver. The key is knowing when it's worth your time to spend the money, and not just going blindly with the convenience foods because you're more used to them.</p> <h3>7. Don't Stress About Filling the Plate</h3> <p>If your idea of a home-cooked meal is a main dish, two sides, a salad, and a starch, no wonder you don't want to spend that much time in the kitchen. Let it go. We are no longer living in 1955. Throw out the Jell-o mold and quit worrying about how many colors show up on a dinner plate. Focus on one-dish meals that incorporate a lot of vegetables, or serve a salad with some protein in it (boiled eggs, beans, cheese) as your main dish. Simplicity can open up a whole new world of home-made, delicious, healthy, and better-for-your-budget meals.</p> <p>Home-cooking pros out there, what tips can you share? And for those who aren't sure, what's stopping you? Share your ideas and questions in the comments, and we can all benefit.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-time-for-home-cooked-meals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs">10 Fantastic Facts About Eggs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-make-ahead-freezable-hot-breakfast-recipes">9 Make-Ahead, Freezable Hot Breakfast Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paint-a-room-and-wash-your-face-more-uses-for-powdered-milk-than-you-ever-imagined">Paint a Room and Wash Your Face: More Uses For Powdered Milk Than You Ever Imagined</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-cool-bar-tricks-that-anyone-can-master">SIX cool bar tricks that anyone can master.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chill-out-with-these-6-simple-diy-freezer-treats">Chill Out With These 6 Simple DIY Freezer Treats</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Food and Drink affordable cooking make ahead meals time saving Mon, 21 Mar 2011 11:00:10 +0000 Annie Mueller 505364 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Fantastic Facts About Eggs http://www.wisebread.com/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3436159484_32392fe584_z.jpg" alt="superhero eggs" title="superhero eggs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>From starting salmonella scares to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FtNm9CgA6U">acting as a drug-addled brain</a>, from sparking factory-farming concerns to causing worry about high cholesterol, the humble egg can get a bad rap. But these little guys also serve as the glue to make great baked goods, provide a lot of nutrition for a low cost, and can serve as the basis for a whole host of delicious meals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/egg-cellent-ideas-for-money-saving-and-menu-planning">Egg-cellent Ideas for Money Saving and Menu Planning</a>)</p> <p>Here are 10 things you might not know about this frugal food:</p> <h3>1. Chicken Eggs Come in More Colors Than White and Brown</h3> <p>Different breeds of chickens produce different colors of eggs. In addition to the typical white and brown, some chickens produce blue, blue-green, reddish-brown, or even speckled eggs. A great place to look for atypical egg colors is at your local farmers market; one vendor at my market sells a dozen eggs in a mix of blue, white, cream, and brown.</p> <h3>2. You Can Use Water to Easily Determine the Age of an Egg</h3> <p>If you have eggs of questionable freshness, fill a bowl with enough water to cover the eggs, then add them to the bowl. If an egg sinks to the bottom, it's fresh. If it floats to the top, it's not. This happens because as an egg ages, it develops a larger and larger air pocket in its shell. According to <em>The Oxford Companion to Food</em>, it's actually better to choose a less-fresh egg if you're hard-boiling it, because in fresh eggs &quot;the white adheres closely to the shell, making it more difficult to remove the latter.&quot;</p> <h3>3. Eggs Are a Great Hangover Cure</h3> <p>As you can see from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ultimate-list-of-hangover-cures">Paul's list of hangover cures</a>, eating eggs is a great way to help shake off the previous evening's festivities.</p> <h3>4. Raw Eggs Can Make Delicious &mdash; and Safe &mdash; Food and Drinks</h3> <p>Classic recipes for mayonnaise, caesar salad dressing, lemon curd, and <a href="http://www.artofdrink.com/ingredients/misc/egg/egg-whites-and-cocktails">several cocktails</a> include raw eggs. While salmonella is certainly a concern in using raw eggs or other raw animal products, you can reduce your risk by using the freshest eggs possible (ideally locally produced) or purchasing pasturized eggs.</p> <h3>5. Chickens Aren't the Only Birds That Lay Edible Eggs</h3> <p>Duck, quail, emu, goose, and ostrich eggs can all be cooked up.</p> <h3>6. What Eggs You Buy Can Be a Very Personal Decision</h3> <p>Eggs tend to be a battleground food, with lots of conflicting information available about which eggs are best for you, your budget, the chickens, and the environment. For more information about choosing the eggs that are right for you, check out Carrie's post about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/supermarket-angst-part-ii-what-eggs-should-i-buy">egg angst at the supermarket</a>&nbsp;or&nbsp;Philip's post on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-eggs">&quot;real&quot; eggs</a>.</p> <h3>7. You Can Make Your Eggs Cube-Shaped</h3> <p>Somebody invented a product that <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Egg-Cuber-Square-Press/dp/B002C8ZDQE">presses hard-boiled eggs into cubes</a>. I suppose this would be useful if, um, you really, really needed to stack your hard-boiled eggs.</p> <h3>8. Eggshells Are Useful!</h3> <p>Don't throw your eggshells away. You can carefully <a href="http://craftydaisies.com/2007/03/28/hallowed-easter-eggs/">hollow out eggshells</a> to decorate around Easter, use them to <a href="http://www.greenissexy.org/2008/03/28/recipe-of-the-month-6/">start seeds</a>, or help <a href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2007-08-01/Garden-Slug-Control.aspx">control slugs in your garden</a>.</p> <h3>9. Preserved Eggs Known as &quot;Century Eggs&quot; Are a Chinese Delicacy</h3> <p>According <a href="http://chemistry.about.com/b/2008/10/16/are-century-eggs-soaked-in-horse-urine.htm">Anne Marie Helmenstine</a>, About.com's guide to chemistry, these dark-colored preserved eggs &quot;are made by storing raw eggs for a few months in a mixture of wood ash, salt, lime, and maybe tea with rice straw or clay.&quot; But they are not, as has often been rumored, preserved in horse urine. I actually ate a century egg once as part of an eating contest. I wish I could tell you what it tasted like, but my previous feat had been to eat two massive hot peppers, and they utterly destroyed my sense of taste for the next half hour.</p> <h3>10. There Are Hundreds, If Not Thousands, Ways to Prepare Eggs</h3> <p>Just check out the 1898 book <em><a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=9f4YAAAAYAAJ&amp;dq=eggs&amp;pg=PA9#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false">Eggs, and How to Use Them</a></em>, available for free on Google Books, which boasts over 500 recipes.</p> <p><em>Do you have a favorite egg fact &mdash; or a favorite way to prepare eggs? What kind of eggs do you buy? Share your thoughts in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-perfectly-cooked-eggs">6 Ways to Make Perfectly Cooked Eggs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-breakfast-for-dinner-meals">25 Breakfast-For-Dinner Meals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginners-guide-to-homemade-bread">A Beginner&#039;s Guide to Homemade Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-eggs">Real eggs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-raise-backyard-chickens">How to Raise Backyard Chickens</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink affordable cooking crafts eggs protein Thu, 13 Jan 2011 13:00:12 +0000 Meg Favreau 452332 at http://www.wisebread.com