11 Ways To Scale Back On Food Costs

Next to your mortgage or rent, you probably spend the most money on food. We have some helpful tips to get- and keep that food bill under control.

  1.  Never shop before making a detailed menu for the week.
  2.  Use coupons whenever possible.
  3.  Cook with seasonal produce.
  4.  Use the generic brands for cleansers, shampoos and detergents instead of brand-name products.
  5.  Never buy something just because it’s on sale unless you use that item regularly. You aren’t saving if you got a great deal on something that will just sit in your pantry.
  6.  Whenever possible, make your own instead of buying convenience foods.
  7.  Never shop for groceries without a list.
  8.  Buy in bulk instead of making smaller, more frequent trips to the store.
  9.  Consider having your groceries delivered instead of going to the store to avoid impulse purchases.
  10.  Never shop before taking full inventory of your fridge, freezer and pantry.
  11.  When possible, buy larger containers of food instead of individualized portions. This includes snack bags, yogurts, ice cream, cheeses and drinks.

We want to hear from you. How do you save on food? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

Comfort Food for Cooler Weather: Gourmet Grilled Cheese

After a long day at school or work, there’s nothing better than some good comfort food. Help you and your family settle into the cooler weather with this all-time cheesy favorite. The artisan bread lends a depth of flavor to a classic sandwich and will have both kids and adults begging for more. Even better – you’ll be saving money by dining in.

Ingredients:

1 large onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces white mushrooms, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 slices caraway rye bread
8 deli slices Havarti or Gouda cheese
2-4 tablespoons butter

Preparation:
1. Heat a large skillet over a medium-high flame. Add olive oil and heat.
2. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until translucent and soft.
3. Add mushrooms and continue sautéing until onions have caramelized and mushrooms have cooked through. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly.
4. To assemble sandwiches, layer the mushroom mixture with the cheese between two slices of bread.
5. Return skillet to stove over a medium flame and melt 1 tablespoon of butter.
6. Place 2 sandwiches in the pan and fry a few minutes on each side, until the bread browns and cheese has melted. Add butter to pan in between sandwiches as needed.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Yields: 4 servings

Dining In: Chicken Fingers with Cranberry BBQ Dipping Sauce

There’s no need to cook twice to please the adults and kids in the family. These chicken fingers are kid favorites, but are also sophisticated enough for adults to savor. The cranberry BBQ sauce adds kick to the crunch, and the flavor will bring back a taste of summer as we head into cooler weather. Even better, you can save money by making this fast food favorite at home.

Servings: 3-4

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into long, thin strips
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1 drop hot sauce
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon parsley flakes
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Pinch coarse black pepper

Cranberry BBQ Sauce

  • ¼ (14-ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 ⅓ cups hickory flavored BBQ sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¾ tablespoon teriyaki sauce

Directions

  1. In a shallow dish, combine flour, salt, black pepper and paprika.
  2. In a second shallow dish, whisk together eggs and hot sauce.
  3. In a third shallow dish, mix panko crumbs, parsley, salt and black pepper.
  4. Dip each piece of chicken first in the flour mixture, then egg mixture and lastly in the panko mixture.
  5. Heat oil in a deep fryer or saucepan to 350 F. Add chicken and fry for 3 ½-4 minutes.
  6. To prepare the dipping sauce: Using a food processor, immersion or  regular blender, blend cranberry sauce until smooth. Once smooth, pour cranberry sauce into a bowl and whisk in BBQ sauce, brown sugar and teriyaki sauce. Serve alongside chicken fingers.

Enjoy!

Tip: This sauce recipe makes a large amount; it freezes well, though.