The Penny Pincher’s Pantry

Bored out of my mind and stuck in a never-ending, over-the-phone survey last night I started flipping through the November issue of Ladie’s Home Journal. Much to my surprise, (I’ve only read the magazine a few times before), I and came across a couple of interesting articles. My favorite was a two-page write-up called The Penny Pincher’s Pantry.

The article includes budget-friendly recipes for every day staples like pancake mix, chocolate syrup, fresh buttermilk, jarred spaghetti sauce, taco seasoning and packaged bread crumbs. The recipes are ridiculously simple. For example, to make fresh buttermilk mix 1 tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes and use. The article says you can also combine 3/4 of a cup of plain yogurt with 1/4 cup of milk.

I rarely purchase buttermilk, so I tend to ignore any recipes that include it as a main ingredient. With the new found knowledge that milk and lemons will do the same trick I can pick and choose from a much wider range of dinner options.

I’m also interested in trying the taco seasoning recipe, because I absolutely hate buying those little taco packets from the grocery store. The recipe requires 4 tsp of chili powder, 1 tbsp onion powder, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 2 tsp paprika, 2 tsp dry oregano, 1 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. It says to use 2 tbsp of the seasoning for every 1 pound of beef, chicken or turkey. So I can use this mix for dinner one night and put the rest in the cupboard for another night’s dinner.

I like that these recipes allow you to control the salt and skip out on the preservatives. Since there are only nine in the list I plan on trying them all. I’m all for buying less prepackaged items. I think it keeps us healthier and cuts down on our carbon footprint.

5 thoughts on “The Penny Pincher’s Pantry”

  1. Sorry, I know this is in the wrong spot but I've been away on vacation and just noticed your 11/7/09 post about ING Direct. I was the one that posted about looking into an ING Direct mortgage. This info may be too late for you but here goes: I just completed my refinance with ING. It is called the Easy Orange loan. It is a 5 year fixed rate at 3.99% but it is based on repaying over 30years. Payments are bi-weekly and are done electronically. At the end of the 5 years, I can lock in at the current rate. At first, I wasn't too thrilled about the fact that my rate is only fixed for 5 years but after trying to refinance with my current lender I decided to go for it. My current lender's best refinance offer was 4.875% and $6,000 in closing costs. I paid $2500 to ING for closing costs. The process went well and there wasn't a ton of paperwork to sign. My mortgage payment is decreasing by over $500 a month so I will recoup my closing costs in 5 months. (My former rate was 5.87%) ING allows you to pay an additional amount every month to go to principal which I will do. I expect to pay at least $1000 extra a month. One thing they don't do is hold an escrow account for you. I didn't have one with my former lender since I paid my property taxes on my own so that didn't really matter to me.

  2. Evy – Thanks for the comment. Yes, it's too late for us, but it's good to know in case we ever choose to refinance in the future.

  3. I live out in the country, so I can't just run to the store for one ingredient I don't have. Taco seasoning and buttermilk are definitely things I would like to make at home and save a trip! Thanks!

  4. Great Article! I've found that making many food from scratch is not only economical-it's easy.

    I recently taught myself how to make tortillas, carmel sauce, laundry detergent and glass cleaner.

  5. Every time you make a dinner from the pantry, take a minute to figure what you would have spent on takeout or a restaurant meal.
    Then be happy. And, yeah, "smug" works, too. Just don't do that part out loud. 😉


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