A Frugal droplet….or maybe a few drops, but who’s counting?
It seems that food is at the center of many frugal tricks. Maybe it is because food is something we can more easily control, as opposed to a mortgage payment. Maybe we can most easily change food for instant, frugal gratification. Possibly, since we eat so often, it’s the most obvious place for our money to slip right through our frugal hands.
I have made the most difference in my daily meals by learning to use substitutions for common ingredients. I have a couple I have use regularly that I think are worth a mention.
Droplet #1 Ok, this one may sound a little strange but don’t knock it until you you it. Try spreading a thin layer of mayonnaise on your bread, instead of butter, for a grilled cheese sandwich or before toasting bread. This is a trick used by many chefs, but for me, it came out of necessity.
My husband loves BLT’s. I mean, really loves them. To the point that it makes me a little mad. I can spend hours preparing a meal that he decides it’s just okay. When I make a simple BLT, in his eyes, I am a master chef. I guess I shouldn’t complain since BLT’s are so easy to make.
I had planned an awe inducing meal of BLT’s then realized I was out of butter. Now, a proper BLT needs buttered toast. Just ask my husband😉. This would have been a disaster had I not known that a thin smear of mayo makes a perfect substitution for butter before toasting bread. It works really well on most any pan-grilled or oven-broiled sandwich. The possibilities are endless!
Droplet #2 Most people who are not from the South can at least appreciate some Southern cuisine. For instance, good Southern Mustard potato salad or deviled eggs must have pickles or at least pickled relish in them to be delicious, right? ….Hmm, maybe not.
What do you do when you run out of pickles? Do you throw out the pickle juice? Do you save it to sip on to alleviate nausea🤢(old wives tale, but I think it actually works)? Do you throw boiled eggs in it to make a quick pickled egg(so yummy!)?
I have made delicious mustard potato salad and deviled eggs with no pickles! My grandma is surely rolling her eyes at me from heaven right now! No one even noticed and even bragged on these dishes. Let me tell you how.
Add a sprinkle of dried chives, dill, or other green herbs that you like. Your guests see those little bits of green in the food and assume the pickles are there. They taste pickle flavor because you are going to add a healthy splash of your leftover pickle juice that stays in your refrigerator after all the pickles are gone. Pickles and/or pickle relish, if you use that, has a texture. This texture must be replaced to effectively execute your dish. I prefer to use finely diced onions, celery, scallions, or jicama. Basically, whatever I have on hand to keep me from making a trip to the store. It must either go well in the dish anyway(like onions), or be a mild tasting, crunchy veggie similar to a pickle.
Maybe you can give these substitutions a try or I hope they give you ideas of how you can make a substitution in one of your favorite recipes.