Cheap Date Idea: Cook From Scratch (You Can Do It)

Cooking For Love
Love, Self

The way to his heart is through his stomach. Short on funds? Ten tips for cooking on the cheap.

7. You can double a recipe or cut it in half. A corollary to No. 6. I was craving Welsh Rabbit one day, but the recipe I found made eight servings, and the thought of leftover Welsh Rabbit was not appetizing. So, I cut the ingredients to two servings. You do have to pay extra special attention if you do this, since some ingredients, like eggs, can't be halved. Most measuring spoon sets don't have ½ tablespoon, but ½ tablespoon is 1 ½ teaspoons. There are lots of measurement converters on the web; I use Infoplease Cooking Measurement Equivalents. I advise writing out the new list of ingredients and measures so you don't get mixed up.

8. Most dishes start with onions and garlic sautéed in oil. Get used to it. Set the gas or electric burner on medium-low and watch while the onions change color from white to translucent to golden to brown. Stir every now and then so they don't stick to the pan. If you're trying to make up something on the spot, this is a great foundation—it works with anything from making scrambled eggs to heating up canned beans to sautéing chicken breasts.

9. Things cook faster in tiny pieces. I love mashed potatoes, and I noticed they cook faster when diced. But if you're not mashing, be aware that a friend recently told me potatoes get more watery that way. Men's Secret Culinary Seduction Tricks

10. Making soup is easy. Simmer vegetables in chicken broth until they are soft and then blending it all. I was making a lot of soup from recipes last winter when I realized that most of them involved this method. When the next cold snap comes, I'm winging it.

Do you have a favorite rule of thumb for the kitchen? Share it!

Written by Margaret Savage for

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