The simple fact is, the cost of basic living is on the rise again. Inflation is at a high that many people have never seen in their lives. The cost of necessary purchases such as food is on the increase.
The lowest-income households spend over $4000 per year on food, according to the Economic Research Service. The highest income groups spend three times that amount per year on food.
Eating isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t want it to be enjoyable. So, with the cost of food rising, how do you make food that everyone can enjoy, and still not bust the household budget?
How do you make interesting but affordable food?
Everyone enjoys restaurant and take-out food, but it isn’t cheap. Trying to replicate dishes at home isn’t always easy, and many people never cook at home at all.
Here are some basic tips that can help anyone start to cook at home, and be able to make exciting dishes. And most importantly, do them without spending a fortune.
Learn to cook by using online resources
Obviously one of the keys to being able to prepare delicious meals is to know how to cook in the first place.
Many people avoid cooking due to the belief that they can’t cook. Others say they don’t have time to learn. Today though, there is a mountain of wealth when it comes to simple recipes and advice.
In the UK, Jack Monroe became well-known for showing people how to cook on a low-budget as a single parent. There are many websites that cater to different levels of cooking skills, differing budgets, and even for certain appliances.
For example, if you wanted to make air fryer chicken tenders you could follow a recipe from Cooking School Dropout. If you wanted to learn how to make Indian dishes you could search for a guide on YouTube.
Choose the right appliance to help you
Selecting the right appliance could go a long way to making your cooking more fun, and saving you money.
One of the best food cost-cutting strategies for everyday life is to make a small investment into buying the right appliance.
The two most successful kitchen appliances in the last decade are the air fryer, and the Instant Pot. The former cooks without oil to make fried food, and other dishes. The latter is a multi-cooker that is mostly used to pressure cook, although it has many other functions.
Both of these appliances are one-pot cookers that use less energy than conventional cookers, and also require no cooking oil. Although there is an initial outlay, they will save time and money when it comes to cooking.
They are also both eco-friendly, and energy-efficient. Many people swear by these appliances as even the most amateur of cooks can make tasty meals, and save money.
Be smart with your ingredients
How special your food looks and tastes will be down to your presentation, and your ingredients. Trying to make impressive dishes while keeping them affordable can be challenging, so you will need to think about your ingredients.
You can buy ingredients that are not everyday items when they are on offer. For example, if you saw lobster or shrimp at a discount then that is a simple way to make a dish to impress while saving some money.
Alternatively, use cheaper ingredients, but be smart about how you cook. The global meat market was valued at $2.3 trillion in 2020 and is growing every year.
Many cuts of meat are expensive, however, there are some cheaper ones that most people avoid. Brisket for instance takes a long time to cook, yet is cheap and very tasty. If you had invested in a pressure cooker, you could cook cuts such as brisket in a shorter time, while keeping the meat moist, and tender.
Pick interesting recipes
Using the resources that have been mentioned, and perhaps one of those cooking appliances too, you can make a wide variety of dishes.
The world is full of interesting and very special recipes, and they don’t need to be expensive. Do some research and find interesting recipes and use them on different occasions.
Find recipes for snack food to make the Superbowl even more super for example. Use the air fryer to make bang bang chicken or buffalo wings. Perfect snacks that taste great but are affordable.
For something a little more special and unusual, you could try Korean barbecued beef in an air fryer.
Learning to cook can save a considerable sum on anyone’s food bill. Choosing an appliance or gadget to help can make cooking easier, and less expensive.
A slow cooker can use simple ingredients such as vegetables and produce a healthy but tasty curry that will impress. Online recipes cost nothing to learn but time but using the right ones means that you will make special dishes that are inexpensive. And most importantly, enjoyed by you and your family.