The Pioneer Woman is known for making hearty meals that can feed a crowd. Ree Drummond also knows how to whip up delicious meals on a budget. This is a big help since groceries are getting more expensive. The food index rose 1.1% last month, making it the seventh consecutive month of increases over 0.9% according to labor department research.
Drummond’s favorite foods have seen the most increases (dairy and related products). Here are some of the Food Network star’s best tips that can help you save money at the grocery store.
Give leftovers new life
Show your leftovers some love. Instead of trashing them, use leftovers to create a new dish. During Drummond’s season 18 episode of The Pioneer Woman titled “Waste Not, Want Not,” she shows home cooks how to get the most out of food that has been sitting in the refrigerator.
“I’ve decided to challenge myself to cooking with things that would normally be destined for the trash,” says Drummond during her show. One item she managed to re-use was a bowl of potato peelings left over from mashed potatoes.
Thanksgiving leftovers also get a second life in the Drummond household. The Accidental Country Girl uses Thanksgiving leftovers to make meals such as turkey spring rolls, panini, and turkey tetrazzini.
It’s sometimes cheaper to use shortcuts when preparing meals. Drummond suggests using prepared chicken for some recipes. Contestants on her show Big Bad Budget Battle turned to prepared chicken during the premiere episode. One benefit noted by a contestant was that pre-cooked chicken can be used in other meals. This way, you get more for your money.
Although it was once taboo for home cooks to use shortcuts, Drummond says there is nothing wrong with doing this. It’s her secret to saving time and money.
“I really think my number one piece of advice for a beginning home cook is to not expect yourself, not put the pressure on yourself, to make every single component of every meal from scratch,” Drummond said during an interview with the Today show. “Making things from scratch is amazing and I love to do it, as well, but when you can find really high quality, really delicious tasting ingredients to help a meal along, then, don’t be afraid to try them!”
Make freezer meals
Prepare food that can be divided and frozen for later. Freezer meals help stretch your meals and save time. Drummond discussed freezer cooking on her Pioneer Woman website. She says it’s one of her favorite ways to cook. She offered advice for preparing freezer meals.
“Generally speaking, I do a mix of one-dish meals—things like casseroles, soups, stews, and chilis—but I also like to prepare ingredients up to a certain stage and freeze them so I can grab them and start cooking some of my favorite meals,” says Drummond.
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