In the survey, some readers wondered why I post recipes, since this isn’t a cooking blog and since not all of the recipes I post are classic frugal fare.
So, I thought I should explain!
Honestly, Amy Dacyzyn of the Tightwad Gazette would probably never cook the things I make for dinner.
I don’t do a lot of meatless dinner meals, I make very few casseroles, I hardly ever cook with beans, and so on.
But here’s the thing: I view all (ok, most) recipes as frugal.
Because when you’re using a recipe, it means you’re cooking at home, and that is an incredibly surefire way of saving money.
Eating out, getting takeout, or buying hot, prepared food from the grocery store is going to be more expensive than almost anything you cook at home.
I mean, you can practically eat lobster tail and rib-eye at home for the cost of eating out.
(I don’t really recommend doing that, because you can maximize your cook-at-home savings by eating something other than the most expensive protein at the grocery store!)
I know there are some of you out there who are black-belt levels of frugal and you have the motivation and energy to really zero in on cooking with the most frugal groceries possible.
But based on what I hear, more of us are just trying to get something on the table instead of takeout.
So, my goal is to provide readers with reliable, accessible, delicious recipes for dinner.
Because if you can make something that’s family-pleasing without spending hours in the kitchen, you are going to be way, way, way more likely to eat in instead of out.
If a recipe includes shrimp or boneless chicken breasts or a block of Parmesan cheese or even flank steak, I’m not going to sweat it, and you might not need to sweat it either.
Also, there’s this to keep in mind: Done is better than perfect, and the perfect is the enemy of the good.
If you make a rule that you will cook only with the most frugal ingredients available, you may find yourself burnt out and uninspired about eating what you cook (that would be how I feel about most casseroles!), and you may be more temped to give in to the takeout monster.
If that’s true for you, then take a middle road, and just focus on cooking at home as much as possible instead of fretting about the cost of a block of cheese or trying to feed beans and rice to a family that loathes beans.
If you get really consistent at cooking every night, then hey, maybe you’ll have some extra brain space to start focusing more on frugal ingredients*.
*at which point The Tightwad Gazette or The Prudent Homemaker can help you out.
But the main thing is to just get food on the table at dinner.
So. I don’t post explicitly frugal main dish recipes, but I’m pretty positive that every recipe I’ve ever posted, regardless of the ingredients it calls for, will save you money if you make it instead of takeout.
And that is the reason I post recipes.
P.S. Just do you know, I do think about the cost of a recipe when I decide if I want to try it. For instance, there’s a Crab Louis recipe in a Cook’s Country magazine that looks delicious, but I feel like that’s going to be a little too expensive for my family. Also, I’m not into cooking up expensive steaks all the time. The point is, I just don’t think that hardcore focus on the cost of ingredients is important unless you’ve tackled the takeout problem first.