11 Secrets Chefs Always Use To Save Money On Groceries

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Shop From The Back Of The Shelves

Another thing McClintick does is check labels for “best by” or “use by” dates to find the items with the longest lifespan — it lowers the risk of you having to spend more money to replace items if you don’t end up using them right away.

“Employees usually rotate products using the ‘first in, first out’ method when stocking shelves, so you’ll often find the newest and freshest items at the back of rows,” she said.

Double Your Meal With Legumes

When Vermont-based nutritionist Dr. Deb Kennedy is looking to stretch her food dollars, she looks no further than legumes: When she makes chili, tacos or quesadillas with meat, for instance, she adds a can of rinsed black beans, which “doubles the amount of the meal for under 40 cents,” she said. (Or for even more savings, you can buy dried black beans and cook them yourself.)

Take Strategic Shortcuts

It’s no secret that pre-cut veggies aren’t a money-saver. When used as a supplement to your meal prep, however, pre-made sides from the deli counter can be.

Rather than buying five or six ingredients to make a side dish or salad and risking what’s unused going to waste, Chiappetti hits the deli counter for fully prepared sides to accompany, say, grilled steak or fish dishes, and then orders the exact number of servings he needs.

Pre-Portion Leftovers 

Many of us have a tendency to make a casserole or big pot of something, only to shove any post-meal leftovers in the fridge and forget about them. And the longer they sit in the fridge, the more daunting they become to deal with, until you have no choice but to toss them.

To ensure leftovers aren’t forgotten and to increase the odds they’re actually eaten, Yadira Stamp, owner and chef at Esencias Panameñas in Washington, D.C., portions them out in advance.

Once cooked leftovers have cooled (within two hours), she “divides them into smaller portions and stores them in shallow containers.” That way, all you have to do is pop one of the containers in the microwave when you’re hungry, versus wasting money on both expired leftovers and the subsequent takeout ordered when you don’t feel like cooking.

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