Is it cheaper to cook from scratch?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 04-04-2003, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm in the process of re-evaluating what our family eats. We eat way too many things that are processed...which didn't use to bother me...well I guess it always did but I never really had the desire to change it.

Is it cheaper to cook from scratch. for instance.....we love potpies. But we don't like the salt content or the lack of "real" chicken and things like that...i never understood carrot cubes : . What I would like to do is make my own and freeze them....can I freeze them? Or, Tracy loves chicken nuggets. I am just buying the ones at Save-a-lot cause they are cheap. But I would rather ds eat healthier ones...so I have a recipe for nuggets. Would it be silly to make my own and freeze them? I have 4lbs of frozen browned meat for in a hurry things.

Is it cheaper?

Is it cheaper to buy a whole chicken and bone it yourself? I would love to be able to order/buy whole sides of beef from a rancher that has range fed cattle not grain fed.......But I don't have a deep freezer yet......

anyway, I guess you get ths jist of my question!

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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#2 of 17 Old 04-04-2003, 05:04 PM
 
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It is much easier to cook from scratch. Processed foods are incredibly expensive and you are mostly paying for the packaging. ALso they usally have so much salt and/or sugar to cover up the fact that they have no taste.

As for pot pies, you can make them yourself and freeze them. Even making your own pie crusts saves money. A frozen whole wheat pie crust costs $3 to $5 put it costs less than one dollar to make your own.

I think it probably is cheaper to buy a whole chicken and bone it yourself but you would have to weigh out the time and mess to do the boning . . . I would look for sales on the cut you are looking for and then stock up. Also you might ask, some places may bone it for you . . .

As for other cooking from scratch money savers, I buy organic whole grains, flours, beans, legumes from the bulk bins.

Bean and grain soups freeze really well. Make a big batch and freeze in small containers. Also lasagne, chili, mac and cheese freeze well.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#3 of 17 Old 04-04-2003, 05:08 PM
 
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I do believe that cooking from scratch is cheaper and healthier.

You might be able to find a cooked chicken for cheaper than uncooked, but if you make it yourself it's healthier and tastier.

Regarding frozen veggies, sometimes I think the plain frozen veggies are cheaper than fresh. But then it depends on if you want organic or not. Organic frozen veggies I haven't seen in bulk, and they're not cheap.

Soups are incredibally marked up when you buy them pre made.

Baked goods, as well, i.e. your pot pie crust you mentioned, bread, cookies, bars, etc.

The freezer will become your friend because you'll cook a lot and have leftovers to freeze for another time.

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#4 of 17 Old 04-04-2003, 06:23 PM
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Cooking from scratch is unquestionably healthier and cheaper. You have much more control over what goes into the final product, and aren't paying for the prep or packaging.

Pie crusts are actually very easy to make, if you have a food processor (cutting the butter into the flour by hand is time-consuming and, IMO, annoying work). And a homemade pot pie will likely beat all heck out of anything you pick up in the frozen section.

I don't have a problem with sectioning and/or boning a whole chicken, but butchering a side of beef is a greater undertaking than I'm presently willing to tackle. It would surely be much cheaper to do it that way, though (though time consuming...).
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#5 of 17 Old 04-04-2003, 06:40 PM
 
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I just thought of another way I've been saving money lately. Instead of buying precooked organic turkey for sandwiches (about 8.99/lb.), I asked my butcher to order me an uncooked organic turkey breast (3.99/lb.) I cook it myself. Usually, we have some of it for dinner the first night and then the rest for sandwiches. The only bone is the breast bone which is easy to remove before or after roasting.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#6 of 17 Old 04-05-2003, 01:05 AM
 
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Cooking from scratch is much cheaper and a whole lot healthier. Having a freezer helps so you can make a lot at once.

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
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#7 of 17 Old 04-05-2003, 02:36 AM
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what a great idea cathe! I've been craving meat lately and wanted to fnd some oter topping for my sandwiche other than almond butter and jam. I actually happen to have a turkey breast in my freezer, but haven't figured out what to do with it. Maybe it's even old now, 4 months since I bought it. How long can you keep frozen meat?

Josefina.
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#8 of 17 Old 04-05-2003, 01:49 PM
 
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I think it is cheaper to do things from scratch, but I have to look at other factors. I used to buy the whole chicken and cut it up, but everytime I was elbow deep in a chicken with a huge knife in my hand, DS would have a meltdown about something and there I was, greasy and wielding a huge knife. So for me, it's easier to buy frozen chicken breasts at Save A Lot. Plus I hate deboning a chicken, LOL, especially after the meat has been in my crockpot all day and I have to pick bones out of whatever I'm making. Also you can make a lot of mixes and whatnot, but there are only 4 of us and I don't have the space to 50 pounds of pre-made pancake mix or 5 gallons of homemade worchestershire sauce.
I *do* make a lot from scratch, but some items I buy premade because it's less time consuming.

Melanie
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#9 of 17 Old 04-05-2003, 01:58 PM
 
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That's a good point, Melanie.

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
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#10 of 17 Old 04-05-2003, 03:03 PM
 
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Some things I find are more expensive from scratch, but worthwhile because they don't have any nasty ingredients in them. Bread, for example, I could buy cheaper than making it, but my bread doesn't have preservatives/ chemicals in it. Cake mixes are cheaper than baking a cake from scratch [at least on sale], but I prefer to use whole ingredients.

Most of the time, though, I agree that cooking from scratch is cheaper.
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#11 of 17 Old 04-05-2003, 03:16 PM
 
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Melanie, I have a good recipe for pancake mix that is only a total of about 10 cups of ingredients if you want.

A friend and I once spent a whole day making perogies from scratch. We love them. But we ended up with only enough for 3 meals each, after a day's work. That was the one and only time I did that. I buy them frozen now.

Does anyone have a decent pastry recipe? I've tried loads and it never tastes right.
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#12 of 17 Old 04-05-2003, 04:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by morsan
I actually happen to have a turkey breast in my freezer, but haven't figured out what to do with it. Maybe it's even old now, 4 months since I bought it. How long can you keep frozen meat?

Josefina.
Turkey and most meat keep for about 12 months in freezer - pork only about 6 months. So you should be fine.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#13 of 17 Old 04-05-2003, 05:30 PM
 
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Irishmommy~

Can you post your recipe for pancakes? I'm always looking for new ideas! thanks

Valerie

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#14 of 17 Old 04-05-2003, 05:59 PM
 
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Well, personally, I am a little scared of what "else" is in a chicken "part" that I buy at Sav- a -lot. We try to only eat hormone free/ organic meats and if we are willing and able to cook the whole thing, then it is a lot cheaper. Also, our local butcher has a CSA (community supported agriculture) that we buy so we get meat deliveries every other week for one price a year. It is a lot cheaper this way and we are supporting a local rancher.

Funny I should read this thread, we roast one chicken a week. It takes about 20 min. prep time and then 1 1/2 hours to roast w/ veggies. We eat a great meal, then pick all the left over meat off and freeze it. We take the carcass and boil it down with the drippings from roasting and we have chicken broth for soups for the whole week ( we freeze this too and use it for other recipes)
Last night we roasted and boiled, tonight we are actually making pot pies. You can make a large batch of pie crusts and keep them already rolled out in pizza boxes in your freezer.

I don't have very much time, but on chicken night dh knows he has to take the baby or be the one cooking. We always do this stuff on a weekend night and then have meals for the rest of the week.

I highly recommend buying a vacuum packer. The initial investment is like $150 or so at costco, but it is so worth. It did wonders for us after I had ds and we use it every week to preserve everything. We rarely have left overs go bad now.
Good luck and congrats on changing your diet.

Mother to one wild and crazy boy 12/29/2002.
Midwife, Homeschool Educator and Crafter.
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#15 of 17 Old 04-05-2003, 11:12 PM
 
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Pancake Mix

6 cups flour (I use half wholewheat, half white)
1 tbsp salt
6 tbsp baking powder
6 tbsp sugar
2 cups powdered milk

Mix well and keep in airtight container

To use

Combine in bowl

1 egg, beaten
1 cup water (I use milk)
2 tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups mix

Fry on hot ungreased griddle
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#16 of 17 Old 04-05-2003, 11:57 PM
 
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I just had to give you an idea for a pot pie type dinner... just made it tonight, so it really popped into my head...

I make a "stew" in a big pyrex pan in the oven (chicken, veggies, potatos, whatever sounds good, a big thing o' chicken broth... guess you could make that yourself and seasoning) cook it til its done (oh 2 hours on 350 or so)... You don't want it as juicy as usually for a real stew, but 1 BIG can of broth is perfect.

Once its done, whip up a batch of drop biscuits (or cornbread) and just pour it on the top... cook as long and at whatever temp you would to finish the biscuits or cornbread... its like a pot pie but w/o the bottom... and you could very easily instead of actually pouring the biscuit or cornbread on top, freeze the "stew" and later on dump it back in a pyrex pan of whatever size and add the biscuit mix on top of that...


Ok so that totally was not an answer to your question, but I hope it might help out

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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#17 of 17 Old 04-06-2003, 12:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mmmm...sounds good

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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