As a home maker myself, the greatest challenge for me is how to stick to my budget. With the rising cost of food products, it's getting quite tough to work out on a budget without getting stressed out and one good way of trimming your budget is to find ways to save in your kitchen.
It's really a big challenge for us moms to manage our kitchen wisely. In my case, I have a daughter who loves to eat meats and very little of vegetables and most of the times, she would request beef over chicken or pork. The greatest challenge is, how to make your kids eat the foods that you prepare without being hard on your budget. In my case, I would always stock on ground beef or pork. It's considered mom's best friend. You can mix it with chopped carrots, bell pepper, whte onions, celery or kinchay, a dash of salt and black pepper and you're on your way to a number of possible dishes. You can choose to make hamburger patties for breakfast, lumpiang shanghai for dinner, siomai and dumplings for snack or "baon" and meatballs for your spaghetti or soup. That's not the end of it, you may also want to use your ground beef mixture as a flavoring for your sauteed vegetables or you may want to stuff those large bell peppers or bitter gourd (ampalaya) for an instant relleno. Just add a little bit of meat extenders and hard boiled eggs combined with an additional seasonings and you will end up having your special embutido. You may be surprise that this comes cheaper, too.
When you cook "sinigang" or "nilaga" for lunch, you may get worried that a kilo of pork or beef won't last until dinner for a family of 5 to 6. Normally, in this case, the left over soup with vegetables minus the meat can still be served during dinner, just add up some "daing na bangus" or crunchy fried "tilapia". This is far way cheaper than coking another dish using another kilo of pork or beef for dinner.
Sometimes, it's also good to stock up on chicken backs as flavoring for soups instead of choosing thighs or wings or the entire chicken itself. Just add up some veggies and potatoes or add some macaroni noodles for your "sopas".
Buy fruits and vegetables in season. It's much much cheaper.
Portion your meats, fish and vegetables right after having been in the market so it would be a lot easier for you to estimate the amount to be consumed based on your menu plan for the week. Dahon ng sili or kangkong must go first before the carrots, cabbage and potatoes to avoid spoilage.
When you want to keep your left over food in the fridge, allow it to cool down first to make it lasts longer.
Reheat only the amount of food that you can consume in one serving. Foods are easier to get spoiled when you keep on reheating.
If your refrigerator does not automatically defrost, make it a habit to defrost it before you go on your next visit to the wet market. In my case, I would turn off the ref before I go to the market, clean it and take out the left over stock for inventory. I will turn the ref on after I came back to the house to store my new stock of fresh foods. This could save you some bucks in your electric consumption too, aside from having your ref cleaned and checked prior to storing new stock of fresh foods.
Make your atchara or pickled vegetables beforehand and store these on clean jars so you can save on time and avoid the veggies to get spoiled before you decide to make one. These bottled preserves are perfect to complement your fried fish or pork for dinner.
There are still a lot of ways to save in the kitchen, all we have to do is to look around, make a plan and research for ideas and tips and you are on your way to becoming a frugal mom.