31 January 2014

3-1/2 Random Frugal Cooking Tips

We’re all about maximizing the cruising kitty so here are three and a half very random frugal cooking tips I’ve been trying out.

1.  Salad Dressing

I had a bottle of Dijon mustard which was almost used up – you would have to squeeze it really hard to get anything to come out. In my old life back working in corporate la-la land, you know the one with regular pay cheques, I would have thrown it out (sorry, recycled it) and bought a new one. This time, I made salad dressing in it. I always put mustard in the salad dressing we make, so I thought why not make it inside the mustard bottle. So I just added olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic and Italian herbs and shook it all up. Presto – salad dressing and it already comes in a handy container to squeeze it out of. Saves a few pennies and washing up another dish. Lazy and frugal, what’s not to love.

2.  Pasta

All credit to Scott for this one. Normally, I chuck some pasta into a pot and boil it for 10-12 minutes until it is done. That means the propane is one for the entire 10-12 minutes. Scott suggested just bringing it up to a boil for a minute or two, putting the lid on the pot, turning off the heat and letting it sit for 20-25 minutes. May take longer, but you save on the propane and you don’t heat up the cabin. And it works just as well. And it minimizes the risk of the boat blowing up from some sort of propane explosion which is one of the things I have nightmares about. Clever boy that Skipper Scott.

2.5  More Pasta 

This is the ½ tip as it is a variation of the one above. I feel slightly stupid that I never thought of this one before, but I recently found those one pot pasta recipes that are running around on the internet like a herd of crazy giraffes. Instead of boiling pasta separately and making sauce separately – which both require extra propane – why not do it all at the same time. Bonus if you combine it with Scott’s anti-propane pasta cooking method. We’ve all put dried pasta or noodles in soup and cooked it up in the broth, why not cook pasta in its own sauce. Here are a couple of recipes to try out – Martha Stewart’s original recipe here and One Pot Wonder Lo Mein here
3.  Bread 

I used to make my own bread back in the day when we had an oven but now it will be more of a necessity as we don’t have a fridge on our boat and won’t always be near the local Countdown. So, I’ll be making a lot of our bread on the boat. The good news is that it is cheaper! It costs around NZ$3.50 for a loaf of our favorite bread (Vogel’s) when it is on sale. Making our own will be far cheaper. The trick is that we don’t have an oven on our boat, so I’m all about bread-like things you can make in the skillet. I've been trying out Irish soda farl, scones, the Pioneer Woman's fry bread, Judy Knape's frying pan bread, and this Sri Lankan vegetable roti. I'm also planning on trying out this recipe for stove top bread and pizza that Sailing Chance recommended. Who knew you could save so much dough by making your own dough (sorry, I just had to).
Always looking for new ideas to save money and run an efficient and frugal galley – any suggestions?

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