These Cooking Hacks Will Stretch Your Ingredients

Make your ingredients last longer with these smart cooking tips.

IMAGE Patrick Martires

The pandemic has forced many of us looking for ways to not only cook more delicious food at home, but also to budget our spending. We never know for how much longer this pandemic will last and food will always be a big part of our everyday spending. 

You can save money by making your own brewed coffee at home instead of buying at the local cafe, making your own yogurt and fancy peanut butter, buying in bulk, buying and then cutting up whole chickens instead of buying only certain parts, taking advantage of supermarket sales and bargain deals, and using technology (aka your phone calculator) to compare prices. 

All of these shopping and do-it yourself tips can save you money in the long run and are great ideas to put to practice sooner rather than later. 

There are a few things you can also do with your ingredients that can also save you money as well as stretch your food supply. We can learn from more desperate times to help us do that. Here's a tip from times past that will help you stretch your ingredients to last longer than one or two servings. 

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These quick-cooking oats take longer to cook than instant oatmeal.
Photo by Pixabay
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Use oatmeal, flour, and even crumbs as fillers. 

Oats are a healthy and hearty option for breakfast. These are commonly used for the recipe used in cooking as well as baking, too. You can make savory recipes such as an arroz caldo using oatmeal and mushrooms and make a healthier chocolate chip cookie.

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These oats are also great sources of fiber and can bulk up your typical meatloaf recipe. In fact, it's common to see oats or oatmeal in meatloaf recipes because it not only bulks up the meatloaf, it is the low-fat option to add tenderness that otherwise would be missing from an all-meat meatloaf. 

One such meatloaf-style recipe is called the "goetta" which is a type of mush that German immigrants created in Cinninnati, Ohio, USA. It's basically a meatloaf made with half meat, half steel-cut oats. This mixture is also commonly heavily spiced so when it was time to eat, it was sliced and fried into a flavorful and crispy slice. It was common to see this served for breakfast in place of sausage with eggs and toast or between slices of bread instead of ham. 

To give another example, there's another American recipe in Mississippi called a "slugburger". It's not made with what you think and is actually named that because of the shape. To make a slugburger, you combine ground meat with an equal amount of meat filler. This can be oatmeal but it can also be cornmeal or instant mashed potato. A little flour is added as a binder and salt and pepper for seasoning. This is mixed, flattened, and then deep-fried for a super crispy patty that's served just like a burger.  

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Are you a fan of dessert? There's a recipe hack that you can use for making a decadent dessert by using crumbs. In Russia, crumbs are used to make a cake. Also known as anthill cakes, these look similar to anthills but is actually a delicious no-bake dessert recipe. It uses leftover cookie crumbs which is tossed and coated with just enough butter and either dulce de leche or sweetened condensed milk to stick together. This is then formed into an anthill and sprinkled with either finely grated chocolate or poppy seeds to mimic the little "ants".  

These recipes may just be ingenuity at its most delicious!  

How are you trying to save money and stretching your ingredients? 

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Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

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Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here!


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