1. This, you know already. Buy pantry items on sale. Beans. Rice. Canned tomatoes. Canned pumpkin. Gluten-free pasta. Stock up when you can. And buy in bulk.
2. Eat more vegetarian and vegan meals. Cut down on meat and browse my Vegetarian and Vegan Index for some budget-friendly inspiration. My Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas are super popular- and muy delicioso. Not to mention my Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie and the all-time classic comfort food Baked Mac + Cheese (I even have a vegan version: The Best Vegan Mac + Cheese, my personal favorite). Vegetarian can also be sexy- try my Vegetarian Putanesca on for size. Shop at the Farmers’ market for seasonal inspiration and budget friendly prices.
3. Make your own snacks instead of buying pre-packaged. You can make twice as much hummus for less than half the price. Try my Jalapeno Lime Hummus recipe, or classic Hummus Tahini. Make your own snack chips out of stale corn tortillas and brown rice tortillas- here’s how to make your own chips. Easy. Make your own pesto, too. And if basil is outrageously expensive- try cilantro, parsley and mint. It makes a wonderful pesto with pecans (cheaper than pine nuts).
4. Use more potatoes. They’re amazingly versatile. You can make a soul warming- and filling- soup Potato Leek Soup for very little investment. You can make a baked Idaho potato- or a sweet potato- the center of a meal rather than a side dish. Top it with a scoop of leftover Santa Fe Chicken Chili, or veggies like my Balsamic Roasted Veggie Smothered Potato. Top a baked sweet potato with my Melted Peppers and Dags. Easy and cheap. Buy them at your local Farmers Market.
5. Eat breakfast for dinner (this was my old too-tired-to-cook trick when the kids were little). Make an 1-2-3 omelette with eggs and left over blue corn chips and call it a Blue Chip Fritatta. Make pancakes. Or Pumpkin Waffles. Or a simple Fried Egg and Pesto on Toast. Bake up a spaghetti quiche-pie with leftover pasta and veggies and call it an Autumn Pasta Fritatta. Find more brunch, quiche and egg recipes here.
6. Pasta is goddess sent. Even though gluten-free pasta runs a tad more expensive than regular old grocery store spaghetti, you can often buy in bulk and save. Ask your grocer for a case discount. My favorite family style pasta recipes are my Italian Meatballs and Spaghetti, and easy Italian Ragu, my almost retro Tuna and Artichoke Pasta, my Jazzed Up Turkey Tetrazzini- with, you guessed it, leftover turkey. My Penne Arrabiata is so easy- with diced tomatoes and green chiles.
7. Make soup. I’m tellin’ ya, a pot of soup can save you. And if you make it a slow cooker, you save energy costs (I read somewhere that using a slow cooker to make a meal uses the same amount of energy as a light bulb). I have lots of soups, stews and chili recipes in my archives because they’re a personal favorite. We’re big on soup. Mulligatawny is good enough for company (and it won’t break the budget). My Big Easy Chili is just that. Easy, And pretty cheap- if you buy the beans on sale. Use leftover chicken and make my Roasted Corn Chowder with Chicken and Cilantro. Hardly a sacrifice. Browse more soup recipes here.
8. Make your own broth- don’t bother buying expensive gluten-free broths. Make your own with water. Fill a pot. Toss in some old celery sticks that have been hanging around, a couple of bendy carrots, a piece of onion, some garlic and a shake of herbs. Sea salt. Cover. Simmer. Strain. Boom. Broth. And you know what’s in it.
9. Remix leftovers. Don’t just reheat leftovers in the microwave. Get creative with leftover rice, quinoa, stews and chili. Combine leftover veggies and chicken for soup. Throw in leftover salad greens. Toss in some carrots. Add a scoop of rice. Save leftover chili (like my Two Artists Chili) and bake it with rice the next day for a fabulous Baked Chili Casserole (pictured above). Make a fabulous Brown Sugar Meatloaf and smashed potatoes and the next day turn leftovers into a tasty pie (see below for recipes). Make a potato soup into a fish chowder the next day by adding a can of wild salmon and some frozen corn. Use leftover rice and chicken and add some garlic and frozen spinach to make my Chicken Spinach Rice Bake. And of course- the obvious favorite around here- make Mexican. Use leftover chicken, beef or turkey to make enchiladas.
For recipes and to read more: Gluttenfreegoddess.com