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Tricks to save money on recipes

Neely's Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad
Neely's Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad
Photo credit: Sara Lugardo

With the popularity of cooking shows like "Pioneer Woman" and "Food Network Star," more and more people are starting to branch out when it comes to trying out new recipes. If you're one of the millions of people venturing out in trying to recreate those recipes you've seen on television or online, you already know how expensive it can get having to purchase all of the required ingredients. Take a look at a few tricks on saving money while trying out new recipes, and you might find yourself being a bit more confident in branching out of your comfort zone.

Neely's Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad
Neely's Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad Photo credit: Sara Lugardo

Neely's Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad

Juice Is Juice

The recipe for the Neely's Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad requires two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, among a number of other ingredients. Rather than tacking on a few extra bucks at the grocery store to get those two tablespoons, try and rummage through what you might already have in the pantry or fridge. Substituting two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice with plain old lemonade or lime juice won't alter the intended taste of the finished dish. Just a simple trick to keep the recipe going without having to make an extra trip to the grocery store because you might have forgotten the lemons.

Beef Fried Rice
Beef Fried Rice Photo credit: Sara Lugardo

Beef Fried Rice

Veggies Are Veggies

When it comes to perfecting a fried rice recipe, the emphasis should be on the taste of the dish rather than the precise symmetry of all the vegetables. Rather than purchasing each batch of vegetables individually and then spending added prep time for chopping, a frozen bag of mixed vegetables can be just the trick to keep the grocery budget down without sacrificing the dish.

Bobby Flay's Kalbi
Bobby Flay's Kalbi Photo credit: Sara Lugardo

Bobby Flay's Kalbi

​Leave Unnecessary Items Off The List

While Bobby Flay may be known for many things, his name isn't the first to come to mind when thinking about authentic Korean BBQ. However, his recipe for Kalbi (marinated beef short ribs) is as authentic as it comes. If you're trying to recreate your favorite Korean main dish at home, don't let the ingredient list scare you off. While some of the items like the rice wine and the brown sugar is absolutely crucial to the recipe, other items like the Asian pear and the green onions can be left out without ever being missed.

Food Network Kitchen's Vegetable Biryani
Food Network Kitchen's Vegetable Biryani Photo credit: Sara Lugardo

Food Network Kitchen's Vegetable Biryani

Not All Spices Are Expensive

Indian cooking is known for its complex recipes, including a myriad of spices. However, a trip down the spice aisle at the grocery store can quickly rack up the bill at the checkout aisle. Food Network Kitchen's Vegetable Biryani recipe is no stranger to containing it's fair share of required spices. A great trick to keep costs down is by getting the spices in the ethnic aisles. Oftentimes the aisle containing the corn tortillas and Mexican beans will also contains small spice packages. Rather than paying $7.99 for cumin seeds in the spice aisle, you can purchase a bag of cumin seeds in the Hispanic aisle for only $0.65. The downside is that the spices come in a resealable bag rather than a stand-up spice bottle, and the quantity is diminished. But since spices definitely have an expiration date and you won't be using very much of it for each dish, the smaller packages will come in handy and cost a fraction of the price.

Ree Drummond's Beef & Broccoli
Ree Drummond's Beef & Broccoli Photo credit: Sara Lugardo

Ree Drummond's Beef & Broccoli

Substitute With Favorites

Ree Drummond's show, "The Pioneer Woman" on Food Network has become a smash hit, with recipes that branch out from typical country girl dishes. Her recipe for Beef & Broccoli is a great way to get your Chinese takeout fix, even if you don't live on a farm. However, many of the ingredients can already be found in your pantry. If you have everything except for the broccoli, using what you have can be a way to make the recipe your own. Substitute broccoli with the favorite vegetables you have in the fridge, and ensure you don't miss out on this tasty dish.

Ree Drummond's French Toast
Ree Drummond's French Toast Photo credit: Sara Lugardo

Ree Drummond's French Toast

Trust Your Instincts

Ree Drummond's recipe for Berry Butter French Toast offers a great way to branch out from the same old pancakes and eggs. Oftentimes, people stray away from making french toast at home because it can turn a little mushy. The bread suggestion offered in this recipe ensures a proper consistency and texture, and the berry butter puts a sweet and surprising twist. However, if you don't have the berries or the butter, it's important to trust your instincts. Rather than forgoing the recipe altogether or making yet another trip to the grocery store, think about ingredients that would suit the flavors of french toast. Throw in some nutmeg in your egg mixture or a dash of cinnamon while dusting it with powdered sugar, and you won't even miss the berry butter.