When to cut corners and when to walk all the way around

Are you always looking for ways to save money and save time in the kitchen?  I think more than ever, most of us are.  Is it ever worth the extra time or money to do things a little differently?  I’ve made a list of a few things that I think are indeed worth it and a few that are not.

A block of cheese verses pre-shredded cheese.  The price is the same, but pre-shredded cheese is much quicker.  I think it makes a huge difference to shred it myself.  There are lots of preservatives in pre-shredded cheese and as a result the taste isn’t as good.  I’ve also found that it melts better too if you shred it yourself.  The extra time it takes is definitely worth it.

Speaking of cheese – a good fresh block of parmesan is expensive, but worth it.  I would not have thought this, but my friend went to Italy and brought me back a block of really good parmesan.  I used it on everything and it lasted almost 9 months.  After that I was hooked.  That is one splurge I am willing to make.

Vegetables – canned, frozen, or fresh.  If you are eating a vegetable as a side dish, I would never suggest canned – no matter what the price difference.  I can hardly tell the difference, however, between fresh and frozen.  I always go with the least expensive of those two.

Spaghetti sauce – depends.  I buy mine in a jar, but many people will argue that the time it takes is totally worth it.  I think if I ever started making mine from scratch, I’d never go back.  I haven’t gotten that ambitious and I really like the Hunt’s Garlic and Herb in a can.  It’s hard to bring myself to slave over the stove when there’s a great one that’s so accessible.  This one is definitely debateable.

Butter – Real butter is sometimes a little more expensive.  It’s often cumbersome because it’s so hard and then there’s the calorie splurge.  All of this aside, real butter is the ONLY way to go.

Herbs – fresh herbs are usually so much more expensive.  No doubt that real basil blows dried basil out of the water.  Is it a 5.00 difference?  It depends on what you are making and what your budget is.  I very rarely use fresh basil for this reason.  It’s very expensive, and also has a very short shelf life.  This is one case where I vote against the splurge.

I hope this helps you the next time you are grocery shopping and undecided about what splurges are worth making and what corners are worth cutting.

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Filed under Food Stuff, Saving Money

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