Love the convenience, hate the price. I find myself saying that a lot lately. Instead of lamenting our country’s economic situation and its impact on my family, I’m slowly but surely trying to become more self-sufficient. Learning to make or do things on my own instead of paying for convenience is one way to be a wise steward. It also ensures that first things stay first around here. If I caved too often to the cost of convenience, I’d buy my way right into a job outside my home!
I’d love to tell you that I’ve taken to sewing our clothes, creating natural homeopathic remedies for our ills, and whittling our furniture out of tree stumps. But alas, I still rely on hand-me-downs, coupons, and second hand stores for such things. I am, however, learning how better to stretch my dollar in the kitchen.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are one example of a convenience food that I’ve always had a hard time saying “no” to. Until recently, I tried to stock up whenever I saw them on sale for under $2.00/lb. Now, however, I look for the split/bone-in breasts on sale. They are often found for $1.00/lb. Last week I found a package for 90¢/lb.!
Here’s what I do to get more for my money and still enjoy boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Freeze bone-in breasts for an hour or two, or until they are easy to work with. (TIP: much easier to cut partially frozen meat!)
- Pull the skin off (TIP: use a paper towel or rag for a better grip.)
- Cut most of the meat off for a nice boneless breast. Don’t stress about getting every little bit.
- Cook the bones with meat attached in water. Shred that meat for casseroles, taco filling, etc.
- Make chicken stock with the bones, a little vinegar, water, and some veggies.
Here are a few other convenience-cost-free items I like to make myself. The food items taste better homemade, and are certainly healthier than the canned, processed, fake-food-laden store versions.
- baby wipes
- bread, buns, pizza dough, etc.
- soak dried beans instead of buying canned
- refried beans
- cream of mushroom soup
- applesauce (with free apples from my neighbor’s tree!)
- tortillas ~ I still need lots of practice with this one!
- play dough
- window cleaner ~ I use vinegar and water, and wipe with a newspaper.
I have so much more to learn! I really want to make my own laundry soap, but I’m still searching for the washing soda. And bubble bath. I love a hot bubble bath. I should definitely make my own. Anyone have a recipe?
What are some of your favorite do-it-yourself tricks to live large on less?