Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cooking On A Shoestring Budget: Using Substitutions in a Recipe

One of my biggest secrets to keeping grocery cost down is learning to substitute ingredients in recipes. Since I keep my pantry stocked with ingredients rather than mixes and convenience foods this is usually not a problem. For example, for every square of chocolate that is called for in a recipe (an ingredient I don't always have) I can substitute 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa plus 1 tablespoon of shortening or butter (ingredients I always have).

Here's a list of substitutions I have hanging on the inside of my baking cupboard door for easy reference:

1 teaspoon Apple or Pumpkin Pie Spice=1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon Baking Powder=1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup Dry Bread Crumbs=1/4 cup cracker crumbs, 1 slice bread cubed, or 2/3 cup rolled oats
1 cup Buttermilk=1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice plus milk to make 1 cup or 1 cup plain yogurt
1 square (1 oz.) Unsweetened Chocolate=3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa plus 1 tablespoon shorteneing, margarine, or butter
2 oz. Semi-sweet Chocolate=1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 medium ear of Corn=1/2 cup kernels, frozen or canned
1/2 cup Corn Syrup=1/2 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoon liquid
1 tablespoon Cornstarch=2 tablespoon flour or 1 1/3 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca (used as a thickener)
1 cup Heavy Cream (for baking, not whipping)=3/4 cup whole milk plus 1/4 cup butter
1 cup Light Cream=7/8 cup milk plus 3 tablespoons butter
1 cup Half-and-half=1 1/2 tablespoons butter plus 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon milk
1 Egg=2 egg yolks (in baking, add 1 tablespoon water)
1 Egg (for baking and meatloaf or meatball recipes)=1 tablespoon Soy powder plus 1 tablespoon water*
1 cup Cake Flour=7/8 cup flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup Self-Rising Flour=1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Garlic Clove=1/8 teaspoon instant minced garlic or garlic powder or 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons Green or Red Pepper=1 tablespoon sweet pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Fresh Herbs=1 teaspoon dried herbs
1 teaspoon Lemon or Orange Peel=1/2 teaspoon dried peel
1 cup Whole Milk=1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water
1 cup Whole Milk=1 cup skim or reconstituted nonfat dry milk plus 2 teaspoons butter
1 small Onion (1/4 cup)=1 tablespoon instant minced onion or onion flakes, 1/4 cup frozen chopped onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder
1 package Active Dry Yeast=2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast

Substituting Honey for Sugar in a recipe:
Use 1 cup honey for 1 cup sugar and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup

Tomato Substitutions:
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce=3 large fresh tomatoes cooked
1 cup tomato puree=1 cup cooked tomatoes, pureed in blender or food processor
1 (1-pound) can whole tomatoes=6 large tomatoes cooked in 1/2 cup water or tomato juice
1 (1-pound) can stewed tomatoes=6 large tomatoes cooked in 1/2 cup water with onions, green peppers, salt, pepper, and sugar
6 oz. tomato paste=6 large tomatoes cooked plus omit 1 cup water from recipe
Tomato Juice=Use equal parts cooked pureed tomatoes and water
1 (10 3/4-oz) can tomato soup=3 large tomatoes cooked in 1/2 cup water or tomato juice

I also have a substitute for cream soups that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

*I learned about this trick from Amy Dacyczyn of The Tightwad Gazette. I'm not a big fan of soy products but since we don't eat many convenience foods that are usually loaded with soy (which means soy overload in our systems), I don't mind using this. I got it at my local health food store and it came in a 22-oz bag and cost $3.99. Even though it has a pretty long shelf life, I keep mine in the freezer so I don't have to worry about using it up before it expires.

This is a pretty long list, I know, and I have not used all of these substitutions, but it's nice to know that I have options for a recipe if I need it.

In another post, I will share what I usually have stocked in my pantry.

I'm linking up with Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.


Mom said...

What a good list to have! Thank You.

Laura said...

Thanks for this list~ I am always running to the store to find small
ingredients and spending too much money!!

Rhonda said...

good list! I actually the taste of cocoa to unsweetened chocolate.

some of your subs are new to me and will be very useful. I'm sure I will use the cream one, I don't always have cream but I do usually have milk and butter.

thank you