Thursday, 6 December 2012

Food Savings: Mix it up with the cheap and the expensive

Grocery bills can be huge over the holidays, as we stock up on treats and comfort foods, as well as special dishes for entertaining in our homes or bringing to potluck meals.  This week I'll focus on ideas for food savings. Today is the third post in this series.
 Today's tip is to mix expensive and cheaper items when planning your menu for entertaining, or even just for special meals for your own family.  You can put on a good spread by spending your money where it counts, and saving it in other places.  Here are some examples:

When preparing a cheese selection, choose one or two fabulous cheeses that you really love and which may be a bit more pricey, even when bought on sale.  Treat yourself to your favourite specialty stilton, or an imported brie.  Then round out your cheese plate with one or two lower-cost cheeses, and even select a less expensive brand.  Monterey Jack, cheddar, and Havarti for example, can often be bought in less expensive (but still tasty) store brands or commercial brands such as Kraft. 

Splurge on a really nice cut of meat as the centrepiece of a dinner, but accompany with inexpensive sides such as potatoes and carrots. Glazes, gravies, and sauces can fancify these simple and inexpensive ingredients.

When hosting a party with snack-like offerings, include an inexpensive option or two such as popcorn or pretzels. It will stretch your party budget a little further.

Choose one part of your meal to focus your budget on, then keep the rest simple. If your main course is a hearty but inexpensive chili, you can splurge on the ingredients for a delightful tiramisu.  If your main course was costly steak, try settling for a simple orange sherbet you picked up on sale for dessert.

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