Chefs have been making rich flavors on the cheap for centuries

If we had to operate our home kitchens to generate a profit and keep a staff in chef’s whites, we would have to be more resourceful like chefs are day in and day out.

“You don’t have to be a chef to get the most from every morsel – you just have to think like one,” Bonny Riechert, Thrifty Table, Globe and Mail.

Here are a few thrifty tips to get you started:

  • Use fruits that are getting too soft in purees to create cold soups or sauces
  • Save scraps and peelings from celery, carrots and onions in the freezer to make stock
  • Save bones from raw or cooked meats (label them) in the freezer for making stock
  • Scraps of raw meat and fat can become part of burger or sausage patties
  • Cut a chicken into parts yourself
  • Save the livers and gizzards from while chickens – sauté and add to a salad
  • Grind leftover, cooked meats to make fillings for ravioli and savory pies/tarts
  • Save shrimp shells (and other fish bones) to flavor milk in chowders or to create stock
  • Add a whole egg to leftover egg whites for a larger, fluffier omelet
  • Use leftover egg whites (can be frozen) to create meringues or use them to apply chopped nuts to cookies (ex: roll a log of refrigerator cookie dough in slightly whipped whites and then into chopped nuts)
  • Cube leftover bread and dry/toast in the oven until lightly browned and dry throughout – these cubes can be stored in the pantry for use in bread puddings (after a soaking in the egg/milk mixture) or made into bread crumbs in a blender or food processor
  • Freeze leftover chunks of un-iced brownies or cookies and use them in homemade ice cream or dry and make into crumbs for a crumb crust for ice cream or custard pies or cheesecakes
  • Make arancini (breaded, deep-fried, Italian fried rice balls) from leftover rice or risotto
  • Keep a wedge of parmesan in your refrigerator as this is one of the best cheeses to add a punch of flavor with only a minimal amount and the rinds/scraps can be added to soups or stew for depth
  • Try freezing firm cheeses like cheddar when they are found on sale
  • Scraps of cheese can be mixed together for cheese sauces or fondues
  • Stock up on butter when it is on sale and freeze it
  • Freeze (or dry) citrus zest or pieces of rind from the oranges and lemons you consume
  • Try dry vermouth in savory recipes that need wine – this is especially useful if you do not drink a lot of wine as the vermouth will keep longer in the refrigerator
  • Purchase smaller bottles (four packs) of wine for occasional recipe use
  • Use leftover . . .
  • white wine to steam fish and seafood
  • red or white wine for a quick pan sauce
  • red wine to braise beef cuts like brisket, roasts, etc.
  • red wine to poach pears or other stone fruits – reducing and sweetening the poaching liquid for a syrup that can be served with second dessert the next night

GE 3/18/09 Leave a Comment
Gina Edwards is a cooking instructor and editor of

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