It may be easy to get recipes off the internet these days, but there are times when nothing quite compares to having a really good cookbook on the shelf at home. You can quickly and easily flip through them, make notes, mark pages, and have everything bound neatly together. (which is one shortcoming of all those internet printouts I have laying around – I really gotta get them in a binder or something). But as much as I like having some cookbooks in my stash, I’m not quick to lay out the money to buy them because let’s admit it – it’s so easy to buy a cookbook and then never look at it again.
So today I thought I would share a few of my favorite cookbooks that I was actually willing to spend my money on, and that I actually refer to on a regular basis. I guess it’s no coincidence that most of these favorite cookbooks fall into the frugal category. I just think the recipes in these books tend to be so much more like the way “real folks” cook. They use familiar ingredients, are often designed to feed families, and usually include a certain amount of “make your own” type recipes (my favorites !!)
This book is written by a mother of 10 who knows a thing or two about stretching the family dollar. The Chicken Cacciatore (pg 156) has become a new favorite at my house. There’s also a section titled “The Homemade Pantry” with recipes for making things like homemade salad dressings, sauces and spice blends. This book also spends some time covering how to budget, making lists, and planning trips to the store.
What drew me to this book was all the great information tucked in alongside the recipes. Fun little items like “Making your own bacon bits” and “Corn Muffin Add-ins” pop up throughout and provide some great tips and ideas. I had never made a Frittata before, but their recipe (pg 395) made me decide it was a frugal (and easy!) meal to make. Plus they help you learn money saving techniques like cooking up dried beans or roasting a whole chicken.
The Tightwad Gazette books by Amy Dacyczyn have been around for a while but she is, hands down, the queen of frugal living. Nobody thinks outside the box for new and economical ways of doing things at quite the same level as Amy. She was an early advocate for doing frugal things like re-using ziploc bags and saving little pieces of foil. These books are really much more than cookbooks. There are lots of food related ideas but more importantly, there’s the theory and method to help you think for yourself. Any time I start flipping through my Tightwad Gazette Book, an hour seems to just fly by because I can’t quit reading.
Dining on a Dime is filled with bunches and bunches of frugal recipes. It contains more than just food recipes too. This is the book that made me begin to think about making my own homemade laundry soap.
OK, this last book might not quite fit into the cookbook category, but it’s one I’ve referred to over and over for how to use kitchen ingredients to make safe household cleaners. You’ll learn that vinegar and baking soda can do so much more than you ever imagined! The main emphasis of this book is on keeping everything safe and non-toxic, but in doing so, you’ll save money too. Each recipe has a price comparison at the end for the homemade version vs. the storebought version. You’ll find instructions for drain cleaners, floor cleaners, furniture polishes, tub and tile cleaners, and laundry cleaners, to name just a few.
So there’s a little peek into my bookshelf. How about you? Do you have a great cookbook or frugal resource you can recommend?