The best way to create free vegetarian recipes is to cook out of your cupboard. Of course, to do this successfully, you must understand the best way to actually stock your pantry so that you always have the right ingredients on hand to cook with.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are always the best, but if you’re shopping for the long haul, you’ll also want to buy frozen vegetables. While canned vegetables might be cheaper, they are also less nutritious and less fresh than frozen vegetables. Besides buying fresh fruits and vegetables when you make your weekly (or monthly) trip to the grocery store, stock up on frozen peas, broccoli, and other types of mixed vegetables. This way, you’ll always be able to throw together a quick, last minute stir-fry or even a shepherd’s pie. Also, make sure that you always keep fresh yellow onions, potatoes, and bulbs of garlic on hand since they make the basis for so many different recipes. Store these ingredients in a cool, dry place so they last longer.
In terms of the best grains, make sure that you always have a selection of white and brown rice, couscous, and quinoa, along with a variety of dry pasta, like angel hair, penne, and rigatoni. If you can find it in your grocery store, buy enriched pasta which is full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that you don’t always get from a vegetarian diet. Also, keep a variety of oats and whole-grain cereals on hand, especially if you have children, so you can always serve a healthy, fast breakfast.
Then, it’s also a good idea to keep a variety of eggs and low-fat dairy products on hand in your refrigerator. Buy skim milk, low-fat cheeses, and unsweetened yogurt, which are great to include in many vegetarian recipes. There are also a number of other staples—tofu, olive oil, soy sauce, and chili paste come to mind—that you should always keep handy since you will use them so often.
Then, once you have a fully-stocked pantry, make a list of the ingredients you have and try to plan out a weekly menu. Tell yourself that you have to cook for a month with what you have in your house, and come up with a variety of recipes that will allow you to cook through your ingredients while not spending any additional money. At the end of the month, you’ll be amazed at not only all the different recipes you were able to create that tasted great and were healthy and filling, but also by how much money you saved.
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