Tip #29 - Replicate Your Favorite Foods. We've talked about how cooking from scratch is much cheaper than buying prepared food or eating out. It's also healthier. Something that will save a lot of money is to make foods that you love from scratch such as meals you buy from a restaurant or a snack food or treat that they sell at the mall. You can often closely replicate these foods at home for a fraction of the cost. So if you are suddenly trying to cut back on spending but you crave a certain appetizer from your favorite chain restaurant, try to recreate it. There are several websites that have "copycat" recipes that you can use. And the general recipe sites have them such as RecipeZaar among others. If you or a family member have a favorite food, google the name of it and see if you can find a recipe or try to create one yourself. Once it is perfected, you will save a bundle on eating out.
In Real Life (IRL) - I love soft pretzels. I have to; I am from Philadelphia. I also like Amish-style pretzels like they make at Auntie Anne's in the mall. You have to know that pretzels are cheap to make. They are basically made from flour, yeast, sugar, and water. All of those items are inexpensive. So one day I got the idea to make pretzels from scratch. I had always wanted to. I found a couple different recipes online and ended up combining a few to get my own. There is no boiling, no bread machine, no egg. Just flour, sugar, yeast, salt, water and oil. They are absolutely delicious. My daughters beg me to make them all of the time. One batch makes 10 large pretzels or 15 smaller ones. The cost per batch? $1.50 or 15 cents per large pretzel. The cost for one pretzel at the mall? $2.29! These are great to freeze and use as snacks in school lunchboxes. I will add the recipe shortly. Gotta go check the pretzels in the oven! We just made a double batch of these delicious pretzels!
4 1/2 teaspoons of active yeast (2 packets)
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 TBS vegetable oil
1 TBS baking soda
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup kosher salt
2-4 TBS butter
--In small bowl, dissolve yeast, 1 t sugar and water. Let stand for 10 minutes until creamy.
--In large bowl, mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt.
--Make well in center of large bowl and add yeast mixture.
--Knead dough until smooth about 7-8 minutes.
--Lightly oil large bowl and place dough in it. Turn to coat with oil.
--Cover with towel and let rise in warm place until double in size - about 1 hour.
--Preheat overn to 400 degrees.
--In a bowl dissolve baking soda in hot water.
--When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 10-15 pieces.
--Roll each piece into a rope and form pretzel shape
--Dip each pretzel into baking soda bath and place on greased baking sheet
--Sprinkle with kosher salt (omit this step if you are making cinnamon sugar pretzels)
--Bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees
--Let cool for 1 minute and remove with spatula
--You can leave pretzels as they are or dip in butter or dip in butter and coat with cinnamon sugar