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By Cal Bolton

So, just what is a penny pincher?
Someone that can squeeze a penny until it screams?
Someone that shops at thrift shops and yard sales?
Maybe someone that makes their own from scratch instead of buying all of the prepared items?

Or someone that can put on a dinner party for four to six guests and spend less than $2.50 per serving on the main dish?

How about all of the above; when it comes to being a penny pincher.
You can make your own and save money. I know itís so easy to go to the grocery store and pick up all of those prepared items. But letís look at what you are paying for.

If you buy it at a store; you get fancy packaging, 50 to 85% higher costs, convenience and oh yes, donít forget those preservatives. With all of the preservatives the average person consumes nowadays itís a wonder they still have to embalm someone prior to burial.

Maybe you prefer the convenience; over making your own, but I like to cook and these tips help me save money.


I used to buy that product, so easy just open the package and follow the directions, right? Well, yes, but so easy and cheap to make your own.
I use everything, crackers of all kinds, bread crumbs (crust included) potato chips, you name it, to make mine. I even had some stale Cheetos and made crumbs and added it to the mixture.
Add your spices, seasoning salt, dried onion flakes, parsley, etc. Just keep adding to the mix whenever you have the ingredients.
Keep it in a zip lock bag or other container in your refrigerator, it is there and ready to use when you need it. You donít have to check your pantry to find out you forgot to buy it the last time you went to the grocery.


Love Mexican food and would like to serve refried beans with your tacos, tamale or whatever?
Itís so cheap and easy to make your own. If you cook your own pinto beans as I do then simply drain the liquid off, place the beans in your blender or food processor with a small chopped onion, a little salt and blend.
Heat and serve with grated cheese.
If you donít have any precooked beans, you can buy canned pinto beans, follow the directions above, but be careful with the salt. Taste first.


Like to serve French fries with that steak or sandwich, but buying frozen is far too expensive?
Make your own ahead of time. Cook, be a penny pincher.
Cut up the potatoes, the whole bag, into the size of fries you like. Rinse and dry the potatoes. Heat your deep fryer or oil in a deep frying pan. Fry the potatoes for about one minute, remove and drain well.
If you are using part of them for the evening meal, cool in the refrigerator until ready to use. Fry again until golden brown, salt to taste and serve.
Chilling and frying the second time is the secret.

If you want to store them for later, spread onto a cookie sheet and put in the freezer.
After freezing, put into one big zip lock bag or smaller serving size zip lock bags. They are ready for you to remove and fry until golden brown, salt to taste and serve.
Make your own, I know I like it better.
If I could tell you how to make numerous main dishes for less than $2.50 per serving, would you be interested? How about if many of them cost less than $2.00 per serving, is that better yet? Below is a sample recipe for one of the dishes
Iím talking about:

Salmon Cakes with Soy-ginger Mayonnaise

1 1/2 lb. potatoes (peeled, cut in 1 in. chunks)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 (14 3/4 oz.) can salmon (drained, cleaned)
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 tsp. vegetable oil
1 med. onion (chopped)
1 tbs. + 1 tsp. fresh ginger (grated)
1 lg. egg (lightly beaten)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. soy sauce
6 lettuce or Romaine leaves (sliced or torn)
1 lemon (cut in wedges)
3 Ė 4 c. rice (cooked)
Cook potatoes in water and 1 tsp. salt until fork tender, drain. Place potatoes in lg. bowl, coarsely mash. Set aside. In skillet, heat 2 tsp. oil and sautť onion until golden, add 1 tbs. ginger; cook 30 sec. Add onion mixture to mashed potatoes, stir to blend. To potatoes add salmon, egg, pepper and remaining salt. Stir to mix well.
Shape salmon mixture into 12 (3 x 3/4 in.) patties or cakes. Use about 1/3 c. for each. In same skillet, heat 1 tsp. oil and fry half of cakes 5 Ė 6 min. or until cooked through and brown, turn only once.
Repeat with remaining oil and cakes. Transfer to plate and keep warm.
Prepare sauce: In sm. bowl mix lemon juice, mayonnaise, soy sauce and remaining ginger. Let stand for 15 min. to blend flavors.
To Serve: Place lettuce on lg. serving platter and place salmon cakes and lemon wedges around sauce boat set in the middle. Put lg. bowl of cooked rice and extra soy sauce on table. (Complete meal Ė serve with dessert)
With main dishes like that you could be a penny pincher with flair.
No one would even suspect that you were a penny pincher. But they would be impressed by your cooking. You donít need to tell them you have saved any money.
Cook like a penny pincher and appear like a gourmet.
There is a new cook book out itís called the "Penny Pincher Cook Book". In it you will find 150 delicious and taste tempting main dish recipes. The one above is a sample of the type you will find in the cook book.
If you want more information on the book or more great penny pinching tips, you are going to have to go to Grandmaís web site at:
For information on the cook book click on the Penny Pincher button.
Cal Bolton is the webmaster for Grandma who is the actual content provider of:

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