1. PENNY-PINCH YOUR POULTRY
"When I was working in France, I was surprised that even home cooks prepped their own meat. Why? Because the more the grocery store does, the more you're going to pay.
Chicken is the easiest to save money on. First, skip the boneless, skinless cuts. You'll save about 50 percent when you buy chicken with skin and bones, and leaving those bits on will help it cook up more tender and delicious. Marinated cuts may be pumped up with salt and water, which means you're paying for liquid. Make an easy marinade with EVOO, lemon juice and chopped rosemary and garlic."
2. TRANSFORM YOUR LEFTOVERS
"Call me crazy, but I actually get inspired by leftovers. Just think about it: Most of the work is already done -- all you have to do is mix in a little creativity. I turn extra spaghetti into a pizza crust by crisping it in one layer in an ovenproof nonstick pan over medium-high heat, pressing down frequently, for about 10 minutes per side. Spread it with tomato sauce, sprinkle on some cheese, then pop it in the oven until the cheese melts.
Got some extra cooked pork chops? Cut them into 1-inch pieces and pulse in a food processor until almost ground. Mix in feta, dried breadcrumbs and some beaten egg. Shape into patties and cook like burgers."
3. SKIP MEAT ONCE A WEEK (OR MORE)
"There's lots of talk about Meatless Mondays and how they help the planet and improve your health, but of course, going easy on meat can also stretch your grocery budget. When I was in college, I was a vegetarian simply because I couldn't afford meat. All of those meals forced me to get creative with my veggies.
One of my favorite meat-free dinners is cauliflower steaks. Just cut a head of cauliflower into 1-inch-thick slices, then cook in EVOO in a large, ovenproof skillet until golden on both sides. Bake in a 350° oven until tender, about 10 minutes. Serve with pesto and sautéed peppers and onions. A pound of cauliflower costs about $2. Even budget-friendly cuts like flank steak cost about $8 per pound, so the savings will add up fast!"Continued on page 2: