Frugal Living » Substituting and Changing Recipes

Substituting and Changing Recipes

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If you enjoy surfing the web for new recipes chances are you’ve come across a recipe that sounds delicious, except for one thing, someone in your house doesn’t like “such and such” an ingredient that’s in it! Here’s a guide to easy substitutions and changing recipes to suit your family . . .

All of our families have their little quirks when it comes to eating. Whether it is food allergies, personal preferences, budget restrictions, or just plain picky eating; don’t let that stop you from trying that recipe you just found. It just takes a little creativity to substitute ingredients to make the recipe fit.

Some ingredients can be easily substituted to suit your family’s tastes. A lot of these ideas have just become second nature to those that have been cooking for a long time but it’s always nice to hear about a few ideas we didn’t know about. Don’t be afraid to experiment, that’s what cooking is all about.

Substituting Meats aka The Protein:

The chicken breast to pork chop switch- these two types of meat are almost completely interchangeable for any recipe. Just be sure to check cooking times. Now you’ve just doubled your recipe repertoire!

Recipes calling for diced chicken can use diced tofu to instantly make a dish vegetarian.

Just because a recipe calls for certain “parts” doesn’t mean you can’t improvise with what you have on hand or what’s in your budget. Try your favorite marinade and directions on other (sometimes less expensive) cuts of meat. For instance: Substitute chicken thighs for a much cheaper price than those boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Beef can be substituted with venison, bison or any other red game meat. Ground beef can be substituted with TVP (textured vegetable protein).

Substituting Vegetables:

In most cases canned or frozen will substitute for fresh.

  • Tomatoes– In our house, we don’t do anything with chunks of tomatoes…. If a recipe calls for them (canned or fresh) we substitute tomato soup or tomato sauce, Sometimes I’ll even just put the tomatoes through the blender, or omit them altogether.
  • Peppers– recipes are created with a certain taste in mind. That doesn’t mean you need to follow it to the letter. If green peppers are the offender, try the recipe with red peppers instead, or try the recipe and just omit them.
  • Onions are interchangeable in almost all recipes. The flavor might not be as the recipe intended but sometimes can be a good thing.

When reading a recipe and you come across something that just turns you off (anything with okra for us) Consider trying the recipe and just omitting the offending ingredient.

Canned goods:

Cream of just about anything soup can be substituted with any Cream of “whatever” soup. Example, if a recipe calls for Cream of Chicken, try cream of mushroom in its place. Instead of tomato soup (because my family thinks it’s nasty) we use Rotel. Try a red sauce instead of a green enchilada sauce or the other way around.

Cream of Whatever Soup Mix

Soups and Stews:

These by far are the easiest recipes to change as they are the most forgiving!

You could switch types of meat, potatoes, onions, beans, and vegetables, or add a new idea of your own.

Take a chance and try something different. Don’t let the list of ingredients in a new recipe stop you from trying something new. If an ingredient turns you off try to think of something to replace it with or just don’t put it in. It may be the new family favorite and you just had to tweak it a little.

Learn more about Recipe Substitutions Here

How do you alter/change recipes to suit your family?

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / JackF

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