1. Marinating - Pork shoulders, chicken pieces and chuck roasts are inexpensive but are also tough and chewy. Marinating will help break down the stringy tissue and can also impart flavor. There are two ways to marinate, break down the tissue with acids like lemon juice, wine or vinegar and break down tissue with enzymes found in papaya, kiwi or pineapple. Both way works and can be added to a flavored, seasoned oil to bring a richer moist flavor the these tough cuts. This technique can also be applied to vegetables!

2. Make a sauce to enhance the flavors of otherwise bland food. Pasta, rice and beans are all good cheap foods, however not much flavor by them. Pan drippings are the start of a good gravy, add a little flour and make a roux that can use broth for a thinner. Or, make a basic white sauce with flour and milk. Now you can and dill and Parmesan, or cheddar cheese, or beef stock and make that boring white sauce into a tasty accompaniment to that rice or pasta.

3. Add a flavor packed ingredient to otherwise boring food. This can be cooked foods like bacon, roasted red peppers or mushrooms. Spices and herbs have a lot of vibrant flavors to them, or try capers for that salty sour combination punch. I keep infused oils in my pantry like garlic infused olive oil, cayenne soaking in sesame oil and cilantro infused sunflower oil. Make some on your own and try with plain old rice and taste the difference.

4. Use the food processor on vegetable that are a little past their prime. We at with our eyes too! Puree these vegetables and stir into soups and stews as a thickener and flavor enhancer. Most vegetables can be juiced also. So juice those old unappealing vegetables and add nutrients and flavors to boring foods.

5. Add some fruit to your recipes. Mangos, pineapples, raisins, dates, currants, peaches all pair well with foods. Try a peach sauce with pork chops or a mango salsa for that Mexican dish. Or try apple sauce with potato pancakes for a cheap flavorful fix. Everybody has had a ham and pineapple pizza, who ever thought to add pineapple to a pizza was a genius!

6. Change up that recipe to add more flavor. Instead of just putting stew meat in a slow cooker, brown the meat first in a skillet. Pull out the grill and grill your vegetables instead of boiling away all of their flavor. Prepare that rice with chicken or beef bouillon cubes to enhance its flavor. You can brown the margarine you use in recipes to add a nutty flavor.

7. Try adding nuts to your recipes. Cashews enhance the flavor of chicken and green beans. Walnuts pair well with salads and give a nice crunch factor that is normally missing. Pecans as a coating for chicken or fish work well.

8. Condiments have flavors which are designed to pair with food to add flavor. Try the raspberry catsup or make your own mayonnaise. Salad dressings aren't always for salads either. One big fast food chain's secret sauce is 1,000 Island Dressing.

These and many more ideas, recipes and how to in my book the $1 cookbook.


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