Substitutions that Save You Money

Substitutions that Save You Money

A friend of mine, Candace, recently shared with me a really neat website and E-Newsletter, $5 Dinners. In one of the newsletters she shared with me I found some really helpful tips about substitutions that can save you money in the kitchen. I found that I already use some of these but plan to try even more. Below is a synopsis, but you can get the full story here.

– One of the best ways to save money is by minimizing trips to the grocery. Little trips to pick up one or two forgotten items can easily pull $40 or $50 from your wallet. Learning how to substitute ingredients in your favorite recipes can save you from those expensive, last minute trips.

Tomato Products – Canned tomato products are some of the easiest ingredients to swap out.

  • Use tomato paste instead of sauce, by adding water to the paste.
  • Use sauce instead of paste by reducing the other liquids in the recipe.
  • Use diced tomatoes instead of crushed or sauce.
  • Add a bit of sugar to a can of diced tomatoes to substitute them for stewed tomatoes.
  • Use salsa as a substitute for tomatoes with green chilies


  • Use American slices for Velveeta and vice versa
  • Substitute cheddar, mozzarella, swiss, monterey jack and colby jack interchangeably for most casseroles and dishes
  • Substitute string cheese for mozzarella

In Baked Goods

  • Use whole wheat flour in place of white and vice versa. Whole wheat can be heavy, so you might want to use part white instead of all whole wheat
  • Use bread flour, cake flour, or cornmeal to stretch your flour to finish a recipe

In Mexican Foods – By keeping in mind the general flavors and ingredients in Mexican foods, you can make all kinds of substitutions as necessary.

  • You can swap out chicken for beef or use beans instead.
  • Out of tortillas? Put the filling over cornbread, rice, tortilla chips or even salad. You can do this with enchilada filling, tacos, burrito filling etc.

In Italian Foods –

  • You can use all different shapes of pasta
  • Think about using Italian sausage, grilled chicken, ground beef, tomatoes in various forms, basil, oregano, thyme, parmesan, Romano, mozzarella
  • The dish you end up with might be much different than the recipe, but if you stick with common Italian ingredients it will be good. You might find you like it even better than the original