by Michelle Jones, GrocerySavingTips.com
Tip # 1 - Hot Dog Buns
Breads can vary in price dramatically. While the store-brand of hot dog buns make cost 99¢, a more popular name-brand may be $1.99 or more. Now, why would we do that!! I know they may taste a little bit better, but is it worth $51.48? That's how much money you'll save each year if you purchase the store brand every week instead of the more expensive one. If you're going to spend more money it would probably be much better to buy better quality hot dogs! :o)
Tip # 2 - Sandwich Bread
Now sandwich bread and hamburger buns are a little different. We know it's important for our good health to eat whole grain breads every day, and not the cheaper fluffy white stuff we may have grown up on as a child. This is where it's good to spend a little extra money. The more grains in the bread the better!
Tip # 3 - Specialty Breads
Head to the deli/bakery department for fresh baked bread. They often have great sales and that's when to bring an extra bread loaf home. Our favorite is the Italian Sweet Round bread, or the Italian Loaf, but I only buy them when they're on sale!
* * * BONUS RECIPE * * *
EASY Garlic Bread
by Michelle Jones
1 French or Italian Loaf
1/2 - 1 stick of butter or margarine
Parsley, if desired
Slice the long loaf diagonally into 2" thick pieces. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet, with the larger flat sides up (they'll hold more butter that way!) Preheat oven to Broil. In a small bowl, melt 1/2 stick of butter (or more) in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Add a tsp. of garlic powder (more or less if desired) to the melted butter and spread on the tops of each bread slice with a basting brush. Sprinkle a dash of parsley (fresh or dried) on each slice if desired, it adds a nice touch.
Place bread in the oven and broil for just a few minutes, until the tops of the bread slices start to turn brown around the edges. Be careful not to let them burn, this is not a good time to walk away from the kitchen!
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Tip # 4 - Bagels
YUM! We love 'em too, but they can sure be expensive. When we lived in VA our grocery store (Kroger) had a wonderful store-brand line of bagels that cost less and tasted great! Maybe your store does too, have you tried them? Years ago when money was really tight for our family, I would purchase the frozen Lenders bagels, in the freezer section. They were always cheaper than the ones you'd find in the bread or deli section and toasted up just fine!
Tip # 5 - Crackers
I'm not sure if every store does this, but it seems most do. On the end of the bread aisle you may find rows and rows of snack crackers, like cheese/peanut butter, cheese/cheese, toast/cheese, etc.... These will be boxes of 8 or so packages in one, and are great for kid's school snacks. If you've forgotten to pick up the crackers that were located in the middle of the store (since they usually place the bread section at the end of the store), it might be pretty convenient to pick a package or two up at this point. But, I have observed over the years that THESE crackers rarely go on sale!! The cracker brands that go on sale are usually the ones in the middle of the store, so use caution and look for that price tag!
Tip # 6 - Doughnuts
If the stores in your part of the country, or world, are not blessed with Krispy Kreme doughnut delivery, the next best thing is the bakery donuts. Not the packages of little white powdered things in the bread aisle, though I know... my kids love them too! Hey, it's okay to splurge once in a while! The only way I've found so far to save money on doughnuts is to just stay far away from them! Or, if I have to walk by them (especially if my kids are with me), I speed up hoping they won't notice them! ;o)
Tip # 7 - Prepackaged Cinnamon Rolls
Okay, so they're all I could eat for a brief time during my 4th pregnancy, but BLEHHH!! If you want cinnamon rolls it's better to either make your own or head over to the freshly baked ones in the bakery dept., they will taste much better and if you're in luck they'll be on sale!!
Tip # 8 - Storage
A great way to save money is to keep your perishable grocery items from spoiling! Breads can easily be stored in the refrigerator to extend freshness or in the freezer for longer storage periods. While a loaf of bread sitting on your counter can go bad in less than a week, one stored in the fridge can last for several weeks.
Tip # 9 - Make Your Own Homemade Bread
I know many frugal cooks who make their own breads at home and this is also a great way to save money. Homemade bread recipes abound in cookbooks and on the web. If you have a recipe you'd like to share with our readers please contact us!
* * * BONUS RECIPE * * *
Italian Cheese Bread
submitted by Donna Little
This is a recipe for killer Italian cheese bread. I like to double the recipe because I like my bread really gooey. Trust me, there will be none left. Oh, and you can make this into pizzas by just adding pepperoni and such. It tastes great even though there is no tomato based sauce on it!
6 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves, crumbled
1-2 dashes cayenne pepper
Spread on 1/2 loaf of Italian bread. Bake at 400 degrees until the cheese begins to brown, perhaps 10 minutes or so. Yum!
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"You can take leftover hot dog buns and use the same recipe you provided for garlic bread! My boys loved them and I won't have to throw away old hot dog buns." - Kathy H.
"I live in the Dallas, TX area and found out you can go to a Bagel store (Einstein Brothers Bagels and probably all of them!) at the end of the day and they will GIVE you their day old bagels since they are not up to their fresh standards by 5 p.m. to SELL them. I have a co-worker who had to provide snacks for her son's wrestling team event. She contacted The Corner Bakery a few days in advance to ask for their cookies, muffins, etc. at closing time that they did not sell. She had TRAYS of both items in abundance to bring to the school event and also to work. These items were given - FREE to those who ask! They tasted great since they were served the very next day. I don't know if this would also apply to an individual going into the store at closing time or just to organizations. Also, to freeze bagels or donuts, freeze the extras in airtight boxes or bags and let them defrost on the kitchen counter before serving them. Whatever you can find in the frozen section of the grocery stores you can freeze fresh items yourself at home. Just make sure you get as much air out of the container before freezing to prevent ice and freezer burn." - Donna
"I ALWAYS kept our bread in the fridge. But then I read this and have started to keep it out, or in the freezer if I think we won't eat it soon. Just wanted to pass it on... 'Bread kept in the fridge goes stale about four times as fast as it does at room temperature. Staling can occur either when the bread dries out through evaporation or when cooked starch molecules in the bread cool and form a crystalline structure. Crystallization forces water out of the starch molecules and causes the bread to become more firm in texture. We think of staling as being a loss of water when in fact, the water content may still be the same, just no longer trapped by starch molecules. The cooler temperature of the fridge increases the speed at which crystallization occurs. As long as it hasn't actually dried out, bread that is stale from crystallization of its starch molecules can be made palatable again by reheating it. This usually only works well one time, though. So, for soft textured bread, keep it in a bread box or paper bag. This will hold some of the moisture in, while keeping the crust firm. Some people prefer to use a plastic bag, which will keep the bread softer longer but encourage spoilage by holding moisture in. It will also soften the crust. Bread kept in the fridge may spoil slower, but it will go stale much faster. If you don't usually finish a loaf before it starts to spoil at room temperature, freeze part and thaw it at room temperature later. Frozen bread neither spoils nor goes stale quickly and can be kept for several months.' Thanks for all the great tips!" - Anne Napieralski
"Frozen Bread Dough - Use for pizza crust. Use for focaccia bread (roll out thin, brush with olive oil), then tear off bits and dip in olive oil sprinkled with Italian seasonings. Pecan/Cinnamon rolls. Thaw, roll out thin, then dust with brown sugar, your choice of spices, dot with butter (margarine turns it to mush), add other things as desired. Roll up, cut into spirals, then proof again for about 30 minutes before baking. Can also be done the night before and allowed to rise in fridge. Sooooo good! Refrigerated Biscuit Dough - Monkey Bread - cut each round into 4 pieces, roll in brown sugar, cinnamon, some ginger, place in bundt pan or other round pan, dotting with butter bits throughout. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes then place onto inverted plate. A real hit with my teens! Roll each one flat, cut into strips and drop into lightly boiling chicken soup. This is a wintertime favorite. Roll each one flat, stuff with smoked sausage rounds (no larger than 1" each). Close ends with water to seal and pierce for venting steam. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes." - Wasakava
"You can freeze dry yeast if it is nearing it's expiration date. I learned this through necessity. Just pop it in a freezer bag or container and plunk it in the freezer. It really does work! I have had yeast in my freezer for as long as a year with no problems." - Mary Walker
"Make your own specialty bread by taking a loaf of bread and run EVOO and crushed garlic that were heated together on the stove until garlic is cooked for a few minutes. You can also have a little butter mixed with it Then put a little oregano in the palm of your hand, teaspoon to tablespoon, and take your other hand with two fingers and smush together over the garlic and oil on the bread. Then broil for a few minutes. Yum!" - Lorene
"I buy the last day of sale bread at Walmart all the time; the prices are 50% or more off the regular price and the quality is terrific, especially the specialty breads. We then cut each loaf in half, double bag, and freeze. Half a loaf at a meal is the perfect size for our family, sometimes there are a few slices left over which I then turn into croutons or bread crumbs. For a more homemade taste, wrap your bread in foil and warm-up in your oven or toaster oven." - Nancy Funk
"Here’s a tip my mother taught me on keeping bread in the freezer longer. (I think she kept bread in the freezer 3-6 months at a time). You can freeze bread longer and not get the ‘freezer burn’ by placing the bread loaf in a brown paper bag. Use a paper bag that is 1” taller than length of the bread. Fold the bag to enclose the bread loaf—leaving 1” breathing room which allows air to circulate. If you close up the bread tightly, it causes the bread to become wet on one side when thawed. Leave the bag open at the end--Don’t seal up the bag. It is important to keep the bag lying flat in the freezer. This process must be done for each bread loaf. One cannot put all loaves in same bag." - Patty Yates
Editor's Note: Thank you Patty! My mom always kept bread in the fridge because she lived alone and it would keep for weeks that way. I still prefer fresh and just buy what we need for the week. I try not to be brand picky, just get whatever is on sale. Or make homemade, yum! - Michelle
"Sometimes grocery stores will mark down brand name cereals due to over buying and it is not advertised. Last week at Meijer's I found Cap'n Crunch on sale for $1.66 a box! Since I couldn't pass it up (my family loves it) I grabbed 3 boxes. It was cheaper than if I bought it on sale with a coupon! Always keep an eye out on clearance!" - Jenni Smith
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