Only the best ingredients for our family, right? Unfortunately, “best” can often mean it’s not always budget-friendly. But you don’t always need to spend more, and this is true especially when it comes to pantry staples. At the supermarket, you can go for the most affordable price for the following ingredients:
Black peppercorns (go crushed instead of whole if you use a pepper grinder)
If your supermarket has product bins of rice, nuts, dried fruits, dried fish, etc, scour them for price-saving food items. Go for cut-up fruits and veggies with slashed prices if you’re cooking within the day.
On a last note, ready-to-cook food are almost always expensive than if you do it yourself. Take chicken nuggets for example. Kids always want it, for baon or ulam at home. You can save more money with homemade, it's easy to cook, and it is healthier than the ones that come in boxes.
Pressed for time? Here’s a recipe for homemade chicken nuggets, which you can do in bulk on weekends, freeze and cook when needed. Except for the Parmesan, which you can use in the future, the rest of the ingredients are pantry staples. Look at it also as a weekend fun activity if you share the task of creating the shapes with the kids.
What you’ll need: 1 kg ground chicken, chilled 1 cup pre-grated Parmesan cheese (from the canister) 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Materials: Bowls Cookie cutters Wax or parchment paper, cut to the size of the containers Containers, for storing
1. Mix the ground chicken, cheese, 1/2 cup flour, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Test the seasoning by cooking and tasting a small portion. Adjust with more salt and pepper.
2. Spread the half of the remaining flour on a plate and the remainder into a bowl. Set bowl aside. Place a cookie cutter on the flour in the plate. Press a small portion of the chicken mixture into the cookie cutter, making sure that chicken isn’t more than 1/2 inch thick. Remove cookie cutter, and carefully toss shaped chicken in the flour to completely cover. Transfer to a container lined with wax paper. Repeat process until all the chicken is shaped. No cookie cutters? Form chicken into 2-inch round balls then gently flatten to about 1/2-inch thick before tossing in the flour.
3. Store formed chicken nuggets in the freezer with wax paper between layers to prevent sticking until ready to cook.
4. When ready to cook, pour enough oil in a frying pan to reach halfway up the sides. Place over medium heat and heat oil. Once hot, slide chicken nuggets in the hot oil, and cook until cooked through, flipping halfway, and golden brown on all sides. Drain on a rack over paper towels. Serve with your favorite condiments.