One of the best ways to be frugal in the kitchen is to make your own foods. Don't use all of the prepackaged products available all over the grocery store. Just walking down the baking aisle will show you dozens of options for muffins and quick breads. On the bottom shelves you will find the sugar and flour and things that you will need to make your own. Initially purchasing these ingredients will cost more than a box of muffin mix, however you will be able to make dozens of muffins out of these ingredients. It should be well worth the money.
I have a basic muffins/quick bread recipe that I add different flavors to. It is very adaptable and easy to use. But first I will give you the true recipe.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl beat the egg, milk and oil. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. At this point you will add in your flavors. Our favorite is chocolate chips and I purchase them in bulk at Sam's club. 1/2 cup of chocolate chips stirred in at the end makes for some really great muffins. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full and bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes. This makes one dozen muffins. You can also adapt this for a quick bread. Pour all the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 400 for 45-50 minutes.
Now for other options. I also use this recipe for blueberry muffins. I add 3/4 cup of blueberries and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice at the end of the recipe. You can also add some lemon zest if you would like. Another good option is cinnamon raisin muffins. At the end of the recipe add 1/2 cup of raisins and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
This recipe also allows for easy substitutions. I frequently use original flavored rice milk in place of milk. I have also substituted 4 oz of applesauce for the egg. ( I have a child with food allergies). I usually don't use only all purpose flour. I will use about 1/3 whole wheat flour and 2/3 white flour. I also sometimes add wheat germ to increase the nutritional value. When adding wheat germ or using wheat flour, you usually have to increase the amount of milk called for to get the right consistency. Leave the baking times the same.
I have found that having homemade muffins and breads available, we eat hardly any processed breakfast foods. Processes breakfast foods such as frozen waffles, toaster struddles, cereal, and burritos will increase your grocery bill by a lot. Cooking our breakfasts from scratch (not always in the morning, I frequently throw in muffins when I am cooking dinner) has saved us a lot of money over the years.
I also have a mini muffin pan that I will use to make muffins for snacks. The kids love these bite size muffins and beg for them when they see me making muffins. Snacking on muffins is more filling than prepackaged snacks and there are no additives and preservatives in them. So next time you reach for the boxed muffin mixes, look a little lower and grab the flour and sugar instead. Making your own has never been easier!
How do you like this?