Save money by skipping boxed pancake mixes and try making your own mix from scratch instead. Just take your favorite pancake recipe, blend the dry ingredients in advance, and store them in an airtight container so that it’s ready to go on weekend mornings.
One of the cheapest fruits available, bananas are great for snacking and meals; try adding them to nut-butter sandwiches, mashing them into sweet potatoes, or freezing peeled bananas (with plastic wrap pressed against their surface) to use in smoothies.
Whether they’re fried, sautéed, or caramelized, onions provide a great flavor base for a number of dishes. They cost very little and, as an added bonus, the root ends of your onions (which you might normally throw away) can be planted and used to grow more onions indoors, even if you live in a small space.
Buying a whole chicken requires a bit more prep work, but it will save you money in the long run. Best of all, you can render the chicken fat and save it in a glass jar in your refrigerator (instant butter replacement), and use the leftover bones to make super-flavorful chicken stock.
These nutrient powerhouses are cheap and versatile. Mash them with honey and a pinch of ground chipotle pepper for a healthy vegetable side dish, cut them into ribbons as a quick and easy replacement for pasta, or roast them whole in the oven with orange juice and cinnamon. That’s a lot of deliciousness for about $1 per pound.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.