food prices have been eye-popping lately. So, it’s not surprising that people are trying to save more when grocery shopping.
And that current economic predicament aligns perfectly with the release of “Big Bad Budget Battle,” a six-episode cooking competition hosted by Food Network star Ree Drummond, best known as The Pioneer Woman.
The new show, set to premiere on Food Network Aug. 9 at 10 pm ET/PT and stream the same day on Discovery+, follows three at-home cooks who work to transform “every day affordable ingredients into mouthwatering meals” in a challenge to shop on a “small stash of cash” in Flavortown Market (the show is executive produced by Guy Fieri), according to a release from Discovery.
The “best cook and thriftiest shopper” will walk away with a trophy and a year’s worth of groceries.
“They all have the same amount of money when they go in (to the grocery store) and and they have to really maximize that money,” Drummond tells USA TODAY.
Drummond says that she learned a lot from the contestants on the show and has a few tips of her own as to how to save money while grocery shopping.
She shared three.
1.Purchase frozen vegetables
If you’re trying to pinch pennies, Drummond advises to use fresh produce when necessary for meals with raw vegetable elements such as salads but to otherwise implement frozen vegetables.
“There are so many times that you can use frozen veggies,” she says. “You can save so much money by replacing you know what you might buy in the produce section with frozen and the quality is just barely noticeable when you’re making a soup or stew or casserole.”
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Drummond says it’s really important to get to know the frozen vegetable section. Most of the time, no one can tell the difference between vegetables that were fresh or frozen in a cooked dish, she says.
2. Check out the meat deals in the butcher section
Protein is where the pocketbook often takes “a hit,” Drummond says. So, she likes to optimize her spending in that area.
“I love going to the meat counter the meat department and finding the deal,” she says, noting that it’s almost always a family pack of chicken thighs — which she thinks is the best part of the chicken as they’re considerably less expensive than chicken breasts.
“The number of things you can make with chicken thighs is just endless — from casseroles to stir fry,” she continues.
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Looking for those deals can take you a long way.
The Food Network star added that when she gets a pack of ribs or chicken she breaks the package up, repacks it and freezes whatever is extra.
“(So,) I’ve gotten this great deal but it’s gonna last me through several meals,” she says.
3. Buy frozen dough
There are other frozen foods beyond vegetables that can go a long way, too, according to Drummond.
“I love things like frozen bread dough, for instance,” she says, noting it is sold in loaves and can be let to rise by the home chef.
And one loaf can go a long way.
“(It) can turn into a huge pizza crust, it can turn into small calzones — you can make so many things with frozen bread dough,” Drummond says. “And if you bought bakery-fresh bread you might spend more money.”
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Check out these recipes to up your kitchen game:
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism