Cheap Eats — Substitution Solutions

by Katy on August 17, 2009 · 9 comments

The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!


Do you have a favorite recipe, but only serve it on special occasions because of pricey ingredients? With a bit of clever substitutions, you can enjoy these meals year round.

I first realized this technique years ago when I swapped out the prosciutto and wild mushrooms for smoked turkey and regular mushrooms in  ”Angel Hair Pasta with Prosciutto And Wild Mushrooms.” Everyone raved about the recipe. It was an epiphany.

Hmm, thought I . . . what other recipes can I work my magic on?

Hungarian mushroom soup became Hungarian potato soup.

Cranberry-orange scones evolved into orange scones.

You get the gist.

There’s no hard and fast rule here. Just a different mindset. What other ingredient would do?

So next time you’re perusing that ingredient list, consider a substitution solution. You might even substitute in a better recipe.

For a handy list of ingredient substitutions, check out’ssubstitution suggestions.

Necessity after all, is the mother of invention.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

hiptobeme August 18, 2009 at 10:22 am

Love this! I have a seafood pasta recipe which went from scallops and prawns to pollock and shrimp and it is just as tasty.


Lisa August 18, 2009 at 11:02 am

I have a Mexican torta recipe that calls for jarred roasted bell peppers. The problem is no one in the house really likes them but me. If I simply leave them out the torta is too dry. My solution was to use salsa in that layer instead. Everyone likes this and it is cheaper, too.


Stasie August 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm

I LOVE shrimp scampi……can’t always splurge on shrimp fresh or frozen and I am the only one who eats it anyway. I realized that as much as I love shrimp that I really like scampi sauce too….so I use chicken instead and serve it over angel hair. Yum!


Kris-ND August 18, 2009 at 8:15 pm

These simple changes are the things that make me want to do the hand to the forehead smack, wondering why it took me so long to realize that I don’t have to follow a recipe exactly, I can put in what I want, or leave it out.

Great ideas. I make cheddar chowder, and it can get pricey because I use Velveeta(football Sunday foods must be good, not good for you!). I looked the recipe over and realized I didn’t need to put all the meats called for in the recipe(polish sausage, ground beef, ham, etc, etc, etc) I can use just one, usually cheaper ground beef. I can even leave the meat out and use more potatoes and other veggies.


My husband prefers some kind of meat with it, bu


Pat August 19, 2009 at 6:05 am

I have been on a sodium-restricted diet for three years and I leave salt out of all my recipes (even bread). My whole family eats this way now and no one has complained. Fresh parsley not on hand, use 1/4 as much dried (actually I’ve tried this with other herbs and the 1/4 portion dried works really well).


alunachic August 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm

My half a dozen biscuit recipe calls for a half cup of buttermilk. I substitute my own homemade buttermilk.
I use a cup measuring device and pour in three tablespoons of vinegar and pour regular milk in to measure a half cup. Don’t stir. Allow to sit five minutes and then stir and add to dry ingrediants.
I also never use shortening and substitute margarine when baking or making biscuits. Works perfectly for me!


TryinginToronto August 19, 2009 at 7:48 pm

By far the most frequent substitution I use is for eggs in baking – you mix one teaspoon of cornstarch with one tablespoon of oil and two tablespoons of water instead. I haven’t and probably wouldn’t try this for delicate baking, but for cookies, muffins and breads, it’s worked wonderfully.


WilliamB August 20, 2009 at 6:29 pm

You mean I’m supposed to *follow* the recipe? Oh. Can’t think of the last time I did that.


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