When Can You Substitute

While I have a down day I wanted to answer some questions about substituting ingredients. I like to think of recipes as a guide. Unless I am baking bread, a cake, or similar I can guarantee I do not follow recipes item for item. When I first started cooking meals at home I would buy all the groceries I needed for the recipes I picked out and walk away from the store spending over $100, for two people for about 4-5 dinners. I would think to myself how we could definitely take advantage of dining specials and eat out for less than this. Was I wasting my time cooking all these meals? It wasn’t until I better learned to plan my meals with the sales and coupons that I saw a change in our grocery bills.

For my recipes I try to use as many sale ingredients as possible and use them for more than one recipe that week or the week after. For a recipe if I list a certain type of cheese, but you already have 5 other types of cheese in your refrigerator. I’m sure you can find a substitute among those rather than adding more expense to your grocery bill. Unless it is crucial to the recipe I will make the substitution. I can’t guarantee that the flavor might not change a little, but I’m sure it will not end up being inedible.

If you are out of fresh garlic 1 clove=1/8 of a tsp. Make the substitution. If you aren’t sure, Google it. I think I have said it previously, but I like to keep mojo marinade in the fridge. If a recipe calls for lemon, lime, another citrus juice and I forgot to pick one up at the store. I will just toss in a splash of mojo. It is more orange/garlic flavor, but it will do.

The only time I run into an issue when substituting is when a recipe calls for half and half or heavy cream and all I have is skim milk. In my experience this is not a good substitute. The recipe generally needs the extra fat and thickness from the cream. 

If you have any questions regarding substitutions in my recipes email me, leave a comment, or tweet me. I might not have done that exact substitution, but I can give you some feedback on whether I think it will work.

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