One of the most basic ideas in thrifty or frugal cooking is to make food "from scratch" which means from the most basic ingredients, without the use of convenience or pre-prepared items. I find that this is really the best way to get the most out of the food budget, because we are not paying for someone else's time and energy in doing some of the preparation work.
I was mooching around the internet on Saturday morning, having a little browse and looking for some new recipes.....as you do! Occasionally, anyway.
I came across a link to an American lady's website, which promised frugal food, and there was a lovely looking recipe for Lemon cakes, which were made in a traybake pan, and the headline promised that there were only 3 ingredients for this cake - so I was intrigued.....
Headed over there, and what did I find? Three ingredients? Yes. OK. But they were ONE box lemon cake mix, ONE box instant vanilla pudding mix and some butter......I don't even know what the UK equivalent of instant pudding mix is, although I suspect it might be something like Angel Delight, but to say I was disappointed with that recipe was an understatement.
To make that from scratch would involve, I would think, eggs, flour, butter, sugar, lemons, perhaps milk.......and it would probably be cheaper than buying boxes of who knows what. And I already have a good recipe for a lemon tray bake, so I am no further forward in expanding my repertoire!