Stretching Your Ingredients

 In English, Food, Recipes, Shopping

Our friends at Cooking Matters have come up with a few tips and resources to help you stretch your ingredients further! By planning to use foods and ingredients in more than one meal, you can save money and prevent food waste.

Choosing recipes with similar ingredients can also help you determine when to buy in bulk, and ensure that small amounts of leftovers do not go to waste. Most foods can be used in a variety of ways – the ideas below are a good place to start experimenting with stretching your ingredients!

Follow our guide below for inspiration on how to get started:


  • Make bread pudding, French toast, stuffing, or croutons.


  • Make rice pudding. Or, add to soups and casseroles.


  • Make pasta salad or casseroles.


  • Combine for a fruit salad.
  • Use in muffins, quick breads, and pancakes.
  • Bake into cobblers, crisps, or squares.
  • Slice on top of hot or cold cereal.
  • Freeze to use in smoothies.


  • Toss with cold pasta and light dressing for pasta salad.
  • Use in soup or stews.
  • Combine for a mixed vegetable salad.


  • Use in baked goods such as muffins or quick breads.


  • Use plain yogurt in place of sour cream in recipes.
  • Use to make veggie or fruit dip.


  • Use as a topping for vegetables.
  • Use in quiche or top with pasta.
  • Keep frozen until needed.

Related Resources


Looking for healthy recipes your whole family can get excited about? Try this recipe for a delicious frittata:


Other Resources

The new Cooking Matters app for Android makes it simple to feed your family healthy foods, on any budget! Visit CookingMatters.org/app to plan meals with the touch of a button.

Exploring Food Together is a Cooking Matters toolkit of simple activities that adults can use to help kids learn about new foods and start building the skills to make healthy food choices.

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