Make Cheap Foods Taste Expensive

Make Cheap Foods Taste Expensive

There are several tricks that you can use when living on a frugal food budget that will spice up your foods, so they taste like gourmet expensive meat cuts and other dishes.

Make Cheap Meat Cuts Taste Great!

Seasoning meat is only half the battle of wrangling cheap meats into tasty morsels. Skirt steak is a thin cut of beef and a great substitute for more expensive cuts like rib eye or filet mignon. The main issue with cheap meat cuts is their toughness. There are very cheap ways to overcome this obstacle.

Techniques to Tenderize Meats

The best way to make cheap meat cuts taste great is to cook in a pressure cooker or slow cooker. This kitchen tool is renowned for transforming what would be tough meat cuts into tender delicious meals.  

Other Ways to Tenderize Meats

Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. This will not only add flavors, but also help to somewhat tenderize the meat. If you have a vacuum sealer, you can do this in just a few minutes.

Lemon Juice

Another tenderizing method is to use lemon juice. The acid in lemons will cause natural denaturation in proteins, so don’t marinate a steak any longer than two hours.

Mallet Tenderizer

The simplest way to tenderize meats is with a cooking mallet tenderizer. The textured side is used on meats while the flat side is great for tenderizing chicken and veal.

Salt Rubs

Salt rubs are also great tenderizers. You should leave the salt rub on for at least an hour before cooking.

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices transform meat, poultry and other foods. Some combinations of spices should be mainstays for your cooking. Some of these can be used as tenderizers, especially those with salt, lemon and other acidic properties.

  • Garlic powder, onion powder and paprika is a great rub for poultry.
  • Curry powder transforms stir fried chicken, peppers, onions and summer squash.
  • Cilantro, cumin, lime juice, garlic, red pepper flakes mixed with olive oil become a great marinade.

Add Deep Flavors

The flavor of many foods can be enhanced by adding a deeper flavor. This is achieved by using other foods and seasonings.


Called the candy of meats, bacon will add a deeper layer of flavor to meats and poultry. The taste of Applewood or hickory smoked bacon transforms cheaper meat cuts into a sinfully delicious meal. Some bacon as added flavors, such as hickory smoked or applewood smoked.


Sautéed, caramelized or sweated are the most popular ways to use onions.

  • Caramelized: This method takes about an hour, but produces very sweet onions that can be used to enhance meats and chicken dishes.
  • Sweated: This method produces slow cooked onions that are translucent but not thoroughly cooked.
  • Sautéed: This method cooks on medium to medium high heat so the onions sizzle and turn slightly brown.

Sauces and Gravies

Other ways to deepen flavors is to add a delectable sauce, such as barbecue sauces, Hollandaise sauce, marinara sauce, Bolognese sauce, pesto sauce and others.  Gravy is the epitome of a Salisbury steak and a chicken broth gravy a must for chicken over rice.

Cheap Foods Taste Good

While you may need to add flavorings to cheaper foods, it doesn’t take too much creativity or skill to end up with delicious meals. Tenderizing meats, adding herbs, spices, garlic, bacon and onions are a few of the ways you can enhance dishes for your family.

Photos: Pexels


AuthorSally Painter

"Everyone can have a beautiful home decor. It just takes a little creativity," says author and freelance writer Sally Painter. This former commercial and residential designer is also a Feng Shui practitioner and believes that, "Everything you choose to put in your home should resonate with you emotionally. If it doesn't - get rid of it!"