Cooking liquids are the base of many dishes. While you can get away with using water in most recipes instead of other cooking liquids, the flavor will simply not be the same, and it's very preferable to have the rich layer of taste that cooking liquids provide. Because liquids can be very expensive, they can have an impact on your budget; here are some ways you can save on cooking liquids in your home kitchen.
Buy what you can in bulk. Soy sauce is much, much cheaper in bulk; the small table-top dispensers are only a few ounces and cost just a couple of dollars left than huge containers you can purchase at places that sell to restaurants. Granted, you don't want to buy more than you can store, so be sure to have a safe, clean places prepared for liquids you buy in bulk.
Make your own chicken broth. Whole chickens usually come with some of their organs inside the carcass, and you'll want to take those out no matter how you end up cooking the bird. Throw those, plus any bones left over (or, if you're feeling ambitious, you can put the whole carcass in a huge pot once you've picked it clean), in a pot and cover them with water. Toss in salt and seasonings as you wish, then boil for between thirty and sixty minutes. The water should be a gentle yellow color and smell like chicken. Strain out the meat and bone pieces and store the broth in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Make your own beef broth. Similarly, you can make this stronger-tasting broth, which makes an amazing soup base. Ask your butcher for some beef bones, preferably shank or short ribs; some will give you the bones free, others might charge you a nominal fee for them. Put the bones in a roasting pan, along with some basic vegetables (ends work great, if you've saved them during your other cooking endeavors) -- carrots, onions, and celery. Throw in a bay leaf or other seasonings and salt to taste, then roast for thirty minutes to an hour before dumping everything into a significant amount of water and boiling for about five hours. Strain and store.
Use cheap wine for cooking. Perhaps the most well-trained palates can detect what kind of wine was used in cooking, but wine adds a very strong flavor to food no matter what quality it is. You can purchase bottles of "two-buck chuck" that smell decent and use them as cooking ingredients, and no one will be the wiser. (If you have Trader Joe's grocery stores near you, you're in luck! They have an amazing line of wines for $3.) Just make sure no one tries to drink them!
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