Even though I am doing better at buying groceries only for the recipes I’m making for the week, I still don’t always have all the ingredients on hand because I forgot to put it on my list or used it for something else or it is an ingredient that is too expensive or hard to find.
Here are some of the substitutions I’ve used in recipes recently:
Sherry (and other alcohol) = I recently made French onion soup from Rachel Ray’s, Comfort Foods cookbook and one of the ingredients was sherry, which I never have on hand. I used balsamic vinegar instead and it tasted great. Here is a website I’ve found that has great information on substitutes for alcohol in recipes: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/alcoholsubstitutes.htm
Most of the time you can substitute a vinegar or citrus juice and/or chicken broth.
Evaporated milk or heavy cream = Another thing I often don’t have is evaporated milk or heavy cream, so I just use whole milk because that is what I have on hand for my daughter.
Cake Flour = I don’t do much baking but some recipes call for cake flour, which I don’t always have so for each cup of cake flour you use 7/8 cup of all purpose flour + 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch.
Shallots = Don’t always have shallots on hand, so I use less onion to get the same flavor. For each cup of shallots I use 1/2 cup of onions (minced or diced) or add some onion powder to taste. You could also use one large leek instead of a shallot or vice versa.
The web site I linked to above for alcohol substitutions also has a substitution dictionary/search engine which is very helpful: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/equivalents_substitutions.asp
Bread = Karina likes bread on its own but as a sandwich won’t eat it, so I use whole wheat pita bread, whole wheat tortillas or whole wheat crackers instead. The pita and tortillas have been most successful. I make a wide variety of quesadillas from traditional (cheddar/jack, tomatoes, black beans and chicken) to Florentine (mozzarella, spinach and ham).
If you use any others feel free to comment and let me know! Happy cooking!