If you’ve been tackling grocery shopping for your household, you've probably noticed a big difference on the bill this year. Coast to coast, the cost of "food at home"—food purchases separate from restaurant or takeout meals—increased 11.8 percent from December 2021 to December 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index .
That spike in supermarket prices has inspired me to double down on reducing food waste and dream up ways to maximize my purchases so that I can streamline my shopping list.
Another stellar way to trim down on grocery spending? Focus on using a handful of high-impact ingredients rather than whipping up extensive recipes that call for dozens of building blocks. This not only reduces your initial investment, but it also translates to a lower chance that you’ll have to toss food that’s past its prime (since you have less kicking around in your refrigerator half-used!)
The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond is a queen at demonstrating how to put this concept into practice. As a follower of her Food Network show and blog for years , I realized that, in addition to creating my all-time favorite Funeral Potatoes casserole, Drummond is an ace at maximizing the flavor of a minimal amount of items.
6 of Ree Drummond's Best 3-Ingredient Recipes
Over the past year, as I've watched grocery prices climb, I've watched my spending stay far more steady by relying on these Drummond-developed easy, breezy 3-ingredient recipes*. Despite their short ingredient list and slim costs, I promise that no one will feel like they're skimping on a thing!
*I’m considering butter, oil, salt, pepper, and flour “freebies” since these are staples in most homes.
Far too tasty to reserve for holidays alone, these bite-sized snacks fly off the platter anytime I share them with guests. Savory, salty, and worthy of five stars according to more than 130 reviews, Drummond offers three flavor variations to allow you to customize the bacon-wrapped crackers according to your preferences: On top of a club cracker, stack a spoonful of grated Parmesan, a sprinkle of brown sugar, or a few blue cheese crumbles, then wrap with a half slice of bacon. Bake low and slow, and the bacon drippings will help the topping melt into the buttery cookies.
While this showy, stuffed, spiral bread doesn’t look like it's low-fuss, it actually requires a mere 20 minutes of hands-on time. Thawed frozen bread dough, deli ham, and grated Cheddar make it possible. I love this nostalgic ham and cheese combo, but also adore this with turkey and Swiss, roast beef and provolone, and chicken and pepperjack.
Caramelized onions ask for just a bit of fat and some time. After simply chopping and stirring, and allowing them to cook low and slow, you’ll have a jammy pile of onions ready to add major flavor to a wide variety of recipes. Here, caramelized onions and the pasta cooking water allow you to make a restaurant-quality pasta dinner with just two more ingredients: penne pasta and grated Pecorino cheese.
"I made this for a dinner party and everyone loved it and wanted the recipe," confirms one Drummond fan who deems this stovetop 35-minute meal, "easy. Not having to turn on the oven in the heat is a plus!"
I echo that sentiment. Don’t be turned off by the sweet mango salsa mixed with the savory chicken thighs; they complement each other beautifully in this healthy and easy dinner idea .
Instead of flour, Drummond uses cookie crumbs to act as the dry base for this ultra-easy cake recipe. In tandem with baking powder and milk, this mixture bakes moist, sweet, rich, and ready to doctor up with your favorite store-bought or homemade frosting , if desired.
If you’re willing to push the limits and feature four ingredients, I added a splash of vanilla extract to my second batch after sampling this as-is, and the chocolate cake tasted even better!
To ace this cake, be sure to "buy chocolate cookies that are very, very hard and crisp. You don’t want to buy the ones with the cream filling, because that will make them too moist," Drummond explains in her demo of this dessert. (She opts for those chocolate teddy bear-shaped crackers.)
Can combining two ingredients even count as a “recipe”? When they look and taste this bakery-worthy, absolutely.
You don’t even need to make pastry dough from scratch; this is the ultimate way to “recycle” leftover pie dough scraps! Slice them into squares, stuff inside mini muffin cups, top with your desired flavor of jam, and bake until golden.