I never have the right ingredients. I also try to cook a bit more healthy than what some recipes call for. For instance, I may use applesauce instead of oil for baking a cake. Below are some substitutes that I tend to use. You can find a good list of these from the Land O' Lakes and Budget 101 links I have posted in my Welcome Page.
Broth, Beef or Chicken
Substitute 1 cup boiling water and 1 teaspoon instant bouillon granules (or 1 bouillon cube) for 1 cup broth
3 to 4 slices oven-dried bread crushed for 1 cup breadcumbs.
Substitute 3/4 cup cracker crumbs for 1 cup breadcrumbs.
Substitute 1 1/4 cups croutons or stuffing cubes, crushed for 1 cup breadcrumbs.
Rolled oats or crushed brand cereal
Butter and Oil
Substitute equal amounts melted butter or margarine for vegetable oil.
Applesauce or prune puree of equal amounts for butter and oil.
May also sub. 2/3 amounts applesauce in place of the fat.
Substitute unsalted butter for salted butter in any recipe. It is NOT necessary to add salt.
Substitute whipped butter, based on weight, not volume for stick butter.
Substitute stick margarine made from canola oil in most baking applications except in pastry recipes. Using margarine will produce a softer dough than one made with butter, and may not have the same flavor as butter.
Substitute 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to equal 1 cup for 1 cup of buttermilk. Let stand 5 minutes.
Substitute 1/2 cup plain yogurt plus 1/2 cup milk for 1 cup buttermilk.
Cream (40% fat) (Heavy Whipping Cream not for whipping)
Substitute 1/3 cup melted butter and 2/3 cup whole milk for 1 cup whipping cream.
Two tablespoons flour whisked into two cups non fat milk
Cream, Half & Half
Substitute 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup whipping cream for 1 cup half & half.
Substitute 1 tablespoon melted butter and enough milk to equal 1 cup for 1 cup half & half.
Substitute 1/4 cup refrigerated egg product for 1 whole egg or two egg whites for 1 whole egg.
Substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs for 1 tablespoon fresh herbs.
Substitute 1 cup plain yogurt for 1 cup sour cream.
Substitute 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar for 1 cup granulated sugar. (Flavor will be affected somewhat.)
Substitute 1/3 cup melted butter and2/3 cup whole milk for 1 cup whipping cream.
Whole-wheat flour for half of the called-for all-purpose flour