As with last week I am not actually going to tell you what to eat as that is completely up to you but I am going to show you the methods I use to create a cost effective menu each week and stick within my budget. The kitchen for me is a great place to be, I love cooking and enjoy the whole process of making a delicious meal. It is definitely relaxing for impatient me as it is something productive with a instant tasty end result. Cooking and eating on a budget is definitely easier when you love it.
- Double Ingredients or even triple- If you know you can get a large bag of carrots for only 79p (aldi) plan several meals that include carrots as a main ingredient. I would think to do a carrot and lentil soup, carrot burgers and the rest in a roast veg medley (I love that word) Bulk buy deals are often wasteful as you don’t use it in time but if you plan your meals around that one bulk item it can really save you money
- Make too much- Seems contradictory right? not if you use that extra food in your lunch the next day rather then chuck it in the bin. Last night I made roast veg medley :D, bulgur wheat and veggie gravy, I made extra bulgur wheat and mixed it with leftover fish, some cannellini beans and salad veg with a quick dressing tossed over it for H’s lunch the next day. Simple
- Recipes- You don’t have to own a huge collection of cook books to find recipes, if you have one good cook book that’s a start, but the internet, magazines and family and friend’s recipes can all be used to inspire you. If you look at more ways to cook and different dishes you will be able to create more varied and interesting meals.
- Invent and Swap- Sticking to some recipes is essential especially baking ones but most savoury meals can be changed no end of times to create new and exciting flavours. If a recipes calls for fresh parsley but you’ve only got dried mint, use that in place of it. If it says cauliflower and stilton, try cheddar and cabbage instead. Get the picture. Experiment with what you’ve got because it will create something tasty and you won’t be a slave to recipes or what isn’t in your fridge.
- Go Veggie- As I said in part 1, the main reason I believe my food bill is lower then most is that we eat a mainly vegetarian diet. I do love meat and fish but it find it too expensive especially organic and free range that I would rather buy so I stick to veg instead and don’t miss meat just because I don’t have it everyday. Saying that if you still want to include meat in some of your meals go for big flavour meats that only need a little adding to a dish like Chorizo and smoked bacon, or only buy your meat and fish that is on offer that week. Meat free is the way to go but I know it’s not for everyone.
I hope these tips have helped you think about your food shopping in a different way and hopefully you’ll be able to start saving money on your shop. This is the end of my Thrifty and Nifty Series but next week there will be one more as a bonus! I also wanted to point out that I myself have several cookbooks but I return to the same two or three again and again. Once you find a author/chef you love and one that suggest inventive cooking then you’ll only need that one for inspiration.