We all long to be thrifty, budgets and meal plans are in sight, making the lists and sticking to them, buying the cheaper brand..
It always seems easier said than done, but we don’t always stick to our intentions.
So let’s start off simple. How can we reduce the weekly food spend yet still eat nutritionally balanced meals that taste good?
Here are a few simple tips to follow that will have you saving the pennies in no time!
The Leftover Challenge: Write a simple weekly meal plan and make a Shopping List (and stick to it!)
And I mean really stick to it! Yes we all can get sidetracked by the 2 for one on the crisps or chocolate bars, but this is where self discipline is key.
If you can make a meal plan in advance and focus on using every second day as ‘leftover day’ you will save a fortune. Leftovers don’t have to mean the exact same meal the second day around, oh no!
Jazz it up a bit, a few extra herbs and spices can completely transform leftovers into a brand new culinary delight.
Here are a few of my suggestions:
Bacon and Cabbage with mashed potatoes
Bacon Pie -Make a simple roux based cream cheese sauce, add chopped bacon, cabbage and any leftover cooked vegetables in the fridge. Top with inexpensive shop bought puff pastry and bake. Serve with Mash.
Note: Puff pastry is very cheap and a great item to have in the freezer. I usually pick up a roll for less than 2 euros, cut it in half and freeze. That’s the base for 2 dinners!
Wednesday: Spaghetti Bolognaise
Lasagne – Just layer with pasta sheets and basic béchamel sauce
Mexican Burritos- Spice up with chilli powder, paprika and coriander, roll up in tortilla wraps and top with cheese. Bake until golden.
Chilli Con Carne- Spice up with chopped red chlli, smoked paprika, corianderand kidney beans. Serve with rice.
Pasta Bake- Mix with cooked pasta, chopped veggies and top with cheese and sliced fresh tomatoes.
Baked Potato- Load it on with a dollop of sour cream!
Pie- A pastry topped pie, a tomato based Cottage pie, a mash topped pie.
Seafood Chowder with crusty bread (using fish pie mix that is inexpensive at the
fishmonger/fish counter) I usually find in local Tesco’s they have bags of
reduced fish mix in the reduced deli sections very often. I buy it, use half then
Fish Pie- Add extra chunks of cooked potato, leek and carrots to bulk it up, then
simply add a mash based or pastry based topping.
Roast Chicken with potatoes and vegetables – Buying a roast chicken is ridiculously cheap these days. So cheap even that it is worth it to but the free range option if possible.
Stir fry with noodles and shredded Chicken
Risotto- add to a simple Risotto. You can get a large bag of Arborio rice for less than 2 euro in most supermarkets.
Stew/Pie- Heat a can of Chicken or Mushroom soup, add cooked shredded chicken, chunks of boiled spuds and veg for a quick pie filling/stew.
Asian Salad- Shredded chicken tossed with sweet chilli sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, cold rice or noodles, topped with chillies and peanuts.
Sandwiches- a great filling for sandwiches, think club sandwiches, pesto tossed chicken in Panini’s, or go Mexican with sliced peppers, Guacamole and Salsa in a Tortilla wrap.
Note: And dont forget to make Stock from the carcass of the Chicken! Just simmer in water with some onions, carrots, leeks, bay leaf, peppercorn and herbs for 2 1/2 hours. This freezes well!