How to Make the Most of Your Food
Are you currently feeling a bit of a financial pinch? There are so many ways of saving money but, my inventive nature leads me to finding the most joy by saving money in the kitchen! There are many ways to make food go further, it’s just about forming those habits. Here are some tips to help get you started
Buy a larger chicken than you need
My first tip is great for all, whether you live on your own on with others. Always buy a larger whole chicken than you need. If you are a savvy shopper, you can pick up an extra large chicken for a little over £4. This can be used for several meals!
A Roast Dinner.
Who doesn’t love a traditional roast? I tend to make mine in the slow cooker for extra ease. Just season with salt, pepper and sage or garlic and lemon and leave for 8 hours. I always add half a cup of water to make extra stock.
Make extra meals from your chicken- 2. Coronation Chicken
After the roast, I use a breast for coronation chicken. I serve this with a baked potato. I know what you’re thinking, using the oven for an hour just for a potato? Not exactly savvy! So, I tend to cook my potato right alongside the roasties on a Sunday and then just reheat, no wasted heat! I then add some mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons of mango chutney and curry powder to taste. I like tandoori spice… yummy!
Next, I like to use a mixture of the white and darker meat to make a chicken pie. Here is a link to my mouth-watering chicken and leek pie, delicious!
I even make stock with the carcass of the chicken. Did you know that you can make stock using vegetable peelings? There is no need to throw out the trimmings when you prepare veg. Simply pop peelings, trimmings and even onion peelings into a bag in the freezer. When it comes to making stock, it’s a case of popping the trimmings in a pan with the chicken carcass, covering with water, seasoning and leaving to simmer for at least an hour.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Finally, I make a chicken noodle soup using the stock and any last scraps from the roast chicken. I add about 200g mushrooms, half a chorizo sausage, half a tin sweetcorn, any veg which I fancy or needs using. This is super quick and easy for those weekday dinners.
All those meals from one chicken! That’s not it though, here are some more frugal kitchen tips:
Have you got less-than-fresh veg?
Veg in the fridge looking a bit… sad? Don’t throw it away, it’s still great for making things like soup or a sauce to eat with pasta or spaghetti. I was recently gifted 3 very sad looking red peppers, which I whizzed up with tomatoes and an onion to make a base for pasta sauce. You can even make pickle with the off cuts of food.
Make an inventory
This is such useful tool! Making a list of what you have in the fridge, freezer and cupboards can help you to write a shopping list without having to check or try to remember what you have in. I also find it easier to get meal inspiration when I can see the list of ingredients all in one place.
Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan
I know. You’ve probably heard this time and time again, but seriously, it’s a game changer! It might take a few minutes to sit and come up with a plan, but it saves so much time and money in the long run. I found this concept overwhelming initially but found that I could make a list of meals that I like and then add some meals I’d like to try from recipe books or blogs. That way, a lot of the thinking is already done, and I can just select meals from the list each week (or month if I’m feeling super organised!).
Using a good recipe book can help you to figure out your meal plan. A great book to try is Jamie Oliver’s ‘5 Ingredient’recipe book. Using recipes with less ingredients could make your shopping list lighter and it’s likely that you’ll have many of the ingredients in.
Take advantage of free resources
There are so many ways to find cheap meal ideas. If you have access to the internet, the world is your oyster! The Tesco website in particular has loads of links to cheaper family meal recipes. Try picking up supermarket magazines when you’re shopping. Yes, they do have some adverts in them, but they also tell you what’s currently on offer and have free recipe ideas.
I hope that you have gained some inspiration and challenge you to see how many meals you can make from a whole chicken!
If you would like help with your meals, I offer a batch cooking service for you. Or I can always sit down with you and help you to come up with a menu. Get in touch to find out how I can help you make the most of your food.