Top Money Saving tips

Top Money Saving tips

Are you looking for tips on saving money on your weekly food shop? Look no further! Here are my top tips for saving time, energy and money on your food shops.

Top money saving tips check food cupboard. Woman looking in food cupboard

Go shopping in your own cupboards, fridge and freezer

Before you go to the shops, have a good look through your cupboards, fridge and freezer. See what may be the base of a meal and what needs to be used up.

Throw out anything that’s no longer edible. Make a list of what you need to replace. 

image of meal plan

Meal Plan

Planning what meals you’re going to eat for the week helps you focus on buying just the ingredients you need to make those meals.

It helps you to save time as well as money because you’re not having to make last-minute trips to buy something for dinner and takes away the stress of having to think what to make for dinner.

Ear-marking leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch also helps you save money as you’re then not relying on shop-bought or supermarket sandwiches. If the oven is already on, it makes sense to cook something else at the same time/ temperature.

You can make extra chicken breasts to make into sandwiches, or cook spare jacket potatoes to have for lunch the next day. 

 Some people plan for every meal of the week and others plan only for dinners – it really is up to you how you do your meal planning. Some people plan meals for the whole month.

Related Article: How to Meal Plan

 

money saving tips buy frozen peppers, onions and mushrooms

Buy frozen peppers, onions and mushrooms

Things like onions, mushrooms and peppers often get bought and then binned when they don’t get used. You can save both time and money by buying them frozen, ready sliced and ready for the pan.

It’s worth noting that you CAN’T use them without cooking them first but they can be a lifesaver when time is short and your energy levels are low

money saving tip buy glass dishes

Buy Glass Dishes with lids

Having a range of glass dishes of varying sizes, complete with lids can help you to store leftovers safely.

Having them in glass dishes makes it easier to see the contents and thus makes it more likely that you’ll use up the leftovers. You can buy dishes that are suitable from oven to table and that will go in the microwave and freezer too.

Buying glass storage jars for dried goods like pasta, rice, spaghetti, porridge oats etc. can help you see at a glance how much you’ve got in stock and help you not keep re-buying the same stuff by mistake!

roasted garlic and tomato soup

Make your own vegetable soups and pasta sauces 

You can make tasty soups and pasta sauces by using up any vegetables you may have lying around. Start with finely chopped onion, carrot and celery (if you’re not allergic to it) and sweat gently in a pan with a little butter or margarine over a gentle heat until the vegetables are softened and glossy.

Add whatever peeled and chopped vegetables you have available, add a stock cube or stock pot (I prefer chicken or vegetable stock) and top up with water to cover the vegetables (less for a sauce). Stir well. Cook over a medium heat until everything is soft.

Blend using a stick blender if you wish. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.

When cooled you can bag up and freeze in freezer proof bags, or store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Related Article: Roasted Garlic and Tomato Soup

money saving tips use up leftovers

Use leftovers for lunch or turn them into something else!

If you’re working from home or have access to a fridge and microwave at work you can use leftovers for lunch. 

Alternatively you can turn them into something else. Gammon can be used in sandwiches, or in a pasta bake or omelette. Minced beef can be turned into a lasagne or chilli for instance.

Related Article:  7 Tasty Ways to Cook Mince

All-butter Orange Mince Pies

All-butter Orange Mince Pies

Ingredients

1 jar of mincemeat.
The juice and finely grated rind of 1 orange
227g of butter (you’re supposed to use unsalted but I prefer salted)
454g of Self-Raising Flour

Icing sugar to dust.

Method

Cut the butter into small chunks and rub it into the flour either using your fingertips or in a food processor.
Add the rind of the orange and stir well
Use some of the orange juice to bind the flour and butter mixture together to make a dough. You may not need all of it, or you may need to add a little water to it, to get the right consistency.

Wrap the dough in clingfilm or a beeswax wrap and put in the fridge for 20 mins to settle.

Preheat the oven to 200o

On a clean, floured surface, roll out the pastry until it looks about the right thickness.
Cut circles out of the dough, bigger ones for the bases and smaller ones for the tops or if you’d like them to look like the photo, cut star shapes out of the pastry instead.

Put the bigger circles into the bottom of a muffin tin. Add a teaspoonful of mincemeat to each pie and then add the lid.

If using circles for the lid, make sure you prick the tops with a fork.

Using a little egg wash or milk brush over the lid of the pies

Cook in the oven until they’re golden brown. This may take around 10-15 mins but use your own judgement as ovens cook at their own speed!

Sprinkle with icing sugar if liked.

Roasted Garlic and Tomato Soup Recipe

Roasted Garlic and Tomato Soup Recipe

This delicious soup combines the mellowness of the roasted garlic with the freshness of the vine-ripened tomatoes to create a wonderfully warming and uplifting soup.

 

 

 

Roasted garlic is one of the most amazing flavours known to man. As it roasts, the flavour mellows and deepens, and a lot of the harshness of the garlic disappears, leaving this wonderful, fragrant mush in its place.

Ingredients

  • 5 or 6 Vine-Ripened tomatoes, chopped into quarters
  • An onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 or 5 cloves of skin-on garlic
  • Olive oil to drizzle
  • Fresh Basil leaves if you have them
  • Freshly Ground Salt and Black Pepper
  • A stockpot or stock cube or two *
  • A sprinkling of Italian Seasoning
  • A sprinkling of crushed dried chilli if liked (optional)

Cooking Tip:

If you’re making this for vegetarians or vegans, use vegetable stock.

If you’re not making it for vegetarians, try using chicken stock for a slightly warmer, more rounded flavour.

If you’re cooking for coeliacs or anyone with an intolerance to gluten, look out for gluten-free stockpot or stock cubes.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200oC or Gas Mark 6

In a deep cooking tray, scatter the finely chopped onion, tomatoes, skin-on garlic and sprinkle liberally with olive oil. Give the ingredients a good stir and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Add a little Italian seasoning and the crushed dried chilli if using. Scatter with the basil leaves if using

Roast in the oven until the vegetables are soft and cooked through.

With a spoon, gently remove the cloves of garlic and put on a plate. Using the back of the spoon gently squish the garlic until the gorgeous gooey garlicky goodness comes out. Discard the skins and add the gooey garlic to the pan or soup maker (whichever you’re using)

Transfer the vegetables to a pan or a soup maker and top up with water so it just covers the top of the vegetables. Add the stockpot or cube and stir well.

Finish off in either a soup maker or a pan

If using a soup maker set to the smooth setting

If using a pan, simmer for 15-20 mins until the soup looks cooked.

Remove from the heat and blitz with a stick blender.

Once the soup is smooth, check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

To Serve

Serve with cheese topped tortilla chips or crusty rolls. Or cheese on toast.

Super quick and easy lentil soup recipe

Super quick and easy lentil soup recipe

Lentil Soup is a wonderfully versatile soup. If you don’t have much time it can be made quickly and easily by pretty much throwing a handful of washed lentils, some stock, a finely chopped onion and some herbs into a pan and simmering until the lentils go fluffy.

If you’ve got more time you can ‘do it properly’ by creating a beautiful base of finely diced carrot, onion and celery if liked, all sweated down in a pan with a knob of butter (or vegan spread or a little sunflower oil) until the onions are glossy but not too golden and the vegetables slightly softened.

Once you’ve added the stock, lentils and herbs you can let it simply simmer away gently on the cooker top until it looks done.

Cooking Tip:

It’s important to not wander too far from the kitchen when making lentil soup as lentils are rather temperamental and can easily burn onto the bottom of the pan, if you leave them unsupervised for long. You may need more stock/water so top up if needs be. I just top up until it looks about right, rather than measuring it.

If you’re not vegetarian or vegan you could use chicken stock and if you like add in a little diced cooked chicken or ham. Or cook a little bacon or pancetta (or chorizo if that’s your kind of thing!) and add that to the mix to give it a little meaty kick.

Lentil Soup Ingredients

  • A handful or two of no need to soak red lentils, washed well under running water
  • A stockpot or two, made into stock (Honestly I tend to throw the stockpot in first, then add water up to the right level, rather than messing around with a measuring jug.)
  • A small onion, peeled and finely diced
  • A knob of butter or vegan spread or a splash of sunflower oil
  • A shaking of dried mixed herbs or herbs du Provence or Italian seasoning to taste.
  • If you like you can also have a diced carrot, a diced stick or two of celery (wash well first) and any other diced vegetables that you might have that need using up. Things like parsnips, swede, sweet potato and leeks all go nicely into lentil soup
  • If you want, some diced cooked ham or chicken or chorizo (optional)

Method

If you’re short of time, throw the ingredients in the pan and set to simmer. Simmer until the lentils are fully cooked. They go a bit fluffy around the edges when they’re done. They should be soft and not crunchy.

If you have more time, put the butter or vegan spread in the pan over a gentle heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and any other vegetables you’re using and slowly let them sweat down. This is where the sugars in the vegetables slowly start waking up, releasing the flavours, but they don’t change colour.

It’s important to keep stirring the vegetables so they don’t stick or change colour. Once the vegetables are slightly softened and the onion looks glossy, add the stockpot and water (or stock) and the lentils and whatever meat you’re using (optional)

Cook until the lentils are cooked through and the meat is piping hot and the vegetables are soft

Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Adding a little freshly ground black pepper can help lift the flavour a lot.

Serve in big bowls with crusty bread or croutons

Quick and easy spaghetti bolognese recipe

Quick and easy spaghetti bolognese recipe

This quick and easy spaghetti bolognese recipe uses only a few key ingredients and is quick to cook. Perfect for students who may have little time on their hands. It’s wonderfully versatile. Any leftover bolognese sauce can be turned into another meal for another day.

Ingredients

For the Bolognese Sauce

500g 5% minced beef
Olive oil or sunflower oil
Box or jar of passata (either plain or with herbs, or onions and garlic)
Spicy Italian seasoning (or Italian Seasoning)
2 crushed cloves of garlic (*optional)
1 peeled and finely chopped onion (*optional)
Worcester Sauce (*optional)

Spaghetti
Salt

To Finish

Grated parmesan or cheddar cheese if liked.
A little freshly ground black pepper
Garden peas (optional)

Equipment

A large pan
A medium-sized pan
A spatula or wooden spoon.

Method

If you are using a finely chopped onion, pop this into the large pan with a little oil. Place over a lowish heat and stirring gently allow the onions to soften without letting them go brown. If the onions start burning or going brown, turn the heat down a notch.

Once the onions (if you’re using them) look nice and glossy add the mince.

Fry the mince over a medium heat until it has all gone brown
Once the meat is brown, add the passata and a shaking of herbs or Italian seasoning to taste. If you’re using Worcestershire sauce, add a couple of shakes of that now.

Stir well. Continue cooking for 15-20 mins until the sauce has thickened a little bit.

Whilst the bolognese sauce is cooking, cook the spaghetti

For the spaghetti

Boil a kettle full of water

Put in the other pan, add salt. I normally use about 3 or 4 grinds of freshly ground salt, but you add it to taste.

Bring the water back to the boil. When the water is boiling add the spaghetti and stir slightly so that the spaghetti doesn’t clump together.

Cook for about 10 mins or so until cooked

Drain the spaghetti

Pile onto plates, top with the bolognese sauce

Add grated cheese to taste. Serve with garden peas, a salad.

What to do with any leftovers.

Cool, pop in a bowl and cover with cling film or beeswax wrap or failing that, a plate!

The next day

Add either some more tomatoes or some kidney beans in chilli sauce to make a chilli. Serve that with either rice or tortilla chips, cheese, dips and guacamole.

Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to about a month unless you have a chest freezer. (It should tell you on the freezer how long you can freeze things in it for!)

Chicken and Leek soup

Chicken and Leek soup

Chicken and Leek Soup

A wonderfully light soup which can use leftover chicken from a roast dinner.

Done in the soup maker, this soup only takes 26 minutes to cook

If you prefer you can do it in a saucepan instead, simmering the soup until the carrots, onions and celery are lovely and soft.

Ingredients

  • A couple of carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks no bigger than 1cm cubed
  • A couple of sticks of celery, rinsed and chopped into chunks about 1cm cubed
  • A medium onion, peeled and diced into chunks no bigger than 1cm cubed.
  • A couple of chicken stockpots or stock cubes (or vegetable ones if you prefer)
  • A little shredded or cubed cooked chicken to taste

Method

Place the diced carrots, celery and onion into the bottom of the soup maker. Put the cooked chicken on the top and add the stock pots. Top up with water to the top of the vegetables (ensure it is between the min and max line)

Cook on the chunky setting if using a soup maker or cook in a pan until the vegetables are soft

Serve with freshly baked bread rolls or with a crunchy french stick and proper butter.

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