Meal planning to save money(9 Posts)
A realisation we still shop like we're a childless couple with a small mortgage, when in fact we're both working part time and about to have our second child and have a huge mortgage, means I've decided to be proactive about sorting out food shopping and meal planning.
I remember in the last seeing meal planners which eg roast a chicken one day and use the leftover meat in a pie the next. I'm after something like this. Would be good if it had lunches too as we wfh quite a bit.
Ideally I'd like a mix of meat, fish, and veggie. Happy to be fairly heavy on the veggie food for health and budget reasons!
Huge grateful thanks in advance for anyone who can point me in the right direction.
Iit really does save money. I usually write down what we'll eat for the week, work out whether to do double of something, like roasted veg to either take to work the next day or keep in fridge to work with something else.
I take leftovers into work. Also make soup on a weekend with whatever is left in the bottom of the fridge, so if there's a random slice of bacon I'll make lentil and bacon soup and then take that in for lunch.
It's a good idea to go through your cupboards and freezer and use up stuff, a freezer lucky dip ,eat once a week saves money and can be ....interesting.
I don't plan too rigidly...others on here seem to find a more structured way works better, do a search on meal planning.
I hate food waste so freeze lots of odds and ends, half tins of tomatoes, passata, lemons, cheese and use them up to make things a bit tastier.
Basic bulk cooking will help.
Make a list of what you like to plan. The easiest things are....
2lb of minced beef made up into a basic bolognaise.. split into 3.
Add chilli & beans - chilli con carne.
Bolognaise - add extra veg.
Cottage pie or lasagne for the final 1/3rd.
You should get 12 portion out of this.
Find a basic curry sauce recipe.
And a basic tomato sauce recipe..onions tomatoes/pasatta herbs garlic.
Roast a whole chicken.use breast for a roast. Strip the carcuss & legs for a curry with added veg any little bits can go into tomato sauce with some streaky bacon for a pasta bake.
Cheaper meat cuts into a slow cooker with tons of veg- casserole today. Top with pastry for pie tomorrow.
As eatinghas said make sure you freeze any bits.
Make soups out of leftover veg /fridge stuff.
I'm trying to cut costs down myself.
What I've found important (in my case, at least) is to be on the ball with your food stocks.
Store leftovers properly in the fridge. If you don't think you're going to eat them in time, put them in the freezer in a labelled bag. Any food going in the freezer needs to be thoroughly wrapped, especially if the packaging is likely to get easily damaged (clingfilm/polystyrene, etc.). I keep spare plastic bags (from buying fruit and veg) and use them for an extra layer of protection.
I don't menu plan rigidly as I like to allow for yellow stickers and (genuine...) promotions.
Also consider buying individual ingredients which can be used in different dishes instead of buying ready-made stuff. The cream I bought for last weekend's Irish coffees will also go in a quiche lorraine, as well as some pepper sauce. The quiche will also contain some of the bacon that I kept back from this morning's breakfast. I could have used all of it but made the decision not to.
Thanks for ideas and tips!
TBH I'm pretty good at not wasting anything, and I am also fairly practiced at the important habit of looking in the fridge and coming with what I have rather than buying something I fancy to cook.
I think what I'm after is a rigid plan which details what meals naturally follow after each other, so I can eg batch cook mince for a big lasagne but have some leftover for meatballs, then make something with chicken and turn that into chicken soup the next day etc. It's the list of different meal ideas I'm after as I tend to think a bit too short term.
That said today I had the day off and cooked chicken noodle soup from the weekend's roast chicken (made stock for this yesterday from carcass), used suitable fridge veg rather than buying in mushrooms as recipe suggested.
Then used up half a packet of lentils and some old onions making a lovely dahl!
That should keep me going for a few meals.
Was going to do a giant mac n cheese too but decided a long bath was a better idea!
Do you have regular favourites? I would start with a list of things you general cook every week. Then use that as a basis for a two week/month.
I tend to batch cook and use up what I can to bulk up meals. So I had a large bag of frozen quinoa from aldi in the freezer and I added it into a large pot of chilli to stretch it.
I also cook two chickens at the same time and make several portions of curry (adding peppers, peas etc) and freeze. I find you don't have any waste and if you are cooking one chicken same effort as two
I even cook huge pots of mash and portion and freeze. Same with carrot and parsnip mash.
I use up as much as I can and we eat pasta pesto one night a week
You can implement the ridged plan within your home quite easily. These sort of things are used in the catering industry.
Your already doing it with you chicken + soup + stock system. It's just keeping up with it.
I would list what you like and see what you can make from the dish.
Check out economy gastronomy on the BBC it does just that. One that sticks in my mind is large braised beef joint with mash.. some pasta tomorrow, pasties/pie the next day. Just like your lasagne /meat ball routine. Good luck with it.
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