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Thread for people trying to eat cheaper

(7 Posts)
spilttheteaagain Tue 11-Feb-14 19:35:15

Inspired by the one running in chat where people are trying to eat healthier, I wondered if there were posters who'd like to join me in my quest to eat cheaper.

Our backstory is that we have a leaky extension roof that needs redoing at a cost of ££££s which going to hammer our savings. We really want to save hard for the next few months, and one of the things I am tackling is food.

I have a big freezer full of stuff, and cupboards groaning with dry goods and an unfortunate habit of just buying stuff because I fancy a particular meal. So trying hard to plan, use what we have and only supplement with fresh fruit/veg/milk/butter etc.

I am keen to share & swap cheap recipes. Especially lunches as I am a SAHM with a 2 year old so can be really tight about my lunch in terms of cost, as I have the luxury of being able to cook it. Today I made a risotto just with normal rice, handful of dark lentils for protein and some onion, bit of carrot, and a sprinkling of freezer veg (peas, corn, chopped green beans), had it with a poached egg of top and lots of L&P and it was really lovely, if a total bastardization!

So lots of freezer diving! Tonight we had a slow cooked little lamb shank (yellow stickered last march...) with pearl barley and lots of onion, swede, carrot, and fried cabbage.

Tomorrow I am getting out some sausages and doing them with neeps n tatties and cabbage and making onion gravy. (spot the cheap veg theme...)

Lunch is leftover lamb & barley stew with some bread. DD (2) will have a cheese sarnie with cucumber & cherry tomatoes because as far as she is concerned that is the nicest meal on the planet. Easily pleased!!

I DO NOT NEED ANY FOOD SO I WILL NOT SHOP!! <chants>

spilttheteaagain Tue 11-Feb-14 20:36:13

And I am deliberately cooking tonnes of veg tomorrow so we can have bubble & squeak with eggs on Thursday.

Tonights lamb bone is back in the slow cooker making stock which I will freeze for a soup or risotto or something another time.

A delicious lunch for me earlier this week:
Refried beans in pitta with salad. I batch cook and freeze dried beans so this is very cheap, but you could use half a tin of kidney beans per person.
Heat oil in pan and put in half -1 tsp cumin seeds and some chilli flakes, sizzle for a sec then add some diced onion and fry for a couple of mins, crush in a clove of garlic, and put in a couple of handfuls of frozen beans (mine were pinto beans). Sprinkle with smoked paprika. Fry til a bit crispy, tossing occasionally (about 5 mins) whilst toasting a pitta bread (from freezer) until warm and fluffy and chopping up any garnish you have to hand (spring onions from garden, bit of spinach and a chopped radish and cherry tomato, but any bits will do). Stuff it all in the pitta with a stingy smattering of grated cheddar and scoff.

I have saved DD's rejected peas and potato from her dinner tonight and will have them with a bit of onion & spinach in a veg omelette for breakfast tomorrow.

Similarly, when she leaves bits of cheese sarnie I blitz and freeze them for cheesy topping to other meals.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 12-Feb-14 07:05:57

When cash is looking tight around here we favour THE BEAN. Or, to be more accurate, beans, lentils, chickpeas and other pulses. Soups, casseroles, bakes, burgers... a 500g packet of dried beans turns into about 1.2kgs after being soaked and cooked and costs less than £1 typically. Also incredibly healthy so win-win. Favourite recipe is Bean Broth, a chunky creation of celery, onion, a little bacon, green lentils and cannellini beans cooked in stock.

Lunaballoon Wed 12-Feb-14 07:13:00

You sound like a woman after my own heart!

My frugal favourites usually involve rice/pasta/noodle-based meals with small amounts of meat or fish and bulked out with vegetables and pulses.
A regular sized pack of mince will go a long way with added lentils and veg such as finely chopped carrots, celery and tinned tomatoes.

I usually buy large 10kg packs of basmati rice which last for ages! I also look out for any cheap offers on pasta and noodles and shop in Lidl/Aldi/markets for fruit and veg bargains. Oh, and like you, nothing gets wasted. We had one slice of leftover belly pork from Sunday which formed the basis of a stir fry yesterday.

spilttheteaagain Wed 12-Feb-14 09:26:35

I adore pulses Cog and do exactly that, I have massive tubs of loose frozen cooked-from-dried ones in the freezer. Your bean broth sounds like exactly the sort of thing my lamb stock will be used for!

I've been scouring the Girl called Jack website and made a list of a few cheapy recipes to try from there - her famed carrot, kidney bean and cumin burgers will definitely be road tested at some point.

The thing is with a freezer full of meat I don't actually need to try not to use it if that makes sense, but I need to make myself use up all the weirdy random bits we pick up off reduced and never know what to do with. The chicken/pork pieces and packs of mince are no trouble!

Any ideas for a big bag of sprats anyone??

spilttheteaagain Wed 12-Feb-14 18:11:39

Successful mission to shops this afternoon. I bought the milk and toothpaste I went in for and NOTHING ELSE. A triumph.

And neeps and tatties as per this recipe are gorgeous we discovered tonight. I missed the bit about roasting the spuds so did a shortcut - fried the boiled, cooled potatoes in a mix of very hot olive oil and dripping - and they actually were really good, might do that next time I want normal roasties if I didn't otherwise need the oven.

spilttheteaagain Thu 13-Feb-14 17:53:07

Arf, I am just talking to myself here aren't I?! grin

Should have put this in chat. Still, it is keeping me disciplined.

No spend today. Bubble n squeak, fried eggs and beans for dinner.

Lunch for DD and I was pasta with peas/broad beans/arse end of the broccoli/half a carrot/ half an onion in a cheese sauce.

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