5 Hacks To Save You Money And Time In The Kitchen
The way we shop and cook can have a big impact on our pockets! If done right it can save a lot of time in the kitchen, save on takeaways and taste a lot better too! who wants to be slaving away in the kitchen for hours? There is more to life then that, and other things I want to spend my money on! ;D
1 & 2 Buy Big and Love Your Left Overs!
If you’re out shopping, buy a big joint of meat for the Sunday roast, when you cook something big, you get a lot of leftovers, and then you can use those leftovers for the next few days, make them into completely different meals and save a packet!
This week I bought a really big chicken, it cost £4.95 and managed to create 3 main dinners with it and then 3 lunches for my husband at work as well, so he didn’t buy lunch this week, no sandwiches because he had the leftovers for the next day which reheat really well. It made a huge difference to the pocket money and that £5 stretched really far!
I made a spicy chicken and spinach cannelloni the next night and then a chicken pie the third night so all completely different and it just stretched that £5 right out! There is a fantastic book by Jamie Oliver; it’s called Save with Jamie. And he tells you how to do the first roast and then also what you can do, and then also, what you can do and loads of dishes of what you can do with those leftovers as well so it’s great! I come back to this book time and time again, not just to save money but because the recipes are excellent!
3. Cook Big!
This is both a time and money saver! So, the time it takes for you to stand and cook a normal sized Bolognese, for example, is about the same time it takes for you to cook a massive one. And then if you portion it out and put it into zip lock bags and freeze them flat so that they take up way less space in your freezer and they defrost really fast.
Also, I used to cook when there was a recipe for 6 people and there are only 2 of us, I used to cut the recipe down and only cook what we needed, but now I do the full recipe and freeze the other portions so that I have cooked 3 meals for the two of us and frozen 2 meals for another day. So that’s less cooking for more meals!
I also do this with curry pastes, make a load of it and freeze it so that all it needs is the meat and time to bubble for a while next time and your curries are waiting for you in the freezer!
I do this with my Rendangs, I make the paste for 3 meals and freeze 2, then that’s there ready to go, I just need the beef from a Sunday lunch and then that can then go into that as well so it’s all there, ready waiting! It’s great!
Also when you are cooking big, a Bolognese is a great meal to do because that can then be made into different meals, it’s a very versatile base. You can make lasagne with it or make it into a chili con carne another night, and if you have made loads of them, you don’t have to stand there cooking them forever because you have done it! You put the love in once and you can use it months afterwards!
This also brings the number of takeaways you get down. If you only get 2 takeaways a week at a cost of £25 each, that is £200 a month!! So on days where you can’t be bothered to cook, it is often quicker to go to the freezer and defrost that and put some rice on, then go all the way to town and get a takeaway.
So it’s going to save you time by not having to cook every night, and save you a load of money first run by buying all the recipe from scratch and secondly by then not getting the takeaways that you would have is going to save you hundreds a month trust me!
4. Buy the cheaper cuts of meat
Another tip is to buy the cheaper cuts of meat and cook them for longer so that they taste great. The cheaper cuts of beef like the shin are great slow cooked. Chicken thighs are cheaper to buy, taste better and have higher levels of zinc and iron in so are better for you too!
The Mexican Beef Chilli in the “Save with Jamie” book on page 138 is always the centerpiece of my parties, it is the best chili I have done, slow cooked off of the bone with the bone marrow making the sauce rich and lovely. A cheap cut done well can be very special! It’s my party show stopper!
If they have been slow cooked, you don’t have to put all that time in to do another day. The leftovers from these cuts can make a quick curry another day because they have already been cooked until tender another day!
If they are cheaper to buy to start with, it normally takes longer to cook them but they are really worth it! If it’s a work day, this is where a slow cooker comes into its own and there is a lovely cheap meal waiting for you when you come home! Always good!
5. Buy Frozen Fruit and veg
I wouldn’t recommend them for a salad as they do come out a bit sorry looking, but you can get spinach and mushrooms and all sorts! Chilies, grilled vegetables, stir fry veg and all the fruit, and then they are there in the freezer waiting for you all the time.
They are frozen in season when they have their best flavour and the nutrients are then locked in. They don’t go off, they are a fraction of the price to buy and you’re not going to throw them away when they go off or anything because they are just there waiting.
The spinach is well worth it because you get about 5 bags of fresh spinach worth in one bag of frozen because it’s all concentrated and you’re not buying a bag full of air! So you’re getting a lot more veg for your money! It makes a lot more sense!
So tweaking how you shop and cook is well worth doing so that you can spend less time and money in the kitchen. There is more to life than slaving away in there for hours!
Give it a go, let me know what you’re doing with your leftovers! I would love to hear your thoughts! Comment below and let’s start a conversation I would love to know how you get on!
Here is the link to the fantastic book of Jamie’s
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