Frugal Food Ideas
Food prices keep going up and so we not only have to shop around and look for bargains, we have to do some frugal cooking. Egg and chips is one of my favourite meals. You can get eggs with the little lion on from most supermarkets for about 1.35 for 15. In Aldi, I buy those crinkle cut oven chips for 99p a bag. So I cook a meal for less than 50p.
If you eat out regularly, it might be McDonalds, Greggs, Subway or even fish and chips these days and you are spending money on having food cooked or prepared for you. Can you really afford to pay someone else to cook your food? VAT is also added to those takeaways. My egg and chips was VAT free!
You can cook more exotic dishes at home. I had a few packs of turkey mince at 1.25 on offer last week. I had a sachet of oyster and spring onion sauce and so I stir fried the turkey mince with vegetables and added the sauce. It was yummy. How much would that meal cost in a takeaway?
Home made soups and stews are delicious and far cheaper than canned soups or those speciality soups that are supposed to taste like home made. The base can be a cheaper meat like chicken or even that turkey mince. Then buy a stew pack or whatever is on offer. I like celery and chicken soup. Onions are often on offer in winter and a tasty addition to all soups and stews.
It was pancake day this week and that is a frugal meal and there are different toppings you can use. You can make sweet pancakes or you can make savoury pancakes. Any topping that you can put on a pizza, you can put on a savoury pancake and because there is no VAT on the cook your own option; you save lots of money. Pancakes are suitable for any meal too; breakfast, lunch, dinner or late supper; pancakes are not just for one day a year…
Make good use of herbs and spices to make cheap food taste good too. Herbs de Provence in your soups and stews will add flavour. 5 spice in you Chinese stir fry, will add flavour and spice it up. Onions will add flavour and make mince go a lot further.
Make good use of staple foods that are based on wheat, potato or rice. Beans on toast is still a nutritious meal. Baked potatoes with sausages, beans or a little melted cheese is quick to prepare and frugal.
If your kids are still hungry after a meal, try doing cheap puddings. I hated rice pudding when I was a kid, but it did fill us up! We also had bread pudding made from stale bread, so very little was wasted.
Kids often want fizzy drinks, but they have VAT on them too. Try giving them cheap fruit that is far healthier and will be one of their 5 a day. Look for recipes to make you own sweets on the internet. There is no VAT on sugar, the main ingredient in sweets but there is VAT on children sweets. Check out recipes for boiled sweets. Save the sticks from ice lollies and then you can make your own, they are only water and a little fruit concentrate. Buy concentrated fruit juice, like orange juice and you can make ice lollies. I was surprised to see that there is VAT on fruit juice. There isn’t VAT on milk though and so you can make nice chilled milk shakes VAT free. Ice cream from the supermarket is cheaper than buying them from a ice cream van when you’re out, but it still has VAT added. I think you can get ice cream makers and so one of those could be a good investment.
There is no VAT on bread and cakes and so making a trifle with sponge cake and jelly might be more nutritious for children than many other desserts. Custard and blancmange were great nutritious foods when I was a child too. These are the foods that made my generation grow so tall!
If you own a food processor, you could get the instruction book out and see what you can actually do with it. You could have a whole day cooking and see what you can come up with using cheap VAT-free ingredients. Take a look at processed foods like burgers, soups, lasagne and even cakes and see if you can make something just as good or even better.
You can find over 14,000 recipes on the BBC website. A lot of those recipes are a bit too exotic, but tortillas (Spanish omelettes) by Delia Smith would be a frugal choice, as long as you don’t go to Spain for your potatoes…
Do you have a frugal food idea? Please share you thoughts in the comments box.
- Meal Planning 11th Feb (arealmummydiary.com)