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    • caronc
    • By caronc 13th Jan 17, 7:32 PM
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    caronc
    Cooking for one
    • #1
    • 13th Jan 17, 7:32 PM
    Cooking for one 13th Jan 17 at 7:32 PM
    ****There is now a new thread "Cooking for one (Mark Two)" which can be found here http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5680849

    Hi, newbie poster though long time lurker trying to adjust to being an empty-nester and due to some substantial changes income-wise in the next couple of months trying to cut my costs and adjust my shopping to mainly solo dining. I abhor waste so good that way and do cook from scratch/batch cook the vast majority of the time. I do "sort of" meal plan but it can be a bit hit or miss depending on my health is on any given day. I'm reliant on on-line shopping so can't take advanage of aldi/Lidl etc. What (if any) changes did you make when changing to a single-person household?



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    Last edited by caronc; 17-07-2017 at 6:56 PM.
Page 271
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 12th Jul 17, 5:31 PM
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    PasturesNew
    £11.95 for macaroni cheese, that's steep. It's £5.95 in our local italian and I think that's dear
    Originally posted by caronc
    It sort of started happening about 10 years ago - places that sold food suddenly started describing the dishes and presenting a bistro or gourmet style menu ... and doubling prices. Indeed, it's hard to find "macaroni cheese" these days, it's more "handmade macaroni blended with 3 organic locally sourced cheeses, cooked over an organic wood fired stove and served with an organic jus, locally sourced sustainable rocket leaves and healthy seeds"

    I'd find it very strange and exciting to find food as cheap as £5.95 these days without a really good long research session.

    I just googled "macaroni cheese" and then my town name - first two results showed it priced on menus at £9.95 or part of a 3-course £25 meal (pre-ordered and for a minimum group of 10). There was a "caff" that sells it at £5.25 to be fair though.

    I decided that tea would be baked spud (nuked) topped with cheese and the final 1/3rd of the tin of beans I opened 2-4 days ago.

    Half way through cooking that the weather went from cool/overcast to hot/sunny .... which was annoying .... but it's now gone cool/overcast again, so, on balance, I probably did right.

    I had to use up more of the spuds I bought ... and the beans needed using up - and I know I'll be buying more cheese at the weekend, so don't have to "go easy and think about how it's used".
    Last edited by PasturesNew; 12-07-2017 at 5:37 PM.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 12th Jul 17, 6:58 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    It is possible to find main meals out for around the £5 mark Pastures - and I know of at least one city (my own) where this is the case. I would imagine other cities have this too?

    I have been surprised, on moving here, to find that I have to think in terms of £8-£12 for a "cheap" lunch whilst out and about basically. In the bigger towns here one can have soup/bread roll/tiny bit of cheese for around £5 - but that's all I've come across around here. For something "posher" (ie even if it was "everyday" imo) I'd be at that £8-£12 mark.

    At which point I would sympathise and think "If I'm going to be charged that sort of money anyway - then I want something luxury for it".
    #MeToo

    Why should our needs override the needs of all other living species? What makes us so special? (Brigit Strawbridge)
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 12th Jul 17, 7:50 PM
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    lessonlearned
    Went to my solicitors yesterday. It's in a part of the city where all the legal offices tend to congregate, lots of rich barristers and solicitors. . There is a lovely old pub there, one of the oldest in the city, very picturesque and quaint. It does lunches for £4. Needless to say that's where all the wealthy legal eagles eat their lunch.

    I looked at the menu. It was all "proper grub" - not a cheap pasta dish in sight.

    Now that I'm living solo And CFO, come the winter when I'm having a city day I shall definitely be eating at this pub again. It used to be a favourite of mine in years gone by. . They have roaring log fires in the winter - so a glass of mulled wine and a substantial lunch and a good book. I'll be there for most of the afternoon.

    We are really lucky here we have loads of really nice pubs, bars and restaurants so there's stiff competition for paying customers. Prices are reasonable and the quality is usually very good.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 12-07-2017 at 7:56 PM.
    • Hollyharvey
    • By Hollyharvey 12th Jul 17, 8:05 PM
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    Hollyharvey
    Went to my solicitors yesterday. It's in a part of the city where all the legal offices tend to congregate, lots of rich barristers and solicitors. . There is a lovely old pub there, one of the oldest in the city, very picturesque and quaint. It does lunches for £4. Needless to say that's where all the wealthy legal eagles eat their lunch.

    I looked at the menu. It was all "proper grub" - not a cheap pasta dish in sight.

    Now that I'm living solo And CFO, come the winter when I'm having a city day I shall definitely be eating at this pub again. It used to be a favourite of mine in years gone by. . They have roaring log fires in the winter - so a glass of mulled wine and a substantial lunch and a good book. I'll be there for most of the afternoon.

    We are really lucky here we have loads of really nice pubs, bars and restaurants so there's stiff competition for paying customers. Prices are reasonable and the quality is usually very good.
    Originally posted by lessonlearned
    That sounds like a really good well priced menu, and a lovely pub. I really like quaint pubs like that sounds, it will be lovely to go there for lunch in the winter with real log fires, it sounds ideal to me. As a CFO option at those prices, it makes it affordable. even for lawyers
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 12th Jul 17, 8:14 PM
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    lessonlearned
    When my MIL died, FIL used to eat lunch out 3 or 4 times a week. He had his favourite haunts, usually olde worlde pubs. He ate well and I think he enjoyed the company.

    On the days he "cooked" it was usually "ping cuisine".

    He's now 96 so I don't think it did him any harm.
    • SunnyGirl
    • By SunnyGirl 12th Jul 17, 8:47 PM
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    SunnyGirl
    Good evening all.

    Well more trauma has unfortunately hit me - yesterday my 13 year old cat came in with a huge bowel prolapse Cue a trip to the vet and an emergency operation last night (plus an £800 bill but she is fortunately insured so I 'only' had to pay £100) and one very sorry for herself kitty came home this evening.

    CFO has been usefully handy today as I have been able to please myself and fit it all in with my vets trip and taking my Dad for his cataract surgery. No breakfast as usual, lunch was eaten at 2.30pm and was 2 slices of toasted seeded bread with avocado mashed onto them with lemon and black pepper and 2 poached eggs on top. It was delish Dinner/supper/whatever has just been a bowl of leek and potato soup from the freezer and a plate of sliced apple and cheese for pud. I have also had a couple of mandarin orange jellies

    Reading back through yesterday and today I am another one who has lots of the takeaway plastic containers - from Chinese takeaways when I was working and cash rich but time poor. I also have 6 glass Gu chocolate pots, like ramekins really, that I use for all sorts including a drinking container for the cat.

    I don't tend to order pasta in restaurants but do cook it about three times a week in various guises. I really like it.

    When I went to Aldi with my parents yesterday I bought the obligatory CFO staple of two packs of crumpets and may well have two later with butter or marmite......
    • Hollyharvey
    • By Hollyharvey 12th Jul 17, 10:45 PM
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    Hollyharvey
    Good evening all.


    When I went to Aldi with my parents yesterday I bought the obligatory CFO staple of two packs of crumpets and may well have two later with butter or marmite......
    Originally posted by SunnyGirl
    I don't know what us CFOs would do without crumpets. Most of us seem to use them for something quick and easy to eat For me it's also because they store well in the freezer as well and if short on freezer space (like me) they can be wrapped individually in cling film and just slotted in wherever there is a space
    • caronc
    • By caronc 13th Jul 17, 8:37 AM
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    caronc
    Good morning,
    SunnyG- I hope your cat recovers well

    Not CFO today and as my son caught two lovely trout yesterday looking forward to a fishy dinner tonight. By the time we got ourselves organised it was too late to prep the fish to bbq last night. We still had a BBQ and my sister & nephew came round to join us. Burgers, spatchcock cajun chicken and herbs potatoes were duly grilled and simple salads made. It was lovely to sit outside and enjoy the weather though it did get chilly later on. There isn't much LO from last night just some bread and chicken which will get easily used up

    Meals round here vary in price (and quality) but generally you can get a decent main at lunch time or early evening for £5-£7 and not just cheap pasta. That why I thought macaroni at £5.95 was dear when I could get something much more exciting for a similiar price. Chicken milanese & spaghetti I don't see as a cheap pasta dish as the spaghetti/tom sauce element is really just in place of other fillers such as spuds or rice.
    July £185/£170, August £108/£120, Sep GC £121/£120, Oct GC £141/£200, Nov £96/£120
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 13th Jul 17, 8:51 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Darn - you've just reminded me there was some pesto I intended to chuck into last night's dinner and use up the rest of it.

    I'm still part way through changing my diet over temporarily from healthy vegetarian to very healthy plant-based for long enough to get shot of the excess weight and minor health problems.

    Only meal so far today - breakfast - of usual porridge (this time with flaxseeds/homegrown blackcurrants/strawberry sauce - followed by 2 slices of my homemade bread toasted).

    Must must must get more adventurous at breakfast time and not such a creature of habit.
    #MeToo

    Why should our needs override the needs of all other living species? What makes us so special? (Brigit Strawbridge)
    • meg72
    • By meg72 13th Jul 17, 9:47 AM
    • 4,950 Posts
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    meg72
    I don't eat out a lot but sometimes my friend and I treat ourselves and go to a local pub restaurant its part of the Hungry Horse chain. We can get a two course meal off their Golden menu. over 60s, for£4.49, its excellent. Last time we went I had Gammon chips,peas and grilled tomato. and for pudding apple pie and custard. We don't order a drink as its right opposite a lovely park so we take a flask of coffee and sit by the lake and watch the ducks.

    They do some deals for under 60s as well like curry and a pint for a fiver two meals for 9.99 etc. a different deal each day.

    https://www.hungryhorse.co.uk/food-menu
    Slimming World at target
    GC Nov 16.50.
    GC Dec 24.89
    GC Jan 2.50
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 13th Jul 17, 12:53 PM
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    PasturesNew
    Food/prices are very much down to where you live. I am in what most people consider "a pricey area" full of rich retirees and a tourist coastal hot spot. Because people CAN charge more, they will and do. There's lots of "yachty types" and pandering to the champagne quaffers.

    Having said that, eating out, on your own, isn't a great experience, so you do compare the cost -v- just eating at home. Given that choice I sometimes take the "budget" of eating out and visit a supermarket to look for "something a bit nicer/pricier than I usually buy" and will then spend the balance of the difference on several days' other food.

    It is possible to search for those "national chains" type of places to get something more affordable, there's a Toby Carvery not far from me (but the quality's rubbish as I tried it and one of the veggies tasted of washing up liquid!) - their yorkies are also rank.

    I looked at the Hungry Horse link above - there's one "near me" at just a 5 mile round trip.

    It's all hit & miss if you're lucky enough to have found a little place.

    I have found some peculiar cheap eating places in the past in old churches... some churches have a little kitchen/cafe area (old trestle style and mismatched stuff style, not shiny/bright/modern) - where you're served either by somebody with learning disabilities or they're staffed by Church/WI stalwarts.

    You can sometimes get a good "canteen style" dinner in there for about £6.

    They are a rare find .... but they are out there somewhere, for some people.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 13th Jul 17, 1:00 PM
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    PasturesNew
    I still have half a jar of sweet/sour sauce. I was contemplating cooking it with rice.... but now I've gone off the idea and I think I'll just give in and freeze it That goes against my general principles, especially as it wasn't anything to write home about ....

    I don't fancy cooking the other half of the packet of "chicken nuggets" that I have, just to use it up .... and I don't really fancy just eating the sauce and rice without any "main element" to that.

    For lunch, instead, I think I'll just nuke some more of the spuds I have and chuck some cheese at that.

    On the other hand .... if I do just eat it, it'll be gone....

    So undecided. I think I'll just cook the s0ddin' stuff and never see it again.

    That's the final decision. Sauce and rice.....
    • SunnyGirl
    • By SunnyGirl 13th Jul 17, 1:37 PM
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    SunnyGirl
    I don't eat out very often and we tend to go for brunch in Manchester when we get together as my elder two children both live in the city with their respective partners. It's usually about £5-7 a head depending on where we are and what you order obviously. I like it as I'll usually just have a snack tea that evening.

    Lunch today has been a sausage sandwich as I didn't get to eat the sausages the other day as the trauma with the cat started just before teatime. Very tasty they were in a sandwich with caramelised onion chutney today anyway. Tea will be spag bol from my stash of homemade ready meals in the freezer.

    I have been back to the vets again this morning for some more medication for the cat and am having a relaxed afternoon as I'm tired today. Need to get the ironing done really as I'm working all next week to cover for holidays.
    • Farway
    • By Farway 13th Jul 17, 3:08 PM
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    Farway
    Afternoon all, back from Plymouth, couple of pounds up. That's what cooked breakfast and not CFO does

    Not had chance to read all the posts, but I can see eating out and now have up to date experience. Never did get a cream tea, the one day I fancied one it was bucketing down and a cream tea indoors without sitting in the sun I may as well go and have one in my local Morrison's

    Back to a bounty of runner beans, just looking up recipes for dinner, I think it will be runners with shallot butter, except it will be onions not shallots which I think are only onions in disguise at fancty prices. Also spotted runner ratatouille, which is variation on runners & tomatoes recipe under anther name

    Not quite ready to get on a make runner chutney but it will need doing

    Blackberries are now ripening, had a few for breakfast

    Lunch was a part baked baguette with sausages in, note for for other lovers of quality high meat content sausages, Waitrose have Heck ones, 97% meat, on offer at £2, normally over £3 pack. I bought two packs this morning, long dated to 23rd and will freeze if not eaten by then

    Dinner will be runners in some form or other, I also bought a crusty Tiger loaf in Asda, 75p offer, to go with whatever the runner meal turns out to be
    Last edited by Farway; 13-07-2017 at 3:11 PM. Reason: typo
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 13th Jul 17, 3:19 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Food/prices are very much down to where you live. I am in what most people consider "a pricey area" full of rich retirees and a tourist coastal hot spot. Because people CAN charge more, they will and do. There's lots of "yachty types" and pandering to the champagne quaffers.



    I have found some peculiar cheap eating places in the past in old churches... some churches have a little kitchen/cafe area (old trestle style and mismatched stuff style, not shiny/bright/modern) - where you're served either by somebody with learning disabilities or they're staffed by Church/WI stalwarts.

    You can sometimes get a good "canteen style" dinner in there for about £6.

    They are a rare find .... but they are out there somewhere, for some people.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    Actually I've moved from somewhere thought of as wealthy to somewhere that's definitely a lot poorer.

    ....and the prices of cheap meals out are noticeably dearer here. Yep...I cant figure it out either....but am guessing it's down to the fact that there are a lot of students in Home City and there arent here. So I tend to put it down to the "student factor" personally.

    I agree with you re church places. There are some back in Home City and...yep...they are amongst the cheaper places. Yep...as to the likely staff. One of them was certainly on my personal "list of places to use" - as I felt I got a good deal there.
    #MeToo

    Why should our needs override the needs of all other living species? What makes us so special? (Brigit Strawbridge)
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 13th Jul 17, 3:21 PM
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    PasturesNew
    I don't eat out very often, you generally need two people to do that.

    From memory, the last time I ate out was probably October 2015. That was a pub meal.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 13th Jul 17, 3:24 PM
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    PasturesNew
    Talking of sausages... when I was growing up we'd often have chipolatas - these are just thin sausages. They make the money go further as you still serve the same number, but you get more for the weight

    I used to love chipolatas.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 13th Jul 17, 3:27 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    It certainly feels easier eating out with at least one other companion I do know Pastures - and, of course, a more pleasant experience. Not to mention trying out two different "dishes" each time - the "If I have a bite of yours - then you can try a bite of mine" and then we've both sampled two different items on the menu.

    But I'll eat out regardless if that's what I decide to do personally. I'm warier with "proper" restaurants than I am with pubs and cafes - but, if I want to, then I still will personally.

    I don't see why singles should be deprived of the "eating out experience" - so, if I'm someplace else I will go as far as eating in restaurants even if it comes to it that I don't fancy the pubs/cafes. I just tell myself I'm doing my little bit for "equal treatment for singles".

    Last time I ate out - probably around 2-4 weeks ago and thats not counting a communal meal within the last week.
    #MeToo

    Why should our needs override the needs of all other living species? What makes us so special? (Brigit Strawbridge)
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 13th Jul 17, 3:41 PM
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    lessonlearned
    Money......I'm definitely with you on the "equal treatment for singles" quest, especially for us women. Thankfully women eating alone are no longer either pitied or propositioned.

    The "Sisterhood" needs to stick together. We need to be out there, eating, drinking and making merry, even if we have to dine "au solitaire".

    As you know I am now a widow. I have no intention of finding a new husband and I am not going to become a recluse just because I haven't got a dining partner......

    So......every so often, we need to get those glad rags on, and head out to a nice watering hole and take one for the team.
    • SunnyGirl
    • By SunnyGirl 13th Jul 17, 4:09 PM
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    SunnyGirl
    Well said Lesson & Money! My friend has just told me about a nice restaurant in Manchester that does a two course lunch plus a drink for £10 so am going to have a look at that and will book for myself. Or I may persuade one of the children or my parents to take me there for my birthday which is a week on Monday Mum has been saying we'll go for lunch but couldn't decide where so it's perfect. Especially as the trams into town are free for my parents with their bus passes so Dad won't have to drive.
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