Banishing the black cloud

in Debt Free Diaries
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  • I started my budget 6 weeks ago and with that came my grocery challenge / meal planning attempts. It has went well and my grocery spend has dramatically reduced however, I do believe it can be improved. Maybe not in terms of money but in terms of the amount time I spend cooking every evening. I have spent all morning researching batch/freezer cooking and have come up with a plan.

    Firstly I need to purchase some foil trays and lids, some zip lock freezer bags and another extra large saucepan (I have one but think I need two if I am to get serious about this, they are quite cheap in Argos). Then I need to pick some basic recipes that batch cook/freeze well. To make things easier for myself I will not attempt to cook everything in the one go but simply pick one recipe for a Monday night and make 4/5times as much and freeze the leftovers. Thus I have cooked dinner and without much extra fuss I have made another 4 dinners. and repeat the process every night until I have all the meals cooked.

    So recipes that I have decided to experiment with are

    Lasagne Link
    Curry Sauce taking from the old style forum
    Batch of Tomato Sauce in the slow cooker Link
    Chinese style Chicken Curry Link
    Chicken Enchilada (using the tomato sauce) [URL="http://www.waitrose.com/home/recipes/recipe_directory/c/chicken
    enchiladas_with_smoky_tomato_sauce.html"] Link [/URL]
    Carrot and Coriander Soup for hubby for work.

    In addition to these I am also going to try these freezer breakfast sandwiches to make school mornings a little less stressful. Link Although I am a bit worried that frozen egg might taste weird, I have never tried it.

    For lunch I am going to pre-make Pitta Pizzas wrap them in cling film, freeze them and then cook when needed. I also am going to make sandwiches like these ones . Link for kids to cook when they come home from school. I already made these last night and can vouch that they are delicious

    Once I have completed this round of freezer meals I will experiment with some more so if anyone has any suggestions feel free to let me know.
  • Update on my batch cooking escapades - breakfast rolls are okish the eggs aren't defrosting well in microwave so will need to experiment a bit more. The lunch rolls are a better success. I haven't managed to cook any main meals yet, will maybe give that a go tomorrow. I did make what my hubby described as my best meal ever last night, baked sweet and sour chicken it was scrummy.

    Operation sort my bedroom out began today also. I got two wardrobes from my lovely mother in law, which has banished the ugly hanging rails to the bin. I priced carpet at £470 not fitted a couple of weeks ago and found another supplier who quoted me £380 for the same carpet fitted! I have about 100 tester pots of paint all over the walls. I found a nice farrow and ball colour £70 for a tin and then found a cheaper crown alternative. Hubby is hanging curtain poles tomorrow and I have blinds ordered too. Not bad for a days work!

    If I hadnt started my budget and my diary I doubt I would ever have got to the point were I could afford to decorate.
  • NintudNintud Forumite
    191 Posts
    Seventh Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    You're doing really well.

    I can vouch for the batch cooking idea. My freezer is full of pre-prepared meals and it makes life so much easier. It's budget friendly too, so all good in my book!

    What colour are you doing the bedroom? You seem to have made loads of progress in a short time.
    MBNA 120/17120.
    Santander 250/9000
    - - - -
    What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. (L Ellis)
  • Nintud wrote: »
    You're doing really well.

    I can vouch for the batch cooking idea. My freezer is full of pre-prepared meals and it makes life so much easier. It's budget friendly too, so all good in my book!

    What colour are you doing the bedroom? You seem to have made loads of progress in a short time.

    Just back from Homebase they have a BOGOF offer on crown paint at the minute so got 5l for £20 :T:T I went for crown snowfall, it's a very light gray, then gray blue floral curtains and hopefully splash out on some navy velvet cushions for the bed.

    I also needed two curtain poles - a white wooden one is £35 in homebase took a quick drive over to Harry Corry and got the same one for £12.

    What meals do you batch cook nintud? heading to asda now to get some food for dinner hubby has told me to keep it simple :rotfl:

    Hubby also gave me £270 of his wages this weekend:eek: I nearly fell over with shock lol. I'm that excited I'm going tomorrow to pay the deposit for the carpet before he changes his mind.
  • PuzzcatPuzzcat Forumite
    4.2K Posts
    Hi,
    Popping out from lurkdom...I batch cook lasagne, bolognaise, chilli, shepherds pie, coq au vin, beef stew, chicken curry...etc.. basically anything with a sauce that can be defrosted and microwaved, oven or pan reheated.
    Puzz.x
    Christmas 2020 £109
    I love my dmp started in Nov 13 with SC. Self Managed 2016 57% done
    £60062/25384.84 - 13222.60k UE

    MY DIARY
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4768685
  • Morning! I love a bargain - what a great deal on the paint! Even better news you can put the deposit down on your new carpet. Hubby must be in your very best books! Enjoy your day. :)
  • Morning! I love a bargain - what a great deal on the paint! Even better news you can put the deposit down on your new carpet. Hubby must be in your very best books! Enjoy your day. :)

    Yes, Hubby has collected lots of Brownie points lately. He hung all the curtain poles yesterday and cut the grass. I think he must be ill :rotfl:

    I bought the paint and the curtain poles from my weekly budget pot and now only have £3 to make it to Thursday. I think there will be a lot of Freezer cooking this week.

    I have enough ingredients in the cupboard to make a ricotta, spinach and bacon pasta tonight.
    Tues - Cottage Pie. I have leftover potatoes from yesterday and mince in the freezer.
    Wednesday - Tomato Meatballs. meatballs from freezer just need to make some tomato sauce.

    Just back from Physio which stung me £30 - my Pelvis is out of place again. No running or sports for two months until I build up some core strength. She has sent me a basic pilates programme to try. I am really going to miss running:(
  • NintudNintud Forumite
    191 Posts
    Seventh Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    I can't ever imagine missing running! Now swimming, that's my chill out exercise. I haven't swum for a week and I'm pining.

    I batch cook chilli, soup, lasagne, curry, bolognese, fish pie, home made burgers (prep, shape then cook after thawing). I also slice and dice veg in large batches and freeze in bags to make it quicker to throw a meal together on a work night. I chop so many onions that I wear swimming goggles to save my eyes!

    The grey-blue decorating scheme sounds very sophisticated. Well done hub for the curtain pole erection. My dh has no DIY skills at all. I let him loose removing a shelf from the utility yesterday and from the noise he was making I thought the house was going to come down with it!

    Your pelvis sounds agonising. My experiences of physiotherapy have been of tiny girls with brutal skills. My physiotherapist had hands of steel that did not belong on such a small frame! Can't fault her technique though, even if she set light to my shoulder in the process. Thankfully my treatment was on the NHS (after a fair wait), paying £30 per session would have added to the pain.

    Give the Pilates a go, you might like it.
    MBNA 120/17120.
    Santander 250/9000
    - - - -
    What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. (L Ellis)
  • I would love to be a good swimmer but cant get the breathing right. Hubby wants to do a triathlon but he would sink like a stone if you put him in water. He keeps talking about learning to swim, maybe we should give it a go now that I cant run.
  • Well September has come and gone so its time to update my debts...

    Amex cc [STRIKE]£21[/STRIKE]/£0 100%
    Lloyds cc [STRIKE]£1611[/STRIKE]/£1595 1%
    Insurance Excess £100/£0 100%
    Ulsterbank cc [STRIKE]£105[/STRIKE]/ £0 100%
    Credit Union [STRIKE]£450[/STRIKE] / £412 8.4%
    Loan [STRIKE]£1000[/STRIKE]/£1000 0%
    Argos Card [STRIKE]£210[/STRIKE]/ £0 100%
    Council Tax [STRIKE]£1750[/STRIKE] / £0 100%
    Next £140 / £140 0%
    Overdraft [STRIKE]£700[/STRIKE] /£666 4.8%
    HMRC [STRIKE]£936[/STRIKE] / £230 75.43%
    Accountant [STRIKE]£384[/STRIKE] / £384 0%

    :T:TTotal Debt [STRIKE]£7957 [/STRIKE]/ £4977 37.45%:T:T
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