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  • FIRST POST
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 15th Jun 19, 7:27 PM
    • 19Posts
    • 54Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    Trying to start over
    • #1
    • 15th Jun 19, 7:27 PM
    Trying to start over 15th Jun 19 at 7:27 PM
    Hello,
    I hope I'm in the right section. I've had a look through the board, and it seems really useful for my situation, however I am hoping to get some more personal advice, or somewhere to have a look when it's all in one place.

    The short version is that I use a lot of convenience food, although try to make it as balanced as possible. So not all ready meals, more something like microwave steam bags of veg or rice, with a roast in the bag chicken. Or a stir fry pack with egg noodles.

    It worked well for us, however the last few months have been tight, and I find myself stuck with how to cook healthy things from scratch. We're actually pretty broke right now, and seems its going to be this way for a while yet.

    I don't know what to do about it all, and where to even start. I cannot cook, not really, and I'm finding the whole thing very stressful.

    I really would appreciate any advice, or even just being pointed somewhere useful. I'm so overwhelmed - our budget is non existant, we have a lot of different dietry requirements and I'm just stumped.

    Thanks for taking the time to read - I know I said the quick version....
Page 2
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 16th Jun 19, 6:39 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    Hello janb5 - thanks for coming back today and looking for the list
    I agree it is a lot of food - I haven't been into the freezer for ages! Not properly anyway, I just grab from the bottom 2 drawers.
    I can't see any meals from the list as it is though, I just don't know what to get to go with it all, and how we're going to manage to make the money we have stretch until the end of the month
    • Lje87
    • By Lje87 16th Jun 19, 6:42 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Lje87
    Hope this may help... my partner and I wanted to cook more fresh food without breaking the bank and I discovered NOSH Cookbooks. Super easy to follow as everything is measured with a mug and there’s even a picture of one in the book to show what size everything has pictures and super easy to follow (I’m a rubbish cook) it has shopping lists and also each recipe tells you if it’s freezer suitable so I batch cook and freeze ready for the next week. Really really useful and the recipes are super yummy quick and easy to make. Oh and it also has the average cost per meal too and fun ideas for the kids too.
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 16th Jun 19, 6:43 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    Brambling - those ideas sound great. I really wouldn't know how to make a risotto though, let alone microwave cooking one. I will look online. Wont I need a microwave steamer or similar to do this too?

    I feel that my list is very misleading in regards to my cooking skills. I really don't have any! A lot of the packets of food are in unopened, and I have no idea what to do with them.
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 16th Jun 19, 6:47 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    janb5 - My husband works, I stay home.

    Lje87 - Those books sound amazing! Is there a website online for that? I can't buy any right now, but it does sound great
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 16th Jun 19, 6:47 PM
    • 3,137 Posts
    • 42,344 Thanks
    Islandmaid
    Bubbles- list what you have and we’ll help form a menu x
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 16th Jun 19, 6:49 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    Islandmaid - thank you I have just posted the list up.
    • Bigjenny
    • By Bigjenny 16th Jun 19, 6:59 PM
    • 560 Posts
    • 6,046 Thanks
    Bigjenny
    BubblesandPop here is the website for the NOSH Books, there are several books, I have the Student one and I am an OAP. There are also recipes on there.


    http://www.noshbooks.com/category/our-books/
    "When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us" Alexander Graham Bell
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 16th Jun 19, 7:18 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    Thank you Bigjenny - I've followed the link and seen that they've got some recipes on the site that look good.
    • Brambling
    • By Brambling 16th Jun 19, 7:59 PM
    • 1,032 Posts
    • 5,678 Thanks
    Brambling
    Brambling - those ideas sound great. I really wouldn't know how to make a risotto though, let alone microwave cooking one. I will look online. Wont I need a microwave steamer or similar to do this too?

    I feel that my list is very misleading in regards to my cooking skills. I really don't have any! A lot of the packets of food are in unopened, and I have no idea what to do with them.
    Originally posted by BubblesandPop
    The below link is a simple recipe and will give the basic method and timings, there's no need to follow it completely use it as a guide. No fancy equipment required, I use a glass casserole dish . For example skip the fennel and follow the instructions to just soften the onion and rather than adding the seafood serve with either sausages or fish or just as a vegetarian meal. Cook the sausages separately

    https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1822/easiestever-seafood-risotto

    If you're not sure before you start reread the recipe and then prepared everything before cooking I chop everything first and measure out any herbs or spices this avoids you getting too panicked when cooking. No need for fancy bowls you can use cups or mugs.

    Just remember we all have to start from somewhere and even more experience cooks find things go wrong sometimes so don't beat yourself up if things don't work out. Google and you tube are your friends and the BBC good food website gives lots of easy ideas as do some of the supermarket sites like Tesco
    • janb5
    • By janb5 16th Jun 19, 9:44 PM
    • 1,952 Posts
    • 7,065 Thanks
    janb5
    Hiya..first of all I looked at the Nosh books and they seem to be on Ebay so maybe you could get one for a couple of pounds and see if they appeal

    What about chilli con carne with the Quorn mince....I can post a recipe if you`d like it. Quorn mince seems always better if extra flavouring is added. Or how about a spag bol.

    Another meal could be the sausages and maybe toad in the hole with baked beans. Really simple and again can supply recipe.

    You have beef stew- is that a ready meal or a tin or already cooked?

    Meatballs could be with pasta or potatoes and some veg.

    Lots of good recipes with the chicken wings too.

    Did you get any suggestions from the children as to meals they like?
    • Legittrying
    • By Legittrying 16th Jun 19, 10:07 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 169 Thanks
    Legittrying
    From a quick read this is what I would think of first to make. You might not have enough of each ingredient as donít know how much you have of certain things but this give you a rough ideas and few different meals. Even if your family would eat one of them or even if you and OH could eat a few might help.


    Meal 1 - lasagne - quorn mince, mushrooms, peppers, onions, garlic, tinned tomatoes, lasagne sheets and for sauce butter/spread, flour, milk and Parmesan. Maybe get some garlic bread. Use appropriate herbs you have
    Meal 2 - sausage casserole (x 2) make a base and split into one veggie and one meat - chicken sausage, butternut squash sausage, onions, haricot beans, peas and green beans. Get some potatoes to serve with.
    Meal 3 - beef stew - beef stew and bake at home rolls. If need to bulk out make a salad with grilled halloumi and salad leaves to start. Veggie to have pita bread pizza with cheese, salad and some chips.
    Meal 4 - curry - Quorn pieces with tikka masala sauce and Naan and rice
    Meal 5 - steak/salmon and fries - use rump and sirloin and salmon fillets depending how many you have of each. Sever with fries. Veggie to have quarter pounder. Sever with any leftover green beans/peas
    Meal 6 - corn beef hash - left over bought potatoes, corned beef and serve with baked beans. Veggie to have mash pots, beans and sausage roll
    Meal 7 - sausage and chips - use pepper and butternut squash sausage (and Quorn if need more) use sweet potatoes to make fries and sever with peas/sweet corn

    This should mean you are only buying a bag of potatoes or two plus a garlic bread. You may also need to buy an additional bag of frozen veg. But this will use a lot of what you have already.

    Hope this helps.
    Will take a look and see if I can see anymore that jump out at me
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 16th Jun 19, 10:42 PM
    • 3,326 Posts
    • 36,419 Thanks
    CRANKY40
    In Jack Monroes first cookbook there's a recipe for "penny pizzas". The dough is easy to make and the pizza lover can make their own pizza. The dough incidentally freezes fine so I used to make a batch and freeze half. Rather than little pizzas we used to just make one individual pizza each. It's easy to do. Just spread passata (or ketchup if that's what the pizza lover likes) then add some grated cheddar and what ever else they want (in our case, nothing else, sigh).

    https://cookingonabootstrap.com/2014/09/03/penny-pizzas-recipe/

    Oh and forget supernoodles, the 20p cheap ones are fine.
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 17th Jun 19, 6:04 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    Brambling - The risotto looks easy enough, I feel like I may be able to pull it off. What could I swap the fennel for?
    I will ask my DC tonight to list their top 5, and see what they come up with.

    Legittrying - your meal plan sounds amazing! Thank you. I will definitely attempt the lasagne, and corned beef has if I can find a recipe for that.

    Cranky - Little pizzas are a cute idea, not sure I can make the bases from scratch though..

    I'm going to try and put together a meal plan with the suggestions on here, they're all great ideas.
    I'd love some packed lunch suggestions too, if anyone has any tips for keeping costs down there. We'd need packed breakfasts too, as usually my eldest buys them at college twice a week.
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 17th Jun 19, 7:22 PM
    • 3,326 Posts
    • 36,419 Thanks
    CRANKY40

    Cranky - Little pizzas are a cute idea, not sure I can make the bases from scratch though..
    Originally posted by BubblesandPop
    I don't make the tiny pizzas, I divide the dough into 4. It is such a simple recipe that the kids could make it - in fact mine did. I promise you there is no skill whatsoever involved in this recipe.
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 17th Jun 19, 8:34 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    I'll give the mini pizzas a go then Cranky

    Yesterday my husband made a tuna pasta (whilst I made the inventory) so today there was enough leftovers for him to take into work today, me to have some for lunch and one of the kids had the rest for dinner.
    My other little one had dinner at their friends house, and I made the teenager an egg and cheese bake with salad and a couple of the baking rolls.

    I popped the beef stew into the oven about an hour ago, and will serve it with the rest of the bake rolls for us adults.
    Not too bad for day 1 (as long as the beef turns out OK)
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 17th Jun 19, 8:37 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    I was thinking about cooking the sausage rolls for the kids tomorrow with chips and beans.
    I also took out the mini fillets and thought maybe they'd go nicely with pitta breads, salad, fries and corn on the cob(?) for DH and I.

    Also am going to try and make Legittrying 's Quorn lasagne for everyone on Wednesday.
    • Brambling
    • By Brambling 17th Jun 19, 9:04 PM
    • 1,032 Posts
    • 5,678 Thanks
    Brambling
    Brambling - The risotto looks easy enough, I feel like I may be able to pull it off. What could I swap the fennel for?
    Originally posted by BubblesandPop
    You can just use onion or leek and sometimes I add a stick of celery if I have some, I tend to use the recipe to use up stuff so it turns out different each time

    You look like you've gotten off to a good start
    • suki1964
    • By suki1964 17th Jun 19, 9:49 PM
    • 12,100 Posts
    • 32,365 Thanks
    suki1964
    Bolognese sauce is the easiest to swap from jar to home made

    Fry your mince/quorn off, then add fine diced onion and garlic ( as much as you like) and gently fry till the onion is softening, Then add a tablespoon of tomato puree and cook for a minute or two more. Then chuck in a tin of tomatoes, salt and pepper, herbs ( I prefer oregano , but basil or Italian herbs all work ) and the most important ingredient, a teaspoon of sugar. stir in, add half the tomato can of water, washing out the last of the juices, bring to a dimmer, put a lid on and let it cook for as long as you can till the sauce becomes really rich and quite thick. Now I use a glass of red wine instead of water if Ive a bottle open, I might taste and find its not got quite a strong enough flavour so I might add a few other herbs, bit more garlic, little bit more sugar. You just need to keep tasting till it tastes good too you

    I basically use the same sauce for meatballs but in that I will add olives, a couple of anchovies or anchovy past or a wee bit of Harissa past


    Salmon loves sweet chilli sauce. My big go to dish for a small amount of salmon is to cook the salmon - you can nuke it, grill it fry it - doesnt matter. Then boil up a pot of pasta, drain the pasta when al dente, saving a mug or so of the boiling water. Whilst that's draining, put the pot back on the heat, throw in a couple of dairy lea triangle or similar , finely chopped peppers and a good glut of sweet chilli sauce. warm through till the cheese is melted and you have a sauce, add some of the water to get a good coating consistency , throw in a bit of frozen corn and peas, let it bubble, flake in the salmon, then stir in the pasta


    Bolognese is simple to turn into lasagne, you just need to make a white sauce ( posh name is b!chamel ). For really posh, put a pint of milk in a pan with half an onion and a bayleaf. Let it come to a simmer gently then remove the onion and bayleaf. Take of the heat, throw in 2 tablespoons plain flour and 1 of butter and whisk like mad, putting it back on the heat to cook and thicken. Season and adjust, you might need more milk if too thick or a tad more flour if too thin. Cook gently till the flour taste has gone and if you have nutmeg, add a pinch

    Then its bolognese, white sauce, lasagne sheets and repeat. Last layer of lasagne sheets, top with white sauce and then a good liberal amount of parmesan and bake at around 180 till the top is all golden and the sides are bubbling ( cook on a baking sheet to save messing the oven )
    if you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it
    • Fire Fox
    • By Fire Fox 17th Jun 19, 10:23 PM
    • 24,851 Posts
    • 28,924 Thanks
    Fire Fox
    Hello,

    The short version is that I use a lot of convenience food, although try to make it as balanced as possible. So not all ready meals, more something like microwave steam bags of veg or rice, with a roast in the bag chicken. Or a stir fry pack with egg noodles.

    It worked well for us, however the last few months have been tight, and I find myself stuck with how to cook healthy things from scratch. We're actually pretty broke right now, and seems its going to be this way for a while yet.

    I don't know what to do about it all, and where to even start. I cannot cook, not really, and I'm finding the whole thing very stressful.

    I really would appreciate any advice, or even just being pointed somewhere useful. I'm so overwhelmed - our budget is non existant, we have a lot of different dietry requirements and I'm just stumped.
    Originally posted by BubblesandPop
    Welcome to MSE.

    No-cook healthy food Spring to Autumn? Vegetable salads.

    Salads do not have to have any leaves in, and the majority of vegetables can be eaten RAW (thinly slice on a box grater, make ribbons with a potato peeler, regular grated). Only standard white or red skin potato is unsafe to eat raw.

    Broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage, carrot, beetroot, smaller parsnips, butternut squash, sweet potato, any onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, frozen petit pois peas, frozen sweetcorn all work well RAW in salads. Should work out cheaper and more filling than leafy salads too.

    Younger people tend to like vegetable salads more when sweet fruit is included. Green apples, pear, nectarine, orange segments, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mango, red grapes, golden sultanas, dried cranberries, dried apricot pieces, all work well in raw vegetable salads. Some fresh fruits are obviously cheaper than others so I only include the pricier ones when 'yellow stickered'.

    What proportion of your grains or starchy foods (bread/ rice/ pasta/ noodles/ flour) are wholegrain? Healthy eating guidelines are for most to be wholegrain.

    Who are all the meat-free vegetarian alternatives in the freezer for? These tend to be very expensive for the quality of the ingredients. Cheaper and healthier non-meat protein is to combine two of: wholegrains, nuts/ seeds, canned beans/ lentils. Only the wholegrains need cooking and can then be portioned and frozen.

    The pescatarian child should be helping out with the cookinh, and the anti-fish child should start eating fish because fish supplies essential nutrients that no other food group does. It absolutely is possible for adults and children to acclimatise to new foods such as fish, just take baby steps. Maybe start with recipes where the fish is hidden, and that are very easy to cook such as fishcakes?

    I cannot see eggs on your inventory, but these are great for any meal or snack. Cook them in bulk, six or more at a time: hard-boiled, frittata/ tortilla, omelette in a sandwich bag.

    We have a lot of shops near us actually; Tescos, Sainsburys, Asda, Waitrose, Iceland, Lidl, Aldi, Farmfoods, a few Co Ops and Costcutters. Farmfoods send leaflets through the door, however My DH thinks they wouldn't work out any cheaper, so we haven't been in there for a looong time (few years).

    We do also have a few bargain shops near us, however don't take advantage of them, as it's easier for me to do the shopping all under one roof.
    Originally posted by BubblesandPop
    Who is writing the shopping list, and who is actually going shopping? Whilst as many people as possible should be on-board with meal planning and moneysaving, the more people who are involved in the actual shop the more you are likely to spend.

    Lidl, Aldi or Farmfoods do work out cheaper than the Big Four supermarkets. A weekly grocery shop can be done there. Reduced choice generally means less waste on impulse buys, convenience foods, unhealthy snacks and junk food.

    Other options to take advantage of offers is to alternate between different supermarkets, or alternate between a supermarket and an indoor market, or alternate between supermarkets and anywhere there are discounters clustered together.

    Otherwise do an online grocery shop with a maximum budget. You can 'add' or 'remove' items from your trolley any time every day between deliveries, so using the app or website as a shopping list.

    Do check out the Wilko website, they have many great own-brand products, and plenty of reviews. Also check out the Mysupermarket website.

    HTH!
    Declutterbug-in-progress.⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ Trainee Rosie the Riveter.
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 18th Jun 19, 6:30 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    Brambling - Thank you, I feel like I have too Most of the ideas were from you guys though.

    Suki - Thank you for the lasagne recipe - I'll be prepping that tomorrow morning for us all.

    Fire Fox - Lots of information there, thank you.
    The vegetarian foods are for one of our children, though I tend to cook it for all of them sometimes.
    We don't usually take a list when we go shopping, we just go and buy what we see.

    I know we can't do that anymore, and I'm finding it quite stressful with the little budget we have. I don't know how we'll be able to do it.
    Last edited by BubblesandPop; 18-06-2019 at 6:39 PM.
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