Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Puddingpennies
    • By Puddingpennies 27th Aug 09, 8:41 AM
    • 33Posts
    • 77Thanks
    Puddingpennies
    Economy Gastronomy- HELP!
    • #1
    • 27th Aug 09, 8:41 AM
    Economy Gastronomy- HELP! 27th Aug 09 at 8:41 AM
    Hi All

    I'm new to the boards and have just started on my debt free journey! I'm trying to cut back where I can and decided that food is one area that I'm completely stuck with. I watched Economy Gastronomy by chance last night, and I have to say, although they seemed like a nice family- I didn't really get the impression that they were the kind who needed to spend less on food, £410 a week thats more than I earn! Anyway, I thought the principle of the idea was good, but I found it really difficult to relate to or interpret the show, since the budget was still so incredibly high (compared to my measly £70 a month) this is what brings me here!

    I was wondering if anyone could give me any pointers on how I could do the same sort of thing, but on a much smaller scale? I find that I can stick to my food budget, but thats because I only buy the cheapest and frankly blandest food I can find- I normally end up with 15 packets of 9p noodles, a huge bag of pasta, potatos etc, and I pretty much eat the same thing ALL the time. Needless to say, this is starting to grate on me and I always end up having a mid week breakdown and ordering a chinese or buying loads of chocolate

    I'd love to be able to make a decent meal everynight, and wouldn't mind taking the leftovers to work the next day for lunch- and thats another thing, how on earth did the mum hold down a full time job, 5 children and all that cooking?! I dont think even I'd have the time to cook that much and I'm 23 single and childless anyway, I digress! Basically, I'd like to make nice healthy meals, I am allergic to fish and fish products and I only have a tiny freezer, and my abilities in the kitchen are *ahem* limited :rolleyes: but if anyone could give me any pointers of where to start I'd be very grateful!

    Thankyou, and sorry about such a long post

    PP
Page 1
  • misskool
    • #2
    • 27th Aug 09, 9:00 AM
    • #2
    • 27th Aug 09, 9:00 AM
    Start with what you like to eat and tell us what you can and can't cook.

    Then make a list of everything in your cupboards and see what you have lurking around.

    How many days can you eat the same meal (nicely cooked) before you get bored?

    I commute 2.5 hours a day and have a batch cooking day at the weekend where I make the meals or prep the basis for the meals and it takes 2-3 hours but then every meal during the week is homecooked. I keep all the meals cooked in the fridge, don't freeze anything (as it'll take too long when we get home).

    HTH
    • randomer
    • By randomer 27th Aug 09, 9:02 AM
    • 268 Posts
    • 796 Thanks
    randomer
    • #3
    • 27th Aug 09, 9:02 AM
    • #3
    • 27th Aug 09, 9:02 AM
    Could you get a bigger freezer. It's initial outlay but ultimately will be worthwhile.
    • Bitsy Beans
    • By Bitsy Beans 27th Aug 09, 9:05 AM
    • 9,433 Posts
    • 65,784 Thanks
    Bitsy Beans
    • #4
    • 27th Aug 09, 9:05 AM
    • #4
    • 27th Aug 09, 9:05 AM
    I meal plan and stick to it (although have been slipping a bit lately). That way I only buy what I need for the week.
    I do find a decent sized freezer invaluable, that way you can cook large portions and freeze the rest. Just the thing when you have those lazy nights when you can't be bothered to cook.
    I have a gift for enraging people, but if I ever bore you it'll be with a knife Louise Brooks

    All will be well in the end. If it's not well, it's not the end.

    Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars
    • Puddingpennies
    • By Puddingpennies 27th Aug 09, 9:20 AM
    • 33 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Puddingpennies
    • #5
    • 27th Aug 09, 9:20 AM
    • #5
    • 27th Aug 09, 9:20 AM
    I live in a flat and wouldn't have anywhere to put a freezer, even if I did have the money to buy one. I know its something that would be really useful but sadly it would just be impossible. I do have enough room in the one I have to fit a few things in, its bigger than an icebox

    misskool- At the moment I'm eating the same thing everyday- normally go without breakfast, lidl lentil soup for lunch, then either packet of noodles for dinner, pasta with a tomato sauce, or a jacket potato with cheese or beans, or sometimes just margarine if its the end of the month! Anything on that would be an improvement, ideally I'd eat something different every night, but realistically I could put up with anything!

    I'll eat pretty much anything apart from fish and shellfish, not a fussy eater at all will eat all meats and veg the only thing I really tend to shy away from is medeterrainian (sp?) flavours and ingrediants. I'm okish at cooking, I just dont have all the eqipment the cookbooks tell me I need but I would be willing to spend much more time cooking if it meant a nicer meal at the end.

    Thanks again

    PP
  • misskool
    • #6
    • 27th Aug 09, 9:32 AM
    • #6
    • 27th Aug 09, 9:32 AM
    Are you making your own lentil soup or buying it?

    It's easy to make your own soup. Chop an onion, some garlic, fry it off, add some veggies (carrots etc) and then pour over some stock (chicken/veg, fresh or made up from a stock cube) and then pour in some lentils. Cook till lentil are soft. Whizz it up if you like it smoother.

    An easy base for meals is mince. One packet of mince (500g) will do us about 6 meals, 2 dinners for 2 people and 2 lunches for me. chop an onion, fry it off and add the mince. Add vegetables chopped up, I like brocolli and carrots and whatever I can get my hands on cheap, then pour a can of chopped tomatoes on it.(if you are using a can of normal tomatoes, bash it with a spoon to break the tomatoes up). simmer 10-15 mins. Season and eat with pasta/rice/couscous.

    Add grated cheese if you like.

    When bored of bolognaise, add a tin of kidney beans some chilli powder, some cumin some coriander and call it chilli.

    when bored of chilli, add some curry paste and call it curry.

    Roast chicken is easy peasy too, and once you're started on the rubber chicken, you'll be hooked for life
    Buy one medium or small chicken, wash and pat dry. season with salt and pepper, dribble with olive oil or push some small pats of butter under the breast so it stays moist. Stuff with half an onion and a couple of wedges of lemon.
    Cook according to packet. Then make your roast trimmings. Parboil potatoes for a few minutes, fluff up by draining the water and shaking it on the pan then chuck in roasting tin (with or after chicken has been rested). Then cook up some veggies.

    then over the next few days, reincarnate chicken into sandwiches for lunch or as a basis for couscous or pasta salad. Make chicken curry one night then when you've picked all the meat off the bones, make a stir fry with noodles.

    Then boil bones for stock for lentil soup.

    Phew!
    • Puddingpennies
    • By Puddingpennies 27th Aug 09, 9:54 AM
    • 33 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Puddingpennies
    • #7
    • 27th Aug 09, 9:54 AM
    • #7
    • 27th Aug 09, 9:54 AM
    "When bored of bolognaise, add a tin of kidney beans some chilli powder, some cumin some coriander and call it chilli.

    when bored of chilli, add some curry paste and call it curry."


    I had to laugh at that, I had no idea mince could be so versatile!

    I love the chicken idea, think I'll give that a go this sunday, how do I make the chicken stock from the bones? Once its made do I freeze it until I need it again?

    Whats rubber chicken?!

    I'm amazed that its so easy to make my own lentil soup, I love lentils, can I freeze that too once its done?
  • sunshinesheli
    • #8
    • 27th Aug 09, 10:33 AM
    • #8
    • 27th Aug 09, 10:33 AM
    If you can't afford mince, or want to free up some money for some chocolate ( like I would!!) you can use lentils and grated carrots in place of mince in that recipie ^ Actually surprisingly nice, and super duper cheap!!

    How about making some rattatouie(sp?!?!) basically chop up whatever veg you have/like steam until almost cooked, then throw in a pan with a tin of tomatos, a squeeze of lemon and whatever herbs you have lying around (I like either lots of garlic, or some chilli!) Then you can serve with pasta, on a jacket potato, or make a lovely veggie lasagna.

    Rubber chicken is amazing, I am such a convert since I started reading this forum!! It's basically what misskool saif to you about using 1 chicken for a weeks worth of meals!!

    1 thing I would say is where do you buy food from? If it's a big supermarket, you would probably be better off going to Aldi or Lidl for a lot of things, and maybe a market for veg?

    OH, and if you like peanut butter, this recepie is one of my faves and super cheap

    -cook some noodles, rinse in cold water and set aside with some sesame oil (if you have some, don't worry if not)
    - find some leftover chicken/ cook up some mushrooms/squash/whatever
    - make a salad (no lettuce or tomato though) usually I just use spring onion and cucumber!
    - cook half a finely chopped onion, 1 crushed clove garlic and a few chilli flakes in a little oil until soft, then add a big spoonful of peanut butter (crunchy!) ans stir.
    -add some veg/chicken stock a little at a time until you get a smooth but not runny consistency.
    -put noodles on plate, topped with salad, topped with chicken/veg, and spoon over sauce. NOM!
    Feb GC: £197 / £320 Feb £5 a day challenge: £ / £145
    I'm a (rubbish) Flylady!
    Still De-cluttering in 2012!!!
    • Chell
    • By Chell 27th Aug 09, 10:34 AM
    • 1,674 Posts
    • 3,261 Thanks
    Chell
    • #9
    • 27th Aug 09, 10:34 AM
    • #9
    • 27th Aug 09, 10:34 AM

    I'm amazed that its so easy to make my own lentil soup, I love lentils, can I freeze that too once its done?
    Originally posted by Puddingpennies
    There is a really easy dhal recipe on the board made with split peas that you might like. I freeze portions and my DH takes it to work with a mini Nan bread. You could also eat it with rice or as a jkt spud topping.
    Nevermind the dog, beware of the kids!
  • tinkerbellsmum
    quiche is easy to make use a packet mix pasty will make 2 quiches then mix egg milk salt and pepper in bowl. put pasty in flan dishes and lay your filling in i do bacon and mushroom pour over egg mix and cook. then u could eat that with home made chips (in oven if no frier) or potatoes. cut the rest into portions put some in the fridge to take to work and some in the freezer. also if u have it with potatos u could mash it and fry it up and serve with beans the next day its yummy.
    can make your own chinse to depending what u like is how easy it is. i have chicken chowmien which is just egg noodles (dried) mushrooms beansprouts(optional) chicken (i don't like off the bone chiocken for this but if u have space a bag of frozen chicken is cheap esp home brands) and u can get some chow mien sauce in little sacget its about 50p really easy just throw it in super quick to

    i could go on all day but i won't lol
    also with eggs u can make omlete super quick and easy mix 2 eggs, milk, filling in a bowl and pour in omlette (small frying pan) cook bottom and place under grill to could top once cooked u could grate cheese onto it.
    another thing from mince is burgers.
  • sunshinesheli
    OH! And a really cheap way of making a pasta bake, is to use a tin of soup (my fave is tomato) with some garlic and herbs thrown in, whatever leftover veg/meat you have lying around and some cooked pasta, bake in the oven with some grated cheese (if you have any!) mmmmm If you use tomato soup, add in some tomato puree, it makes it less soup like! But once it's mixed with the pasta and veg, and has herbs and stuff in it it really doesn't taste like soup anyway. SO much cheaper than those pasta bake sauce jars!
    Feb GC: £197 / £320 Feb £5 a day challenge: £ / £145
    I'm a (rubbish) Flylady!
    Still De-cluttering in 2012!!!
    • freyasmum
    • By freyasmum 27th Aug 09, 10:38 AM
    • 16,680 Posts
    • 48,767 Thanks
    freyasmum

    Whats rubber chicken?!


    I'm amazed that its so easy to make my own lentil soup, I love lentils, can I freeze that too once its done?
    Originally posted by Puddingpennies
    It's a chicken that's been streeeeeeeeeeeetched

    You buy a whole chicken and cook it, and get as many meals as possible. For example, you'd have roast chicken and then use the bigger bits that are left for a stirfry, smaller bits for a pie, and then boil the bones for a delicious stock - and any other bits of meat that come off the bones can be made into a delicious soup with your stock, a pack of your cheapy value noodles, a handful of sweetcorn and a diced carrot or two.

    It's dead easy when you know how, and we'll be happy to teach you

    Yep, lentil soup freezes brilliantly.

    Good luck, and welcome to OS
  • misskool
    "When bored of bolognaise, add a tin of kidney beans some chilli powder, some cumin some coriander and call it chilli.

    when bored of chilli, add some curry paste and call it curry."


    I had to laugh at that, I had no idea mince could be so versatile!

    I love the chicken idea, think I'll give that a go this sunday, how do I make the chicken stock from the bones? Once its made do I freeze it until I need it again?

    Whats rubber chicken?!

    I'm amazed that its so easy to make my own lentil soup, I love lentils, can I freeze that too once its done?
    Originally posted by Puddingpennies
    You did want an easy recipe.

    You can make your own burgers with mince too. 250g mince, some chopped onion (optional), 100g (or less) breadcrumbs, egg and seasoning. A dash of worcestershire sauce. Mix, shape and grill/bbq/pan fry.

    when bored of burgers, crumble them up and make bolognaise.

    Sorry.

    You get the idea how easy things are when you stop thinking about recipes and start on the ingredients that you have. (although not everyone thinks like I do, which is a good thing!). Cook things how you like them and you can't go far wrong.

    Yes, the soup freezes well, but keeps in the fridge for up to a week, it definitely last sunday night to friday lunchtime.

    rubber chicken's been explained by a fair few people. To make stock, get chicken bones, and put in pan with onion, some carrots, some leeks, some veg peelings and bring to a boil, simmer for a few hours. I think some on here roast the bones for extra flavor.
    • Katie-Kat-Kins
    • By Katie-Kat-Kins 27th Aug 09, 11:24 AM
    • 1,681 Posts
    • 1,780 Thanks
    Katie-Kat-Kins
    "When bored of bolognaise, add a tin of kidney beans some chilli powder, some cumin some coriander and call it chilli.

    when bored of chilli, add some curry paste and call it curry."


    I had to laugh at that, I had no idea mince could be so versatile!

    I love the chicken idea, think I'll give that a go this sunday, how do I make the chicken stock from the bones? Once its made do I freeze it until I need it again?

    Whats rubber chicken?!

    I'm amazed that its so easy to make my own lentil soup, I love lentils, can I freeze that too once its done?
    Originally posted by Puddingpennies
    Glad to see that you've come over here from DFW for some serious specialist help - the ladies on here are great at meal plans and cutting your shopping budget, you'll be eating lentils and living on 50p a day in no time!

    I'm no where near as good as these ladies but for some cheap but varied meals for one on a low budget here are a few of my tips:
    1. Make enough for two and save half for the next day in the fridge if you don't have room in the freezer for big batches. Eating the same meal two days running isn't too bad if you have different on the third day and try to vary your lunches.
    2. Try to eat breakfast, porridge oats are great for a filling budget friendly breakfast (or lunch or dinner if you run out of cash!) Eating breakfast will mean less snacking later. To make it more tasty a dollop of jam is nice or a bit of fruit. A past its best banana or berries mixed in and heated through is lovely!
    3. Tinned tomatoes are your friend, for 30p they are much cheaper than buying ragu sauce and do the same job and much more. Mix with mince and onion for bolognaise or use as a veggie pasta sauce, or with rice for a joloff rice, or as a base for a curry. A bit of leftover wine, or a stock cube, a handful of herbs, a chilli, a bit of ginger or whatever can make it really tasty too.
    4. Condensed soup is great, for a start you get twice the volume of normal tinned soup so one tin will do two meals. Or use it diluted less than recommended to make a pasta sauce or pasta bake or filling for savory pancakes. There are lots of flavours to choose from so it need not be repetative, mushroom, chicken, chicken and mushroom, chicken and ham are my favourites for this sort of thing but experiment with the ones you fancy.
    5. Get free recepies online, this board has loads and the BBC website is good too, there is also a BBC book called cheap eats which only costs a fiver and has some good receipes in.
    6. Freeze some veg so that you can use it little and often without waste. Those noodles or pasta meals can be livened up by adding frozen peppers, or mushroom, or courgette or whatever.
    7. Freeze your bread so you don't waste it, split a loaf into three freezer bags and freeze two and use the third.
    8. You say you have jacket potatoes a lot, don't buy the specific baking potatoes just buy a big bag and use the little ones to boil/roast/fry and save the big ones for jackets. You can always do two if you don't have one big enough.
    9. As well as soups and 9p noodles if you want some quick easy options, check out the packets of rice and pasta in the supermarket. Like noodles they aren't the best option but they do a job for a few pence and it is better to have a stock of this sort of thing in than to cave in and get a takeaway. They also keep forever and are easy to store.
  • sunshinesheli
    Oh, just remembered my uni lunch of choice when I had no loan left!

    Boil some rice in water that you've put a stock cube in, add some bits of leftover veg.. voila! the stock cube flavours the rice so it's not boring and plain, it's super quick, super cheap and easy peasy
    Feb GC: £197 / £320 Feb £5 a day challenge: £ / £145
    I'm a (rubbish) Flylady!
    Still De-cluttering in 2012!!!
  • Reverbe
    There is a really easy dhal recipe on the board made with split peas that you might like. I freeze portions and my DH takes it to work with a mini Nan bread. You could also eat it with rice or as a jkt spud topping.
    Originally posted by Chell
    I did a lentil and coconut dhal from here and when it froze it went a bit funny on the top..:confused: jolly nice stuff tho..
    What Would Bill Buchanan Do?
  • rosieben
    Hi Pp, welcome to the board! you've got loads of good advice re stretching mince and rubber chicken.

    take a look at Complete Cooking Collection - there are a couple of useful threads listed under Basic cooking - Learners start here and a few listed under Cheap (low cost) recipes but remember that the costings may be out of date if the thread is very old. Lots of other recipes threads to check out too!

    The Grocery Challenge has a useful recipe index on the front page, here's the August thread including over 20 soup recipes!

    Unfortunately Economy Gastronomy has the accent on Gastonomy and so not very useful for us normal bods looking to cut costs.

    hth
    Last edited by rosieben; 27-08-2009 at 12:47 PM.
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • Puddingpennies
    • By Puddingpennies 27th Aug 09, 1:21 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Puddingpennies
    Wow, this thread has really taken on a life of its own since Iíve been gone!


    Thank you so much everyone, all your ideas are great


    Sunshinesheli- I love the sound of the rattatouie (I canít spell) and would also be great for my vegetarian house mate! I normally go to Asda and then top up tinned or little things from either B&Mís/ Home Bargains or Lidl. I was considering moving to online shopping to make things a bit easier to plan, Iím hopeless at shopping at almost always forget the things I really wanted! And I completely agree with you about the EG budget, last nights really was a shock to me, they spent almost double what I earn a week on food, I still cant get my head around it!


    Chell- I bet your DH is the envy of his colleagues; somehow a shop bought sandwich doesnít sound as tempting as a home made Indian delight! Iíll hunt the recipe down and see if I can give it a go.


    Tinkerbellsmum- I am SO glad someone has suggested home made Chinese, Iím ashamed to say I think Iím a little bit addicted to Chinese takeaway, a homemade option would probably do wonders for my diet as well as my purseÖ


    Freyasmum- I might just take you up on that offerÖ move over BBC2 the MSEís are here!


    Misskool- the burger idea has inspired me, if the weather stays nice this bank holiday, its BBQ time! Iíll make the burgers from your suggestion, tinkerbellsmumís quiche, and pasta salad with left over chicken from Sunday et voila, a bbq for me and a few friends, then I could ask them to bring the wine/ chocolate (and if any wine is leftover Iíll cheekily stash it away for a mid week treat) and dessert.


    KatP- Iím glad I came too, I have so much help and advice already its amazing! Why I never thought of having two small potatos instead of one large one is beyond me *must engage brain* lol!


    Rosieben- Thanks for the link, will have a look and make some notes over the weekend, donít think my boss would approve much of me perusing the complete cooking collection instead of working!

    Phew, this has turned into an epic post, Im hungry now, I'll go and put my last packet of 9p noodles in the microwave, next week it'll be a whole new dining experience!!

    PP
    • Puddingpennies
    • By Puddingpennies 27th Aug 09, 1:26 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Puddingpennies
    Ooops! Just noticed there is already a thread about economy gastronomy

    I'll have a read through that as well!
  • tinkerbellsmum
    a couple of links for u
    http://www.studentrecipes.com/ i'm not a student but love this site cause there quick easy and cheap

    http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

    http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/Cheap-quick-%26-easy
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

4,659Posts Today

5,181Users online

Martin's Twitter