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  • FIRST POST
    ollym
    help me: food shopping too much - freezable meals
    • #1
    • 16th Oct 06, 11:01 PM
    help me: food shopping too much - freezable meals 16th Oct 06 at 11:01 PM
    Please help me. I've moved out and I'm living with a flat mate for the first time.
    I'm spending up to £100 a week on food shopping for one person. What are simple recipes... that can be easily frozen. I'm throwing about 1/3 of my stuff out each week.

    I make a lot of fruit smoothies... but I need quick, long life/freezable dinners.

    Please help - it's insane!

    Last edited by Former MSE Natasha; 17-10-2006 at 7:14 PM.
Page 1
  • Wonder_Girl
    • #2
    • 16th Oct 06, 11:03 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Oct 06, 11:03 PM
    Spag bol
    Chilli
    Lasagne
    Stew
    soup
    curry
    HM pizzas

    What kind of food have you been making? £100 a week is TONS!
    All comments and advice given is my own opinion and does not represent the views or advice of any debt advice organisation.

    DFW Nerd #132
  • spaghetti monster
    • #3
    • 16th Oct 06, 11:05 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Oct 06, 11:05 PM
    Wow, that is a lot!
    I think soups and stews are good - you can chuck in what you happen to have, what might be going off in the near-ish future - and maybe come up with some interesting new combinations!
    • ariba10
    • By ariba10 16th Oct 06, 11:11 PM
    • 5,217 Posts
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    ariba10
    • #4
    • 16th Oct 06, 11:11 PM
    • #4
    • 16th Oct 06, 11:11 PM
    Have a look arround the charity shops, you can often pick up suitable books there. 'Cooking for One' 'Students Cook Book' and many many more.
    I used to be indecisive but now I am not sure.
  • twinklybev
    • #5
    • 17th Oct 06, 12:22 AM
    • #5
    • 17th Oct 06, 12:22 AM
    Hi,

    My mum's just advised me to make a big pan of mince, vegs, pasta sauce & decant into spag bol, lasagne, rice & freeze. Keep some to one side & keep ready to use as a jacket spud topper. Only buy fruit & veg as you need & my Mum (LOL!!) also saysd avoid those ready prepared chicken breasts with tomato sauce, cream sauce, etc etc efforts,as you're paying stacks over the odds for a couple of breast fillets with a blob of sauce on! Good luck
    • EagerLearner
    • By EagerLearner 17th Oct 06, 12:54 PM
    • 4,942 Posts
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    EagerLearner
    • #6
    • 17th Oct 06, 12:54 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Oct 06, 12:54 PM
    Check out the Grocery Challanges etc on these boards - that will help you and keep you motivated!

    I make a big batch of bolognaise base sauce (red onions chopped, garlic, mince meat, tinned tomatoes, oregano, basil) - then I freeze it plan into portions.

    From that, I make variations like:

    - Chilli - by adding chilli, red kidney beans and sundried tomatoes. Then cook some rice.
    - Luxury spaghetti bolognaise - by adding mushrooms, carrots and sundried tomatoes. Then cook some spaghetti.
    - Lasagne red sauce - by adding courgettes, sliced mushrooms and red pepper. Then pop onto the lasagne and add cheesy white sauce in betwen the layers...

    Your local £1 store will have cheap containers for freezing - as well as cheap food like oloves, sundried tomatoes, grilled courgettes, cereal and more - so you don't feel like your living miserly!

    I have started making batches of yellow chicken curry and it works out at just £6 for around 10 portions. It's delicious and all home made.

    Good luck and PM me if you need any more help!
    MFW #185
    Mortgage slowly being offset! 88,601.08 /63,528.82 virtual balance
    Original mortgage free date 2037/ Now Nov 2034 and counting
    YNAB lover
    • annie-c
    • By annie-c 17th Oct 06, 1:00 PM
    • 2,517 Posts
    • 3,130 Thanks
    annie-c
    • #7
    • 17th Oct 06, 1:00 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Oct 06, 1:00 PM
    If you are throwing lots of food away then you will save loads by planing your meals ahead and taking a list with you when you go shopping. I remember first moving out and flat sharing and it becomes a real temptation because you will introduce each other to new foods, and generally lead each other astray! Great fun, but can be expensive!

    I tend to plan 3-4 meals a week and have a bit of flexibility with the rest. Go easy on buying veg - that's an eay thing to overdo and end up throwing away. Try to buy as much as you will need for planned meals and a few staples and then, on the day before you next go shopping have a good look in the fridge at what's left and see if you can plan a few soups/stews to use it up before buying loads more on your next shop.

    Good luck!

    annie
  • Penny-Pincher!!
    • #8
    • 17th Oct 06, 2:10 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Oct 06, 2:10 PM
    What meals do you like? Work out which are your favs, then maybe we can help with a good healthy cheap alternative recipe:confused: I would suggest doing a meal plan but maybe just doing a 2/3 day one to start with.

    100 pw on 1 person is alot, but would assume this is mainly convienance food which can be very over priced. Set yourself a budget of say 60pw to start with and see how you get on. If you manage well on that cut it further and so forth.

    Good luck.

    PP
    xx
    To repeat what others have said, requires education, to challenge it,
    requires brains!

    FEB GC/DIESEL 200/4 WEEKS
  • Cazzdevil
    • #9
    • 17th Oct 06, 2:14 PM
    • #9
    • 17th Oct 06, 2:14 PM
    £14 a day on food?!! That's more than my entire weekly budget!!

    I freeze things like:
    Chilli & rice
    Spag bol
    Veggie casseroles
    Curries
    Leftover sunday dinners (plate them up & freeze them - it's like a home made tv dinner!)

    And if I've got any scraps left over from a roast I pop those into a freezer bag too so that if I'm making a curry again I can defrost some of the scraps to put in it.

    Is any of the wasted food veg? If you're worried about veg going bad you could always chop it up and freeze it, or just bung it all in a big batch of thick veggie soup which can also be frozen.

    Also don't forget you can grate cheese and freeze it if you think you'll not get through a whole brick.
    • annie-c
    • By annie-c 17th Oct 06, 2:21 PM
    • 2,517 Posts
    • 3,130 Thanks
    annie-c
    Just to add: I used to spend £100ish a week for one - on expensive ready meals, veg to throw out when it had gone off, wine, gin, chocolate and just random odds and ends that 'fell' into my trolley as I went round - so I think I know where you're coming from. Now I am fairly frugal and yesterday had to laugh at myself as I walked past Iceland and turned my nose up at the posters advertising £1 ready meals - I used to turn my nose up at Iceland because I thought it was poor quality and cheap - now I turn my nose up because I think I could cook so much nicer/healthier/bigger portions for £1!!!

    It has taken me the best part of a year to change - round about since I started lurking on these boards this time last year.... I recommend taking small steps and trying maybe just a few new ideas and 1 or 2 new recipes per week.
    • Crazychik
    • By Crazychik 17th Oct 06, 2:41 PM
    • 1,986 Posts
    • 17,302 Thanks
    Crazychik
    WOW!!! £100 is alot, are you shopping at Harrods? ! I normally spend this amount every fortnight for a family of 4. I Only buy fruit & veg, milk & break as I need it.

    Before going shopping, have you thought about doing a meal plan for the week.? eg, mon- shepherds pie, tues spag bol - etc! Even if you cook fresh, just cook slightly more, and freeze the rest for another day. This will cut down your costs, of buying extra what you dont need!

    Every month I stock up on my fresh meat, ie - mince, stewing steak, chicken breast, etc. Our local butcher is currently selling mince meat 99p per lb. Buy in bulk, sepreate into freezer bags, and take out what and when you need.

    Spag bol, Chilli, savoury mince (ready to use for shepherds pie) are good meals to freeze, stews, curry's, are cheap and easy to make, and always have plenty left over for another day. My mum lives alone, so usually I cook plenty and let her have the left overs. Perhaps your mum could do the same for you!!!

    Like a previous message, avoid buying chicken meals with sauces etc, they are too costly and dont taste the same as when you do it your self. Buy some condensed Campbell's soup (chicken, mushroom & tomato) are firm favourites to use as a sauce. Just add your own herbs and seasoning as required. Cooked with chicken, these dishes can be served with rice,pasta or vegetables.

    Any veg you have left over, throw into a slow cooker with veg stock, seasoning, and make soup, ideal for the winter ahead, if that doesn't appeal, try cooking the veg, (steam is best) till its crunchy, leave to cool, then freeze, then all you have to do, is place in a pan of boiling water for 5 mins to reheat.

    Good luck
  • LydiaSophia
    £100 of food for a week! Are you mad!

    I live alone and I don't think I spend that in a month.

    Buy fruit and veg from a market (if you go when they're packing up they bag everything up for £1 per bag).

    Everyone is right, soups and stews are great, filling easy to cook and cheap and can be frozen. Eat soup with big chunks of bread - GO TO THE sUPERMARKETS BEFORE THEY ARE ABOUT TO SHUT AND ALL THEIR BREAD IS REDUCED TO 10P. Freeze it and only take put what you need. If your bread has gone stale you can sprinkle a little water on it and stick it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and it has got some life back it in.

    You shouldn't go shopping when your hungry as this makes you get stuff you don't really need just cos you are hungry.

    Always make a list of items you need and stick to it!

    Boiled egg and soliders is a nice meal if you can't be bothered aswell.

    Good Luck!
    Lydia

  • laughing cow
    When you've just started cooking for one, it's really easy to overspend. When I first lived on my own I bought huge quantities of fruit and veg because I was used to seeing the fridge/cupboards packed with them, because that's what my mum had. Of course, that's because she was shopping for four, not just one

    Be careful when you do a 'big' shop - I used to order way too much stuff and it was always gone off before I could use it. Much better to do smaller amounts of shopping more frequently. If I have lots of veg that needs using quickly, soup or stews are easily made and frozen in portions.

    Re meal planners - I try to do this for about half my meals. If I try to do any more, it just falls by the wayside because I've either gone out unexpectedly, I'm tired, or just want something different. I hate feeling 'obliged' to cook something from a meal planner when all I want is a bit of toast! On the days that I haven't meal planned, I've still got plenty of standby choices; homemade frozen meals, pasta/sauce etc in the cupboard and salad stuff in the fridge. I'm inherently lazy so I always cook at least two portions so I can have leftovers the following day. But you have to find what works best for you.

    I've always spent quite a lot on food but I very rarely eat any processed ready food - I just have expensive taste - eg I don't like most supermarket bread and will happily spend 2/3 on a sourdough loaf from the deli. I try and balance this out by making other stuff from scratch - eg posh bread + homemade soup.

    Good luck!
  • laughing cow
    Boiled egg and soliders is a nice meal if you can't be bothered aswell.
    by LydiaSophia
    Yep - I think I have this or beans on toast, or even just toast about once a week! If I've been working late, I can't be bothered to cook so it's got to be some kind of snacky dinner.
    • apples1
    • By apples1 17th Oct 06, 3:33 PM
    • 1,178 Posts
    • 687 Thanks
    apples1
    You could cook for four each time you cook but then freeze the other three portions. Its hard to buy just enough fresh food to make one meal as the ingredients come in bigger quantities. We cook in that way and after a few cook ups we have lots of home made "ready meals" in the freezer.

    I never "cook" tea for my daughter but she has fresh (frozen) homecooked healthy food every eve that I just have to heat up in the microwave when its her tea time (frozen in child size portions!). If you did a couple of cook ups and froze three portions each time you could the get away with just one or two cook ups a week and the other nights just selct from your selection of homemade ready meals.

    If you invite some friends over for a takeaway chinese one night you'll have lots of reusable plastic dishes to freeze your homemade portions in!
    • mrsmortenharket
    • By mrsmortenharket 17th Oct 06, 4:03 PM
    • 2,097 Posts
    • 20,893 Thanks
    mrsmortenharket
    Don't go shopping for a while

    Make a meal plan with the stuff you already have.

    Should you need to go shopping for basics, take a list & STICK TO IT!

    Make meal plans. Make more than you need of freezable stuff like chilli/curry/bolognaise etc etc...

    Don't buy ready meals.

    Don't forget leftovers can be made into another meal. Left over chicken carcass is a soup, boil the whole thing up with carrot, onion, potato & any other veg lurking about. Boil for a bit. Strain, add the veggies back. Let the chicken cook & pick the meat off. You'll be amazed that even an apparently empty carcass will have meat on it. Cool & blend if you wish. Freeze in portions. Fab! I think! I'm a veggie, lol!

    Good luck!

    Lisa x
    • lynzpower
    • By lynzpower 17th Oct 06, 4:38 PM
    • 24,746 Posts
    • 39,940 Thanks
    lynzpower
    I agree 100 a week is a lot.

    ONe of the things I wonder about is if you re buying soft fruits for smoothie making these too can be expensive, especially as they are not seasonal and now will probably have to be jetted from guatemala or bolivia or wherever to hity your plate ( ie NOT fresh, hardly any vitamins left) A better and chea[per bet is to buy frozen veg, particularly rasperries and summer fruits. I did see now tescos are doing frozen smoothie packs, but also farmfoods do bargain frozen rasperries etc - perfect for smoothies! ( and cheap at 3 for a pound too )

    Again it really depends what sort of thing you like and what you are into, but put it this way, me & my partner spend about a 100 a MONTH on food & cleaning stuff & toiletries between us. thats including all our lunches packed and otherwise.

    the sort of things we have are really varied and fall into 3 categories

    "lazy tea" for when we cant be bothered
    beans on toast
    cheese toastie
    fishfingers, oven chips, peas/ beans
    linda mccartney pie, mash & peas/ carrots/ sweetcorn & gravy type affair
    sausages, beans mushrooms, waffles, fried egg

    Stock staples
    Roast dinner
    bangers & mash
    chilli
    bolognese ( veggie for me, mince for OH)
    lasagne
    stirfry v quick
    fajitas / enchiladas
    curry ( these are top to freeze you can do a massive batch & feeze in seperate tupperwares)
    PIzza & jacket pots

    New ideas
    tonight im doing chicken fillets & veg in hot african BBQ sauce in tortilla (nicked from mums ) with Spicy Cuban Rice & sour cream & a bit of salady stuff.
    I tend to get ideas from when we eat out, I think, I can make that at home ( usually nicer) from here, magazines, newspapers, tv wherever.
    theres usually someone on here knows how to make whatever you want and the indexed recipe collection is massive and theres LOADS of stuff in there to get going on!
    Well aint funny how its the little things in life that mean the most? Not where you live, the car you drive or the price tag on your clothes.
    Theres no dollar sign on piece of mind
    This Ive come to know...
    So if you agree have a drink with me, raise your glasses for a toast
    • EagerLearner
    • By EagerLearner 17th Oct 06, 4:47 PM
    • 4,942 Posts
    • 7,834 Thanks
    EagerLearner
    Oooh - lynzpower - you're making my tummy rumble with the chicken and hot african BBQ sauce! Sounds yummy!
    MFW #185
    Mortgage slowly being offset! 88,601.08 /63,528.82 virtual balance
    Original mortgage free date 2037/ Now Nov 2034 and counting
    YNAB lover
    • icecoolbabe
    • By icecoolbabe 17th Oct 06, 5:47 PM
    • 1,324 Posts
    • 703 Thanks
    icecoolbabe
    With the mince meals - don't forget Shepherds Pie! You can make a large amount of that and easily freeze it.

    You could vary the mash if you feel adventurous. Replace some of the normal potato with sweet potato. Or mix some garlic or onion into the mash. Or top it with grated cheese.

    I'm hungry now...
    If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • laughing cow
    ONe of the things I wonder about is if you re buying soft fruits for smoothie making these too can be expensive, especially as they are not seasonal and now will probably have to be jetted from guatemala or bolivia or wherever to hity your plate ( ie NOT fresh, hardly any vitamins left) A better and chea[per bet is to buy frozen veg, particularly rasperries and summer fruits. I did see now tescos are doing frozen smoothie packs, but also farmfoods do bargain frozen rasperries etc - perfect for smoothies! ( and cheap at 3 for a pound too )
    by lynzpower
    That's a very good point to make. I often eat fruit for breakfast and used to spend quite a lot on supermarket berries and tropical stuff. I now just have one of these items and the other fruit is whatever's seasonal and cheaper (and probably healthier). Re the smoothies, it's worth checking shops for reduced price berries at the end of the day - it doesn't matter if they're a bit over ripe for smoothies.




    "lazy tea" for when we cant be bothered
    beans on toast
    cheese toastie
    fishfingers, oven chips, peas/ beans
    linda mccartney pie, mash & peas/ carrots/ sweetcorn & gravy type affair
    sausages, beans mushrooms, waffles, fried egg
    by lynzpower
    I echo those and I've remembered another lazy tea, Bruschetta. It's something I've always got the ingredients for: Ciabatta bread in the freezer, olive oil, basil plant, garlic/red onion, tomatoes. My favourite easy tea and not too pricey.
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