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  • FIRST POST
    • Buffy the Vampire Bat
    • By Buffy the Vampire Bat 29th Feb 08, 12:30 PM
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    Buffy the Vampire Bat
    As requested: Monthly menu plan + shopping list + notes
    • #1
    • 29th Feb 08, 12:30 PM
    As requested: Monthly menu plan + shopping list + notes 29th Feb 08 at 12:30 PM
    Afternoon all

    Having mentioned that I draw up a monthly menu plan each month, a couple of members have asked if I could post one of my monthly plans, which I promised to do. I find having a monthly menu a great way of helping me budget, plan ahead and save time. For example, most months I make a big pot of bolognese sauce and freeze it in batches...I can then use the sauce for spaghetti bolognese, cottage pie, lasagne, bolognese pasta bake, and even moussaka as I don't like lamb. Another trick I have is to make a HUGE pot of tomato pasta type sauce (I usually end up using my big soup pot for this ) As well as being frozen in batches for pasta dishes, I also use it as a base for curries and chickpea enchiladas amongst other things, thus saving me time in the long run.

    I have to confess to being a compulsive list maker, a trait I inherited from my mother As far as I can remember she has produced monthly menus, primarily for the same reasons that I do, but also to try and ensure we ate a variety of different meals to keep mealtimes interesting. I love drawing up my monthly menu (I even like writing shopping lists...I wonder if there is a List Makers Anonymous out there somewhere...) A couple of years ago I drew up a long list (with OH's help) of all the dishes I like to cook, and continue adding to this list on a monthly basis. When drawing up my menu this list is usually my first point of call, then I plop myself down on the sofa with a stack of cookbooks for further inspiration (especially Ainsley Harriot's Meals in Minutes series, and the little BBC Food books like One Pot Meals) I try to take into account things like days out, visiting family/family visiting us etc, and the menu is always flexible, never absolutely set in stone.

    I've tried doing a big monthly shop and then topping up weekly with fruit, veg and milk, and I've tried literally shopping week by week. I have come to the conclusion that doing a big monthly shop and topping up is the way that works best for me - it might not be the way that works best for you, but that's one of the main things about moneysaving to me - it's about what works best for you, not for other people I don't shop on-line but can appreciate why so many of you do. I live in a village not far from Cambridge, and am generally pretty well served for supermarkets (although greedy moo that I am I want a Lidl and I haven't got one! Waaaah! ) 3 miles away is Morrisons which I generally use for the weekly top up as it's the nearest to home. My drive to and from work takes me within a mile of a big Waitrose, which I pop into once a month for their ginger beer (lovely and fiery and not too sweet like the other supermarket's) salted capers and big jars of pitted olives in brine -usually equivalent in price to the ones in Tesco, but after picking several jars up in Tesco which were riddled with mould/fungus inside I was put off buying the Tesco ones On the east side of Cambridge we are lucky to have a big Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda within a mile of each other. I tend to do my big shop in either Tesco or Sainsburys, depending on the current offers/vouchers/which loyalty card point total I am trying to boost the highest To be honest I'm a supermarket tart really , I'll use any of them if the offers are good, but usually stick to Tesco or Sainsburys for the big shop. This month for example, I'm doing the main shop in Sainsburys, but will be popping into Tesco as they have a couple of things on offer that I want and it's directly opposite the retail park...where there is a big Boots...and I have my last £5 No7 voucher to use by Monday...seems a shame to waste it

    So I'll post the menu now, and then the shopping list...and I'll be back later to update...

    As I said earlier, this is what works for me - if it is of any use to anyone in any way at all, that's a bonus

    Right, menu coming up!
    Last edited by Buffy the Vampire Bat; 29-02-2008 at 2:04 PM. Reason: Because I iz a plank sometimes!
    DFW no.554 - Proud to be dealing with my debts
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Page 1
    • Buffy the Vampire Bat
    • By Buffy the Vampire Bat 29th Feb 08, 12:31 PM
    • 1,079 Posts
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    Buffy the Vampire Bat
    • #2
    • 29th Feb 08, 12:31 PM
    • #2
    • 29th Feb 08, 12:31 PM
    MENU FOR MARCH 2008

    Sat 1st – Salmon en croute with red pesto, roasted sweet potato, asparagus, baby corn, carrots
    [Salmon fillets spread with red pesto and wrapped in filo pastry]
    Sun 2nd – Falafels, pitta breads, salad
    [First attempt at these – basing mine on an Ainsley Harriot recipe]
    Mon 3rd – Vegetable biryani
    [Usually make this with prawns but trying a veggie version this time – onion, garlic, carrots, peas, green lentils, tinned tomatoes, curry paste, basmati rice, veg stock made from stock cube]
    Tues 4th – Greek salad frittata, jacket potato, salad
    [Another new recipe, can’t remember what inspired it now! Red onion, feta cheese, eggs, olives, tomatoes, oregano]
    Wed 5th – Chilli con carne pie, carrots
    [Chilli con carne base already in freezer, frozen peas to be added to base, then top with mashed potato with tinned sweetcorn mixed in and some grated cheddar on top]
    Thu 6th – Pasta with spicy tomato sauce, roasted peppers, capers, olives and fennel seeds
    [Peppers roasted in oven with a sprinkling of fennel seeds, then added to cooked pasta along with homemade spicy tomato pasta sauce, some olives and some capers]
    Fri 7th – Chicken fajitas
    [Chicken breasts, tortilla wraps, Chicken Tonight fajita paste, mixed peppers, onion]
    Sat 8th – Sausage and pea risotto
    [Grilled sausages chopped and added to fried onion and garlic, along with frozen peas, rice, chicken stock made from stock cube, oregano, chilli flakes and Worcestershire sauce…if I’ve got any in the cupboard I sometimes add sundried tomatoes to this]
    Sun 9th – Caramelized onion soup, garlic bread
    [Been bumping this on and off my menu plans for months now, but WILL make it this month! Onions, garlic, stock, herbs, little bit of sugar to encourage the onions )
    Mon 10th – Tuna and mushroom pasta bake
    [Cooked pasta mixed with tinned tuna, chopped fresh mushrooms, tin of low fat condensed mushroom soup, herbs, chilli flakes and a drop of water, then topped with grated cheese]
    Tues 11th – Lentil soup, pumpkin bread, cheese
    [An old favourite – onion, carrots, celery, red lentils, veg stock, peppercorns and herbs]
    Wed 12th – Salmon with fennel, mash, broccoli, carrots
    [Another new experiment…thought I’d bake some salmon fillets topped with fennel seeds and maybe a little dab of butter, then served with mashed potato with stir-fried fresh fennel added to it, and the other veg listed]
    Thu 13th – Chickpea and spinach curry, naan bread
    [Chickpeas, homemade tomato sauce, spinach, curry paste, mustard seeds, cardamom pods, ground coriander, veg stock, will get OH to rustle up some home made naan bread!]
    Fri 14th – Spaghetti Bolognese
    [Another old favourite! Beef mince, onions, garlic, celery, carrot, mushrooms, streaky bacon, tinned tomatoes, beef stock made from stock cube), oregano, bay leaves and Worcestershire sauce]
    Sat 15th – Off to best friend's hen do – Pizza for OH
    Sun 16th – Mushroom and spinach risotto
    [Another new dish to try – onion, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, chilli flakes, rice, veg stock, herbs]
    Mon 17th – Bacon and roasted pepper tortilla, salad
    [Fancy omelette type thing really! Fry bacon and onion in large frying pan, then sliced cooked potatoes, roasted pepper pieces and herbs, then add beaten egg and cook until egg is nearly set on top…finish under the grill making sure frying pan handle is not directly under the heat…not that I would do a thing like that of course…]
    Tues 18th – Chorizo and chickpea soup, crusty bread
    [An unusual but tasty soup, very filling! Fry onion and chorizo…fat from chorizo should be sufficient to cook these in…add chickpeas, chopped savoy cabbage, chicken or veg stock, chilli and herbs…simmer for a bit and serve with some nice crusty bread to dip in]
    Wed 19th – Cheese and red bean pie
    [Another pie without a flake of pastry in sight! A base of onion, garlic, red kidney beans, chilli, and homemade tomato sauce, topped with a mashed potato and grated cheddar…very simple, cheap and very tasty!]
    Thu 20th – Salmon with garlic, ginger and chilli, roasted sweet potato, broccoli, carrots
    [Salmon fillets topped with crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger and dried chilli flakes and roasted in oven wrapped in foil]
    Fri 21st – Spanish chicken risotto
    [A special request from OH…red onion, garlic, chicken, chorizo, peppers, olives, herbs, rice and chicken stock]
    Sat 22nd – Moussaka, salad
    [Made with Bolognese sauce as I don’t like lamb]
    Sun 23rd – Chicken en croute with red pesto, potato gratin, courgettes, braised celery
    [Using up some more of that filo pastry]
    Mon 24th – Carrot and coriander soup, bread, cheese
    [Can’t beat a bowl of homemade soup can you? )
    Tues 25th – Cottage pie, brussel sprouts, swede
    [Made with Bolognese sauce, tin of baked beans on the bottom, then mashed potato on the top]
    Wed 26th – Cauliflower and green bean curry, rice
    [Cauliflower, green beans, homemade tomato sauce, curry paste, mustard seeds, cardamom pods, ground coriander, veg stock]
    Thu 27th – Rustic pasta
    [Another of OH’s favourites – grilled sausages added to homemade tomato sauce along with frozen peas, and then mixed into cooked pasta]
    Fri 28th – Steaks, homemade potato wedges, salad
    [OH’s birthday so using the last of the lovely sirloin steak we bought back from Devon with us at Christmas]
    Sat 29th – Have left this day blank for now as OH’s family are coming for the day – there is talk of a big picnic but will make firmer plans nearer the time
    Sun 30th – Chickpea enchiladas
    [Chickpeas, homemade tomato sauce, cumin seeds and chilli flakes, spooned into tortilla wraps which are then rolled up and popped into a baking dish, top with some grated cheddar and bung in oven until cheese is melted and browning a little]
    Mon 31st – Toasted sandwiches, salad

    Shoppping list coming up next!
    Last edited by Buffy the Vampire Bat; 29-02-2008 at 1:04 PM.
    DFW no.554 - Proud to be dealing with my debts
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    • Buffy the Vampire Bat
    • By Buffy the Vampire Bat 29th Feb 08, 12:47 PM
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    Buffy the Vampire Bat
    • #3
    • 29th Feb 08, 12:47 PM
    • #3
    • 29th Feb 08, 12:47 PM
    Right, most of the time it's just me + OH...My Dad usually comes to stay with us for a couple of nights each week, so most weeks I'm cooking for 3 a couple of times a week.

    Breakfast is usually cereal in the week, and at weekends it's usually porridge/toast/the occasional bacon sandwich . Lunches are usually sandwiches/couscous salad/pasta salad/leftovers (all HM of course)

    I don't usually cook desserts apart from the occasional apple and blackberry crumble (I went a bit mad picking blackberries last autumn and the freezer is still groaning with them ) I do make the odd batch of chocolate brownies, or my version of Twink's lovely hob nobs with glace cherries, sultanas and mixed spice added to them.

    We do have the odd bottle of wine, but I don't need to buy any this month as we stocked up on several bottles of Chenet wine when they were 3 for 2 in Tesco last week...and before anyone says anything, I know I'm not a wine buff

    I am quite lucky this month as I have the salmon fillets in the freezer already (reduced for £10 something to £3 something in Tesco the other week), the steaks for OH's birthday in the freezer too, along with one batch of chilli con carne left over from February. We popped into Morrisons last night and they had some packs of West Country cheddar in the reduced section reduced to a nice price...and the best before date is 6th April...no, we couldn't work that one out either! I have plenty of bread in the freezer, and am pretty well stocked with things like dried herbs etc.

    This is my shopping list for Sainsburys with rough estimated total based on recent receipts and the Sainsburys website. Tacked on at the end is my little list for Tesco, again with estimated total. Will update this evening with how I got on (or maybe tomorrow, all I have planned tonight after doing the shopping is pasta bake+wine+Moving Wallpaper/Echo Beach )

    SAINSBURYS

    Frozen chicken breasts
    Streaky bacon
    Sausages x2 packs
    Filo pastry
    Sunflower spread
    Butter
    Stork for baking
    Milk
    Sundried tomato pitta breads
    Part baked baguettes
    Peppers x4 packs
    Asparagus
    Sweet potatoes
    Carrots
    Onions
    Red onions
    Chickpeas x6 tins
    Chopped tomatoes x10 tins
    Apples
    Lettuce
    Celery
    Mushrooms
    Tomatoes
    Tortilla wraps
    Tomato puree
    Tinned sweetcorn
    Frozen peas
    Basmati rice
    Red lentils
    Curry paste
    Eggs
    Toilet rolls
    Washing liquid
    Red kidney beans
    Shredded Wheat
    Bran Flakes
    Matches
    Red pesto
    Marmite
    Dove soap
    Orange juice
    Apple juice
    Chocolate chips
    Cooking chocolate
    Glace cherries


    £65 ca


    TESCO


    Beef mince
    Fajita paste
    Shower gel
    Dishwasher tablets


    £7 ca

    In addition to the above I estimate that I’ll spend roughly £10 a week for week 2, 3 & 4 on fruit, veg, yoghurts and milk. I haven’t really got room in my freezer to freeze milk as well as everything else, and as OH works within walking distance of Sainburys, he can always pick some up at lunchtime, saving me petrol
    Last edited by Buffy the Vampire Bat; 29-02-2008 at 12:53 PM.
    DFW no.554 - Proud to be dealing with my debts
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  • destiny_star2006
    • #4
    • 29th Feb 08, 12:59 PM
    • #4
    • 29th Feb 08, 12:59 PM
    wow thanks alot and theres alot of posh meals on there though as i would call them that my family wouldnt eat but thanks very much for taking your time in posting xx
    We Make A Living By What We Get. We Make A LIFE By What We GIVE


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    • Buffy the Vampire Bat
    • By Buffy the Vampire Bat 29th Feb 08, 1:03 PM
    • 1,079 Posts
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    Buffy the Vampire Bat
    • #5
    • 29th Feb 08, 1:03 PM
    • #5
    • 29th Feb 08, 1:03 PM
    wow thanks alot and theres alot of posh meals on there though as i would call them that my family wouldnt eat but thanks very much for taking your time in posting xx
    Originally posted by destiny_star2006
    I have a pretty varied cooking style with all sorts of influences - absolutely rubbish at cooking roast dinners though, can never get the timing right, and can't make a proper omelette to save my life (not much better with fried eggs either, although that's probably a good thing!)
    DFW no.554 - Proud to be dealing with my debts
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  • destiny_star2006
    • #6
    • 29th Feb 08, 1:21 PM
    • #6
    • 29th Feb 08, 1:21 PM
    If you are cooking all those posh sounding foods i wouldnt wurry about a roast or fried egg t b h i bet its like having jamie oliver cooking in your kitchen !! spanish chicken rissotto } my family would have a heart attack at me just thinkn of the idea of cooking some of them names but were a very tradional family who like roasts bolognase pasta salad etc!Again thanks
    We Make A Living By What We Get. We Make A LIFE By What We GIVE


    show me a man with both feet on the ground and i'll show you a man who cant get his pants off.
  • mumzyof2
    • #7
    • 29th Feb 08, 1:33 PM
    • #7
    • 29th Feb 08, 1:33 PM
    Hello your meal plan has loverly meals on it that i wouldnt know how to make.could you post me the ingredients for your pasta based soup? do u eat this as a soup as well?? and put into spag bol etc? so does this mean i dont need to put in extra bol sauce if i had the pasta based soup? Also can u tell me how u make it?
    Sorry for all the questions and thanks for taking your time to tell us your month list and meal plan
    Sealed Pot dec 08 - dec 09 so far 27.67, Live off 4k Spent 330.20 GC 1,200 for 2009 Spent 50.78 PaD so far 650.07
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    • HopeElizzy
    • By HopeElizzy 29th Feb 08, 1:34 PM
    • 603 Posts
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    HopeElizzy
    • #8
    • 29th Feb 08, 1:34 PM
    • #8
    • 29th Feb 08, 1:34 PM
    Thank you for taking the time and trouble to post your lists.
    I love trying new things - though my family aren't so sure - they tend to look at their plates muttering whats this? under their breaths There are some great ideas for me to try and your way of making large amounts of things like bolognese that can be used as a base for different meals is a good idea. If I have left-overs I portion them up so we have some home-made ready-meals for when I don't feel like cooking. This would help even more towards the days when I really haven't the time to make real food before I leave for work. I then know for sure the little ones are eating proper food.
    Thanks.
    "all endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time..."
    • thriftlady
    • By thriftlady 29th Feb 08, 1:38 PM
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    thriftlady
    • #9
    • 29th Feb 08, 1:38 PM
    • #9
    • 29th Feb 08, 1:38 PM
    Love your menu plan Buffy such a lot of variety and colour there. These are (in the main) the kind of dishes my family like and quick and easy to make too. And just look at all the veg you've managed to include -yum yum
    • rockie4
    • By rockie4 29th Feb 08, 2:14 PM
    • 1,262 Posts
    • 9,892 Thanks
    rockie4
    Wow!! Thanks for that I might pinch a few ideas for mine..........
    I'm a compulsive list maker but then forget to pick them up when I go shopping

    Must make a list to remind myself...........
    • Buffy the Vampire Bat
    • By Buffy the Vampire Bat 29th Feb 08, 2:16 PM
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    Buffy the Vampire Bat
    Ah…whoops…that should have said tomato sauce, not soup in my first post (now amended ) Sorry about that! Actually I guess you could turn it into a soup if you added some vegetable stock and some veg – chunky veg soup! The basics of my tomato sauce are friend onions and garlic, tinned tomatoes, dried herbs, tomato puree and some chilli flakes, simmered for ages – I’m sure there is a whole thread on homemade tomato sauces here somewhere, with much better ideas than mine! Gawd, I’m a bit embarrassed that people think I’m posh now, if you met me you’d know I’m not posh really! The majority of these recipes are pretty much one pot dishes which is my style of cooking really – less washing up afterwards too! Most of them are my versions of cookbook recipes – mostly Ainsley and the BBC books mentioned earlier, plus St Delia, Jamie and the good old Hamlyn All Colour cookbooks, but my versions are often simpler than the originals. My Dad spent a lot of time travelling before I was born and tried lots of different food which he then carried on eating when he settled back in the UK, so I guess I kinda grew up with a real variety of foods and cooking styles. Believe me, I wouldn’t get far on Master Chef, after about 5 minutes I’d be all “****** this” and be off for a drink!

    P.S. Sorry about the font sizes being all over the place, I've been cut and pasting from Word as the 'net is being a wee bit shaky again today and I hate it when I try to make a post and the connection goes tits up when I hit post
    Last edited by Buffy the Vampire Bat; 29-02-2008 at 2:20 PM.
    DFW no.554 - Proud to be dealing with my debts
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    • Yategirl
    • By Yategirl 29th Feb 08, 3:28 PM
    • 841 Posts
    • 3,335 Thanks
    Yategirl
    thanks for your menu post it is so good to see other peoples ideas when planning.... I have been menu planning for 6 + years now and I *still* get stuck for ideas!!

    *off to peruse your list further* :lol:
  • merchantofvenice
    Thanks very much for that, i would love to eat everything on your mealplan, and was looking for ways to be more creative with salmon ( i too, got it cheap at Tescos, and freezer is full!!) Have copied and pasted and will try it myself, if its not too weird, that every day in March I will be eating the same food as you...
    • lilmisskitkat
    • By lilmisskitkat 29th Feb 08, 3:58 PM
    • 821 Posts
    • 7,144 Thanks
    lilmisskitkat
    Wow! What a great thread Buffy, some fab ideas

    I love lists too i have them for everything, plus the one that has OH rolling his eyes - my list of lists i have I prefer to call it a 'table of contents' actually

    I do meal plan but have noticed that we tend to stick to the same sorts of things so i'm on a mission to bring in something new once a week or so, yours all sound yummy!

    Thanks for posting your plans/list - i always love to have a nosy at what other people eat/how they shop. Lol i'm a cyberspace curtain-twitcher

    Kate xxx
    • windowshopper100
    • By windowshopper100 29th Feb 08, 3:59 PM
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    windowshopper100
    Well done Buffy for posting all that - it's really useful stuff.

    I do my best to meal plan weekly, and as you say, it's not set in stone - things swap around and sometimes, just sometimes, we even get asked out to friends for a bite and I'm not about to say, errr sorry no, I've got sardines on toast and salad on the list.... It just annoys me if something else comes up and I've got something out of the freezer already. Still, there's always the next day.

    I might try a forthnightly plan first before going for the big one!

    I've been subscribing to BBC Good Food mag for some years, but that seems a bit pointless now since they've got a great website - also, there's just not enough days in the week to cook all the different stuff. I'll think I'll knock that on the head, plunder what I've got and save a bit more money!

    WS100
    • windowshopper100
    • By windowshopper100 29th Feb 08, 4:01 PM
    • 740 Posts
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    windowshopper100
    I prefer to call it a 'table of contents' actually
    Kate xxx
    Originally posted by lilmisskitkat
    Love it!
    • Buffy the Vampire Bat
    • By Buffy the Vampire Bat 6th Mar 08, 12:20 PM
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    Buffy the Vampire Bat
    A quick very belated update - the Sainsburys shop came in at 70.35 - found a few bits in the reduced section that I liked the look of, plus a couple of other bits that I'd forgotten to put on the list. Tescos came in at 15.07 - a 24 pack of Pepsi Max was 5 and OH likes that, so a pack got added to the trolley...found a couple of nice incense sets in the sale too which I thought would make nice presents...only they looked so nice I opened one myself and have hidden the other one so I can't open it

    Menu generally going well, would go even more smoothly if I remembered to get stuff out of the freezer before going to work some mornings!
    DFW no.554 - Proud to be dealing with my debts
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    • pollyanna24
    • By pollyanna24 6th Mar 08, 12:34 PM
    • 4,142 Posts
    • 6,208 Thanks
    pollyanna24
    Love it, love it, love it! Only wish I could be this organised. I do a similar thing where I make bf drive me to Tescos on the first of every month and I try and buy everything I need for the whole month (hate running out of things).

    I have what I call a grocery list which has everything on it I have ever bought from the supermarket and I go through it once a month crossing off what I don't need that month.

    I have completely fallen off the wagon though as we have lodgers who just randomly take my stuff and wreck my plans, so as soon as they are gone, I plan to organise myself just like you.

    I also have kept a meal plan of things that I have cooked, so I don't end up cooking the same thing over and over or so I can go back for inspiration.

    bf does roll his eyes though when I go, did you know on (for example) March 6th 2007, we had Chicken Tonight for dinner? Teehee! (And yes, I did look this up to double check!) He thinks I'm crazy!
    Pink Sproglettes born 2008 and 2010
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  • Benthosboy
    Another trick I have is to make a HUGE pot of tomato pasta type sauce (I usually end up using my big soup pot for this ) As well as being frozen in batches for pasta dishes, I also use it as a base for curries and chickpea enchiladas amongst other things, thus saving me time in the long run.
    Originally posted by Buffy the Vampire Bat
    Excuse the hijack folks.

    How big a soup pot are we talking about? Reason I ask is because I shall soon be living in my motorhome and I'd really love to get a stock of pasta sauce in the spare chest freezer that's going in the awning before I move out of the bungalow. The biggest pan I can find is about 10" diameter by 5" deep. Is that big enough and can you put the pasta in with the sauce before freezing or is it easier to cook it as and when required?

    Much thanks.

    Martyn.
    LBM: 12.2.08.
    Debt-free as of July '09 and determined not to go there, ever again
    DFW Nerd Club #902 Proud to have dealt with my debts.
    • Raspberry Swirl
    • By Raspberry Swirl 7th Mar 08, 10:57 AM
    • 1,380 Posts
    • 1,442 Thanks
    Raspberry Swirl
    snagging for ideas. thanks
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