I hope you will forgive me if food is the last thing you want to think about post-Christmas but I thought I’d share some genuinely helpful tips with you all. Don't you hate it when you see an article entitled "money saving tips" and then you read it and find it's full of the most basic common sense. That happens to me all the time so I promise none of that here I will only share what i know to be true and have found to be useful.
Listen carefully I shall say this only once... make a list - Duh! I know that was obvious but it really does help you save money. Plan your meals for the week, look through your cupboards and find out what you already have and what you need, make a list. Stick to the list & leave the supermarket (or where ever you buy your food) and feel good! I will return to the subject of meal planning later.
Now that’s the basics onto the genuinely good stuff. Once you've got the food home how can you make the most of it & make it last...
Wine is very expensive so don't let it go to waste. Freeze any dregs or half drunk bottles to use in your cooking. I use little individual jelly moulds for this or ice cube trays. Once frozen pop out into a freezer bag and label. Keep reds and white separate of course.
Blitz stale bread in a blender and freeze it. Use it to coat fish and chicken or sprinkle on top of a pasta bake or fish pie. If you don't fancy that make croutons with it or go traditional with a bread and butter pudding.
Have you ever had to buy a whole packet or fresh chillies for a recipe that only used one. Did you know you can freeze them and then refresh them when needed with a little cold water. Or dry them by stringing them onto a length of thread and hanging them in a cool dry place.
Tender herbs (parsley, chives, dill etc.) can be frozen too. Freeze them in water in an ice cube tray and pop them out as needed.
Did you know you can also freeze most cheese everything from Cheddar to Stilton to Brie, wrap in Clingfilm & freeze - simple! Cheddar can be grated first if it's more convenient. If you’re keeping your cheese in the fridge wrap it in foil to stop it sweating.
That’s the freezer filled now onto the fridge..
Bagged salad will live longer if you remove them from the bag they came in and replace them in a fresh bag. In fact excess water in you fridge causes mould pop a sponge in the veg drawer of your fridge it will make everything last longer - cheap make-up sponges are great for this as they are small and, dense enough to hold the water.
Be thrifty with your time and energy and plan ahead for a rainy day. It takes the same amount of time and effort to make 1 shepherds pie as it does to make two. So why not make extra and pop it in the freezer. Then when you have a day when you don’t feel like cooking or the kids are acting up or you get stuck in traffic on the way home and need to be get in, put the kids to bed and go to a PTA meeting viola pull out your "here's one I made earlier" dinner and feel like a domestic goddess.