To follow on from last week’s Frugal Friday, but Fun post all about grocery shopping, a few more ‘foodie’ ideas;
- Stay away from takeaway: try a toasted sandwich or egg on toast for an alternative quick meal.
- Stop buying pre-made packet mixes that you just add meat and liquid to and instead look on the internet for recipes which use actual herbs and spices without all of the nasty additives. You can grow the herbs at home or buy them dried, both of which are cheaper and healthier options than the packet mixes.
- For those who are interested in further information about additives, I found this post at Loving Mums really helpful.
- I have previously posted about our efforts at ‘growing your own’ vegetables. When Australia was in the grips of the Great Depression, women were urged to grow vegetables in their backyards and to keep poultry to help put food on the table for their families. We have had varied success – heaps of tomatoes, a good number of zucchini, some broccoli, but no edible cauliflower or pumpkin (thanks to the various small creatures interested in eating them before they are fit for human consumption). Our strawberry plants look like they have potential with lots of flowers and developing fruit, it is just a matter of keeping the toddler away from them long enough for them to mature! Now the weather is warming up, it is time for us to revisit what we should try planting next and Rhonda at Down to Earth suggests using this planting calendar (for those in Australia).
- Invest in a slow cooker as they are an excellent way of tenderising cheaper cuts of meat. I was interested to read that Hungarian Goulash was a popular meal choice during the Great Depression for this very reason.
- Try baking your own biscuits, cakes and puddings as treats. If you are not a confident baker (and I definitely fall into this category), start by buying packet mixes when they are on special. Once you’ve mastered the packet variety, test yourself with some ‘real’ baking. There are million of recipes available on the internet. I like making cornflake and choc chip biscuits to use up the little cornflake crumbs that you find in the dregs of the cereal box!
- Use meal preparation as a great way to show children how a budget works. Begin by choosing a meal that your child is familiar with. Write a shopping list of all the ingredients that you need and set a clear budget before you head off to the shops. Shop together, prepare together and eat together.
- Children learn so much from cooking experiences – as well as learning about food, there is literacy in reading the recipe, maths in measuring ingredients and science in the change process. The sensory nature of cooking (smell, sight, sound, touch and taste) makes it a wonderful learning experience for toddlers too.
This is a great recipe for using up any vegies still in the crisper at the end of the shopping cycle.
2 tbsp flour
2 sheets of puff pastry
1-2 chicken breasts, finely chopped
1 beaten egg
1 leek or large onion, chopped
3 cups of vegies, chopped into small cubes – you can use any vegies really, I have used potato, pumpkin, carrot, zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, frozen peas
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Soften root vegetables by lightly steaming or cooking for a few minutes in the microwave.
Melt butter, add leek or onion and cook until softened. Add chicken breast and cook until changes colour.
Stir in flour and then slowly add milk. Stir until sauce thickens. Add vegetables and thyme and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Grease pie dish and line with one sheet of pastry. Add filling. Use second sheet of pastry for top.
Glaze with beaten egg. Bake until golden, about 30-35 minutes.
Not forgetting some frugal fun…this week, simple ideas for cooking with kids;
- Pikelets or pancakes
- Iced biscuits with funny faces
- Rock cakes
- Fruit kebabs
- Fruit smoothies
- Rocky road
- Banana bread
- Jam tarts
- Fruit muffins
I would love to hear your ideas for being frugal in the kitchen. What recipes do you use to use up vegies or leftovers? How do you involve your children in the kitchen and cooking?