Keeping the cost of groceries down can be a never ending battle. Prices are always on the increase, appetites increase, food is bought then wasted and adult children don't always show up for dinner. Unexpected visitors can send you into a tail spin ( or at least another trip to the supermarket )
Here are some of the tricks I use to keep my family fed for well under $300 a month and still put good food on the table -
* Spag bol is often served with shredded silverbeet from the garden and grated carrot and zucchini in the meat sauce. I've also been known to add half a handful of quick oats to the sauce. These " extras " increase the volume of meat sauce. I don't serve larger quantities because of this. The extra sauce is frozen and might serve two people for another meal.
* Two minute noodles as well as cabbage really bulk up chop suey.
* Meat is the most expensive component of a meal. Loading up the dinner plate with veggies will fill up hungry tummies. A much cheaper alternative to serving large portions of meat.
* When dishing out the main meal, serve out the leftovers at the same time into takeaway containers or other suitable freezer containers. When you are eating dinner, let those leftovers cool until the steam disappears. Put them straight in the fridge after dinner until completely cold. Put a lid on, label and freeze ASAP. You save more money if the leftovers are eaten at dinner instead of a lunch treat. When you have enough frozen leftovers, write " freezer meals " into the menu plan. A free meal.
* When adult children don't show up for dinner, cook as you usually do and freeze the leftovers.
* If the main meal looks a little on the frugal side, put a plate of buttered bread or toast on the table.
* Stews and casseroles need less meat per person. My chicken curry recipe uses two small chicken fillets yet serves up to eight people.
* When I make chunky soups, I add 1/2 to 1 cup of small shell pasta 20 minutes before serving.
* Add mashed potato to salmon patties. You'll get more patties without changing the flavour.
* When you come home from grocery shopping portion out the raw meat and freeze in meal sizes. This is a really frugal tip and easier to defrost instead of a whole tray of meat.
* When cooking casseroles and stews, cut the meat into smaller cubes. The meat seems to go further and you are more likely to get a piece of meat with each mouthful.
Have you stretched food without your family noticing ?
What are your tricks for making food go further ?
|Loading the plate with veggies|
|Adding silverbeet to a pasta bake|
|Chicken curry with two small chicken fillets|
|Chop suey with lots of veggies|