In this day and age of rising food prices, its important to try and save a quick buck on meals without compromising on the nutritive value. Below, this is how I go about thinking of cooking meals, both at the shopping level, actual cooking and there in between.
- Have a list of quick and favourite meals that can be made quickly and that are a firm favourite with the family.
- Stock your pantry with certain standard/”go-to” ingredients. These will vary from household to household, mine include: baked beans, pasta, rice, nuggets, cereal, cheese and cream.
- Use a “master” shopping list to quickly determine what’s missing and what you need to include in your shopping list. This way you can shop in one go and not miss out on key things. This minimises time spent shopping later in the month. However, for items such as milk, bread and certain fruits, it would be necessary to purchase those on a weekly basis.
- Think through the up-coming meals for the month. There is many ways to do this: (a) cook for the week, freeze extra portions in case you are tired and can’t cook that week; (b) alternatively, cook the more difficult meals in advance and do the lighter bits – vegetables and salads – on the main day.
- Re-use left over meals and adapt them into new meals, for instance, remaking chicken into a salad. Finish all cooked meals, making nothing new until all the food is complete.
- Regularly sweep through the pantry and come up with innovative meals using some of those ingredients.
- Eat out often, try new meals at home in a bid to obtain greater variety and flexibility.
- Freeze vegetables and herbs as they will still be as good as new whenever you need to use them. Do this for: tomatoes, peas, peppers and other herbs. Prepare ingredients such as ginger and garlic in advance to save on time.
- Invest in sufficient containers to store food.
- Share the cooking responsibility to make it fun and less of a drudge.
How do you go around saving time and money in the kitchen?