This week’s New Year New You article is all about food. With purse strings tight at this time of year it might seem best to grab the nearest ready meal and run for the till, as all too often these are enticingly cheaper than the homemade alternative. But with a little careful planning, it’s easy to make delicious meals from scratch at an affordable price, without the side helping of e-numbers and preservatives.
show that in general food costs have risen, but particular types of food have increased in price at different rates. By changing your eating habits, such as swapping expensive meat for more economical fish and vegetables, you can make big savings.
It also pays to be aware of how supermarkets try to entice customers into buying its premium products. Look to the higher and lower shelves, where cheaper alternatives can be found, and consider deals and discounts carefully. Buy One Get One Free offers may be attractive, but ask yourself whether you really need everything that you are buying. Defra suggests we throw away around 15% of the food we buy
, working out at around £480 a year for the average family.
Got a craving for strawberries in January? It’s always best to plan your meals around seasonal produce – those delicious strawberries will be far cheaper, tastier (and more likely to be British) if you buy them during the summer months. Instead consider eating clementines, satsumas and pomegranates, which are all in season in January.
To help you on your way to eating well for less iLikeOffers.co.uk has teamed up with food blogger Annie of Working Mums Cook Book who this month has been trying to keep costs down to a £5 spend per family meal.
Annie says; ‘Keeping below £5 for the whole main course (including side dishes and vegetables) can be a bit of a challenge but it has made me look closer at using vegetables, more pulses and estimating portion sizes better.’
Two recipes that have been a hit with her family are a Roast Tomato, Basil and Feta Cheese Tart which serves 4/5 people for a mere £3.86 and, for the meat lovers amongst us, Roast Sausages with Peppers and Red Onions which serves 4 for £4.93.
Roast Tomato, Basil and Feta Cheese Tart
For the Roast Tomato, Basil and Feta Cheese Tart you will need:
Readymade short crust pastry
salt and pepper
300g cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
About a dozen fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried basil
100g of feta, diced
50g grated Grana Padano
200mls milk (I used semi-skimmed)
1. Grease a 24cm flan dish then line with pastry. Prick all over with a fork and trim the edges. Cover with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Cook for 20 minutes at 200°C. Remove the beans and cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, wash the cherry tomatoes, place whole in a baking dish with olive oil, seasoning and basil leaves and bake on the top shelf for 20-25 minutes.
3. Remove both the tomatoes and tart from the oven. You can cool, cover and store in the fridge overnight at this stage.
4. To make the quiche, scatter half the grated cheese over the base of the tart. Spoon over the tomatoes and then the feta, arranging evenly over the base. Chop about half a dozen basil leaves into strips and scatter over the tomatoes.
5. Beat together the eggs and milk. Season with black pepper and pour into the pastry case.
6. Scatter over the remaining cheese and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes at 190°C, until risen and browned on top.
7. Serve immediately with vegetables or salad.
Roast Sausages with Peppers and Red Onions
To make the Roast Sausages with Peppers and Red Onions you will need:
8 – 12 sausages – vary this according to how many your family usually eats
1 red onion
2 peppers (different colours)
4 medium carrots (~350g)
4 medium tomatoes
500g new potatoes
a little oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1. Heat the oven to 200°C.
2. Wash the potatoes, halve and put into a large pan of water. Bring to the boil; simmer for 5 minute and then drain.
3. Meanwhile, peel the onion and cut into wedges. Wash the peppers, de-seed and chop coarsely. Wash the tomatoes and cut into quarters. Peel the carrots and chop into small chunks.
4. Put all the veg, including potatoes, into a roasting dish with a little oil and mix. Prick the sausages with a sharp knife and lay on top of the vegetables.
5. Roast for around 40 minutes, turning the sausages half way through. Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar a few minutes before the end of cooking.
6. When the sausages are browned, remove from the oven. Make sure that the potatoes are cooked through and serve with steamed green beans or a green salad.
To stay up to date with Annie’s £5 per meal challenge and for more delicious recipe ideas visit Working Mums Cook Book
Got any money saving tips or recipes you’d like to share? Get in touch
and we’ll share them with other Savvy Savers.