Thursday, June 11, 2009

Frugal Foods tips and Menu June 11

I'm assuming you've seen that cooking show Ready, Steady, Cook, where the contestants bring along 4 or 5 items and the chefs have to conjure up a three course meal for 400 out of it?
Well, start thinking like that; it will save you money, you'll find that you're more discerning when shopping, you'll be able to use items in different ways and there will be less stuff sitting in the back of the pantry slowly rotting away past its expiry date.
And remember - frozen vegies do contain nutrients, so don't overlook this source of goodness for price and convenience.

Scenario - you're home late from work, been caught up in a traffic jam, the kids are screeching and hungry and there's bugger all in the fridge.
  • Go to the pantry and grab ...1 tin of soup (flavour of choice), 1 tin of tuna/salmon/mackeral.
  • Grab the frozen mixed vegies from the freezer and chuck 1 cup of them in a pot of boiling water.
  • Throw a cup of pasta into the boiling water.
  • Mix the tin of soup with the tin of fish in a baking dish, mix in the cooked vegies and pasta, add an egg, cover with grated cheese and bung in the oven for 30 mins.
  • While it's cooking get the kids to get into their pj's, set the table, turn the idiot box off and have a cuppa tea.
  • Serve and eat at the table with the rug rats.

You and the kids have been mucking about on the Wii or working in the garden and time has got away.
  • Grab a tin of soup, toss it into a pot with left over vegies/pasta/noodles, grab whatever meat is going and cut into cubes then bung into the pot.
  • Let it gently boil while you direct the kids to put away their stuff, tidy up their rooms and set the table.
  • Serve.

The kids were supposed to be staying for tea at a friend's house but the parents hadn't been consulted so you've unexpectedly got the rug rats back home early complaining of how hungry they are.
  • Grab the left over vegies and mix with the left over mashed spud, combine with 1 egg.
  • Shape and roll in seasoned stuffing mix, and gently fry, let drain on paper towel before serving.


  1. Rice cooker makes a quick and easy risotto / savoury rice.

    I usually lightly saute bacon and onion pieces then put them in the rice cooker with some liquid stock, rice and a cup of frozen veg. Set to cook and ignore until done.

  2. I hate that ready, steady, cook show.
    Here's a great tip. PLAN your meals. From the time your kids are starting to eat the same food as you (as opposed to baby mush), something you can do on a reasonably regular basis is to deliberately cook too much food, with the intention of using the leftovers the next day. This gets your kids (and hubby) used to the idea that leftovers CAN be used instead of thrown out, they can be delicious in a different way from the first meal. Finding recipes for the leftovers will help to expand your menus and as the kids get older and start learning to cook they can have their say in what to do with the ingreadients available. They may very well surprise you. Also, don't wait until the week before your kids finally leave home at age 30 to try teaching them how to boil water. (ha ha). Start them early and teach kitchen safety at the same time.
    I love frozen veg, they don't turn into funny smelling soup in the bottom of the crisper, and canned food, I've found, just tastes like the cans...

  3. Ohhh, very nice, Marita, very yum on these chilly Winter nights!

    The British version is a lot better, River, but in small doses.
    Great tips :)

  4. I don't whether you have seen these sites but Frugal Hacks ( and the Frugal Hacks Blogroll ( have a lot of information (mainly American unfortunately) on living more frugally. I thought that they might possibly contain things of interest to you.