Overspending on food? Listen up!
Liane Greenly has revealed how she made a £137 grocery shop stretch for three months.
The 38-year-old, from Lincoln, was preparing for a shoulder operation when she headed into Aldi to pick up the essentials.
She wanted to be organised for her recovery period so decided to batch cook the goods.
The savvy shopper made everything from cottage pie to cardamom biscuits to ensure she and her partner would have a wide variety of home-cooked meals to last them for weeks.
Liane, who works for a utility company, told LatestDeals.co.uk: “I had an upcoming shoulder reconstruction surgery booked. With my partner working full-time and doing a science degree on his days off, there was no way he’d manage all that, plus helping me, cooking and cleaning.”
Liane continued: "So I made a list of our favourite meals, a list of the ingredients, and tubs required to house them. Then I bought a chest freezer.
"Granted I bought one too small – my maths needs work!
"I then did what partner calls the ‘anti-shopping list’, where I checked off in my cupboards what I already had in.
"I batch cooked the main meal element for our evening meal.
"Any rice, pasta, vegetables and other sides would be bought and cooked as needed.”
Liane added: "With my wrist still recovering from a previous surgery for carpal tunnel I bought an Aldi special chopper gadget.
"Batch cooking was a necessity to help us both whilst I faced three months of recovery. It turned out the surgery got cancelled and so we are now using the meals.
"But as and when the surgery is re confirmed I will re-do all this again.”
The frugal shopper shared her top tips for batch cooking without too much time or effort.
She recommends using the same products in different ways, as well as freezing pre-made kits for days where you can’t be bothered to cook.
Liane explained: "I made meals which were all similar in their base ingredients and altered by the herbs.
“For example, spaghetti, lasagna and cottage pie are all similar until the last few ingredients.
"Some pasta sauces could be made in minutes, so I quickly whipped them up in a lunch break.
"We froze everything. I even pre-made marinated fajita kits frozen raw, ready to defrost and fry up.
“I also batch baked breads and desserts to share with family and friends, such as bread buns, naan, millionaire cheesecake and cardamom biscuits.
“A shopping list costing £137 from Aldi made three months worth of evening meals for two, mixing in there the odd meal out and a Sunday roast or pizza.”
While batch cooking involves a fair amount of preparation, it could end up saving you time and money in the long run.
Liane said: “Batch cooking is easier than cooking each night.
"Double or triple the recipe, buy good quality larger pans and bulk freeze.
"Check the £1 to weight ratio on labels.
“All the meals I made were portion controlled and divided up, so the minimum was wasted.
“Even the carrot ends weren’t wasted – my little dogs gobbled them up."
Liane added: “I will most definitely continue batch cooking.
"I have found what recipes batch well and which don’t.
"It’s so much easier as well as cheaper.
"My current plan is to every batch cooking every two or three months and to restock the chest freezer.
“Batch cooking has helped us save at least £30 a week easily on our food shopping!”
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