Cooking on a Budget in January or Any Other Time
It is still cold and grey out, but there’s no twinkling lights and blissful time off from work. No more elaborate meals and parties and no time for socialising all day. Christmas trees are down and the reality of a few extra pounds on the scales and a few less pounds in the pocket starts to dawn on us.
A lot of us make resolutions in January and we see many people hit the gym and adopt some lifestyle changes. I’ve personally noticed people posting on Facebook about New Year Resolutions surrounding budgeting better, particularly on food and cooking at home.
Whether this is a resolution for you or not, January can be a “tight” financial month for a lot of people after the earlier payday in December. Plus, of course, there is also the expense of Christmas that means some people want to watch the pennies in January. With this in mind I wanted to write my blog post this month for everyone who is on a budget in January or of course any time of year. Don’t worry; you don’t have to live on beans on toast for the month. There are tried and tested simple ways to make your food budget friendly but still delicious and nutritious.
Here are my top tips:
Keep food simple – don’t buy too many ingredients, elaborate curries and fragrant tagines are out unless you have all the spices and many of the ingredients in the cupboard already. I suggest you buy seasonally e.g. root veg is cheaper now. Remember, when you are buying – looking at price by kg to compare prices is the best thing to do and check the so called “special offers” if you are in a supermarket as sometimes they aren’t so special!
Know a butcher who will be able to help you buy cheaper cuts that need longer cooking such as shin or brisket of beef, these are good alternatives if you are happy to cook them for longer. Remember to cook plenty of veg and not as much protein too to make your meal more cost effective.
Know a fishmonger too – they’ll advise you on seasonal fish………go for the not so trendy mackerel, whiting, flounder, dab – all lovely grilled or baked.
Visit a fruit/veg market late on a Friday afternoon to buy cheap – then freeze as much as you can – blanche first to retain flavour (one minute in boiling water then straight into cold water to cool and stop the cooking process).
Have a few good cookery books if you’re a novice and you can buy from second hand shops or charity shops – oldies can be goodies and will give you a base of knowledge that you can adapt from the produce you buy.
Wishing you all a not so blue January…
Categorised as: Caterers