One of the biggest expenses coming out of your weekly or monthly wage apart from your housing can be what your putting on your table. I love food but would rather spend my hard earned money on experiences rather than my three square meals a day. Of course nutrition is important but it doesn’t have to be costly! It’s so easy to reach for convenience meals and takeaways I know I’ve done it but it’s an expense that can easily be changed!
When going shopping I always have a list and stick to it! Before I go food shopping I write out 6 dinner ideas and stick to those ingredients! I usually only plan for six nights as at least one night a week plans come up that I’m not at home! My packet lunches tend to be extra’s from dinner the night before and breakfast is not really set it can be fresh juice, eggs or cereal but I always have a cooked breakfast at the weekend! Sticking to a list ensures you get what you need and prevents waste. I used to do the weekly shop and I just picked up as I went, often coming home to find that I had got lots of stuff but still didn’t know out of it all what to cook for dinner! There’s no point having a full fridge of ingredients that don’t combine! It generally means you’ll pop into pick up more bits during the week rising the cost! Another massive thing to remember is never to go food shopping when your hungry- you will want to buy everything!!! Also stay clear of the special offer stands they are designed for impulse buying but its really not a bargain unless its something that was originally on your list!!
I love cooking which defiantly helps in planning meals! But for those of you that don’t cook or can’t cook there is a fab book that I cannot recommend enough!! Its from the HSE and called 101+ Square Meals.There was a copy of this in the office it’s fantastic! It really brings you back to basics. The full version is available online in PDF format. (I have included the link below) It has meal ideas for every occasion and a brilliant part of this book is that it has a section for cooking for one!! I love cooking but when it’s just me in the house I am tempted to go for something easy. This is a great section for students and those of you living alone!
I’m going to update one recipe a week to give you some ideas! My first one is a traditional Spaghetti Bolognese– A Healthy version with no jarred sauces and so simple! Did you know standard jars of bolognese sauce can contain up to 8 spoons of sugar!!
Recipe: Serves 4
What you need:
1 pack of Mince (preferably lean), 1 packet of Passata, Dried Basil and Oregano, Garlic Paste, Tomato Puree, 1 Onion, 1 Pepper (Optional) and dried spaghetti or pasta of your choice. Finally Salt and Pepper to serve!!
What you do:
- Heat a pan with a drop of oil. Add the onion and pepper and a teaspoon of garlic puree and brown for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the mince and cook until browned
- Add Oregano and Basil to your own taste (or half level Tablespoon of each)
- Add Tomato Puree (4 level Tablespoons)
- Add the carton of Passata. I add a teaspoon of sugar at this stage to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
- Add salt and Pepper to your own taste. Let simmer on the hob for 15-20 minutes at a low heat.
- Cook your pasta.
This is such a simple dish and a healthy version! Its cost effective too. Feel free to add other veg like mushrooms. I just like it as it is with a sprinkle of parmesan or light grated red cheddar-Yum!!