Having a well stocked cupboard and using up leftovers can supply you with many extra meals and save you money. Being clever with store cupboard items can also be a boon when money is tight.
Stock up your store cupboard gradually so it is not an expensive thing to do. Items such as canned tomatoes can be the basis of many meals. Purchased whole plum tomatoes rather than the chopped variety as then you can use them whole as part of a meal or chop them for stews, casseroles and sauces. For cooking purposes but supermarket own brand canned tomatoes as it will save money and no one will be the wiser when they taste your meals.
Beans and Pulses
Dried lentils, beans, peas and pearl barley can be kept for quite a long while. Decant them into airtight containers and label with shelf life details that are on the packets. These items will make excellent tasty curries and stew accompaniments either with meat or vegetables.
Purchase an extra tin of baked beans or packet of dried pasta every time you shop. You will not notice the few pence extra on your shopping bill but soon your cupboard will be full of essential store cupboard items. Beware stocking up on too much of the same item otherwise you will end up with a lot of out of date items or grow sick of eating the same food.
Herbs, Spices and Seasonings
With a cupboard well stocked with dried herbs and spices plus seasonings such as dried garlic, stock cubes, lemon pepper, black pepper and sea salt all the meals you cook will be tasty and interesting. Make a list of the type of meals you like to cook and ensure you always have a good stock of the ingredients in your larder.
Make use of special offers when they are in your local supermarket to stock up on favourite foods. Even cans of cat or dog food can be handy to store as you will not need to go out in bad weather and will also be prepared if prices should rise.
Rather than purchase single items such as chicken pieces look to buying a whole chicken or a slightly larger joint. Yes, it will be more expensive but you will get more meals from it. A chicken can be jointed into two wings, two legs and two fillets or you could cook the whole bird and then use the meat in other dishes or sandwiches and salads.
Once you have stocked up your store cupboard take a look in your freezer. Are there a few bags of out of date vegetables? Why not have a clear out and stock up on foods that you use. If you purchase fresh vegetables when they are in season why not buy a few more and freeze some for a later date. Make a few meals and freeze them or perhaps go fruit picking and make pies for the freezer and jam for the store cupboard.
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Buy a whole chicken and joint it, then put the pieces you’re not using in the next day or two in the freezer. With burgers, make up a batch and freeze them. By doing things like this you’ll always have meals to hand and you won’t feel like you’re spending extra money.