I have been reading a book "The $21 Challenge" that my wonderful friend JB (the truffle queen I referred to in a previous post) got for me at Christmas time. Take a look at the book or go online and you will open your eyes up to so many fantastic ideas for saving money. My thanks to the Simple Savings team who gave me permission to mention them on this blog (http://www.simplesavings.com.au/a.php?a=243336).
This book mentions the term "Rubber Chicken" which refers to how you can make a roasting chicken into a couple of meals. I roasted a chicken and did lots of vegetables to go with it (roast potato, pumpkin, steamed broccollini, carrots, beans and cauliflower with a cheese sauce). I then divided up the chicken as follows: leg and wing for each of the kids, 1/2 chicken (minus leg and wing) for Himself and a bit of breast (no skin) for myself. With heaps of vegetables and gravy they had plenty to eat and didn't realise that there were leftovers (that is part of the trick in our house as they tend to sniff out leftovers pretty quickly). I craftily hid the leftover chicken in the oven and waited for them all to leave the kitchen. I then took the rest of the chicken (bones, skin and all) and placed it in the slow cooker with some chopped up carrots, celery, turnip, leek (you can use pretty much whatever you want to get rid of in the bottom of the vegetable crisper and no-one will be the wiser). Top up with water and throw in some bayleaves, herbs if you have them, salt and pepper and cook for about 4 hours on low. If you are starting from scratch with an uncooked chicken, cook for about 8 hours. Then take the chicken out of the broth, remove the bones and shred the meat. I used a blender to blend all the broth and veggies so it became a nice creamy soup. Throw the chicken meat back in and (here is the BIG SECRET!) add the leftover cooked 2 minute noodles that your daughter wanted for lunch and then decided not to eat (or you could just add some noodles/pasta if you don't have a daughter or these sort of leftovers in the fridge). What I am trying to say here is that you can just use whatever is at hand and enjoy the results! My two little meat eaters who have to be bribed to eat vegetables LOVED IT. Even Himself went back for seconds (despite his contribution to their genes being the reason they are mainly carnivorous).
I have been asked for more ideas on how to make quick nutritious family meals on a budget, so if you have any ideas would love to hear them. I have changed my shopping habits in the last year and have been saving heaps of money by doing the following: use what is in season as it is cheaper (especially if you or your family/friends are able to provide fresh fruit and vegetables), try to make one meal a week meat free, make a weekly/fortnightly/monthly menu plan (whatever works for you) using whatever you have in the pantry/fridge/freezer before restocking, only shop with a shopping list (and don't deviate from the list), shop on-line if you can (the delivery charge adds a bit to the total amount but it stops you putting those "extras" in the trolley), limit visits to the shops between regular scheduled shopping trips (as you always get extra stuff that you didn't actually go there for) and get some tips and tricks from websites like Simple Savings (click on attached link to find out more).
Enjoy your weekend!