Saving yourself a bundle of money, calories and months of regret is simple: EAT!
Eat before you shop, that is. Don’t go food shopping on an empty stomach. Don’t make any other significant purchases while hungry either. Your decision-making capacities drop when your blood sugar is low and you’ll crave every high-fat, high-sugar item you see. It’s a pretty safe bet that a great many bad foods will end up in your trolley, on your lips and eventually, on your hips. You’ll pay for your indulgences with a high food bill and will very likely have to make a second trip to buy food you actually need once the hunger pangs have passed, effectively doubling your costs with just one bad decision.
It can’t be stressed enough: eat first. Simple and highly effective. Try it and tell us if it works for you.
2 small-medium pita breads
25 g/1 slice mature cheddar cheese
Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat.
Place the pita breads in the frying pan and allow to heat through, 2-5 minutes.
Dice or crumble the cheddar cheese. Distribute the cheese evenly over the tops of the pita breads.
When the cheese starts to soften or melt, flip the pita breads so they are cheese-side-down in the frying pan. Allow to cook for 2 minutes.
Turn the pita breads repeatedly until they are fully coated in melted cheddar cheese.
This makes a quick, delicious snack or lunch for when you need a quick pick-me-up or an energy boost, plus your kids are sure to love it.
3 cups red lentils
1 450 g can peeled tomatoes
1 tbsp double concentrated tomato puree
1000 ml water
1 vegetable stock cube
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
Place a large, thick-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add the oil and allow to get hot.
Slice the onions. Crush or slice the garlic clove. Add to the oil and allow to brown.
Add the lentils and stir.
Add the tomatoes, water and stock cube(or use made-up stock). Stir. Allow to come to a rolling boil. Stir.
Add the double concentrated tomato puree and stir thoroughly.
Add the seasonings, to taste.
Reduce to a medium heat and allow to simmer for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Top up with hot water to thin, as required.
Turn off the heat and let the chili rest for a few minutes before serving. Adjust the seasoning and spoon into bowls.
The taste of the chili matures the longer it is allowed to rest, so leftovers served the next day will taste better than chili served fresh.
Serve with toasted pita bread.
1 kg whole chicken
1 tbsp salt
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium-sized red onions
Rinse the defrosted chicken with water and place in a large bowl. Leave the skin on.
Pour the vinegar over the chicken. Rinse the entire chicken, including the cavity, with the vinegar.
Rub the salt all over the chicken, including inside the cavity.
Rub black pepper and herbs all over the chicken.
Rinse with the vinegar and seasoning mixture.
Place a large, thick-bottomed saucepan or roasting pan (preferable cast iron) over a high heat.
Add the olive oil to the pan and allow to heat.
Slice the onions. Put 1/2 of the sliced onions in the olive oil, stir and allow to brown.
Stuff the other half of the onions inside the cavity of the chicken.
When the onions have browned and the oil is smoking hot, place the chicken, breast side up and back side down, into the pan, atop the bed of onions.
Allow it to roast uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until the skin on the side in contact with the pot has browned. You may drizzle olive oil over it, if desired. This will fry the skin and make it crisper.
Turn the chicken so it is breast side down, and allow to cook uncovered for approximately another 10 minutes.
Cover the pan with a tight-fitting cover or seal and allow to cook, undisturbed, for another 10-15 minutes.
Flip the chicken over, seal the pan and allow to cook undisturbed for another 10-15 minutes, or until fully cooked and the juices run clear.
Turn off the heat and allow it to rest for another 5-10 minutes.
Carve and serve with sides of your choice.
Increase the cooking times for larger chickens. You should cook the chicken for about 40 minutes per kg.
This is a great recipe for days when you don’t feel well or don’t feel like slaving over the stove or turning on the oven, but can’t eat out.
1 English oven-bottom muffin
1 slice cheddar cheese
1 tbsp cole slaw
3 slices red onion
Slice the muffin in half.
Place a medium-sized non-stick frying pan on a low heat and allow it warm up.
Place both slices of the muffin in the frying pan and allow to toast lightly on each side for 3-5 minutes, or until warm and slightly crisp.
Place the cheese on one slice of the muffin and allow it to melt slightly.
Add the onion and cole slaw on top of the cheese.
Top with the other warm muffin slice.
Makes one muffin.
If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to breakfast, fry an egg or sausage and use it to top the muffin, instead of the onion and cole slaw. You’ll end up with a very familiar egg/sausage and cheese breakfast item that your children will love, and you get to control the fat content plus save on the cost of eating out.
1 large red onion
1 large Chinese cabbage
1 tbsp olive oil or stir fry oil
pinch black pepper
pinch mixed herbs
1 tsp soy sauce (optional)
Slice the onion and set aside.
Slice the cabbage and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok on medium-high heat till smoking hot.
Add the onion and stir fry until softened.
Add the dry seasonings and stir.
Add the cabbage and toss so that the oil, onion and seasonings are evenly distributed with the cabbage.
Add soy sauce, if desired.
Reduce to a low heat and let simmer for five minutes.
Adjust the seasonings to taste.
Remove from the heat and serve over white rice.
Modify this to chicken chop suey by adding cooked cubed, diced or shredded chicken in before adding the cabbage and allowing it to cook for five minutes.
You can add any type of cooked meat to this dish, so it’s a great way to use up leftovers or to stretch small amounts of meat into a full main dish.
It’s quick, easy and healthy and makes a great midweek meal.
1 can red kidney beans
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp mild curry powder
pinch black pepper
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 vegetable stock cube
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat until the oil starts to form “legs.”
Slice the onion and add to the saucepan. Allow to fry until slightly softened.
Add the curry powder. Stir and allow to cook for approximately five minutes.
Add the red kidney beans, including the water in which they are packed, and stir. If they are packed in salted water, or if you are trying to cut down on sodium, drain the beans, rinse and add plain water instead.
Add the seasonings, stir and allow to cook until the water comes to a rolling boil.
Add the tomato ketchup, stir and reduce the flame/heat to a medium heat setting.
Add the vegetable stock cube and a few tablespoons of water, or made up vegetable stock.
Cover the saucepan and allow the liquid to reduce until the curry reaches your preferred thickness, or for about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat, stir, taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve over white rice.
Rajma curry is tasty, healthy, vegetarian and extremely cheap to make. Adjust the recipe to suit your taste. You can make a lot of this curry and freeze it for a quick make-ahead midweek meal. Any leftover can be used as sandwich toppings or incorporated into other meals.
1 can diced pineapples
8 oz self-raising flour
8 oz butter
8 oz sugar
pinch of salt
3 tbsp pineapple juice
Combine eggs, flour, sugar and margarine in a bowl. Add salt and pineapple juice. Beat with a mixer until a dropping consistency is achieved.
Grease 2 sponge tins. Evenly spread diced pineapple pieces over the bottom of the tins. Divide and pour the cake mixture between the two tins. Bake in the centre of an oven at 210 degrees Celsius for 15 – 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool. Spread jelly on top of one cake. Place the other on top to make a sandwich. Garnish the top of the cake with jelly and strawberry slices.
Legumes are a great source of protein and have the added benefits of being tasty and extremely good for your health and your pocket. Replace one or two meat meals per week with a legume-based meal. Try red and green lentils, which have very different flavours and can be prepared in a wide variety of ways. Lentil recipes are limited by your imagination, really, as the possibilities are almost endless.
One of our favourite mid-week staples is a stew made of red lentils with salt and black pepper. It takes about 15 minutes to cook, with no prep except a quick rinse, and tastes delicious. We simply pair it with pita bread and a glass of juice. Simple, easy, healthy.
A nice Rajma curry, made with curry powder and red kidney beans, is another excellent, easy, delicious meat-free option. It;s simple to prepare and tastes so great served over white rice that you won’t even miss the meat.
We love legumes, because they are cheap, tasty, healthy and packed full of nutrients. Money-saving Cookbook approved.
Buying frozen foods is usually a cheaper option than buying their fresh counterparts, mostly because fresh foods are more perishable than frozen foods, have the appeal of being “fresh” and are more convenient as you don’t have to thaw them before use.
When it comes to some vegetables, like peas and your frozen mixed vegetables, it is usually better to buy the cheaper frozen variety than the fresh. Not only are the frozen vegetables usually cheaper, and already prepared, giving you more value for money, vegetables are often frozen at the peak of freshness, locking in the nutrients. The fresh vegetables sitting on the shelf continue to age, so peak nutrients are not guaranteed. It is nice to know that there is a cheaper option that also provides benefits, so don’t overlook the frozen vegetables next time you’re shopping for food.