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It is common knowledge; everything is getting more and more expensive. However, the one staple we truly need to survive (food) is one of our biggest budget busters, with people having to cancel Internet and Sky subscriptions for a couple of months to simply put food on the table.

The biggest problem we have isn’t what we’re buying or what we’re eating; it is what we’re not using.

We throw away millions of tonnes of perfectly good food every year because we don’t have a ‘use’ for it. However, we have a few tips that could save you time (and money in the process).

Make sandwiches for tomorrow with frozen bread. Simply butter your frozen bread, add your filling and slice. Put it in an airtight with all your other lunch staples like fruit, cheese etc, and leave it in the fridge. By Lunch time tomorrow, the bread will have defrosted and your sandwich as fresh as if you’d made it that very morning.

If you have vegetables that are beginning to look a little doleful, add them to random dishes. This will bulk out the meal in general, but also be more nutritious and have more flavour and texture (see below for recipe).

Bulk make and also portion off large vats of meals and freeze them. This is more expensive to begin, as obviously you’re buying more to begin with, but bulk buying works out cheaper. Bolognaise, Chilli, Omelettes, Lasagne and soups and stews, and even curry are ideal for freezing and microwaving from either chilled or frozen for a much healthier ready meal.

Be adventurous in the kitchen. Just because you mums recipe for chicken curry doesn’t call for mushrooms, peppers, onion, potatoes and spinach, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add them. It will boost the nutritional value, and will also drive down the cost as veg is cheaper than meat (as a general rule).

If you have fussy kids that won’t eat vegetables. Try glazing them. This makes them look nice and shiny, only takes a couple of minutes, and the addition of the sugar makes them that little bit sweeter.

Recipe: Basic leftover vegetable Bolognaise.

Serves: 4+

Ingredients:

200g Minced Beef

One Red Onion Diced

Any Vegetable (bar potatoes) that you want to put in

As many cans of Chopped Tomatoes to cover mixture

Glass of Red Wine

1 Clove Crushed Garlic/1TSP of Lazy Garlic

Pepper to Taste

Method:

In a large pan, brown the meat until cooked, drain off any fat

Add all the Vegetables you want to use and cook for a further 5 minutes stirring regularly

Add the Garlic and Tinned Tomatoes and reduce to a simmer.

Add the Red Wine and Pepper. Stir well so everything is well covered. Leave for 20 minutes on a low simmer until reduced slightly and thickened to the consistency of cream.

Serve with Jacket Potato, Pasta, or Rice.

This is a very basic base sauce which can be frozen and used for Chilli, Bolognaise, Lasagne, a Simple Jacket Potato filling, For vegetarians, simply don’t add meat.

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Sara O'Connell
A passionate photographer from Arizona, Sara enjoys art and culture.