Friday, 7 June 2013

Feeding a family on a budget

Frugal Friday

Planned Leftovers

As you know we are going through the process of having some work done to our house .  The work is fairly extensive and is affecting the way that I feed my family. We had out gas cut off at the beginning of the build seven weeks ago and as my cooker had a gas hob I am only left with a one ring, plug in induction hob from Lakeland. The small ( one shelf)  electric oven is still working and I have a microwave and slow cooker.

Someone called it posh camping!

It is amazing how quickly you adjust.

I have previously relied a lot on batch baking and my home made pre prepared meals. However we have to move our freezer out of the existing utility room as it is being knocked down shortly so I have been slowly emptying it. I also know I can't cook in volume on one ring! 

This has been like removing a child's security blanket.

I feel like I have been cast adrift into a world of cooking ALL THE TIME.

It is relentless with my boys.

They seem to be bottomless pits .

They devour anything that is not hidden away and just don't seem to have a full phase. 

SO I find myself in new territory of how do I deal with working, hungry kids and no freezer?

Well the temptatation at the moment is to plug the freezer in anywhere I can fit it ( bedroom?) and carry on as before, but if not I am embracing the policy of ......

Planned Leftovers

Now, leftovers are not a common occurence in our house so I will stress here that by leftovers I really am referring to deliberatly cooking too much so it can be used for the following day. Making a meal last two, sometimes even three days is not only time effective, but is great for the budget too!

A couple of obvious ones are:

Day One: Roast Chicken
Day Two: Chicken and black bean Cassoulet

Day One: Spaghetti Bolgnese
Day Two: Chilli and Rice

Day One: Roast Turkey breast
Day Two: Turkey and sweet potato Hash

Day One: Beef casserole
Day Two: Beef and mushroom pie

I tend to try and make my day two meal a re hash of my day one. Often it can be as simple as a baked potato with a filling made from the meal we had the previous day. I find, for me it again is about organisation and planning. I have to have a meal plan and shop to this. This keeps my shopping bill down  as does using up leftovers. 

I will return to batch baking when our kitchen is finished, but I will also keep using the principle of planned leftovers . It really does simplify things and create a bit of breathing space in an otherwise very busy schedule that next week looks something like this .....

  • Monday - Work 1.00 - 3.15   Clubs =   son 2 Football 3.00 - 4.15, son 1-Tennis 7.00 - 8.00 
  • Tuesday - Work 8.00 - 3.15   Clubs = son 2 tennis 3.15 - 4.00, son 1 - Football 5.00 - 6.00 
  • Wednesday - Work 8.00 - 12.00   Clubs = Daughter - tennis 4.30 - 5.30 
  • Thursday - Work 8.00 - 3.15   Clubs = son 2 -Tutoring 7.00 - 8.00
  • Friday - Work 8.00 - 3.15   Clubs = son 2 - cricket 6.00 - 7.30
  • Saturday - Son 1 Football 9.30 - 12.00 ( if a match is on )
If I don't pre prepare meals or at least know what I can throw together fairly quickly on a full week like the above it all falls apart very quickly.

My husband is beginning to get a little more involved in the home side of things now I am working and that helps. He does the football runs and I do the tennis. He is even hanging a bit of washing out and running the hoover around without being asked - steady on there! He has done really well on this eat clean diet we have been following and is 2 llbs away from his goal. He has lost 21llbs so far!

Any tips on how to simplify a meal plan to create more time in a busy schedule?

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  1. You certainly have a full schedule there! At least the weather has improved....I always find it easier preparing food in Summer:) Have a lovely weekend!
    ~Anne xx

    1. I am making my husband be creative with the BBQ when the sun shines to give me a break too!

  2. I agree with Anne, summer meals as so much easier, i often marinate a load of chicken wings and drumsticks in a covered container in the morning and throw them on the barbie....if its a nice pm, or oven bake, just add a load of other goodies to a bag of salad and Hey presto! p.s I think bagged salad, is the greatest invention!xx

    1. I do love salad - I eat it in the winter too much to my hubbys disgust! Baked potatoes and salad would do me fine every day! X

  3. Ooh I'm going to differ, I find winter easier when I can casserole some meat during the day and it's just about ready when everyone gets home - just add veg, baked beans and sometimes pastry to turn it into a pie. Our schedule sounds a bit like your too, this time of year is our busiest!

    1. I must admit I do find using my slow cooker the easiest of all - a lot of my one pot meals and pies start in a slow cooker too. Soups as well. It is just the easiest machine invented. I've not worked during a winter for a while, but I think I will rely on a slow cooker more than anything! Mad schedules - I'm frazzled by Saturday.

  4. Long time since I had large building work done, but I remember it being so hard with the kids. One time I stood in my utility & looked through the ceiling then floor then ceiling to the roof & Cried!!! Well worth it though & it sounds & looks wonderful!!
    X x