Cooking For One, For Less!

I am commonly referred to as the queen of the champagne lifestyle on a beer budget. Now I’m not going to go out and say that I live a “Cristal” lifestyle, but I’d comfortably say that I sacrifice some elements of my life to position myself more on the “Tattinger” end of the scale.

I enjoy the finer things in life and am more than happy to find ways to cut down on the mundane costs like weekly lunches. This allows me to save my spending money on the things that are more important to me, like experiencing some of Auckland’s many amazing restaurants over a few glasses of Champagne and an Espresso Martinis with my closest girlfriends. I also need to be clear, for my bosses sake, that I do not receive a beer budget salary either. She always gets so embarrassed when people wonder why I refuse to pay for certain things … eeek!

Here are a few of my tricks and tips for cooking for one, for less:

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1.Get to know when your local supermarket puts out its reduced meat. Yes I know, it sounds bad, but it actually isn’t! If you buy the meat on the first day of reduction and freeze it right away its fine. My local supermarket’s reduced meat usually goes out on a Saturday morning, so I stock up and separate the meat into zip lock bags to freeze. Last Saturday I bought two packets of chicken tenderloins for $2-$3 each.

2.It’s summer now so make use of the super cheap seasonal vegetables. Supermarkets will also put their vegetables on ‘reduced’ at certain times during the week. I definitely choose wisely as soggy mesclun is not the one, but I also find interesting new produce in the reduced section that I wouldn’t usually buy, so it’s also a great way to try out new meals. The local Fruit and Vegetable shops are amazing during summer. With eggplant and avocado as low as 99c my diet completely changes over summer and I love it.

3.On a Sunday I like to roast up a big batch of potatoes, kumara, yams, parsnips and pumpkin. With a fridge full of fresh vegetables and a freezer full of meat, I find they are a great base to any meal and it only requires one or two roasted batches a weeks. I add them to salads, wraps with brown rice and even Indian curry. A cost effective but yummy meal that can save you hours of cooking each night.

4.But my number one favourite food trick this month is my roasted seeds and chickpeas. Similar use to the roast vege, I find they really fill out a salad and  So here’s my simple seed and chickpea recipe with a salad.

Ingredients:

2 cans of chickpeas

Bag of linseeds

Bag of sesame seeds

Moroccan seasoning

Ground coriander

Olive oil

Crushed garlic

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Simply toss all the ingredients together, roast up in a deep baking tray for approx. 30 minutes, tossing every ten minutes. Store in a jar and add to salads, brown rice, and wraps or even add to the top of hummus or other dips with crackers.I filled two of these jars from my batch. They cost less than $10 and last me over a week.

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All the vege in my basket was only $22!

I added my roast seeds to a salad of rocket, tomatoes, cucumber, sweet corn, broccoli, purple cabbage and a big bunch of coriander. I drizzle Extra Virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice on top. This cost less then $5 per serve.

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So, as you can see my beer budget ways aren’t that bad. It’s easy, effortless and makes my semi Tattinger lifestyle a lot more easier.

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