Cooking on a budget is very important to many families in today's economic climate. The biggest part of the family budget goes to buying food - but that does not prevent you from buying good nutritious, healthy food for the family. Cheap meals does not mean unhealthy meals. You don't have to eat beans on-toast every day. Healthy and nutritious meals can be easily provided using simple ingredients.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are not expensive and some can be totally free simply by growing them yourself. You don't even need a garden or allotment to grow your vegetables, or herbs. We will show you how later in the section.
You can make a lot of things from scratch and in bulk and either freeze it or bottle it for future use. A few simple techniques like shopping in the markets just before closing time - especially on a Saturday, brings exceptionally good deals. The stall-holders don't want to be stuck with fruit and veg that will not be fresh on Monday morning. So what do they do - they sell it off cheap to get rid of it. Try it out for yourself. Visit the market an hour before closing time and see for yourself. A few bags of cheap fruit and veg can feed your family one way or another for weeks - if you use it correctly. Budget cooking or cooking on a budget can be so easy. Budget cooking is not a science. A few Bags of vegetables and a bag of dried beans and pulses - barley, dried peas, lentils provide all and body and additional nutrition to those vitamins & nutrients already present in the fresh vegetables, providing a healthy and filling meal for all the family. You can freeze what you don't use in plastic bags and this provides additional meals at a later date. We will give you all the recipes you will need for all types of nutritious, healthy soups using vegetables and pulses - without the additives and 'E' numbers to provide the taste and flavour that have been lost during processing. Budget cooking is not difficult. It just needs a bit of thought and forward planning.
Tomato Soup is great example of how to use up a few ripe tomatoes, an onion and a handful of herbs and spices. all the recipes for this and other vegetable based soups are available to you simply by clicking on the links to these recipe pages. Always remember, budget recipes are not cheap recipes - they are recipes based on good quality but cheap ingredients. There is nothing cheap about the quality or nutritional value of the resulting product.
Salads In summer, we all love salads. They are naturally healthy because of the vegetables used, but you can easily turn a salad into a filling and healthy meal by simply adding pasta, meat or seafood. We will show you how.
DessertsThere are dozens of gorgeous desserts that can be made for next to nothing. Don't throw away your old bread - turn it into a bread and butter pudding by simply adding milk and egg and maybe a handful of sultanas or dried apricots.. It's so easy.
Main Courses You don't have to invest in a Roast of beef or loin of pork to give the family meat for dinner. Use minced beef or minced pork. There are hundreds of recipes for using mincemeat. Use cheaper cuts of beef and cook it long and slow to tenderize it. You can do so much without breaking the bank to get meat onto the table.
This is the first of a series of four articles about cooking on a budget, growing your own fruit and vegetables and how to store them. In part 4 you will learn how to prepare your fruit and veg for the freezer.
If you want to know more, or need recipes for cooking cheap and easy (but healthy and nourishing) meals, visit us at Bill and Sheila Cookbook.