If you're looking for quick and easy ways to save money on your monthly outgoings then you should start with the kitchen. Food offers the perfect way to save and whether it's slashing your grocery bill, or cutting down on takeaways, there's always more money to be saved. One great way to save cash is to cook in bulk – it will also save you a lot of time as well, as you won't need to slave away over a hot stove every night of the week. You can cook one night and have meals prepared for the next three or four.
If you're going to cook in bulk, you need to decide on the kind of dishes that you'll prepare. Obviously, this needs to be food you enjoy eating, as you might end up eating quite a lot of it and you don't want to get bored after the first night. If you are preparing for any nights you are eating without the kids, you'll need to prepare your meals in single or two-serving dishes; if you are preparing to feed the family, you can prepare large dishes as each serving will be eaten in one sitting.
If you buy your ingredients in bulk you can save money at the till. Check to see which supermarkets have bargains and buy batches of the ingredients you'll need for your meals. Next you need to check that you've got plenty of space in your freezer. Whilst you can leave a portion or two in the fridge, realistically, you probably won't want to eat the same meal four nights in a row. If you freeze it, you know that you've always got a quick and easy meal option when you need it. Once you've cleared some space, gather all your freezer proof dishes. It helps if these are also ovenproof, as you'll be able to defrost you meal and put it straight in the oven, meaning less fuss and less washing up.
Shepherd's pie is a good bulk meal as you can make up large batches or individual portions. Stews and casseroles are also good for bulk cooking, as is soup. A Bolognese sauce can make the basis of many meals so this is a great one to freeze in small batches, ready for Spaghetti Bolognese, Lasagne or meat pies. And how about mousaka, pasta bakes or curries? These are all great standby meals, perfect for when you've had a busy day and just can't face heading home and straight into the kitchen. It's great to know you've always got a delicious homemade meal at the ready.
Of course always ensure that your frozen meals are heated through thoroughly (piping hot in the centre) before serving.
Cooking in bulk is a great way to make the most of bargains at the supermarket as you can buy in large quantities and cook everything before it's past its use-by date. Plus, it doesn't take any longer to cook three Lasagnas, than it does to cook one, so you're getting multiple meals for a fraction of the effort!
By Biljana Dimovska
Biljana is a writer and blogger on best daily deals Sydney wide
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