Make Your Favourite Meals For Less. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from Brean Horne, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet. Earlier today, it was revealed that food inflation has soared to a record high, as prices rose by 10.6% in the year to September. Staple ingredients such as pasta, margarine, and tinned tomatoes hit record highs in September as the cost of living crisis continues to take its toll on households across the country.
Make Your Favourite Meals For Less
In light of this news, the team at NerdWallet have looked into some supermarket swaps Britons can make to create some of their favourite recipes for less. Below, personal finance expert, Brean Horne, outlines some of the simple trades UK shoppers can make the next time they go grocery shopping or make an online order to make some classic dishes on a reduced budget:
“UK households face a shock at the supermarket checkout with the average food bill expected to rise by more than £450 a year. As the financial pressure of grocery shopping increases, many households will be eager to find better value at the supermarket. Despite prices creeping up, there cost-effective ways to keep mealtime favourites on the table. The suggestions below offer budget-friendly classic recipes everyone can enjoy throughout the week.”
A true British teatime staple, not one household will make this Italian-inspired dinner in precisely the same way, and that’s exactly why it makes for such a versatile and cost-effective dish.
The main ingredient within the bolognese sauce is beef mince, which rose in price by 16% between April 2021 and April 2022. Those looking to cut down on this expense can experiment with Quorn, soya or other vegetarian mince options alongside their original recipe. Another popular and cost-effective mince substitute uses cooked or dried lentils within the bolognese sauce to replicate the mince’s texture.
Arguably the essential element of the dish, spaghetti, has also spiked in price during the past year. Dried pasta increased by 16.1% from May 2021 to May 2022, so switching from a premium brand, like Napolina or Barilla, to your local supermarket’s offering is another way to cut down on the cost of your bolognese meal.
The ultimate weekend treats it might be, but with the cost of ordering a Domino’s, Pizza Hut or Papa John setting you back around £10 per person, a supermarket version is undoubtedly the more budget-friendly option.
The cheapest option for those who want to cut back on costs is to go genuinely authentic and make your pizza dough. Chances are, you already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen cupboards to whip up your Italian feast!
All you need is flour, yeast, sugar, salt and water to make your base, some tomato puree or pizza sauce and grated cheese, and then whatever you fancy as your additional topping.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Considered one of England’s national dishes. there is nothing quite like a delicious chicken tikka masala after a long day, but with the cost of rice and meat rising in the past twelve months. How can a homemade version be produced for as little as possible?
First of all, consider swapping your fresh chicken for the frozen version. Not only is it significantly cheaper, but many supermarket brands can also be cooked directly from the freezer, saving time and waste.
If you are looking for a way to cook with less rice, which has increased in cost by 4.4% in the last year, those also looking to eat a little more healthily could reduce the amount they are cooking and substitute half with grated cauliflower to make ‘cauli-rice.
Another option to add a new – and cost-effective – twist to your Tikka Masala is to scrap your rice altogether and have a go at making your very own two-ingredient flatbreads using nothing but self-raising flour and Greek yoghurt.
Saving On Snacks
As well as finding ways to reduce your spending on meals. It’s also worth considering the costs of your favourite sweet and salty treats and looking at how you can stretch your budgets further by making some supermarket swaps.
Below are some tips on cutting down how much of your grocery allowance is being spent on your pricey afternoon snacks and midnight treats:
- As an alternative to crisps, try draining a can of chickpeas, laying them out on a baking tray or in an air fryer. Then baking them in your favourite herbs and spices. Not only do they make a deliciously crunchy snack, but they are also much healthier and cheaper than their potato-based counterparts.
- Additionally, as an alternative to crisps, try roasting some crispy kale. Take a bag of curly kale, add some low-calorie cooking spray and your favourite herbs and spices, and bake in the oven until crisp. Fans of crispy seaweed from the local Chinese takeaway are sure to love this as a treat!
- Chocoholics looking for a cheaper – and healthier – way to satisfy their cravings can try dates dipped in a small amount of melted dark chocolate. A little of this rich snack will go a long way.
There are many recipes on Google for a simple, cheap, easy way to make a chocolate mug cake in the microwave. Most of them will only require a handful of ingredients, many of that will already be stored in our kitchen cupboards, with the option to add anything else as a topping that takes your fancy. Some of our personal favourites include chopped walnuts, mini marshmallows, raisins and jelly beans.
I hope you enjoyed that.
Brean is a personal finance writer at NerdWallet.