If you find yourself throwing out sad looking lettuce and mouldy bread at the end of each week, it may be time to take stock. If you use only a few slices of bread each week, why not freeze half the loaf until you need it? If you buy more veg than you need each week, try visiting the fruit and vege store a couple of times per week instead of stocking up.
2) Get Your Portion Sizes Right: If you constantly find yourself with leftover spaghetti or rice, try writing down a standard amount that works for your family eg. 4 people = 1 cup uncooked brown rice. Or grab one of those spaghetti measurers from a cooking store.
3) Store Food Properly: If your find your flour has gone stale or your crackers are a bit soft, you may not be storing your food as well as you could. Invest in some decent Tupperware or glass jars to store your dry goods, and you will avoid having to replace food that you only use occasionally.
4) Use Up Your Leftovers: Don't let last night's casserole sit in the fridge for 5 nights and then throw it away. Use it the next day for lunch, or even serve it on top of a baked potato for dinner the next day.
5) Do a Kitchen Audit Before You Shop:
To avoid ending up with 3 bags of carrots and 10 tins of tomatoes, do a quick check of the fridge/freezer/cupboard before you go.
6) Use up Food That is on it's Way Out:
If you see a bowl of rice from last night's curry, why not make fried rice for lunch? See some sad old bananas – make a quick banana bread. Got a few plums going a bit soft – simmer them down with a little sugar to make a fruit compote to serve with yoghurt or ice cream.
7) Make a List and Stick to It:
There's nothing worse than coming home and realising that you forgot one of the vital ingredients for tonight's dinner. A list can keep you on track if you plan your meals for the week and note down all of the things you need. This way you can avoid impulse purchases and buying items hoping that you might be inspired to make something from it.
8) Have One Night a Week Where it's Back to Basics:
Not every dinner has to be the best ever. It's perfectly fine to have eggs on toast or a tin of soup for dinner.
9) Cook Sauces from Scratch:
Instead of buying all of those pre-made meal sachets or jars of sauce – make your own. You are saving money but also reducing your salt and preservative intake. A simple stir-fry sauce could be just 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, a big glug of honey and 2 teaspoons of minced garlic. Things like cheese sauce for cauliflower or white sauce for lasagne are actually quite simple to make if you know how.
10) Take Turns Cooking for Friends:
Instead of meeting down the pub on a Thursday night to catch up with friends, why not start a new tradition? Take it in turns to cook a meal for a group of pals, alternating houses each week. You'll get to try lots of new dishes, catch up with your friends, and one night a week you are saving on cooking dinner.