When cold weather arrives, much of the income goes toward heating the home. Though there may not be much money remaining for food, there is no reason to starve. Leftovers can be turned into warm winter meals, saving money while enjoying hearty food.
According to a recent article, spaghetti Bolognese has become the most popular tea time one-pot dish in the country. By giving this and other meals a boost from food left in the freezer, refrigerator, and cupboards, you can save money while eating healthy.
Make spaghetti Bolognese a vegetarian dish by substituting lentil, soya, or quorn for beef and replacing beef stock with vegetable stock. Use soy-style cheese and a vegetarian version of Worcestershire sauce. Lamb stew is a hearty winter meal that is easy to prepare and freezes and re-heats well. Add apricots to provide natural sweetness and serve with mashed potatoes, boiled new potatoes, or rice. Use these variations to create a meal that each family member will enjoy.
Food For Thought
Get your children to eat their vegetables and feed the entire family with one dish by preparing shepherd’s pie. When cooking for a smaller group, prepare this meal in two dishes and freeze the second or put each portion in a separate container. Soup is another wintertime favorite that is inexpensive to prepare. Leftover or wilted spinach makes a very tasty soup that is low in fat and filled with antioxidants. Add some potatoes to make it a favorite.
Chili is another warming winter meal and it can be spiced up with some fresh chiles and frozen for two months. There are many variations including vegetarian so get creative. Lasagna is an inexpensive meal for a crowd that can also be made vegetarian-style. Prepare it in advance and freeze the extra for later, using vegetables that have been sitting in the refrigerator and cutting them into tiny pieces so children will not taste them.
Leftover vegetables also become more appealing when they are made into a pie topped with a puff pastry. If there is butternut squash in the refrigerator, use it to prepare a spicy, sweet, and sour minced pie with a grated cheese topping. Butternut squash can also be roasted with sage and mixed with risotto for an inexpensive winter side dish. The family will not realize that you are using up the leftovers in the fridge.
Preparing meals in large portions and freezing the extra yields food for multiple nights. Cooking at home is much less expensive than dining out, especially for a large family. Many recipes for hot meals are fast and easy to prepare so review cookbooks for ideas. Recipe websites often allow a search by ingredients so you can turn ingredients on hand into something delicious.
By preparing healthy food at home, you keep the family nourished throughout winter. They will avoid the fast-food trap that packs on winter pounds when there is no motivation to exercise. Money saved can be put toward utilities or holiday gifts. To save money all year, continue to prepare inexpensive meals from home.
Essential winter meals on a budget video