Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Top Tips Tuesday...

Hi again,

Today I'm beginning my Tuesday blog posts of sharing thrifty tips with you. Some you will already do, some you will have heard of somewhere else, some will be new to you, some won't be relevant to your lifestyle, but I hope you will find something worth repeating to hang on to those precious pennies.

Not all of them are my own original ideas, but we all learn from each other in books, face-to-face and from the tv and internet. By sharing those ideas, we are helping each other out, especially when money is tight. 

I have a book full of tips that I have jotted down...some I use now and some that didn't work for us as a family. There are some that I haven't put into practice yet too.

I will post five tips each Tuesday on various topics around the home...

Top Tips Tuesday


* use the cooker top (stove) where you can. The oven uses a lot of electricity and I do this where ever I can. Yesterday I cooked my cottage pie mince on the top, added the mash and simply browned under the grill. I used to brown the mince and cook it in the oven...not any more!

* if you are using the oven to cook meals (like a roast), make sure the oven is full. This could be by cooking a pudding or baking some cakes. Just check you need the same oven temperature! 

* cook cheaper cuts of meat...the slow cooker comes in really handy here. I'm not a fan of offal, but I will cook the tougher cuts of beef. You just need to cook slowly on a lower temperature which is ideal for slow cooker recipes. I tend to do this more in the colder months, but will post the recipes as and when.

* eat less meat... We have been doing this for a while now. You'll see that from this weeks meal plan. I substitute for another protein like eggs or cheese. As a family, we don't like pulses and lentils or quorn/tofu. It's all about making a cheaper meal but being aware of the nutritional value too. Another thing I do to eat less meat is to bulk out and stretch a meal further with extra vegetables. Yesterday I added chopped carrots and frozen peas to the mince. Sometimes I add baked beans too or sweet corn. 

* roast a chicken and use it up! I must confess that I am not the best at this because I prefer the white breast meat and not the darker meat. However, my husband is not fussy and will eat the legs and wings. After carving the main of it, allow the chicken to cool while you eat and then pick off the remaining meat. You'll be surprised just how much meat is left on there. This meat is lovely for making pies or other chicken dishes requiring cooked meat (I have recipes if anyone is interested). Next put the carcass in a large pan and boil up the bones. This makes excellent stock and you can freeze it until needed (make sure it has cooled down first though). You can add veg to your pan like a whole onion, carrot and celery, but I have done it without and it's fine. I will show you how I do this when we have roast chicken this week.

Thanks for your comments on here and my second blog. I do try to reply to all (unless I manage to miss one from an older post) and note your requests.

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x


  1. Like you I do not use my oven much and when I do I fill it up and cook ahead. I make 3 loaves of bread, cut them in half and freeze all but 1 piece, sometimes I slice them up and then freeze. Then pastry goes in and then cakes or puddings, the oven will be hot for 2 hours maybe once a week. I would like a mini oven but do not have the space.

    1. Hi Pam
      You are really good with your oven. Mine is definitely on more than that but I am more aware of trying to fill it. I used to have a mini oven and it did me well when I didn't have a normal sized cooker x

  2. Never thought to finish shepherds pie like that, will remember. I use soya mince for chilli and know people who at it to meat when making shepherds pie, though it takes a lot of liquid to cook so maybe best done separated before mixing.

    1. Hi Phyllis
      I prefer this way of cooking and the potato is all crispy x

  3. To bulk up meat in the slow cooker I add lentils or some sort of beans.
    I love my slow cooker!!

    1. Hi Mary Jo
      I don't use mine enough! Only once this summer. I wish we liked lentils and beans, but we only like kidney and baked beans! X