We’re doing OK with the budget, and after doing the shopping today, we have about £36 left, which we should be able to stick to if we’re careful. This weekend, I made two small loaves of no-knead light brown bread, and five portions of Puy lentil, tomato and vegetable soup (both for my lunches this week) and soaked and cooked a whole bag of chickpeas to be frozen for future use (see my money saving tip at the bottom of the post).
Sun 12 – butternut squash, feta and caramelised onion pie with salad
Mon 13 – mac & cheese with broccoli and salad
Tues 14 – baked chicken breasts in mustard créme fraîche with veg and mash
Wed 15 – Nigerian red kidney bean stew with rice and greens
Thurs 16 – I’m out; Dave’s having pizza and salad
Fri 17 – sausage and bean casserole with potatoes and veg
Sat 18 – having friends round for pizza and drinks
Spending £148.73 / £185
Picked up a few little things this week – the milk, two of the salads and the rolls from Morrisons, and the reduced items from the local Tesco garage. Everything else came in an Asda delivery today. Have to say I am a bit annoyed with them as I got loads of substitutions, a couple of them bad enough I had to send them back. Plus they gave me over 400g fresh ginger instead of the 100g I wanted – I’ll have to grate and freeze it as it’ll take months to use up that much.
Delivery - £4 Fruit & veg £8.20 Broccoli 350g 80p Bananas x5 58p Carrots 800g 79p Salad leaves x3 £2.50 Smartprice apples 4pk 88p Spring greens 500g £1 Ginger 420g 50p Butternut squash 850g £1 RTC rocket salad 10p RTC swede 5p Meat & fish £7.28 Whole free range corn fed chicken 1.8kg £7.28 Dairy & eggs £4.80 Smartprice greek salad cheese 200g 75p Smartprice butter 98p Creme fraiche 300ml £1.10 Whole milk 4 pints £1 Meadow parks whole milk 2 litres 97p Bread 57p Giant white rolls 6pk 50p RTC pittas 6pk 7p General £15.87 Discos crisps 6pk £1 Smartprice spaghetti 19p Basmati rice 1kg £1.48 Smartprice plain flour 1.5kg 45p Smartprice bourbon creams 22p Cream crackers 36p Asda rich roast instant coffee 200g £1.98 Smartprice tinned tuna x2 £1.22 Great Scot dried chickpeas 500g 95p Smartprice chopped tomatoes 62p Asda french coarse grain mustard 65p Smartprice individual orange juices 3pk 45p Goodfellas pepperoni pizza £2 Asda cola x4 £4.30 Household £6.10 Radox bath salts £1 Asda toothpaste 39p Right Guard women's deodorant £1 Asda handwash 55p Smartprice cat litter x2 £3.16
Money Saving Tip – Dried beans
Someone on the MSE forums this week suggested buying dried beans rather than tinned, as they’re much cheaper. Obviously tinned beans are much more convenient though – I’m generally not organised enough to soak and cook them when I need them.
Her tip to was to soak and cook the whole pack at once, rather than as needed, freezing in can-sized portions for future use. She does a different type of beans every month, so she’s now built up a stock in the freezer of all the different types. I was curious to see if it was really worth it, so tried it this week with dried chickpeas.
It cost me 95p for the 500g bag from Asda, which I soaked using the quick-soak method – cover in boiled water, bring to the boil, then switch off the heat and leave for an hour. I then boiled the chickpeas for around an hour and a half in unsalted water, until tender.
I measured out in 230g batches (roughly the drained weight of a can) and got four and a half cans worth out of the bag, which I’ve frozen in food bags and tubs.
Since it cost me 95p for the bag, this means that each can’s worth (230g of cooked chickpeas), cost just 22p. It costs 62p for a can of chickpeas in Asda so the dried chickpeas are about 1/3 of the price of tinned.
This was worth doing, as just one load of soaking and cooking was so much less hassle than having to be organised every time I want to use chickpeas. I’ll try it out with another type of beans in a couple of weeks, and hopefully there will be a similar saving – red kidney beans being the only exception, as it’s only 21p for the value tins anyway.
If you want to do this but are wondering how to use up all these chickpeas, you can:- make hummous, make falafels, throw them in soups, stews and casseroles, make veggie burgers, defrost and toss through a salad, put them into vegetarian curries, or roast them in olive oil and spices for a crunchy snack.
What’s your favourite bean or pulse? Do you prefer to cook them yourself or do you just find it way too much hassle?