A great way to save time and money is to cook once eat twice. That is cooking enough to do two days instead of having to cook from scratch every day.
Protein is expensive. Therefore I decided to include meat in all of the meals below. The meals are adaptable to suit vegetarians, vegans and your own taste preferences.
I have based all costings on Aldi’s website to keep things simple. Shop around for the best value for your family. Also please note the prices are correct at the time of publication but may change.
A week of dinners
Start by making a list of dinners that you and your family like to eat. Plan dinners around what you already have and need to use up. Generally in my freezer there would always be stewing beef, mince and chicken.
- Beef stew with potatoes
- Chicken casserole with mash
- Beef stew with mash
- Chicken casserole with rice
- Mince beef curry with home made chips
- Roast pork
- Mince beef curry with rice
Shopping list for the cook once eat twice method
Make a shopping list while you’re coming up with your dinner ideas. This way you won’t be guessing what you have already. I can’t tell you how many times I bought unnecessary ingredients before I started this method.
It’s also a simple way to avoid extra trips to the shop because you forgot an ingredient. Therefore you have a better chance of sticking to your meal plan and budget.
With Aldi’s click and collect feature, on their website, I was able to see the prices of the products. I could then decide what was the best value for money for my family of four.
However I didn’t include salt, pepper or oil in the shopping list as I would always have them on hand.
|Meal||Beef stew with potatoes||Chicken casserole with mash/ rice||Mince beef curry with home-made chips/rice||Roast pork with mash and vegetables|
|Ingredients||Stewing beef, potatoes, carrots, onion, mushrooms, garlic and a stock cube||Chicken, onion, carrots, garlic, mushrooms, milk, flour/ corn flour and butter||Mince beef, onion, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, curry powder, broccoli||Pork, carrots, broccoli and cabbage|
|Accompaniment ingredients||Extra potatoes for mash, butter and milk||Potatoes, butter and milk|
|Potatoes and a dash of oil|
|Potatoes, butter and milk|
Please note in the example above only one bag of carrots was included.
Cook once eat twice meal plan
Write a meal plan that makes sense to your needs. I don’t mind eating the same thing two days in a row, however if you prefer variety then mix the meals up.
Keep left overs for the days you are busy in order to make the most of the -cook once eat twice- method.
A variation of this method would be to *freeze the second portion for another week. You might do this in order to avoid eating the same thing twice in a week. Above all do what works for you and your situation.
Key elements to cook once eat twice success
Use fresh ingredients first
Avoid food waste by using fresh food first in the meal plan. Use food with a longer shelf life further into the week. This decreases the chance of food going to landfill.
You may need to organise your meal plan based on the use by dates of the meat. *Freeze short dated meat if you know you won’t use it before it spoils.
***Always follow health and safety guidelines for freezing and defrosting raw/ cooked meat safely.***
Store ingredients properly
Store your ingredients correctly and you will keep meat and vegetables fresh for longer.
Taking carrots out of the plastic bag, for example, and storing in the fridge on a clean, dry tea towel will prolong the freshness.
Likewise storing your potatoes in a cool dark place will help them to last longer. Potatoes are best stored in a container not made of plastic.
Another way to get the most of your vegetables is to chop and freeze them. Garlic freezes really well and defrosts is minutes.
Store left overs safely
If you want to use the cook once eat twice method then you need to store the food correctly.
Always allow food to cool completely before it goes into the fridge or the freezer. Use a suitable container to store the food, for example, the Pyrex cook and store dishes. I like to use these containers for casseroles, shepherds pies and mash because they can be used in the oven and in the freezer. It reduces the amount of dishes to wash!
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