Wednesday 3 October 2012

Making the Most of What You Buy

I'm still concentrating on using up the contents of the freezers and cupboards, so most of what I bought this week has been fresh items and things we had run out of, oh and a couple of treats for Lovely Hubby for while I'm away next week (the Shreddies and Nuts and Raisins).
I did quite well, the salady stuff that I bought to go with what we still have growing here was all so ridiculously cheap.  I guess it's not selling that well at the moment with the weather being so cold.
Here's what I bought.
2 Bottles of Sparkling Water - 34p
3 Bags of Onions - £2.50
1 bag of Potatoes - £2
An Iceberg Lettuce - 80p
2 Cucumbers - £1
Pack of 3 Peppers - £1
Pack of 8 Tomatoes - £1
Four Individual Sized Pizzas - £1.50
Block of Cheddar Cheese - £6.01
Pack of Honey Shreddies - £1
Bag of Jumbo Nuts and Raisins - £2
Bag of Cinnamon and Raisin Bagels - £1 (not pictured)
Total Spend £20.15
(The food you can see lurking in the background is from my Approved Food order received on Saturday, I'll post about that tomorrow.)

To make room for all the lovely fresh veggies I emptied my veggie drawers in the big fridge and chopped everything I had into chunky sized pieces.  These were roasted in the oven with herbs, garlic and oil and served for tea on Monday with Salmon fillets from the freezer and Cous Cous from an AF order last year.
The leftovers, and there were quite a lot, were already earmarked for my little bit of batch preparation yesterday.
Why did I buy those little pizzas you may be wondering?  Well they cost me not much more than making my own from scratch, they are simply a  medium thick pizza base with tomato paste and a sprinkling of cheese, they saved me some time and they meant that I could use some nice fresh toppings and leftovers to make them come to life easily and cheaply.
Firstly my cheese is always grated, it goes so much further that way.  The food processor is put into use for 5 minutes and the whole block is grated and loosely packed into freezer proof boxes.  It flows freely if you give it a shake a couple of hours after freezing and you know then that there is always cheese on hand for sandwiches, toppings for dishes, cheese on toast etc etc  It never goes stale on you and thaws within minutes of removing from the freezer in the portion size you want.
So out of the fridge I then pulled the veggie leftovers, some meatballs that Lovely Hubby enjoys and a pack of ham nearing it's sell by date.
The pizzas were placed in my open freezing trays on greaseproof paper, I use this quite a few times before it gets thrown away, this had the scones on it at weekend.
Then the toppings were added, a Meat Feast style pizza with Meatballs and Ham, a Meatball pizza and two Veggie pizzas (just in case there are any left when I get back from my holiday).
Sprinkled generously with cheese (about a £1s worth of my big block).
And then stacked, with the freezer stickers loose in the tray ready for wrapping and labelling when they are frozen.  Then they and the box of leftover cheese were popped into the chest freezer.
This morning they were individually wrapped, labelled and then placed in a large box to keep unsquashed and perfect until we need an all instant meal, or have the urge for a 'takeaway'.
So four pizzas that cost me about £1 each to make, including all the toppings and they are big enough to have either one each for a meal, or a half each with a jacket potato, salad or handful of chips.
Good tasting simply made food, that's a brilliant standby in the freezer. 
Even the Bagels have been split and frozen, this way you can just have half a Bagel whenever you fancy it and they don't go stale if you freeze them this way on the day you buy them.  No wastage at all.  Frozen they can be popped straight into the toaster (or under the grill) and take only seconds longer than if they were toasted from fresh.
The bag of Jumbo Nuts and Raisins that I bought was tipped into a bowl and added to.   Some Almonds, dried Goji Berries and the last of my jar of Cashew Nuts and then popped into a large jar to keep nice and fresh.  So now Lovely Hubby has a luxury nut mix for dipping into next week while I am away, just in case he gets the nibbles .... and he does!!  So much cheaper than actually buying a bag of 'Luxury Nut Mix' that are usually padded out with the cheaper nuts with just a couple of the big favourites.
I hope these examples of what I do with some of my shopping when I get it home give you some ideas or at the very least make you stop and think, 'I do that too', and give yourself a pat on the back for saving the pennies and pounds that would otherwise be spent on buying foods that someone else has prepared for you.  Where you are paying for the labour and not the quantity or quality of the foods.
Sue xx


  1. Does your husband really eat according to your plan when you are away???? If so, you must share your secret. Or else he is an anomaly!

    1. He eats the things I have prepared for his main meal and either eats in the staff restaurant at work or trawls the cupboards and freezers for what he fancies when he's at home the rest of the time.

      I try to make all his favourite things for when I go away and always treat him to his favourite cereal for breakfast (hence the Shreddies and Bagels) and I always leave him a bottle of good Port and a wedge of Stilton for an evening treat.

      I'm good to him, but then he's good to me, I always get back to a freshly hoovered house and all the little odd jobs done.

      Sue xx

  2. Where did you get those freezer trays from, Sue? I could do with some of those, I generally just use my baking trays, but it would be nice to have dedicated trays.

    Regards, Sooze xx

    1. Mum gave them to me, they came from my Dad's hoard in the garage when we were sorting out. In true hoarders fashion when he got them he bought two sets, one to replace the first ones when they wore out I guess.

      I think they will have been from somewhere like Lakeland or Bettaware, but they were bought years ago. They are going a bit brittle with being frozen over and over so maybe Dad was right to have spares!

      Before I had these I used to use my baking trays too.

      Sue xx

  3. Like Sooze I am intrigues by those trays- bought specifically or repurposed from something else? xx

    1. They are good aren't they Angela.

      I like them because they stack neatly on top on one another so the contents don't touch and then fit inside each other for storage.

      Sue xx

  4. love to know where you got the freezer trays :)

    1. I've just trawled both Lakeland and Bettaware but no luck, when I Googled 'open freezing trays' I found only a question off someone else asking where to get replacements for these very trays as they were wanting some more!!

      I used to use my baking trays, they have a small edge so I was okay stacking them in alternate directions for flat things, but they were no good for something quite deep like these pizzas, I used to have to have them all spaced out across the freezer. It is managable though.

      Sue xx

  5. Great tip on the grated cheese, and giving it a shake.

  6. I've been doing it for years, it's great (grate!!) for Parmesan too, just grate the whole block when you buy it and in the time it takes to cook your pasta it has thawed out nicely.

    Sue xx

  7. Great tips Sue , those trays are great.

  8. i often use value packs of pizza and 're-top' them - they are little and cheap and easy

  9. Yes, those pizzas are really good value!

    May buy some of those later in the month.

    Loving your frugal posts, can't wait to read more.

    Sft x

  10. good idea with those pizzas. I quite fancy a pizza after reading your post.

    Gill in Canada

  11. The trays were from Lakeland about seven years ago ; Your lovely Dad tried to buy more a couple of years ago but they no longer manufactured them . I am sure if there was enough demand they would re introduce them
    love Mum XXXXXXXXX [JOAN }

  12. Sue
    I forgot to say i am still using the original set . They have always been a brittle plastic . Love Mum XXXXXXX

  13. Fabulous ! Where are you off to ?


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