Whether you are cooking for yourself, friends or family, you want to prepare meals that are nutritional, that taste great and that are easy on the pocket. In the past few weeks it’s become increasingly important for most of us to ‘tighten our belts’. How do you spend less, but remain healthy and creative in the kitchen?
Entrepreneur and Chef Lungi Nhlanhla, and the founder of Financial Fitness Bunnies and media personality Nicolette Mashile share tips on how to save money, shop wisely and cook creative, tasty budget-friendly meals.
1. Use what you have in your cupboard or fridge. “Before buying new ingredients, check what is in your cupboard or fridge. When you keep shopping without taking stock of what you already have, not only will you waste money, but you will end up with goods that expire and become waste before you have had the chance to use it,” says Chef Lungi.
2. Meal and menu planning. “This is probably the best advice I can offer! When you plan your meals, you’re able to get an idea of what it is that you are going to be cooking. You can plan weekly or monthly. If you are not sure where to start with your planning and, for inspiration, you can visit the ‘Knorr What’s for Dinner’ website or the Facebook page. This then leads to a grocery list,” adds Chef Lungi.
3. Have a grocery list. “We can’t emphasise the importance of having a grocery list, before you go shopping, enough. The list not only helps you to stick to the meals that you have planned but most importantly, you’ll be able to calculate how much you will be spending before you head out to the shops. As old school as it sounds, a good old pen and paper will do the trick for this one,” advises Mashile.
4. Substitute ingredients. “Substituting ingredients helps to keep within your budget when you come across items that are a little more expensive than what you can afford. Substitute with ingredients that you like, items that are in season, that are cheaper and most importantly, similar in flavour and texture. Don’t ever think that you can’t recreate a recipe because it’s not within your price range,” adds Nhlanhla.
5. Use your loyalty cards. There’s never been a better time to take advantage of an additional 10 or 20 per cent. Every cent counts. While it may take some time to build enough points with individual retailers, others offer instant discounts when you produce your card.
Some final tips from Chef Lungi include incorporating ‘Meatless Monday’ into your meal planning. Not only will a vegetable-only meal save you money, but it will also provide additional nourishment for you or your family. Get creative with your leftovers. Roasted or grilled chicken can be used for sandwiches, salads or added to a soup.
Recipe: Chicken and Vegetable Sishebo
• tbsp cooking oil
•1 onion, chopped
• 1 tbsp rajah medium curry powder
• 6 chicken pieces
• 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables
• 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 1 cup of water
• 1 Knorrox Chicken Stock Cube
• 2 x tbsp Knorr Brown Onion Soup
• 1 tbsp Robertsons Parsley
• In a pot, fry the onion in oil until soft.
• Add the Rajah Medium Curry Powder and fry for 1 minute to release the flavour and aroma.
• Add the chicken pieces and fry for 5 minutes until well browned.
• Add the frozen mixed vegetables, potatoes, water and Knorrox Chicken Stock Cube stir well and bring to the boil
• Turn down the heat and allow the dish to simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on
•Just before serving, mix the Knorr Brown Onion Soup with 4 tablespoons of water to form a smooth paste, add it to the pot with the Robertsons Parsley and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes to thicken.
• Serve with rice or pap.