What to cook for the family during isolation
Right now, Aussies are really conscious of keeping the family fed while not spending too much - so here at HiberNation we'll be giving daily expert advice and recipes to get through this crisis.
To kick things off, there is nobody more qualified than Australia's Best Recipes contributor and Joyful Frugalista author Serina Bird on the $40 fortnight food plan
Have you heard of the $21 Challenge? In 2009, Fiona Lippey and Jackie Gower published a book by that title, based on the idea that you could feed your family for just $21.
It came about because a woman on the Simple Savings forum asked her husband for money to go shopping, and he handed her a $20 note.
She found a $1 coin and, rather than complain about it, decided to make it a challenge.
It seemed radical at the time, yet thousands of families across Australia have existed on $21 a week for years.
Or at least, they have done it for a week or two at a time to save a bit of extra money.
The idea is to use what you already have on hand rather than buying a lot of new things.
Is this cheating? No, it's about using up the pantry supplies you already have and appreciating what you have.
SURVIVING ON A BUDGET
These are a few tips to help you survive - and thrive - on only $40 for two weeks:
● Powdered milk is as good as fresh, and when you mix it with fresh milk and shake it up, it tastes the same the next morning. (I tricked my family with this tip for years.)
● Powdered milk is also great for making yoghurt.
● Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh. Frozen peas are super cheap.
● Rolled oats make delicious, nutritious and frugal breakfasts for the champions.
● A roast chicken is a gift that keeps on giving - always make a soup from the leftover carcass and bones.
●Instant noodles can be used in more ways than you think.
● Eggs are a cheap form of protein.
DON'T BULK BUY
Growing your own vegetables will help stretch your greens - I even manage to grow parsley and basil on my shady balcony.
Embracing what you have, avoiding the urge to bulk buy, recognising that home cooking is made with love and not the same as restaurant food, and taking up the creativity challenge can result in some fantastic meals.
Check out Serina's sample meal plan below. You can find all the recipes at bestrecipes.
Week 1 budget menu
Monday: Slow-cooked roast chicken (made from a frozen chicken)
Tuesday: Asian style chicken noodle soup with sliced onions and
greens (using instant noodles and homemade chicken stock from
Wednesday: Red lentil, potato and onion dahl with frozen vegetables
Thursday: Tuna and tomato pasta
Friday: Ham, onion and frozen broccoli pizzas, and potato and
Saturday: Omelette with tomato, onion, potato, ham and cheese
Sunday: Spaghetti bolognese, bulked out with red lentils
Week 2 budget menu
Monday: Risotto (using leftover chicken soup)
Tuesday: Baked pastitsio (using leftover bolognese sauce)
Wednesday: Instant noodle fritters
Thursday: Baked rosemary and olive oil chicken drumsticks
Friday: Fridge Friday - leftovers!
Saturday: Leftovers frittata (instant noodles, frozen vegetables, cheese,
Sunday: Ham, egg and frozen vegetables fried rice
Originally published as What to cook for the family during isolation