Welcome to episode six of my recap of ITV’s Save Money Good Food which shows everyone how to use up leftovers, and avoid overspending on food in the first place.
Food is super easy to make huge gains ricketytick if you’re saving for a big goal like a house deposit. We all gotta eat, but many of us also find ourselves overbuying, or we’re tempted into choosing products and ingredients that are overpriced just because of the logo on the packet.
My other posts so far have mostly been property-focused, but I wouldn’t have been able to buy my first house without zeroing in on my spending priorities. Getting the best value for money at mealtimes was one of the areas that really helped. This show taught me plenty of additional tips to last me years even though I thought I was already the budget queen of groceries. Or if you’re completely lost, this is a great place to start.
I explained in detail in the episode one recap for series one all about the premise. Basically you should find this useful if:
- You want to spend less than £1 or £2 on each dinner
- You want to know how to batch cook, freeze, and reuse meals
- You want to know how to cook flexibly without exact recipes
- You don’t want to spend too long cooking
- You want nutritious food without getting a PHD in food science first
- You want variety without blowing a budget
Here’s what I’ve covered below:
The Problems: (Chicken) Food Ruts
Recipe #1: Chicken and Vegetable Pizza and Sweet Calzones
Recipe #2: Beef and Bean Stew
Recipe #3: Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni
Recipe #4: Thai Fakeaway – Pad Thai
Recipe #5: Thai Fakeaway – Thai Basil Pork
Recipe #6: Lemon Sorbet
How to Get Better Value for Money
Taste Tests – Jam
I am not a nutritionist, or talented with a chopping knife, or someone who loves to spend hours cooking. I’ve learned how to make quick meals that are value for money and not a danger to my life generally. I don’t see why anyone else shouldn’t benefit from this knowledge.
A lot of information out there like this programme is geared at families, but we can use the same lessons if we’re only feeding ourselves or a couple.
I also find it easy to compare prices without any effort because of the way my brain is wired, so I’ve put underneath the show’s recipes how to get better value for money. This information should also give you a shortcut.
Want to know how to save in other categories besides food?
Save Money Good Food Episode 6
The Problems: This family ate only roast chicken, chicken stir fry, chicken pizza, chicken dippers/nuggets, and chicken fajitas on rotation nearly every week.
They were shopping twice a week online and overspending despite their regimented meals because of the reminders on supermarket websites to add your favourites to your basket. They were throwing away the ends of bread loaves and their pizza crusts anyway, so their average meal spend of nearly £10 also wasn’t great value for money.
Recipe Ideas – (Chicken) Food Ruts
Chopping board and knife
Large bowls for mixing (or use a spare saucepan)
Blender for pizza sauce
Casserole pot (Dutch oven as per episode one is fine)
Recipe #1: Chicken and Roast Vegetable Pizza
6 tsp baking powder
Wait! Where are the rest of the quantities? I mentioned in the previous recaps that the show is vague about measurements (they’re more specific in the Save Money Good Food book). The only way I learned how to use my leftovers properly was by caring less about perfect quantities.
Unless we’re baking, we can experiment with ratios without much consequence (getting the ratios “wrong” in baking can affect texture quite differently).
Any raw ingredients that come in a packet will tell us how much to weigh out per person. I also wrote about portion sizes at length in the first recap. Following portion sizes at its simplest means the majority of the recipe is vegetables, plus protein that matches the size of your palm, and starchy carbs that equal the front of your fist. Here’s the image again.
- Add the baking powder to the flour, then sprinkle with salt
- Gradually add water while kneading
- Blend tomatoes, garlic, basil and tomato puree for the sauce
- Roll out the dough
- Spread on the sauce
- Top with onion, pepper, chicken, mozzarella and olive oil
- For dessert put Nutella on the leftover dough
- Add sliced banana
- Fold over to bake into sweet calzones
Total cost: £4.86
Recipe #2: Beef and Bean Stew
- Heat a casserole pot while chopping carrot, celery, onion and bacon
- Add to the pot
- After everything has softened, add minced beef*
- Once cooked, simmer with orange peel, herbs and tomato puree in chicken stock
- Add drained kidney beans to simmer
- Top everything with breadcrumbs and parmesan to bake for 15 minutes
Total cost: £4.09
*I’m pretty sure Matt said minced pork in his voiceover! So I think that was an editing booboo, but I suppose pork works too.
Also if you’re wondering what the difference is between a casserole pot and the Dutch oven from episode one, a casserole dish is usually sold as shallower than a Dutch oven. No one will smite you for using one in place of the other, so either should do for this recipe.
Recipe #3: Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni
Any other leftovers for filling
- Blend chopped tomatoes, puree and basil to make sauce
- Added grated nutmeg before stuffing inside pasta tubes with spinach and ricotta
- Add any other fillings
- Cover with mozzarella then cover with foil
- Bake for 30 minutes at 190 degrees, then 15 more minutes without the foil
Total cost: £4.94
Recipe #4: Thai Fakeaway – Pad Thai and Thai Basil Pork
For the Pad Thai
- Crush the peanuts with the flat of a knife
- Stir fry garlic, onion, and chilli
- Add rice noodles, soy, lime, and the crushed peanuts
For the Thai Basil Pork
- Slice the aubergine and the courgette
- Stir fry star anise, garlic and chilli
- Add minced pork, aubergine, courgette, soy, and fish sauce
Recipe #6: Lemon Sorbet
- Heat the caster sugar with lemon cordial until it dissolves
- Cool in a container to freeze for three hours – stir now and again
Total cost: £4.89. Besides all the chicken, this family also normally spent £50-60 per takeaway.
How To Get Better Value For Money On All The Recipes
The show’s tips
The sauce in recipe #3 is very similar to making pizza sauce at a saving, but in the cannelloni recipe it’s instead of buying passata. You can also fill pasta with bolognese, leftover roast veg, goats cheese, mushrooms etc. They used the leftovers from the beef and bean stew.
If you haven’t cooked with star anise before, it’s about the same price as other more common Asian spices, and also features in a recipe in the next episode.
Fish sauce can stay in the cupboard for 2-3 years which is how Matt justifies buying it for the Thai Basil Pork/not throwing it if it hasn’t seen daylight for months and months. I prefer to invest in ingredients ideally that I use more often i.e. every other week at least. The Thai Basil recipe can also be made with beef and turkey, but minced pork is often cheaper.
I covered the cheapest ways to get the majority of the ingredients in the previous recaps, especially in episode one.
Peanuts are often cheaper roasted than raw and the Pad Thai recipe is intended to have roasted peanuts. I don’t like manufacturers deciding my salt intake for me though, so I would more likely buy raw and roast them myself even if it takes longer. I don’t eat any other nuts before toasting/roasting them first anyway because I think it tastes 100 times better (they brown off in their own natural oil). Give it a go!
As with the lemons in episode three, the cheapest way to get limes is usually to buy a multipack, slice them all up and freeze them for cooking and ice cubes. (I only put lemon in my gin though because I’m not a heathen).
Aldi do 200g of brown rice noodles for 59p. Don’t be put off by the smell after they boil; they will soak up the flavour of any sauces once they’re in a bowl/on a plate. ASDA’s own brand rice noodles are cheapest if we don’t have a discounter nearby (33p/100g). Otherwise I’m not precious about which noodles end up in an Asian recipe. I’ll use spaghetti if it’s all that’s going, especially if it’s going to end up covered in sauce anyway.
If you liked the look of the aubergine in the tomato pilau recipe in episode five, then the Thai Basil Pork is a use for the rest (no pork, no problem! Go veggie for an evening).
Calzone for breakfast anyone? Otherwise this episode has probably had the strongest lunch leftovers potential yet.
Pizza dough and the tomato sauce are ideal to batch freeze. The cannelloni as it was in the episode doesn’t want freezing as they were using filling that had already been cooked previously and heated again for this. Limit the amount of times you cook and freeze, or vice versa.
If you’re confused as to why you would get someone to make chicken and vegetable pizza when they’re fed up of chicken, the point was to use up some of their mountains of raw refrigerated chicken while also being a more nutritious and cheaper alternative to processed chicken pizzas. Homemade pizzas obviously mean though that we can put any topping on that we want which is an opportunity to add nutrients.
For the sweet calzones, they suggested fruit/jam works too. I think they meant fruit AND jam, but fruit is sweet anyway, and Nutella with banana in dough is basically a(n imbalanced) meal by itself in terms of calories.
Jim Jams make a hazelnut chocolate spread that basically tastes like Nutella, but which has 83% less sugar. Nutella is cheaper, especially if buying a 1kg jar on offer, but it’s also possible to get Jim Jams reduced sometimes in the supermarkets or from Holland and Barrett.
Here’s how Greenwich Market visitors ranked the following budget brand jams:
They should all contain 35g of fruit per 100g and cost 28p at the time of filming. The show said leading brand Bonne Maman contains 50g of fruit per 100g, but costs nine times this!
Save Money Good Food Series 1 Episode 6
The key takeaways from this episode were:
- Like risottos and pies, almost any leftovers will go in filled pasta
- If you hate cooking there are recipes out there that only have 2 or 3 steps!
- Processed pizzas won’t kill you in an emergency, but homemade is more nutritious if eating weekly
- Don’t buy extra kitchen equipment unnecessarily – casserole pots and Dutch ovens substitute for each other
Would you or have you made any recipes from this episode? What do you do for inspiration when having a clear out of your kitchen cupboards? Let me know in the comments.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve had kitchen success with the Save Money Good Food book also.
Next time on Save Money Good Food…
Episode seven is all about feeders and leftovers that are just as good the next day. The recipes include Feta and Black Olive Stuffed Peppers With Pesto Pasta, Fish and Lentil Curry, and a Mexican Feast.
If you want to go back, episode five was all about freezer-friendly alternatives to ready meals and included recipes for Smoked Haddock Fishcakes, Chicken Kievs, Tomato Pilau Rice, and an American Diner Style Fakeaway of Veggie Burgers, Milkshakes, and Banoffee Pies.
Episode four was all about premium foodie alternatives for picky eaters and included recipes for Red Pepper and Bacon Frittata, Chicken and Leek Pie, Pie Risotto, and Japanese Katsu Curry with Fritters and Miso Soup.
Episode three was about making leftovers from leftovers. Recipes included Toad in the Hole, Shakshuka with Flatbreads, Shakshuka Prawn Pasta, Lemon Possets, Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup, Egg Fried Rice, Sweet and Sour Pork, and New York Cheesecake.
Episode two was all about entertaining guests. Recipes included Salmon Piperade, Gammon with Sage Roasted Veggies, Meringues, Leftovers Pie, Lamb Shoulder, and Tiffin.
Episode one if you want to go back was about using cupboard staples. Recipes included Cajun Chicken with Pomegrenate Salad and Tuna Fishcakes, Broccoli Seafood pasta (and Tea Fruit Cake), Chorizo Frittata, One Pot Chicken and Chorizo Rice, and an Indian Fakeaway of Pork Curry, Lentil Dahl, Roasted Spiced Cauliflower and Chapatis.
I’ve done recaps of all the Save Money Good Food episodes so far, and we’re nearly at the end of series one. Join the mailing list to make sure you don’t miss any posts in the series, and to get all kinds of savings and earnings tips straight to your inbox for the foreseeable.
I’ll also get round to adding the Save Money Good Food series 2 recipes and Save Money Good Diet recipes in future. (Save Money Good…is a whole stable of ITV shows, so I’ll have plenty for you to read!)