Top 5 tips for producing delicious meals on a budget

Pure Punjabi Learn Cook Eat Meal Box and Cookery SchoolHow to make delicious meals on a budget

Running a household can be a difficult and stressful task, especially when keeping an eye on your spending. By following a few simple rules and our top 5 tips for producing delicious meals on a budget, you can save a few pennies in the process…

1. Buy in season

By doing this, you’re able to take advantage of the multi-buy deals on seasonal fruit and vegetables. Plus, they are far more likely to taste better because they’re being grown at the appropriate time of year in the appropriate country. During December and January, our local independent store had blood oranges available. To say they were delicious was an understatement! Every single blood orange I bought tasted as good as the last, and this was because they were in season. I was devastated when February hit and the store was no longer able to order then because they were out of season. If we did this with all our fresh produce, especially fruit, we’d probably kiss goodbye to hard, bitter and sometimes tasteless fruit!

2. Cook in bulk

This point follows on from our previous one…if you buy seasonal produce in bulk, made a double batch and freeze half in portions, and you have another meal ready and waiting for you. And even if you;re not cooking seasonal dishes, you still save by cooking double. By doing this, you’re reducing any potential waste, being economical, freezing your seasonal produce at the point of peak freshness and maximum flavour, plus you it carries all the convenience of a ready meal except you know exactly what’s gone in it. In addition, you also save time, as well as money. I find that if I double a recipe, it only adds an extra 5 – 10 minutes on the cooking time rather than doubling my cooking time. That’s time that I can then spend doing other things.

3. Turn to more exotic style of cuisine

So many cultures around the world use spices, which, when stored correctly, will last a long time and add so much flavour. Now, I know what you’re thinking, spices are expensive. Well, some are (like green cardamom), but many (like cumin seeds) are very reasonably priced and add so much flavour without adding calories. Plus, using spices as your source of flavour will reduce the need for more expensive items (like cream for example) and your spices will go much further than that one pot of cream, which you’ll mostly likely use all at once. To make sure you do save money, instead of buying the small, tall jars of spices, head the the world food isle in your local supermarket and you’ll find much bigger bags of spices for the same price! Spices need to be stored in a cool, dark cupboard. So pick an area of your kitchen that doesn’t get hit by sunlight. Buy whole spices and only grind them when you are about to use them in cooking, as whole spices will stay fresh for twice the length of time than ground spices (on average, ground spices will keep for 6 months and whole spices will keep for 12 months).

4. Swap meat for vegetarian protein

Now, I’m not saying that you should cut meat out all together, but if you have meat 5 times a week, that can be expensive. Instead, why not try lentils and pulses? For example, dhal (Indian lentils) are absolutely delicious, and if you have a meal Indian chickpeas, it is tasty and filling. In our house, we regularly add green lentils to our bolognase. A few years ago, when I was conference producing and commuting to London, we didn’t have time to get to the shops and only had one pack of mince for dinner. With four mouths to feed (and two of those mouths belonging to boys) we knew one pack wouldn’t be enough. So, we added plain boiled green lentils to bulk it out, and it was delicious! So delicious, that now we always do this, and we use half the amount of meat, so it’s win-win all round!

5. Grow your own

This involves a time investment rather than a financial investment, so if you are looking for an excuse to each delicious tasting food on a budget, this tip is for you! You can buy seeds very cheaply and will be surprised at how much fruit and veg you will get in return. Courgettes are very easy to grow, and when they do grow, they grow in abundance! Spinach is also great because it regrows after you’ve cut it, so you’ll have a constant supply. Growing your own is also very handy if you are partial to the more expensive soft fruits, such as blueberries and raspberries. We have a blueberry plant in our garden, and every summer, we are rewarded with soft, sweet fruit. If I find that I don’t fancy blueberries for a few days, I still pick the fruit but freeze it straight away. Then, in the following months I blend them (straight from the freezer) with orange juice, and I have a really nice smoothie.

Customer Reviews

Indian Meal kits, Dinner Kits & Gift Boxes

Customer Reviews

Karen Taylor October 2018

We are having such fun cooking from The Spice Pack Collection and all the dishes have come out brilliantly. The smell is divine and Rob, who is very fussy, is particularly impressed. All our visitors are wowed when they smell the box – we’ve been too possessive to share any with others, as yet!

As a natural therapist I particularly appreciate the healthy aspect of each dish, none of which compromise on taste. Good ingredients freshly cooked makes a big difference.

We’re going on holiday with three other couples in a couple of weeks and going to take the pack with us to cook some dishes together.

Maria M / BBQ Meal Kit Box customer

“We had a BBQ for family and friends few weeks ago and we made the Lamb Kebabs & Coconut & Sesame Chutney and Crushed Tikka New Potatoes & Mango Chicken… We received such rave reviews!! All so easy to make with the spices and sauces all provided for us…food was all delicious!”

Chris & Debs - dinner kit with cook-along customer

“That was so fun…

Thank you for the zoom meet up. That was so fun. We will definitely be up for another. Please send another suitable invite and kit. We are predominately veggies so used the butternut squash version. If this continue the local takeaway will suffer for sure. Again thanks”.

Carol R. dinner kit with cook-along customer

“What a wonderful cookalong…

…The Mango Chicken was delicious and my naan bread actually looked amazing – like the real thing. I feel so successful. Thank you. Looking forward to our next cookalong”.

Pam Brown – dinner kit with cook-along customer

“Thank you so much both…

– the class was amazing and we both really enjoyed the food. It makes so much difference knowing exactly how to do things and that we can make such tasty food which is gluten free. Jeera rice has always been my favourite but many restaurants don’t have it on the menu”.

Sylvia M – dinner kit with cook-along customer

“Thank you so much...
... for a great hour of cooking on Saturday evening. I enjoyed it very much as I have never done anything like it before. The Punjabi chicken was delicious and we had enough to freeze for another time”.

Sue W – dinner kit with cook-along customer

“Well that was amazing…
... the best curry I've ever had and Jxx said it was like being in India ( as he’s spent so much time there with work ) loved the class and so did Exxx looking forward to coming to your workshops…
…and will order some more kits from your website”

Roy P…dinner kit with cook-along customer

“Many thanks…
...for the cook–along workshop yesterday. It was very enjoyable and the meal tasted lovely. As someone who is not a confident cook it was ideal to follow your teaching. I have recommended this to a friend of mine who is very interested in joining the next cook–along. I will definitely be doing it again”.

Ellie Pipe

I highly recommend this lovely family run local company…

... We’ve enjoyed 2 of their meal kits now along with an online cook along to show us what to do. Thank you.

Diane McGillivray

I love them all and would highly recommend…

...If I had to choose one it would be the Mango chicken.