4 Jul 2013

Freezer meals for the frugal...

So in order to get baby ready and also to prepare for the inevitable drop in our incomes (due to my maternity leave) I've been doing some research into ways to reduce the costs of our weekly shop.

Step 1: Change our way of shopping and possibly our supermarket
We'd got into the habit of popping into our local Sainsbury's every few days to stock up for a few meals and this is a costly way of shopping as you end up picking up lots of non-essentials. Plus Sainsbury's isn't the cheapest supermarket - but it is the biggest in our town and the little Asda often doesn't stock the fruit and veg I needed. We reasoned that we were collecting Nectar points and they do lots of vouchers and money off coupons.

So we decided to check out the local Aldi after work one night. Surprisingly it wasn't always cheaper.

The best deals we found were the packets of ten individually wrapped pain au chocolates for a pound - we often used to get these fresh in Sainsbury's two for 79p at the end of the night on 'sale.' The Belgian is fond of his pastries you see...perhaps the cheapest option would be to make them. One for the summer bucket list methinks.
 Also they seem to be winning the competition for cheapest nappies - only 7p each for the newborn size, whilst the Asda Little Angels are 9p each. Shame we had already stocked up at Asda!
There were things that were cheaper in Sainsbury's though, as these basics tortilla chips are around 45p there and Aldi was selling a similar pack for a pound.
However I think we cannot deny that in the competition to be the cheapest Asda is the winner and so to stock up for our big freezer meals shop we travelled a bit further to the biggest Asda superstore in Pudsey Leeds.
Step 2: So onto the part you've all been interested in...freezer meals. Bulk cooking and bulk buying with cheap ingredients and deals.

The Belgian spent a few hours on a Saturday and he made:
 8 spiced pepper pilafs
 5 mini (portions for two for a meal) golden veggie shepherd's pies
 12 meatballs with spaghetti sauce
 Six portions of spiced carrot and lentil soup

Then I spent an hour making a Macaroni and Beef cheese bake which I bulked up with some grated carrot leftover from the soup and it made three portions for the two of us.

Storage ideas:
  • Ziploc bags with cooking / reheating instructions written on with a sharpie
  • Ice-cream containers
  • Tupperware
  • We found some good disposable foil containers in the home section of Asda
Some other useful recipes and links:
Joyful Momma's top 5 freezer meals
Joyful Momma's Quesedilla Casserole
Joyful Momma's 10 more freezer meals for fall
Frugal Foodie's pinterest freezer meals board

Overall benefits of freezer meals:
  • An afternoon or morning of cooking and you have meals for a week or fortnight
  • These recipes all use cheap ingredients like beef, tinned tomatoes, carrots and onions and these can be found in bulk to get a good deal
  • You can make a recipe for tea that night but double it and freeze the remainder
  • Soup lasts about a month when frozen the other meals last about two to three weeks
  • When you want the meal you just put in in the fridge for a day to defrost or you can use the microwave
  • You don't have to think of ideas for dinner every night
We are definitely converts and I think that once you have a bigger family it makes sense - but even for a couple like us we're noticing less waste and cheaper food bills.
So...do you freeze meals? What ideas do you have for reducing food bills?


  1. I find the shopping around thing interesting! We shop at Tesco weekly; using a combination of meal plan, shopping list and identifying the coupons we have. Every week with our receipt they give us a slip which tells us if we saved money or wouldve got it cheaper else where (they incidentally dont say which supermarket would've been cheaper!). Most weeks we end up saving money supposedly but if you dont, they give you a coupon for the price difference (usually for us it's about £1) and you can use it off your next shop. We've only got a half freezer so batch cooking lots unfortunately isnt suitable for us but we've been gradually been doing a few mostly when we have portions left over from meals we've cooked. At the moment we have spaghetti bolognais and chilli. Annoyingly the kinda meals I usually like to bulk cook are things I dont fancy in the Summer; lasagne, cottage pie, curry, stew etc.

    We also went mad on the Asda nappies, although I did pick up a small pack of the Aldi ones when they had a baby event last month, however, my friend has used them and she finds they leak all the time so maybe we were right not to buy them!


  2. Very interesting to hear about your experience ... I like the make two and freeze one idea!

  3. Gosh..you are very organised. I normally shop at Tesco and pop to Aldi maybe once a month. Our shopping bills with the boys growing up, are getting bigger and bigger....so it's interesting to read your post x

  4. Great post, i have been trying to think of meal ideas for the very same thing, we always make spag bol and then we run out of ideas lol


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