Tuesday, October 05, 2010

double duty dinners

Here's another chapter in my on-going "Penny Pinching for Paris {and Provence}" and it's all about dinners. I don't know about you, but one of our greatest expenditures is on food - and I'm not going to start eating baked beans and two-minute-noodles! Instead, when I cook I look to see how my food can do double duty.

Buying big and buying bulk is often cheaper, but as we're a family of three we don't usually need the huge cuts of meat. So now, I look at how many meals I can get out of a piece of meat. For example: Sunday night's roast chicken. It was a whopper - 1.8kg Lillydale. I simply put a few pieces of lemon and some sprigs of thyme in the cavity, popped it on a roasting rack and poured some water in the roasting tin. After an hour and a half it was golden brown and so juicy thanks to the lemon in the cavity. Mmmm. For dinner hubby and I had a drumstick and thigh, gal had the wings and a little breastmeat - with our salad and veg. After dinner I took off the remaining meat {probably two cups-worth of shredded breast meat} and put it in a container ready for tonight's dinner {linguine with lemon, chilli, chicken and basil}. Finally, the carcass of the chicken went into a saucepan, along with some roughly chopped shallots and was covered with water and simmered for an hour and a half. There's two litres of chicken stock next time I need it!

When I cook a leg of lamb I make sure it has the bone {for extra flavour}. We have the roast one night and the next I'll make a shephard's pie with the leftover shredded meat - or a lamb salad. With salmon I'll cook an extra slice or two for a salmon nicoise salad - cheap and a great way to boost your omega 3 intake. If I make a meatloaf I'll buy a kilo of mince and use half for the loaf and make meatballs with the remaining mix to serve with tomato pasta sauce and spaghetti.

I'm also going to look to totally use my oven. Why cook one meal on one shelf when I could be cooking tomorrow night's dinner on the other shelf - saving electricity and time.

What are your double duty dinners?


  1. Great idea to use ALL of the chicken.

    I find myself usually throwing alot of it out, but now with a big mortgage on our hands, I will be pinching pennies in EVERY way...

    We keep leftover everything and freeze alot.

    I also eat like a rabbit every Tuesday when husband is at Grad School. Dinner for 1 is SO easy!


  2. Oh yes, I try to get two meals from one most days of the week. It doesn't always work and it's happening less and less as the girls start to eat more (my two seem to eat like teenage boys!).

    Great ideas!

  3. Extremely good advice all round. I've never managed two meals from one chicken - clearly our portion size needs work around here! And I confess I'm hopeless at making stock - never seem to get to it. But I'm inspired.

  4. I buy a pack of organic lamb snags from the Farmer's Markets for around $11. We make bangers and mash one night, then a hot pot/soup the next night. So cheap, nutritious and tasty!

  5. Well we're a family of 6 so we don't oven have left overs as my waif sized children eat more than my husband & i put together, each!! They are athletes. If we do have leftovers i am big on Tupperware & freeze or use the meat on next day sandwiches.
    I do double duty on the oven though, i often bake the children's recess with dinner, they've never had a muffin, cookie, slice or cupcake which has tasted like casserole yet!!
    I haven't ever tried meatloaf though. My children refuse to eat anything from a tin, never have, always made their food as babies & trust me, i'm not a cook or love being in the kitchen, would rather be sewing!! Love Posie

  6. PS we get all our lamb for free as my husband's best mate owns & runs an abbotoir. We eat like kings for the weeks after our trips to Gundagai. Then back to poverty. Love Posie

  7. I love roast chicken for that very reason. Although...sometimes Hubby ends up feeding the remaining chicken to the dog! Sheesh.


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