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Frugal Friday: Your Top Home Cooking Tips

home-cookinContinuing our series on your top frugal cooking tips, today we’re highlighting some of the best simple, home cooking tips from our readers. Please feel free to add your own!

From Geraldine:

Freeze your chillies – wash, remove all of the stem and freeze. Use them whole from the freezer or thaw in boiled water. Homemade chilli sauce with a real kick, (great to add to you meals or sandwiches ). Puree 2 tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 onion, 1/2″ ginger, 1 scotch bonnet chilli and salt.

From CalKen (March 30):

When mince is cheap (Aldi doing 450g for €2.99 at moment and Dunnes doing large tray for €6) buy extra then make up a huge pot of bolognese using up whatever veg you can to bulk it out (Dunnes doing two courgettes for 79c this week and Aldi always have some 49c specials every month). Have bolognese one day then add cans of beans or cooked dried beans to the rest with some chilli powder for a lovely chilli for another day. There will be loads left so put into a lasagne dish, top with frozen peas then a layer of mash (make out of potato and parsnip for extra veg) to make a spicy cottage pie. All these dishes can be frozen so make as much as you like when the offers are on.

Aldi also doing medium free range chicken for just 4.99 (edit by Peter: now €5.99) which is very good for free range – buy two, roast as normal then use leftovers to make chicken curry (just add enough chicken for four people to some sauteed garlic, onion and courgette, add some thai curry paste (three tablespoons) or regular curry powder, a pint of chicken stock from a cube and a can of coconut milk – simmer for a few minutes then add a drop of lime juice (bottles available cheaply in Tesco) to finish. If you have any chicken left, saute some veg (mushrooms, courgette, pepper etc) and add the chicken with a jar of cheap pasta sauce and a can of chopped tomatoes (Tesco or Lidl good value for both) and a can of kidney beans and some chilli powder to taste and simmer for a while for chicken chilli. Again these can all be frozen.

From Sarah Gostrangely:

Make cheapass hummus-style bean dip even cheaper by using Tesco butter beans (56c per can), olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and olives, salt and pepper. Serve in sangers, dips, on toast, mix with leftover rice to make rissoles, whizz together with cooked cauliflower to make low GI “mash”…endless!


  1. I like to buy extra mince when the price is good and make meatballs (there’s a good recipe from Jamie Oliver “Pass it on” or Google “Feta and Olive Meatballs” – delish) to freeze. Just shape the balls and open freeze them in a tray. I don’t bother fruing or baking them but of course you can…Once frozen divide them into bags and when you need them just pop them straight into a pan of simmering sauce (no need to defrost). Leave them for 15-20 minutes, depending on their size, and serve with pasta, rice or mash. Kids love them!

  2. A simple tip for fresh root ginger.

    Buy fresh ginger in bulk. Rinse clean and dry, and put straight into freezer.

    When fresh ginger is needed in your recipe, take root ginger from freezer and use a fine hand grater to grate off as much as is required. No need to peel! Any remaining ginger can go back into freezer.

    This ensures you always have fresh ginger to hand. Grating ensures you don’t have stringy or woody chunks of ginger in your dish. No wastage of left over lumps of fresh root ginger. No tedious peeling or chopping.

  3. Oh, great tip re: ginger! I always have too much left over and actually don’t know how long it stays good for….

  4. Re: CalKen

    If using already cooked chicken to cook a new meal you should eat it straight away. If you freeze it, then you will have to re-heat it for a second time which is not advised.