It’s the question many mothers ask themselves on a daily basis: ‘What am I going to cook for dinner?’
It should be healthy, it should be kid-friendly and should taste pretty good. But it also needs to be cost-effective and quick.
The truth is weekdays are busy enough for time-poor mums.
This is precisely why Jody Allen has written her new book, The $50 Weekly Shop Weekday Dinners!
Jody Allen (pictured), who says cooking dinner every night can be monotonous, has written a new book for busy mums who want quick, easy and inexpensive meals for the whole family
The Queensland mother-of-two and creator of the blog, Stay at Home Mum, has developed a range of easy, economical recipes for the whole family.
‘We have to cook dinner every single night. And it gets monotonous,’ she tells FEMAIL.
‘Plus people, in general, are busier than ever, most women have to work these days and I can really see why it is easy to pick up take-out or just buy something that is convenient at the supermarket… We are tired.’
When Jody Allen (pictured), from Queensland, was made redundant in 2009, she knew she had to find a way to make ends meet
Ms Allen, who was made redundant in 2009 while on maternity leave and pregnant with her second child, started her website to share her money-saving experiences while her family lived on one wage.
‘I panicked at the thought of living on just one income,’ she recalls.
‘To keep our home, my husband and I crunched the numbers and we found we had a mere $50 a week to spend on groceries.
‘Fifty-dollars does not get you very far – certainly not shopping like I used to – so I had to rethink how we ate, how we shopped and what we cooked day to day.’
The mother-of-two (pictured with her two children) has shared the secrets to reducing her weekly grocery bill down to $50 a week and how making dinner for your family doesn’t
Ms Allen says to reduce the cost of groceries, families need to start making small cuts first.
‘If you are going from say $250 per week to $50 per week in a single hit – it will be a recipe for disaster,’ she says.
‘So start small, and keep working at it by applying a brand new tip or tips every week.’
To curb spending, she also advises buying supermarket generic brands for items such as rolled oats, sugar, tomato sauce and flour; and making ingredient switches that won’t impact the taste of your food.
Ms Allen shares her budget grocery tips with FEMAIL, which include buying generic brands and switching to ingredients that cost less
‘Greek Yoghurt is a great substitute for items like sour cream, mayonnaise, cream and milk.
‘Rolled Oats can be used instead of bread crumbs, in smoothies (to make them more filling),’ she adds.
Jody Allen’s new book is for busy mums who want inexpensive and quick dinners
‘I am a very basic cook, so stick to the simple recipes. I cook things like shepherd’s pie, curried sausages, beef stroganoff, chicken pot pie, rissoles with mashed potato.’
According to Ms Allen, when it comes to cooking with your limited supplies, it’s a good idea to make every meal you cook go towards a second one.
‘Say you have leftover spaghetti bolognaise, you can have this on a baked potato topped with cheese and steamed vegetables the next night, or make them into spaghetti bolognaise muffins… Or you can turn it into a pie,’ she says.
‘Leftovers can always be re-branded for later or even just as a hot lunch the next day.’
Jody Allen’s book, The $50 Weekly Shop Weekday Dinners, published by Penguin Random House, is available now, for $24.99.
HOW TO CUT YOUR GROCERY BILL TO $50 AND SAVE MONEY
* Make every meal you cook go towards a second in some way and eat more leftovers
* Do a stock take of your kitchen and eat your way through this food first.
* Get a plastic container and put all of your vegetables that are close to their use by date inside it; eat them first.
* Crunch the numbers, work out a realistic figure for a grocery bill and cut what you don’t need.
* Shop as your grandmother would have done and avoid packaged things.
* Grow your own fruit and vegetables.
* Buy generic brands for foods such as rolled oats, flour, sugar, dried pasta, butter, spices, tomato sauce and cereal.
* Don’t take your kids shopping – they cost you money.