Author: Ruth Bushi
There’s nothing quite like a roast dinner for pure, unadulterated, comfort-eating joy. If you’re thinking ahead, you’ve probably already scouted out the best ways to get your meal for less. The danger is by the time you come to cook it, half of it’s about as fresh as an 80s-themed party. Game over? No chance – here’s how to pull five Sunday staples back from the brink!
1. Use stale bread for stuffing
Planning to pop open a packet of stuffing? Sure, it might be quicker, but making your own can be cheap, quick and tasty. It also works better with stale, rather than fresh, bread – so if you’ve got a loaf that’s seen better days, chuck it in a pan instead of the bin! The simplest stuffing is a mix of onion, celery, seasoning, herbs, bread and a bit of chicken broth – and that’s it.
A little bit of mould doesn’t have to be disastrous, either: slice it off and keep the good stuff for breadcrumb toppings or home-made stuffing.
2. Perk up your veg
It can be tempting to ditch limp, lifeless looking veg, but bringing them back to life is almost no effort: dunk ‘em in a bowl of ice-cold water for 30 minutes to pep them up.
The theory behind this is that vegetables have a very high water content: the longer you leave them in the fridge, the more moisture they lose and the worse they look. A quick dunk helps replace some of that water, and can help rescue carrots, celery, cucumber, salad leaves, spinach and broccoli, among others.
3. Review your spuds
Wrinkled, sprouting or green potatoes may not look all that hunky, but they can be fine to eat – just chop off the bad bits and peel and cook them thoroughly.
If you’ve tried that and they still taste bitter, however, the Food Standards Agency says you shouldn’t eat ‘em.
4. Get the gravy on
Gravy granules and stock cubes can last as long as a year past their best before date, because the high salt content acts as a preservative. So, if you’ve got a pack in the cupboard that hasn’t seen daylight for a while, they should be fine for another whirl – just use your common sense! If the flavour’s taken a dive, cook a bit of flour in the meat juices from your roast and add your made-up stock to that instead. Bosh: proper (and flavourful) traditionalish gravy.
Even better, gravy’s freezable. Pour any extra into plastic bags/boxes (or ice cube trays!) and freeze for portion-sized sauce for leftovers.
5. Check your cheese board
A bit of mould doesn’t mean you have to chuck hard cheeses like Cheddar or Red Leicester: scrape or slice it off and you’re good to go! (That doesn’t hold true for soft cheese like Brie or tub cheese, however – bin them once they’re mouldy).
If you’ve just stocked up for a big meal, store your cheese including film, wax paper or a resealable box to keep the mould at bay. Or consider grating and freezing hard cheese so less goes to waste.
Guest blog by Save the Student. Featuring the kind of straight-talking advice you won’t get at school, the site has everything you need to know about managing money without the migraines: student finance explained, insider info on careers, plus ways to save and scrimp without the stress.