Savvy Spender knows how to pinch a penny and about being on a budget. She has learned great ways to save money on everyday expenses.
It's about this time of year when the mind begins to think about hibernating.
Is it just me or does this winter seem even colder than last year?
I have decided to refuse to leave my apartment for anything other than a warm, satisfying meal.
But there is one thing that is better than a warm satisfying meal at someone else's house... one in your own home.
For me, the typical January means that purse strings are tight and I want to eat comfort food. While I was a student in Scotland, this meant going out to pubs and getting some good 'pub grub.'
After the first meal or two, I realized that even though I was not eating in a fancy restaurant, the prices add up quickly. So I got crafty and began to recreate pub food at home.
Pubs and restaurants serving comfort food often use lower cost cuts of meat or in-season vegetables to save money, and using the freshest ingredients helps to improve the taste.
The amazing thing is that you too can save money at home by doing this.
Throughout the winter season, I buy different cuts of meat depending upon what is on sale that week. The tougher cuts, such as lamb shanks, cubes of stewing meat or pork shoulder, and less commonly bought items, such as chicken thighs, are often reduced.
These items are cheaper because the cooking preparations needed to get the most out of them are longer and slightly less convenient for those cooks who want an instant meal.
However, they are perfect for those of us who plan ahead.
Using slower cooking techniques, like braising and stewing in a casserole or slow cooker, we are left with inexpensive meals which are more flavorful than ones made with pricier ingredients. I often use family recipes but also search online. Search for "chicken stew recipe" or "braised beef recipe," or try the delicious recipe below.
Gastropub Style Braised Lamb Shanks, serves 2 as a main course
1. Heat oil in a large, tall saucepan over medium-high heat. Add lamb shanks and sear for 8-10 minutes, browning all the way around the shank. Remove lamb to a plate and set aside.
2. Turn heat down to medium and add celery, onion, and carrots to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning, until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and tomato paste and stir well to coat the vegetables, cook for 1 minute. Add flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
3. Pour in the red wine and scrape any browned pieces off the bottom of the pan, allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock to wine and lamb. Make sure the lamb is covered by liquid (if it is not, add more chicken stock). Place a lid on top and simmer gently for at least 1 1/2 hours.
4. In the meantime, wrap the rosemary, thyme, parsley, and peppercorn in cheesecloth to form a bouquet garni. Add bouquet garni after the lamb has braised for 1 1/2 hours, remove lid and simmer for at least 45 minutes longer, until the lamb is almost falling off the bone and the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Rather Than Eating Out, Try Eating In
Preparing Money Wise Meals
Dining on a Dime
Vienna currently resides in New York City, but is originally from London. She is a contributing writer under the A Straight Talk on Debt and Savvy Spender blogs. She and her husband are recently married and they are contemplating taking the big step of buying their first home. Still working their way through the processes of buying an apartment, she and her husband are learning as they go. Vienna also writes a food blog, www.TinyTestKitchen.com, and is a freelance writer, chef and food stylist. Read more posts by Vienna here. Compensated CareOne Blogger
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