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Mum reveals bulk cooking routine that saves her up to £100 a month

DebsGC
6th January 2020, 12:00 PM
  • Jenn Carnaby, 33, cooks a week’s worth of curry, cottage pie and stew at a time
  • Meal prepping helps Jenn’s family save up to £100 a month
  • Jenn says great trays and organisation are the key 
  • Jenn provides tips for getting started on doing the same

Being lazy when it comes to food is incredibly relatable - just think about ordering a takeaway, buying a sandwich for lunch or making toasties for the kids yet again. But one super-organised mum has put us all to shame by showing off her bulk cooking skills, which saves her a fortune, not to mention lots of time too.

Jenn Carnaby, 33, a probation officer from Manchester, started meal prepping when she joined Slimming World, and has soon made the money-saving exercise part of her weekly routine.

Jenn, a mum of three, told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "I have been meal prepping now for around three months. I started as I joined Slimming World and found it difficult to stick to the plan while working full time.

"I make all sorts! Chicken or beef curry, spaghetti bolognese, cottage pie, chilli, sweet potato curry, vegetable stew and so much more. Anything that is freezable I will turn into a meal!”

Jenn plans out her meals meticulously and spends time bulk cooking on one chosen day of the week to save her time later on. Meal prepping also saves her a huge amount of money: usually up to £100 a month.

"I spend one day a week, normally Sunday, and bulk cook everything,” she adds. "Firstly the rice, pasta, mash or whatever is going with the meal, then the main meal itself, then the vegetables.

"Meal prepping is fantastic as when you get home from work and want a home-cooked meal but don’t have the time then you can just pick an already cooked meal from the freezer. When you work full time and have kids anything that saves time to ensure you all eat a healthy meal is always a winner in my eyes.

"We save a great deal by meal-prepping as it removes the last minute takeaway option. Also, there is less food wastage with things going off in the fridge as I do my shopping on the Saturday and prep on the Sunday.

"When we don’t meal prep then we can spend up to £50 a week on nipping to the shop for bits each day, so we can save between £80 and £100 a month by prepping.

"I normally spend about £30 to £35 depending on if I am prepping for me and my partner or all of us including the kids. If they have clubs or after school things then I tend to not prep for the kids as they eat elsewhere.

“To fit it all in, we have a chest freezer in the shed. If we are low on space then I only prep a few days at a time or prep the main meal in bulk and then cook the sides like rice, pasta or salad the day we eat it.”

Jenn says that if you’ve never meal prepped before, organisation is the key to getting it right.

"Plan your meals, write down a shopping list and don’t put it off! It will save you so much time further down the line. Buy good microwaveable and dishwasher-friendly trays - Amazon do some fantastic prepping trays for anyone that is looking to start,” she adds.

"It feels satisfying and good knowing that your meals are ready for the week, whether it be dinners for work or tea for the family. As I’m the only member of the family doing Slimming World, it also makes me feel confident that I can stick to the plan if the family decide to eat out or have a takeaway.”

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, says: “If you’re always running to your local shop to buy bits you’ve forgotten, or feel too exhausted after work to cook, Jenn’s advice is fantastic, as it’s a win-win, saving both time and money.

"Once you get into the routine of meal prepping every single week, you’ll immediately get the satisfaction of knowing your whole week of meals is catered for - and that you can enjoy a home-cooked dinner every night rather than worrying about what to cook at the last minute!

"Plus, it’s much healthier too, as you’ll know every time exactly which ingredients have gone into your dish - something you never know when you buy a ready meal or a takeaway."

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Comments
Johnnycakes
Johnnycakes2 months ago

Great idea, but I wouldn't do it with Rice. To make sure you don't get food poisoning you've got to stick it in your freezer when it's still pretty hot, otherwise it gets down into the danger zone for nasty things to grow, sticking loads of rather hot meals in a normal household freezer, and therefore reducing the temperature by a fair amount may make problems for other items stored in your feezer.

Also when reheating the rice you are meant to get it really hot again which might not be great for other food in your container, for example already cooked veg might only need a minute or two on high, whereas the rice may need 4 minutes.

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garygemmell
garygemmell2 months ago

Nah I cook Thai food of all kinds over the last 10 years those are just old wives tales mate in reality - yes maybe if you live in Thailand or China and cook outside with flies and mosquitos in the air but in a sanitised kitchen with the rice properly cooked and cleaned I doubt it very much - bit of cling film over the top and let it cool before you stick it in the freezer or you will cause your freezer to go into overdrive using even more leccie - job done!

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binvius
binvius2 months ago

garygemmell

It's not known as an 'old wives tale' but simply common science. (Unfortunately, cleaning the rice and kitchen sanitary are not regarded as contributing factor to the equation. Consequently, most of the people I know well have all experienced food poisoning multiple times over the years from poor rice cooling.)

For anyone reading this and as advised by all related scientific papers along with the FSA, NHS, etc. please ensure you cool your rice as quickly as possible - your freezer will be fine!

https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/food-and-diet/can-reheating-rice-cause-food-poisoning/

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Johnnycakes
Johnnycakes2 months ago

That's a bit nonsensical. Just because something hasn't happened to you personally doesnt mean it doesn't happen countless times a day to everyone else in the work. I've never been involved in a car accident, but that doesn't mean it's just an old wives tale. garygemmell

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garygemmell
garygemmell2 months ago

Johnnycakes My mate works for a Thai restaurant and they always re-use their rice and so do most chinese restaurants - some of them dont even chill it but leave it out overnight so yes experience - how many peeps do you know who have had rice poisoning its another scare tactic - As i said in a modern kitchen it is rare to happen!

We shall just have to agree to disagree - I am not one of the paranoid sheep who believe everything the NHS or Government tells them - they told us oil, fat and chocolate were bad for you and numerous other things that have turned out to be hogwash!

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Johnnycakes
Johnnycakes2 months ago

It's incredibly easy to count bacteria levels, I did it at GCSE! Just cook some rice, cool some down instantly while leaving some out and then check level, repeat a few times with a control group and you are done. It's hardly scare tactics about something which only the government can research. The fact that you or someone you know hasn't got I after eating rice with 10000 times the bacteria is great, but it doesn't change the reality that the chance of getting ill increases greatly.

garygemmell

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garygemmell
garygemmell2 months ago

Johnnycakes Show me one person who has gotten ill from rice poisoning in the UK last year then - you need to prove what you say dude - NIL dude there were none - that says it all there is more to worry about than rice contamination especially if you have seen how 90% of takeaways store their used rice and reuse it day after day and arsenic poisoning is more of a concern for rice anyway!

"check level" you make me laugh dude you seriously telling me you can count how many bacteria there are in a pile of rice and dont actually say what you used to check it?

Microwaving rice as i had already mentioned anyway dude rather than normal boiling completely destroys the bacteria if you heat food up long enough in the microwave, it will sterilize the food!

I had 3 spores of bacteria on ma sausage last night gave me the skitters so it did lol

😱

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garygemmell
garygemmell2 months ago

If you defrost it during the day then use the microwave at night it will also save a lot in electricity 3 mins in a 700 watt microwave as opposed to 15 in a 3kW oven - makes sense!

But then how cheap is the home made ready meal compared to say Iceland or Asda ready meals - You can get ready meals in Asda for £1!

You need to give us these figures if you really want a credible article!

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