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Money short or you get unexpected guests, here are some handy hints on how to make ingredients go a bit further.


Make them into an omelette or scramble them adding vegetables, cheese and/or poultry.
Fish Cut up, stir-fry with vegetables or mix with spicy rice
  Add tuna to mashed potato, divide into small round 'cakes' to make into fish cakes.
Noodles Add leftover vegetables and diced meats.
Mince Add breadcrumbs, grated courgette, carrot, and/or marrow. Rice, pasta, onion, green pepper, dried peas, beans or lentils.
Fill cannelloni tubes with a mince mixture.
Put mince mixture into a pie dish and top with mashed potatoes.
Make pancakes, fill with mince mixture and roll up.
  Burgers can be bulked out with Bulgar wheat and grated vegetables.
Make circles out of pastry, put mince mixture in centre, brush edges with egg or milk and fold over (in half form a semi-circle).   Bake in oven.
  Fry onion, add mince, add boiling water, stock and then to thicken add some porridge oats (oatmeal).  These oats absorb the flavours of the gravy and take on the same consistency of the meat, also adding an interesting nutty taste.  It also reduces the amount of meat required.

Natalie Gage sent in this tip.


Useful mince recipes.

Meatloaf Add one or more of the following - Breadcrumbs, rice, rolled oats, shredded carrots, hard boiled eggs.
Ice Cream Add fruit, sauce, cereal topping.
Soups Add vegetables, pasta, pulses, tofu, sour cream, barley, yoghurt.
Salad Add some meat, fish, pulses, pasta, vegetables or hard-boiled eggs.
Steak Dice and stir-fry with vegetables.
Grill on skewer with vegetables.
Stews Add  creamed corn, vegetables, dried peas or lentils.
Green Pepper Stuff with rice and leftovers.
Chilli Add one or more of the following - beans, rice, spaghetti and/or sweetcorn.
Cottage Cheese Making your own cottage cheese is very simple and works out a lot cheaper.

Put some full fat milk into a saucepan and heat to just below boiling point.  Remove from heat and add a little salt and some lemon juice.  Mix well.  You will see that it begins to separate into curds and whey. Strain through a sieve or muslin to separate the curds from the whey.

The curds remaining in the sieve is 'cottage cheese'.

Miscellaneous You can make ingredients e.g. fish, bacon, eggs, leeks, cheese etc., go a lot further by using them as a tart filling


Missing an ingredient find a substitute, answers for common culinary disasters; other useful kitchen hints and tips plus useful information.

With money being very tight these days few of us can afford to waste anything.  So rather than throw things out, here are a few suggestions which may help:-

  • Leftover yoghurt can be used in cake or scone recipes instead of milk.

  • Dried up cheese scraps minced with onion blend into a good spread.

  • Wash potato peelings, sprinkle with salt, pepper, chilli or your favourite spice and crisp them in the oven to make a cheap and tasty snack.

  • When part boiling potatoes to roast, cut more than required which can then be put into bags and frozen; if frozen open on tray it is easier to extract the number required. These can then be defrosted and roasted in the normal manner.  I believe they can be roasted from frozen but they will take a little longer than usual.  This not only saves time but it also makes full use of electricity and means that they are always on hand which is especially useful when living alone.  Should be used within one month of freezing.

  • Surplus apples can be peeled, sliced and stewed and then frozen.  Can be reheated and used with ice cream, or used as pie fillings etc.  Alternatively they can be sliced and then quickly blanched in boiling water and then frozen in a single layer before packing into bags.

  • Very ripe tomatoes make a wonderful homemade tomato sauce which can be used on pizza or pasta. Slow-cook with onions, garlic, herbs and sugar.

  • Stale bread can be refreshed by sprinkling with water, then reheat in a moderate oven.

  • Bread crusts can be used for breadcrumbs to be used in stuffings, as toppings on casseroles or to 'flesh' out some mince (see above) to make it go further.  The end crusts can be made into garlic bread fingers by toasting on one side, spread garlic butter on the untoasted side and then place under a hot grill.  Cut into fingers.

  • Food processors can be used to transform leftovers into soups, sauces or baby foods.

  • Cheaper cuts of meat e.g. beef flank, shin, middle neck, blade and belly of pork etc. are delicious if cooked long and slow.

Sarah Nicholson sent in the following useful advice -

If available in your area, take advantage of online or telephone grocery shopping, particularly for bulky or heavy items.  Often the delivery charge can be reduced or eliminated if you choose certain time slots and spend over a certain amount.

Try doing a big order once or twice a month for all the non-perishable items that you regularly buy, such as dried, canned and frozen food, long-life milk and juice, toilet rolls, washing powder, cleaning products, soft drinks and dairy foods (these have surprisingly long sell-by dates). 

Buy extra if anything you regularly use is on special offer.  This route also has the advantage that you will not be tempted to spend more by buying extras you see in the store. 

Even if a delivery service is not available in your area, you can adopt the same principle for a monthly supermarket trip, roping in the family to help.  Then you only need to do a quick 10-15 minute shopping raid once or twice a week for fresh items and those you want to choose yourself.


Other money saving and cost cutting related information on Hints and Things:-

Economic Shopping

10 Green tips to save money and the planet.

Make-up and beauty - money saving tips.

Gardening time and cost cutting tips.

Ways to save water.

Top ten fuel saving tips.

How to save on heating costs.

Cheap and Environmentally friendly cleaning tips

How to use everyday household products for cleaning.

Money saving tips - insurance.


By the way, there are nearly 1000 pages on Hints and Things covering a wide range of different subjects, just click on one of the rooms below to see an index of the articles, hints, tips and information available in that particular room e.g. DIY tips can be found in the Workshop, Car, vehicle and motor related information in the Garage, cleaning in the Utility Room, games and sports in the Games room, pets in the Kennel etc.  

Part of the fun of the site is spending time in each room to see what it has to offer just click on one of the room listed in the header/footer to see the wealth of information, hint, tips and articles on offer on that particular subject.  I can guarantee there will be something for everyone, irrespective of age or gender.


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