Cheap night out and freezer food

In the interests of sticking to my food budget for the next four weeks I got up and did a spot of cooking this morning – all things that can go in the freezer. I had an almost full bag of carrots that needed to be used by today left over from last weeks shop. Using my favourite recipe, I made four portions of Carrot and Corriander soup so they didn’t go to waste. I expect it will come in handy next time I can’t get going in the morning well enough to make a packed lunch! I also made…



  • Two packs of casserole steak (around 1kg)
  • Beef stock (around 1 pint)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned
  • 2 parsnips, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Dried, mixed herbs
  • Packet of dumpling mix
  • A little olive oil
  1. Cut beef into chunks and coat with seasoned flour
  2. Heat oil in saucepan (or casserole dish if it is hob proof), then add the beef
  3. Transfer to casserole dish, add vegetables, stock and herbs
  4. Cook in oven (on around GM 4) for 2 – 2.5 hours
  5. Make dumplings according to instructions on packet
  6. 20 minutes before ready, add dumplings and put back in oven

There are hundreds of variations on this plus lots of other things that could be added – anything from garlic to other veg to pearl barley. I was going for quick and easy today! I’d love to think that one day I’ll make dumplings from scratch…until then I must admit that those mix packets make cooking very simple. This made four portions which have also gone in the freezer.

Believe it or not, I’ve only just started labelling food that goes in the freezer. I kept getting in a muddle, not only about what was in the freezer (frozen food can look fairly mysterious – is it soup? A sauce? Curry?) and how long ago I made it. Now I cut up address labels so at least I know what it is, how many portions and when it was made! Most things are fine for at least a month so I try to use them up within that sort of time frame. My freezer has four drawers and is now looking pretty well stocked. Since my remaining budget is £26 a week for both of us this should help.

We’re off to see ‘The Lovely Bones’ at the cinema later. Like a good Shoestringer I used the internet to check where it was on and the cost of tickets. Prices seemed to go up to £7.75 per adult though I found a listing at a cinema not too far away for £5.50, so £11 for both of us. There is also free parking nearby and I bought snacks and nibbles at the supermarket yesterday so it should be a thrifty night out!

Categories: Frugal food, Home Economics, Recipes | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Cheap night out and freezer food

  1. Frugal Trenches

    Sounds yummy! Enjoy the film, I remember reading the book years ago and very much enjoying it!

    • shoestringalley

      I loved the book too – one of the best pieces of writing I’ve come across. The film reviews have been rather mixed but I’m looking forward to finally seeing it anyway – it seems like it has been in pre-production for years!

  2. shoestring – dumplings are made of flour and suet! the only complicated bit is adding the water, and I bet that is what the packet asks you to do!! get a delia recipe and you will be fine!

  3. thefrenchchick

    I like black permanent markers for labeling my freezer food. I write the date and label the dish right on the plastic container. After the container gets washed and dried, I use a dry paper towel section to rub the marker off the plastic.

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