A new saucepan and finding affordable meat

Each month we put back an amount into what I refer to as the joint slush fund. This tends to be used for random things that crop up though, equally, when there are enough funds available  we might use some of it on something like a day out. This week we had to dip into it as our big saucepan died. I was about to make some soup and it started making the most awful cracking and banging sound. I quickly took it off the heat only to discover that the bottom was black and completely warped. I have no idea what would have happened if I hadn’t taken it off the heat but I wasn’t going to give it a go to find out! We’ve had our set of saucepans for over 10 years and they were a ‘good’ set bought by my family not long after we got married. I was disapponted but couldn’t deny that we’d had good use out of it, particularly considering that the big saucepan gets used the most (any batch cookers out there will know what I mean!). Anyway, it seemed to make sense to buy another ‘good’ one and I was glad to have the funds available. The new one has come with a 25 year guarantee which I have carefully tucked it away. I wonder if it really will last me until I’m – gulp – 59! Anyway, I christened it with a batch of leek and potato soup, most of which is now residing in the freezer…

I wonder if it will still be so shiny after 25 years! It is absoloutely huge – the biggest one I could find and even bigger than the one I had before. It could be used as an effective weapon should the need ever arise…

The food budget is still precarious – I’m just waiting to see how it pans out really! I was determined to keep the shop under control yesterday and was very careful about what I picked up. I wanted to get some chicken to make a stew and was amazed at the prices of chicken breasts. Tesco had an offer with three ‘trays’ of meat for £10. The trays of chicken breasts each contained two portions of meat so at £10 for 6, the cost per chicken breast would have been £1.66. The only option that was slightly cheaper was chicken from their Value range but I didn’t even consider that because the meat was from Holland. I have no idea about what standards they have in Holland but I assumed (perhaps wrongly but I had no information to hand) that since it was cheaper in spite of being imported that they have lower standards for welfare. I was adamant that I wanted British chicken. Fortuntely I managed to find some in the reduced section. Even better, each portion was ready wrapped to pop in the freezer.

The ‘offer’ (I don’t know how much I buy into the original price!) was £7.99 down from £9.99 but I got it reduced to £5.99 because it needed to be used the next day. As there were 8 chicken breasts in the pack, each portion was just 74p – less than half the price of the others! I made a stew with four of the breasts and the other four are in the freezer. If it hasn’t been for the reduced section I might not have bothered with buying any meat at all. Most of the meat I’ve bought recently has been reduced due to the date. Tonight we’re having organic beef steaks that I defrosted today and bought a couple of weeks ago. The pork medallions mentioned on a previous post were frozen and eaten later that week. I swear they taste better because I know I got a bargain!

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Categories: Frugal food | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “A new saucepan and finding affordable meat

  1. Have you ever tried the Tesco frozen chicken breasts? or Lidl’s frozen chicken breasts, both very good and much less expensive than fresh

    • shoestringalley

      I’ve tried the Tesco ones occasionally but I can’t remember what put me off buying them last time – I think my local store only had imported ones or something like that! I’ll have a look again next time to see what they’ve got. I’ll also check out Lidl next time I’m passing. My closest store is a bit of a drive away so I only go if I’m in that neck of the woods anyway. I do love a Lidl trip though, mainly because it makes me feel like I’m on holiday with all of the different brands!

  2. In a stew, chicken thighs are good. They are tasty and cheaper than breast. I put mostly thigh and some breast. My daughter moans about thigh so a bit of breast closes that gap. Also I stick a pie top on chicken stew to ring the changes. My youngest won’t eat lots of stuff including “stew” but chicken pie is one of his all time favourites. Stew with pastry on top!! Doh!

    • shoestringalley

      The pie topping sounds like a good idea. I don’t know why it never occurs to me to make a pie – I’ll have to have a go! I was after chicken breasts because I was trying out a particular recipe and it called for ‘skinless’ chicken breasts. I would have bought skinless chicken thighs but they didn’t have any! I tend to think thighs are nicer anyway 🙂

  3. thefrenchchick

    You probably didn’t intend the pun but buying a new saucepan and waiting to see how the food budget “pans out” – lol.

    For keeping my stainless steel shiny, I use a product called Bar Keepers Friend. It’s a cleanser & polish and it’s made from a derivative of the rhubarb plant. You can look it up at http://www.barkeepersfriend.com to see if they export to the UK.

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