Saturday, 26 May 2012

How to save money the Italian Way

Today is a tip to create an awesome meal and save cash money all at the same time. It comes in two parts, so read on for step one.

The first part of this idea starts in the supermarket or butcher. You need to have your bargain hat on and keep your eyes peeled. More often than not you will see beef mince or less popular cuts of meat on offer on the store shelves. Don't walk past an opportunity. Grasp this meaty lump of luck with both hands and take your frugal booty to the check out.

Meat madness?

Now you might think, Joe, it's just me - one person, what am I going to do with 2kg of beef? Or perhaps you're thinking that even on special, that's a lot of dough to be coughing up for the weeks shopping bill. Well yes, if there's only one of you in the house, or you don't normally budget for such a vast amount of meat then it might feel strange, but trust me, follow the next step and you won't regret it.

Amaze at the Bolognese

Step two of this delicious money saving plan is as follows.

When you get home find the biggest pan you can lay your hands on. Grab onions, garlic and some dry or fresh herbs. You're going to be making the mother of all Bolognese sauces. Follow the recipe below for a winning meat sauce. You can scale up the amounts to cater for as much meat as you have.


  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed, or chopped 
  • 1 large handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • A few of sprigs of rosemary and thyme
  • 2 tins/packs of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 good squeeze of tomato paste 
  • 1 glass of red wine 
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil


  1. Heat some olive oil in a large, heavy based pan and gently fry the onion and garlic until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the minced beef and continue cooking until lightly browned.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine and herbs.
  4. Pour in the red wine and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cover and cook over a low heat for approx 1 hour. Check occasionally to make sure it doesn't dry out, add a little water or vino if necessary.

Dishing up

Once you have made your amazing meat sauce, it's time to get planning again. Find as many containers as you can that you can put portions of your Bolognese sauce in to. An old Chinese take-away carton is ideal, ice cream or yoghurt tubs work well too.

Divide the sauce between the containers and put them in the deep freeze. You now have an easy to prepare dinner for whenever you need them. The frozen batches of Bolognese can be brought out and microwaved or heated on top of a stove within minutes. And the best part is you're not relying on ready meals from the supermarket aisles, it's your own proper home cooked food.

Hollow spaghetti


Keep an eye out for other offers on the shelves too. Pasta of all different shapes and sizes is usually a good bet for having a special deal on as long as you don't mind which brand you choose, as are tinned tomatoes or pasata or sieved tomatoes- so keep your options open when shopping.

Another great idea is to use Bolognese sauce to bake a huge lasagne and freeze that in to portions instead. You'll be surprised how proud you feel pulling your own creations out of the deep freeze rather than the shop bought equivalents.

Do you have any tips for saving money without compromising on flavour. Mange-Two would love to hear about them.

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