Aerin Schriever at work in his home kitchen has many simple cost effective recipes.
Aerin Schriever at work in his home kitchen has many simple cost effective recipes. John McCutcheon

Tasty tips to save on food

BY five o'clock most people are starting to think about what they are going to cook for dinner that night.

Aerin Schriever already knows.

He and his wife Claire like to plan out what they are going to eat for the entire week to save costs and utilise ingredients.

“We sit down and plan what we will eat for the whole week, then will head to the Yandina market on the weekend and stock up on all the fruit and veges for the week and do a huge meat shop,” he said.

Aerin, of Valdora, said planning ahead and buying fresh ingredients saved dollars.

“We probably spend about $50 a week on food and most of that is on snacks,” he said.

He said they tended to spend $15 to $20 on fruit and veges from the market and preferred to buy their meat in bulk from the discount butchers on the Coast.

“I buy meat in bulk – 2kg of mince at a time rather than 500g of the pre-packaged stuff,” he said.

“If chicken breast is on sale, for example, I'll buy two-three kilos.”

Aerin's other tip for saving money on grocery bills was to use left-overs.

“While there's only two of us, we will cook enough of each meal for four and that's a couple of days of left-overs for each of us,” Aerin said.

“Pretty much everything keeps: maybe not some of the salads.

“Some of the big curries we cook are better after a day or so.

“(Then) you can eat them right away after you cook them.

“It takes half-an-hour to an hour for the flavour to really sink in (when first cooked) but people don't really have time to wait that long.”

The Schriever household has few cookbooks as Aerin believes many are filled with ingredients that will never be used again.

“A lot of cookbooks use so many ingredients and you're only going to use them once,” he said.

“If I look in a cookbook and see there's way too many ingredients, I'm not going to cook it. A lot of cookbooks use cream and butter and pre-packaged stuff and I try to steer clear of that.”

Having travelled extensively through Asia, Aerin said many of their regular meals were influenced by Asian flavours.

“You get a lot of flavour with these dishes,” he said.

“They're simple meals and have few ingredients. We cook a huge variety of things, but mostly simple stuff.

“Often we will look in the cupboard and see what ingredients need to be used up and make something from them.”

So what are the Schrievers' top simple meals to cook? “Homemade tacos are great,” Aerin said.

“You just grab some ground beef, cook it with tomato, cumin and spices. Then get some onion, flour tortillas, cheese, lettuce and salsa and you're done.”

His other culinary favourites include a standard red curry that is inexpensive and uses a tube of red curry paste, lemon grass and coconut milk, and a pear and celery salad that combines a couple of pears (preferably nashi), some celery, slithered almonds, creamy Danish feta and white wine vinegar dressing.

“It's so simple and easy,” he said.

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