Mother-of-five Jas McPhee started her 'How to Feed a Family of 6 for Under $20' Facebook page after cooking a simple lamb curry one night that her children devoured. It cost less than the price of one takeaway meal. Since then she's shared daily instalments of delicious recipes costing less than $20 and has attracted tens of thousands of Facebook followers.
This cookbook brings together Jas's most popular recipes with her fail-safe tips for saving money by shopping smart and cooking creatively. Jas shows you how to create low-cost, great-tasting meals the whole family will love. You'll save money, eat better and have fun in the process!
I was lucky enough to win a copy of How to feed a family of six for under $20 from KIWIreviews recently and I must say I am very impressed with the book. While there are only two of us in our household I found that the recipes are easy enough to adapt and change to suit how many servings we need.
I found all the money saving tips and all the notes in the book were not only an interesting read but also very helpful. I don't tend to follow a lot of recipes I'm more of a make it up and throw it all together as I go type of person but the book gave me lots of ideas of new things to try out. Even if most of the time I still add my own touches to it.
I think the book would really be good for large low income families who find it hard to think of fresh simple tasty meals without heading for takeaways all the time. Jas McPhee give lots of hints on where to shop to find great discounts. the book also highlights the fact she has a Facebook page which is always full of new ideas and shopping hints.
With the economic "realignment" still holding New Zealand under it's death-grip, more and more families are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. But, we all need to eat. That's where Jas and her amazing book, and Facebook page, have cornered the market - tasty and affordable dishes, and plenty of them. No-one wants to survive on 2-minute noodles and stale coffee all their lives (except maybe uni students) so having such an abundance of recipes and varying styles of meals is a god-send!
Having a flick through the book, I have to be honest and say that with my New Year's resolution to refrain from deep-fried foods, there's quite a few recipes in here I won't be trying, but that still leaves more than enough snacks, mains and even desserts that are well within my acceptable range. Particular favourites I noted include:
- Chicken Satay with Coleslaw and Asian-style Broth (page 26)
- Barbecued Pork Kebabs with Rice (page 32)
- Simple Chicken Mi-Goreng (page 58)
- Beer Beef Pot Pies (page 86)
- Corn Fritters (page 110)
- Apricot & Date Snack Bars (page 120)
- Pineapple & Passionfruit Cheesecake with a Gingernut Base (page 140)
One of the greatest features of the book, IMHO, is the ingredient-cost breakdown that goes with each one. While it may seem strange, and even a little misleading, you need to reaslise that the cost breakdown is based on the full cost of the ingredient, but ONLY pricing the amount used. So yes, a packet of meat may cost you $20.00 but if you only need half for the recipe then the cost is only $10.00. Once you accept that, and plan your budget, and shopping, accordingly, you'll soon see the food bills dropping. I know I did after only 2 weeks! Our food budget dropped by almost 30%, and the variety of meals tripled! (To the utter horror of our picky 5yo son who has his favourite menu and doesn't see why it has to change. )
You need to be aware that "eating healthy" and "eating affordable" are not the same thing - some of these recipes are heavy in sugars, fats and oils. You need to make a judgement call based on your dietary needs and preferences before you go ahead with anything, of course. This book attempts to cover as many bases as possible, explaining that most proteins (aka meats) are interchangeable in most of the dishes - I replaced expensive chicken with cheaper cuts of beef for a few recipes and it tasted just as good - and for those who refrain from meat at all, you can most likely sub in tofu, mushrooms, or textured soy proteins aka "Vegetarian Meat" quite easily too. But there *is*a high chance there will be some recipes you won't want to make, no matter what your preferences. "You can't please everyone" is especially true in recipe books.
Overall, this book is likely to prove invaluable... and if there isn't a second book out within the next 1-2 years, I'll stir-fry this one and eat it!
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