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Change the Way you Cook and Save Money and Time

Updated on September 13, 2013

Lemon and Ginger Roast Chicken

Cooking suggestions

With the ever increasing costs of electricity, gas and now the Australian government is going to add a carbon tax onto everything we eat or use, we need to be more frugal than ever. Therefore we have to find more ways to reduce time spent on cooking our meals which will also save electricity and gas expenses for starters. Plus we will free up more valuable time to spend with our family.

I have often seen people turn on the oven to cook or heat up a couple of pies for lunch. Many will do the same to heat up a pizza which is a waste of power and the heat of a hot oven. This is the sort of wasted expense I think everyone should try to avoid.

I am writing this to give you a few ideas on how to avoid this wastage and also reduce the time you spend preparing meals. Of course this is just to get you thinking of another way to prepare meals and use each shelf of your oven at the same time. Just because you have two shelves in the oven many people forget that you can also cook rice or other puddings on the bottom of your oven.

Scones and Crispies Biscuits

Bread and Butter Pudding

One particular day

I took a chicken out of the freezer and put it in fridge to thaw last night. This morning my husband and I went out cutting wood and we arrived back home at three pm in the afternoon. I lit the lounge fire and washed my hands then turned on my electric oven to heat.

I hate to disappoint anyone, but I have to admit I am not good on accurate measurements and quite often guess them. Although if you need good basic recipes I use my old Golden Wattle cook book as a back-up for some of my cooking ideas.

Roast Lemon and Ginger chicken

I rinsed out the inside of the chicken, cut up a lemon and put a few pieces inside chicken. Cut a slit either side just inside chicken leg and pushed lemon piece in under the skin. I dabbed pre-crushed ginger inside and around the outside and sprinkled lemon pepper and a dash of oil over the chicken and placed in the oven.

Scones- I could not give you an accurate recipe for these other than to say I use a quantity of Self raising flour, pinch salt, rub tablespoon margarine into flour and mix in enough lemonade to make stiff dough. Tip out onto floured board and knead then flatten and cut into portions and put on tray with sheet of baking powder and pop onto top shelf in oven.

Bread and Butter Pudding- For this I use up my bread crusts or spare stale slices. I use 6 slices, butter them and cut into strips. Place into a Pyrex or baking dish and sprinkle with a quantity of mixed fruit. In a jug mix milk add 1 egg, vanilla essence and a little sugar to suit your taste. Beat these up and pour over the bread and fruit. (Make sure you have enough milk so it’s not dry) sprinkle with nutmeg and place in bottom of oven. Your oven should now be full, but don’t stop there.

By now the scones should be ready to come out, if so boil the kettle and have a cupper with buttered scones and eat, before moving forward.

Boil and Bake Fruit Cake

Boil and Bake Fruit cake

The recipe for this is in the Golden Wattle cook book, although my specialty is a grate one granny smith apple into the mix before cooking on the stove. I find by adding the apple it makes the cake moister. Once the mixture has simmered, leave to cool. While cooling I mixed up a batch of Crispies

Crispies- This recipe is also in Golden Wattle cook book. These are little oatmeal biscuits, that are put on tray in little heaps. Instead, I save more time by mixing all ingredients together as directed, then pressing mixture out onto a Lamington tray and pop into the oven. Then once it is cooked and slightly cool I cut into small squares.

By now your boiled fruit mix has cooled and you can add the rest of the ingredients. Cut up your spuds and veggies and add to roast chicken.

The Crispies should now be ready to come out and the chicken can move up to the top shelf and put your cake into centre shelf.

Don’t forget to check on your bread and butter pudding in case it is drying out too much.

Now that everything is done, and in the oven it is four thirty. So in actual fact I have prepared all that and it took an hour and a quarter. I forgot I then put some frozen beans in a pot and made the gravy. We had eaten dinner and washed the dishes by six o’clock.

I can hear you say why you have written all of this. Because – anyone can save money by cooking more at the one time and save on your electricity or gas bills. Not only that; I actually cooked enough roast chicken and pudding for two nights, enough biscuits for several days and my boiled fruit cake, I cut this into two pieces and froze half.

I am not saying that you have to cook what I did. It was just a way to show you how anyone can make better use of their precious time by thinking ahead and preparing a variety of meals and dishes that you can cook at the same time. It is amazing at the different combinations you could think of with a little creativity and thought on your part.

Personal note: When I was young and naive I found a boiled fruit cake recipe in the cook book and thought it meant boiled. After preparing everything I continued to read and soon found that I had wasted my ingredients. It had to be finished off in an oven and I only had an old primus stove to cook things on. I notice they are now called boil and bake fruit cake in the later edition of the golden wattle cook book. Maybe I was not the only innocent.

So why don’t you change the way you cook and save money plus leave yourself with more time to spend with your family.


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    • aboutaustralia profile image

      aboutaustralia 5 years ago from Newcastle, New South Wales

      Thanks Eileen, any hints and tips on saving money, particularly on electricity bills, is very valuable these days with charges rising so dramatically. Great 'boil and bake' tip too ;) Sharon.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Thanks Jools99, you can so much time and money by cooking several things at once. By using all shelves you do need to organise things differently to manage which ones take longer than the other. You would not want to put a sponge in and keep opening the oven to add other things.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 6 years ago from North-East UK

      Enjoyed your hub Eileen. I am thinking about packing in work soon and am on the lookout for tips and tricks to save money on everything pretty much. I would freeze a lot of the stuff and take it out as I need it. Voted up, very useful.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      LadyE, yes that sounds like a good idea less fat etc.

      katyzzz, Hope it helps and reduces your power bill

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      You made my mouth water.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks for these useful tips. This year I have decided to cut down on frying food.

      Best Wishes.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Thanks Karen N, yes we all have to be more aware of ways to save money and that dreaded electricity bill

    • Karen N profile image

      Karen N 6 years ago from United States

      Excellent ideas, very frugal and thrifty!

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      2 Patricias, thanks yes all countries seem to pay different rates, Australia has really started charging over the top. Even though thousands of people have now installed solar panels on our roof.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Thanks Unanichijoke, The main thing is to make the best use of our ovens and heating to save more money where possible

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 6 years ago from Lagos

      Wow! You ve got delicious looking pictures. I know from the look of the pictures that this recipe will be so yummy yummy. Great piece!

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      I've only just started thinking about making best use of the oven. Our electricity has gone up by 15%. I thought that was bad, but my sister-in-law in Portugal tells me her's is going up by 23%.

      Maybe this is a wake up call to use less fuel.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      RTalloni, thanks for your import, yes there are a lot of differences regarding the ways different countries charge for the normal utilities that either heat or cool our homes and the costs of these.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thinking through our food purchases and preparation really can amount to savings. The details of how it works out for you in Australia and me in the USA may be different, but the need to think it all through are important in every place!

      Yum looking recipes--thanks!

      Voted up.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Bud gallant, thanks for stopping by and hope we can all reduce costs and time wasted in our kitchens

    • profile image

      KAREN 6 years ago


    • Bud Gallant profile image

      Bud Gallant 6 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

      These recipes look very delicious. I think your point about saving energy and reducing the cost of food preparation is a very good one. Thanks for the useful hub.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Corin, I realized this a couple of years ago when I had run out of room on the shelves and thought well why not the whole oven is hot.

      We just have to work out where to put what. things that need the hottest go to the top Cakes and roast usually in the middle and anything left on the bottom. But there is nothing stopping us from cooking part on one shelf then changing over to brown or whatever.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Pamela, we all have to try and save money where we can.

    • Corin profile image

      Corin 6 years ago

      You have some great and interesting ideas. I would never have thought to cook rice or puddings on the bottom of the oven.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      This hub has some good suggestions and the food looks awesome.