Reporter: Georgia Main

If having four nights off being in the kitchen sounds like something you could get used to, this story may be for you.

After spending her nights running in and out of the supermarket and then cooking for the family, one mum was determined to find a way to spend less time and money at the shops and more quality time with her family.

The average family spends around $220 a week at the supermarket, Penina Peterson is determined to change that. Sick and tired of spending her nights in the kitchen, she decided it was time to revolutionize her habits.

"It had to be cheap for me, it had to be healthy for my family and it had to allow me time and quality dinners with my family," Penina said.

After two years of research, Penina wrote 'Table Tucker'.

The book gives week by week menus, shopping lists, a strict budget and the best part, spending hardly any time in the kitchen.

"Three nights a week you cook a square and a combo meal - the square is something like a steak and vegetable and a combo is something like lasagne, something you can freeze, do leftovers - lunch the next day.

The combo generally goes into the fridge for the next night's meal so on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday you come home and your meals are done," Penina said.

Penina has set up an annual and seasonal pantry which includes staples such as herbs and spices, pasta and tinned goods, which means shopping is once a week.

Panina's menus use up all ingredients so there's no food wastage and fresh ingredients are a must.

"Buying seasonally means you are buying fresh, buying tastier and healthier but usually buying cheaper, which is a big issue," said Better Homes and Gardens chef Fast Ed.

"I think some planning's really important particularly if you want to put some nutrition levels into your kid because it's all about balance - you need to plan that process however," he added.

Penina estimates her philosophy is saving her nearly $200 dollars a week - that's more than $10,000 a year.

"I've now got some sanity, money - I can go and buy my favourite magazine now - and we can go and plan a holiday, there's lots of things we can do with that spare cash," Penina said.

Further information


Visit Penina's website: www.tabletucker.com.au