frugal cooking

17May

Love it when we make a 'Top Ten' List

Like it even more when we make #3!

Love it when we make a 'Top Ten' List
I do so love it when we make it on to a 'list' and today's list finds us at #3!
Check out the list here
Over the next few weeks, you should see some of our posts shared and maybe even a quick Q&A,about our top budgeting tips.
Follow @Netvouchercodes and @The Parent Bible

Posted in Frugal Foods

14May

'Toad in the hole' - Good old Fashioned Frugal Food

A Frugal alternative to a full Sunday Roast

'Toad in the hole' - Good old Fashioned Frugal Food

There's been a bit of a backlash in this house to the standard Roast on a Sunday.  I think my teenager has decided she's fed up with me serving up Roast Chicken on a Sunday.  So now I am confronted with having to dream up another days meal on the meal plan, where as before Sunday was always a 'slam dunk'

So we have been toying with hot quiche, pies and then today I decided that a good old fashioned 'Toad' was the way forward.

Posted in Frugal Foods

03May

Cheese Scones

Classic British Picnic menu item

Cheese Scones

It is tempting, although I have never done it, to put a little paper flag in the top of a cheese scone.  To me they look like sandcastles, albeit with a lattice cheese sunhat, and a crowning glory of a paper flag made from a cocktail stick, glue and the loan of my daughters felt-tipped pens would just finish them off perfectly.

I guess thats it though, the success of a scone, cheese or fruit, is measured, quite literally, by its height.  

Opinions for the successful achieving of 'height' on a scone differ remarkably.  But it is just Baking Powder which is needed, I tend to add a little more to already Self Raising Flour, but also don't underestimate the power of cold butter to add pockets of 'lift' to the mix, and don't roll the mixture too thin these are scones, not biscuits!  The dough needs to be at least 2.5cm (1 inch) thick when cutting out the scone shape with the cutter.

Posted in Frugal Foods

01May

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Super Cheap and really easy to make. No excuses really

Lemon Drizzle Cake

I rarely make cake.  But when I do I tend to go a bit bonkers.  It's a bad trait.  I tend to behave the same way when making pasta and Bread.  There's obviously some inner need within me to Batch Cook.

Yesterday I made loads of cake like things but this was an absolute hit and what's more it didn't make it to the freezer, which is where most of my batch cooking ends up.  
Which is a bit of a shame really, because it means it's going to have to be eaten!

When making cake there are some ground rules:-
1. It has to cost less then buying shop cake or it has to be especially delicious
2. I must already have all the ingredients, if you dont have all the ingredients, find a cake that you do have all the ingredients for, or swap some around a bit
3. You must be able to make it in a food mixer.  Life is too short for creaming butter with sugar by hand
4. You must already own a suitable tin, or something similar you can get away with.

Posted in Frugal Foods

23March

Pomegranate Tabbouleh

Using up Sundays Roast Chicken

Pomegranate Tabbouleh

On the whole I can't recommend what I have embarked upon this week.  A whole week of new and untried recipes.  It is never going to be too easy when you have a family of fussy eaters but this week I seem to have excelled myself.

I am going to avoid even making more than a passing reference to the halloumi and Courgette burgers we had last night.  There must have been something wrong with the recipe, most of the cheese ended up on the pan I was utilising in order to 'dry fry' them.  Whilst the intent was good the execution ended up more like a Halloumi Green 'Crumble' which in the end I served on some stir fried greens, there was just no way that was going in a bun!

However despite the fact that, given that it contained both cucumber, tomato and cold chicken and was therefore hated by my teenager, the Tabbouleh we had on Tuesday night is most definitely worth a mention here.

Posted in Frugal Foods

20March

Greek Lamb Pasta Melt

Another one from the Tesco Food Magazine

Greek Lamb Pasta Melt

I think we all know by now that we as a family don't like lamb.  The only exception to this is the lamb kebab.
It's probably its fattiness I don't like, and as a result, I am not very keen on the smell.  
Lamb as a Roast on a Sunday is my idea of hell (but when presented with such it's a perfect excuse to indulge on Mint Sauce which I completely love).

So why, you may be wondering, did I embark on this dish for tea tonight.  

Call it "taking one for the team"

Posted in Frugal Foods

18March

Mexican Pork with Beans and Guacamole

Family tea for £1.50 a head

Mexican Pork with Beans and Guacamole

Not sure how I came to leave a gap of nearly two months in my food blog.  I think its most likely to be because I have gone back to work, after 8 glorious months, and so over the past few weeks I have been distracted.  That might be it, or it might be because I had become a bit lazy when trying new recipes.

Tesco is not where I normally Shop.  I do however, like the Free Tesco magazine.  I do like most 'foodie' magazines, I do love a freebee but I am also found from time to time having purchased a BBC Good Food Magazine. 

Pork Fillet is not something I normally buy.  I have looked at it from time to time and pondered its use, and then I came across the Tesco magazine recipe for Spicy Pork with Chunky Bean Guacamole.  I already had an avocado which was perfectly ripe, and as they can go from perfect to 'black' in the blink of an eye, the question was whether I could get to Aldi and buy the rest of the ingredients in time.

Posted in Frugal Foods

26January

Chilli Bean Moussaka or is it a Lasagna

A light meat-free tea

Chilli Bean Moussaka or is it a Lasagna

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I had the Diary Diary book of Home Cookery out tonight.  I had planned to make their Chilli Bean Moussaka.....but it didn't quite work out like that.

Firstly, whilst we don't mind Aubergine, there really is no need for two in a dish for four people.  I also don't like Aubergine unless it's been griddled rather than 'stewed', so some amendments had to be made to the original recipe. 

Even more creative wizardry came along when the recipe asked for a tin of Kidney beans in a Chilli Sauce, as I only had kidney beans and two chillis

Finally, we finished the dish with Goats Cheese, as we had some in the fridge which needed using up.

Posted in Frugal Foods

24January

Sausage Cassoulet of sorts

More things to do with reduced sausages

Sausage Cassoulet of sorts

If you are careful where you shop you may come across a wonderful find.  Our 'Wonderfu'l is only about 15 minutes drive away but it is the best Tesco I have come across in ages for 'reduced' items.

Its a regular thing, probably about once a week that I find myself popping in - mid to late morning is by far the best time to arrive, and on doing so I head directly to the meat and cheese reduced fridge, and having filled up my basket I then head for the fresh fruit and veg to stock up there before heading for the check out (well, you have to demonstrate a certain degree of control!)

A couple of weeks after Christmas I came back with an absolute haul of Pork and Leek sausages, packets of eight, reduced to 60p.  I have been worked my way through them ever since.  Once a week when making my meal plan I check into the freezer to see how my Sausage stash is looking and then ponder what I can make with them this week!

Posted in Frugal Foods

23January

Hairy Bikers Chicken Curry with Lentils and spinach

Super fast Healthy Sunday Tea. Hairy Bikers Alternative Roast Dinner

Hairy Bikers Chicken Curry with Lentils and spinach

Because of the planned winter picnic for today (see yesterday's blog entry) I hadn't planned to do a roast dinner today. 

I had planned to do a Curry.  Whilst this causes in itself other problems.  It now feels like a Friday - so there should be beer in the house and I have two more days off = yeah!!  

I decided to carry on regardless.

I reached for my Hairy Bikers Chicken and Egg book with slight trepidation at 7pm, knowing that a read of the recipe a couple of hours previously would have been an inspired idea.....but was pleasantly surprised.    The whole meal was made in under thirty minutes.

Posted in Frugal Foods

21January

Nigella Lawson - Spinach, Ricotta and Bulgar Wheat Pie

Is there a domestic goddess in me?

Nigella Lawson - Spinach, Ricotta and Bulgar Wheat Pie

Firstly I have to admit that I was looking for a pie I could take on a Winter Picnic.  

Secondly, I have to admit that I have changed some of the ingredients.  It turns out I didn't have Bulgar wheat in the cupboard - although I am sure it is in there and I just can't find it.

Thirdly, I don't own a 22cm Springform tin.

and coming in at number Four.......life is too short to make pastry when you can buy it.

Other than that - my pie is exactly the same!  

 

Well, if you ignore the fact that I didn't have any dried thyme

Posted in Frugal Foods

20January

Which just leaves the ragu....

The final frugal dish ...perfect food for students

Which just leaves the ragu....

So here we are - having finished the Lasagna and the Cottage pie I had just one third of the mince left

 

Combine the remaining mixture with a jar of arrabiata pasta sauce and warm through slowly in a saucepan, stirring frequently.

Serve on cooked pasta smothered with Parmesan and finished with a slice of garlic bread.

Heavenly TV dinner.

Posted in Frugal Foods

19January

Cottage Pie - Bulking Meal Prep Ideas

Everyone loves a comforting Potato Recipe

Cottage Pie - Bulking Meal Prep Ideas

Yesterday I wrote up the beginning of an explanation of how to make three days meals for four out of 500g of Beef Mince and some contents from your storecupboard.
If you follow yesterday's Lasagna blog post you will see where we start making the Cottage Pie - which is where this blog entry starts

Posted in Frugal Foods

18January

Lasagna Recipe - Bulking Meal Prep Ideas

Minced Beef Recipes. One of the best ways to save money

Lasagna Recipe - Bulking Meal Prep Ideas

Taking control of your Family food budget is one of the best ways to save money.  When people ask me for money saving advice, Batch Cooking is always something I like to promote. Combine this with careful meal planning, a frugal shopping list and utilising ways of stretching your ingredients and you are well on the way to live more cheaply.

Today I utilised a reduced 500g pack of Beef mince to make three main dishes to serve four people.  A Beef Lasagna, a Cottage Pie and a Beef ragu Pasta sauce.

Here I am going to explain how I came to have just the best looking Lasagna for tea!

Posted in Frugal Foods

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