frugal cooking


Pesto and Meatball bake

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So, here is the reason you bought frozen Spinach!

Pesto and Meatball bake

In an attempt to fill my world with ever increasing amounts of ‘Slimming World’ friendly vegetables I am tempted to squirrel away a stock of frozen fruits and vegetables.

These things are usually on a ‘buy five for a quid’ sort of deal, and if I am honest, short of peas, I normally struggle to come up with five that I like the look of – so I usually buy fruit and 9 times out of 10 end up with the last bag being frozen Spinach.

I don’t understand frozen spinach.  It’s so easy to use fresh, and to add a freezing process to something which is pretty much 99% water makes it even more mushy and useless for anything other than a smoothie.  

I never shop in Tesco (unless I am looking for some really rare ingredient) but I do like their free magazine, and I find a reason once a month to pop in and pick one up 

Having opened Februarys issue in advance of preparing this weeks meal plan, and given that I have a half marathon tomorrow for which I am supposed to be Carb loading, I was taken by a recipe for Pesto and Chicken meatball bake.  This uses up my frozen spinach to make a pesto.  So now I know why they freeze Spinach!  Although I am sure fresh would have worked just as well!

The recipe I made is somewhat changed, but if you want to try the original, just swap the Parmesan for Peccorino and the sausages for Chicken Sausages.  This recipe is designed to serve six.


Preheat the oven to Gas9/220C

In a large pan cook 500g of Conchiglie pasta for around seven minutes, until its al dente. 
When you drain, reserve 50ml of the cooking water.

Tip the pasta back in the pan and put the lid on to keep warm.

Heat a large Frying pan over a medium heat, and squeeze the sausage meat, from 6 pork sausages, from their casings into the pan.  You should get four little meatballs from each sausage. Gently brown whilst you thinly slice two Ramiro (pointed) peppers.  Tip the peppers into the pan with the sausages and cook for a further five minutes until the sausages are gently browned and the peppers cooked through and start to blacken on the edges.

Make a Pesto by blitzing together 

– 1 tbsp of olive oil

– 4 spring onions

– 300g frozen spinach (defrosted and the water squeezed out using your hands)

– 60g grated parmesan 

– 30g pack of fresh basil

– 150ml of vegetable stock

– (I added a handful of walnuts here but they weren’t in the original recipe)

add the 100ml of pasta cooking water back into the pasta with the pesto, sausages, and peppers.

Transfer to an ovenproof dish and cover with half fat mozzarella, torn.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes 


My husband says this recipe would benefit from a little garlic!


Posted in Frugal Foods

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