frugal cooking

08February

Choice, carrot, coriander and chorizo chowder

Warming chunky soup

Choice, carrot, coriander and chorizo chowder

Its the Prep on this which takes the time, but be sure to do it before you start, because the veg needs to be prepared quite small because most of the soup isn't blended so you have to cut it up spoon sized.

Theres quite a lot of veg to prep, but you do end up with a delicious spicy soup which makes six portions or will give you five very generous lunches , and if you want to make it a vegetarian then just leave the chorizo out theres enough flavour here for it to stand on its own without the chorizo, but you might like to add a bit of paprika in its place.

Posted in Frugal Foods

07February

Spiced Mince with a rosti topping - it's like an indian cottage pie fusion.

Quick no fuss lunch when your kids have gone shopping with mates and theres just two of you for lunch

Spiced Mince with a rosti topping - it's like an indian cottage pie fusion.

I dropped my daughter in to the centre of the nearest city, and on the way home a need for Bonios saw me visit an out of town 'Home Bargains'.  

So that was that then, she was off having a lovely Sunday spending my money on lunch and probably disposable fashion, which left just me and my husband.......and as I drove away from Home Bargains and I could see those golden arches, for a second, but just a second, I pondered the Big Mac.

It didn't last long because............I can't really remember the last time I went to McDonalds.  Don't get me wrong, I don't disapprove  as an occassional treat,nor am able to sustain a twenty minute rant in a Jamie Oliver Stylie on the downsides to fast food....I just knew it was going to be vaguely disappointing and I could do better.

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06February

Pot Roasted Chinese spiced Chicken for a Saturday Night

Short coded Chicken in a Slow cooker

Pot Roasted Chinese spiced Chicken for a Saturday Night

I opened the fridge this morning to discover that my husband had bought a short coded chicken yesterday.

Always nice to get 50% off the cost of meat, but it did leave me with the dilemma of what to do with a roasting chicken when it wasn't a Sunday.

I didn't really want to stuff it and roast it in the traditional manner, afterall this was a Saturday and Saturday in my house means bowl food in front of the tv not a roast with all the trimmings at the dinner table.

I also didnt really have time to worry about it either.  Saturday is guitar lessons, weekly shopping breadmaking and house work so I wanted to do something with it and then just forget about it until five.  In the end I decided to put it in the slow cooker.

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06February

Cheese and corn muffins

Make Scones instead of bread to have with your winter soup

Cheese and corn muffins

This one is an easy peesie scone recipe, cooked in a muffin case, so you can have it on its own as a snack or you can put one in your kids lunch box with a flask of soup as a great winter alternative to a sandwich.

Easy to prepare, quick to cook, theres really no reason not to.....

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01February

Turn your packet of sausages in to a gourmet feast for a Monday

Forgot about Meat free Monday today and went with Swedish Meatballs and Mash

Turn your packet of sausages in to a gourmet feast for a Monday

Okay its true, and I dont know why but I have completely forgotten about Meat Free Monday this week.

I was busy concentrating on doing 'Something else' with a packet of sausages and before I knew it I had ploughed on and we had a meaty Monday.

There are however of other meat free dishes this week so lets just concentrate on this one first.

 

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30January

So nearly vegetarian.........but not quite. The Pancetta lets it down

Butternut Squash, chestnuts Pancetta Feta and Parsley

So nearly vegetarian.........but not quite.  The Pancetta lets it down

January has been a real eye opener in this house.  We have been good all month (if you ignore the night we caved in and went out for a takeaway.  We have been Diabetic friendly and have been concentrating on Vegetable and complex carb rich dishes.

This one didnt quite cut it as a vegetarian dish becasue of the inclusion of the Smoked Pancetta, but its totally worth it, because the flavours are delicious.

I have never been a big fan of Chestnuts, but they are still available precooked and vaccum packed in the shops so sourcing them is easy.  Grab yourself a Butternut squash and construct this dish as a side or a main and you will be warmed and virtuous.

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24January

Cumberland Pie. Perfect pie for this season made with economic mince

This serves six, so if you are clever and bulk out the mince you can make two meals

Cumberland Pie.  Perfect pie for this season made with economic mince

Its been a while since I made a cottage pie. I am not really sure why, other than we are trying to avoid too many carbs on the post Christmas good food kick, however a recipe for a Cumberland pie caught my attention last week.

I wasnt really sure what a cumberland pie was. I knew what a cumberland sausage was, but I had never heard the phrase Cumberland pie before (perhaps its a regional thing) so my interest was captured, not least because the picture with the recipe looked like a Shepherds pie.

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25January

Moorish Casserole

Meat Free Monday

Moorish Casserole

This is a yummy, warming winter bowl, plan to serve with CousCous a dollop of natural yogurt and some fresh coriander however this takes a while to prep and cook so dont try to prepare it in a hurry.

However it is delicious and completely worth every moment of the preparation, but an hour simmering does not to my mind cook Sweet Potato or Butternut squash to a satisfactory level so give yourself a two hour window.

 

Posted in Frugal Foods

23January

Tescos have stolen Mrs Cropley's Orange and Baked Bean Cake

Something else to do with a tin of Baked Beans

Tescos have stolen Mrs Cropley's Orange and Baked Bean Cake

Back in the 1990's there was an old lady who played the part of Mrs Cropley in the BBC's Vicar of Dibley

Mrs Cropley was excellent at putting together food combinations, usually in a sandwich, which really had no right being together.  Anchovy and Peanut Butter springs to mind.

She was also known as the Dibley Poisioner or the Queen of Cordon Bleugh. Liz Smith played this role, of an Old Delia Smith, but with no talent, until she died.

It seems Tesco however has been taking some guidance from the Letitia Cropley Cook, as in their (very good and free) magazine this month there was a recipe for Orange and Honey Coconut Cake.  Perhaps the title was somewhat misleading give that the largest ingredient was in fact cannellini Beans.

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19January

Now that's a good looking cake! (okay its a teabread, but close enough)

Using up the Christmas Dried Fruit

Now that's a good looking cake! (okay its a teabread, but close enough)

The biggest problem with reading recipe books in the evening is that you tell yourself you really really need to make a cake.

Having decided that the recipe I found in 'Fantastic Food for Less' by Dairy Diary for Mixed Fruit Teabread looked yummy............and also its going to assist me in taking all the dried fruit in the larder out of the larder and in to something delicious.

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17January

Can you freeze Cottage Cheese? And what to do with it when you have? Vegetarian Lasagne, Butternut Squash Lasagne.

Can you use Cottage Cheese instead of Ricotta Cheese?

Can you freeze Cottage Cheese?  And what to do with it when you have?  Vegetarian Lasagne, Butternut Squash Lasagne.

Its probably a bit late to be helpful this year, but theres something I always do after Christmas, I make a point of going to supermarkets (our local Lidl is a perfect place to undertake this task as they never seem to get the ordering quite right) and fill the freezer with heavily reduced cheese.

A couple of blog entries ago, I was talking about freezing hard cheeses such as stilton, but I also have a 'thing' about buying Cottage Cheese when its been reduced to about 25p a tub.  Pop the whole tub in the freezer  and it will be fine for about three months.

If you forget to get it out of the freezer on time, it even defrosts 'on command' by standing the pot in a bowl of very warm water (I wouldnt suggest you use boiling water - theres just no need).

I often have a pile of cottage cheese in the freezer, and the thing to remember about cottage cheese is that whilst it is very good for sticking on a jacket potato, its also excellent to cook with.  

 

Posted in Frugal Foods

16January

Pork Patties with lemon couscous, feta and pomegranate

Pork Patties with lemon couscous, feta and pomegranate

Occassionally I put my Husbands words on my Blog and today this is what my husband said about his dinner.

"Grilled lamb (mixed with apricots and toasted grilled peanuts and lemon rind) served in pitta pockets. Couscous with coriander, feta, pomegranate, peas and beans, with tzatziki on the side. Who says healthy eating has to be boring!"

The fact that the meat was Pork not Lamb was interesting but either type would work.  I made 15 patties from one packet of '30% off' pork mince, so half went in the freezer - the rest griddled (about five minutes on each side) quickly whilst you prepare the couscous.  Easy peesie tea.

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12January

Bean Cakes (this is a great way to use Baked Beans without putting them on toast!)

Family meal for four - with two tins of Baked Beans

Bean Cakes (this is a great way to use Baked Beans without putting them on toast!)

Yet again we get to a Meat Free Monday. We didn't have a roast yesterday, and now we needed to come up with a dish which was Meat free and made with store cupboard staples.

I love the Cannelli bean, but I think the cost of buying them is prohibitive and probably unexplainable when you realise that you can buy them in Tomato sauce for about thirty pence a tin.

The best thing to do is to buy the Baked Beans, and then putting them in a sieve, throughly wash all the tomato sauce off, and then you end up with a plain staple with which to build a frugal family tea.

Posted in Frugal Foods

02January

Using up Christmas Cheese

Clearing out the fridge without throwing anything away.

Using up Christmas Cheese

This funny limbo between New Year and getting back to work is an odd one.  Its Saturday, so in this house that means food shopping.....but it doesnt feel like a Saturday so it came hard.

However I am juicing this week, I am on a seven day detox of green vegetables, nothing cooked for me, everything raw.

Unfortunately I cant get my family to agree to do this with me - so I have written them a food plan, mainly based around vegetables so that they get the New Year Healthy eating Buzz but without the 'glory'.

However you need to make space in the fridge for all this new veg, and theres a lot of cheese hanging about after Christmas.

 

Posted in Frugal Foods

22December

Quick, make Rosti and put them in the Fridge/Freezer and release the calm domestic goddess in you!

Even a good idea for those on restirictive diets

Quick, make Rosti and put them in the Fridge/Freezer and release the calm domestic goddess in you!

If you guys are now beginning to panic about the CHristmas menu, then this can be made even more 'dire' if you have guests with dietary requirements.

Its not just the main meal ....... on which there are loads of opinions and adivce in the press, but what about those guests who dont eat the standard UK diet norm.  My Mother is Gluten sensitive and my daughter would would rather be a vegetarian than a meat eater but knows if she makes a fuss whilst her mother is feeding the world is more than her life is worth

We all need good standbuys and my answer to this is a small stash of potato Rosti's.  Simple and with no additives and a wonderful replacment to your standard meal ideas.

Posted in Frugal Foods

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