frugal cooking

18May

Double Cheese Burger

Stretching 80g mince per person in lovely fat juicy burgers

Double Cheese Burger

Lovely juicy burgers in lovely buns, with a little salad and just a few chips and we have a reasonably healthy tea, and nearly 200g from a 500g pack back in the freezer for another meal.

This time we stretched the mince with grated courgette, finely chopped onion, and lots of herbs and spices.  Tiny cubes of feta within the mince and slices of mozzarella melted under the grill to finish it off with a double cheesy taste.

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16May

Turkey Con Carne

Chilli with Turkey mince and Baked beans for a very frugal tea

Turkey Con Carne

From time to time I am reminded of the excitement and enthusiasm that we start each new year with. . . .and how that feeling wanes quite quickly, along with all those good intentions.  We all know that we should make careful well thought through choices when feeding our families and so today as I was standing in Aldi with a shopping list which said Beef mince and a menu plan which said Chilli Con Carne - I stopped for a moment and wondered what the dish would be like if it was made with Turkey mince and baked beans.............so we gave it a try.

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27April

Frugal Beef Stroganoff with Buttered Red Onion Rice

Frugal Beef Stroganoff with Cider

Frugal Beef Stroganoff with Buttered Red Onion Rice

According to Wikipedia, Beef Stroganoffor beef Stroganov is a Russian dish of sautéed pieces of beef served in a sauce with (smetana) Soured Cream. 

Slosh of Brandy is preferred by some, some fry off some sliced mushrooms and use Sour Cream to create a lovely creamy sauce, some use red wine.........there are plenty of variations. Many of these alternatives are out of the question if you are looking for a Frugal options.

So cider is the answer.....

 

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25April

Creamy Pesto Chicken with tiny roasties and pea and bacon side

Serve with Caramalised Red Onions for extra flavour dimension

Creamy Pesto Chicken with tiny roasties and pea and bacon side

This  is an easy peesie tea packed with flavour, but its very simple to make.  However do take a little care with its preparation and you will have a visually good looking plate too.

I am aware I have gone a little bit Masterchef however I did resist the temptation to just serve just three potato cubes glued to the plate with a carrot puree, or to serve it with a Juis, but I did do some carmalised red onions and served the sugar snap peas cut on the diagonal and with finely chopped bacon lardons.

 

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21April

Italian Cheese and Ham Chicken

Elizabeth David's 'Italian Food' again. Petti di pollo alla bolognese

Italian Cheese and Ham Chicken

Very simple tea tonight - chicken pan cooked over a gentle heat in butter, finished with a slice of parma ham and a small pile of parmesan cheese.

It makes its own cheesy sauce in the pan. Serve with carrot battons, green beans and onion mash (we mashed the end of a lump of feta cheese in to ours too).

Delicious meal..Simple meal...but not really a frugal meal.

 

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20April

Easy Peesie Pizza Base

Ready Rolled Puff Pastry Pizza Base

Easy Peesie Pizza Base

Making Pizza base is not difficult, but its a bit of a faff.  It takes a bit of planning.  Or you can buy bases, they last ages or you can keep them in the freezer.

I dont like pizza base, but then I am not a massive fan of bread.  A treat of a trip to Pizza Express always seems me having the very thin based Legerra.

I have seen it written about, and I have frequently made a savory tart in this manner, but what if we use a pack of ready rolled puff pastry?

IMG 2407 

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18April

Focaccia with Mozzarella - Paul Hollywood

Thank you Paul Hollywood but Damn, it was so close to being in the oven too long!!!

Focaccia with Mozzarella - Paul Hollywood

Already decided on an Elizabeth David recipe for tea tonight but more on that in a seperate entry.

However I came back from the shops without the accompanying bread, but rather than return and correct my mistake I decided to turn to a Paul Hollywood Bread recipe for Focaccia Pugliese with Mozzarella.

Our kitchen is in disarray because of the building works and after some time searching I had to conclude that I didnt have any strong white flour - but I did have plain white flour and yeast and everything else in the recipe including the Mozzarella, so I decided to go for it anyway.

 

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18April

Chiocciole al Mascarpone e Noce by Elizabeth David

A few walnuts and a tub of cream cheese

Chiocciole al Mascarpone e Noce by Elizabeth David

It was John Torode who said this week on Masterchef that Elizabeth David was his inspiration, and it was this which made me revisit my collection of Elizabeth David Books.  It was her book on Soup which was the inspiration for Tiny Red Soup this week and so I returned to her works for help with dinner tonight.

I wanted Italian so it was to her Italian Food that I turned.  I also wanted to do something which was really simple and really frugal, so it seems that a slight twist on her recipe would tick all boxes.

So I changed the mascarpone for Cream cheese added some walnuts and job done

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15April

Tiny Red Soup

A five minute quick cook soup

Tiny Red Soup

The name of this soup is quite wrong, its not the soup which is tiny but the items you put in it.

It is however a perfect soup to make for lunch and it can be constructed, cooked and cooled enough to consume in just fifteen minutes.

Its made out of just onion, carrot, stock and some seasoning (although I also put a little red pepper in mine, along with some Tiny Soup Pasta because I am swimming in fresh egg pasta after last nights shenanigans).

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14April

A mountain of Pasta

Well that's what happens when you are in the mood for making Pasta!'

A mountain of Pasta

It all started out quite innocently really.  We were planning on having a simple tea of Jacket Potatoes topped with a rather indulgent Stilton cheese.  None of that 'whats wrong with  Cheddar out of the fridge' rubbish today. We had planned for this - it was on the meal plan so Jackets and Blue cheese it was.

And very lovely and satisfying they were too.

Where it all went wrong was when I came to tidy away.  There was quite a lot of Stilton still left on the board where I had grated it, and rather than just pop it in to a freezerbag, and put it in the fridge, or freezer, I decided to take the rather bold step of deciding that at 7pm it was time to make pasta.

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12April

Cauliflower Soup with mini dumplings

Using up soured cream and Bacon Lardons

Cauliflower Soup with mini dumplings

I found myself wanting to cook this afternoon.  Yes the Roast Dinner was a triumph, as always, and I had considered a cake but this is a lovely warm soup for a day that makes you feel like Spring has deserted us.

Cauliflower however has a very mild taste so dont feel shy with the black pepper and other flavourings, but be reasonably careful in adding any additional salt as both the Salty bacon and the dumplings will bring their own contribution.

This soup isnt 'zapped' but remains its own diced vegetable texture so take a little extra care with your vegetable preparation.   It is however worth the trouble and brings a delicious change to the traditional Sunday Tea.

Cauliflowersoupanddumplings

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11April

Lamb burgers with baby cajun roasties to feed six

Revisiting the Lamb Burger but adding Halloumi

Lamb burgers with baby cajun roasties to feed six

Back in November 2013 I first tried Lamb and Feta Burgers, today I made them again, but this time I served them in a bun, like a real Burger should be and gave them some added oooomph by also including a slice or two of griddled Halloumi

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11April

Zesty Mango Chicken one tray bake

So much more exciting than Rice and Beans and a great alternative to Curry

Zesty Mango Chicken one tray bake

I love limes.  I quite like fruit with Chicken. The idea of putting Mango in with chicken isnt a new one, and its easy to get 'ready to eat' Mangos in the shops at the moment so it made sense to make a tray bake incorporating these elements

Cooking Rice in the oven isnt something I am used to, but I was pretty sure I would be okay with it as long as I kept an eye on the rice and ensured it had enough fluid to cook it before drying it out, and then to stretch the dish further, I added a drained tin of Kidney Beans.  What I ended up with was a dish which easily fed four and probably could have fed five.  Served with Naan Breads and Mango Chutney its a great and lighter alternative to Chicken Curry.

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11April

A matter of Asparagus

So you have waited three years and you have the chance to cut your first Asparagus spear

A matter of Asparagus

Waiting..................waiting.................waiting.

Thats what I have been doing for the past three years.

No cutting of the Aspargus spears for the first three years, and then we are in 2015 and the first spear which appears, I had to cut.

However what do you do with just one home grown spear of Asparagus?

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11April

Pork Meatballs with Butterbean Stew

Hearty meal for four.......real crowd pleaser

Pork Meatballs with Butterbean Stew

This week I again had my parents to stay.  Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that my Mother has a restrictive diet and has to be careful with both Wheat and Dairy and as such this really limits what we can eat.......especially when I ideally want to put the whole meal in the oven and forget about it.

This need combined with my current adventures with Butter Beans lead me to the following dish

Posted in Frugal Foods

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