frugal cooking

22October

Morocco Inspired kebabs

500g of mince and two packets of Cous Cous

Morocco Inspired kebabs

So there you go, its a Wednesday, you don't really want to cook and you are confronted with a box of mince.

Well theres a number of things you can do with it, burgers, meatballs, sloppy joes, pies either made with cottages or shepherds  ........or, as I opted for tonight, kebabs.

Thing is, I couldn't decided what to have with the mince let alone what to do with the mince, but when I stumbled across couscous and dried apricots my mind was made up.

 

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20October

Sausage and lentil Supper

An option to do the lentils in the Slow Cooker

Sausage and lentil Supper

To my mind, green lentils, onions and sausages are a combination made in heaven.  A combination which we don't have at home nearly enough.

Today was a bit wintery on the weather front, but not so clearly wet, or cold to make you feel like putting on a scarf, and too warm to really warrant a coat.  In fact if there was ever a day with no weather at all then this could have been it.

I had already decided on Sausages for tea tonight and had been pondering the idea of putting my 200g of dried green lentils in the slow cooker.  In the end, at lunchtime in they went, with a tin of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, a pint of beef stock, a finely chopped onion, three garlic cloves and flavourings in the way of fresh rosemary, dried parsley, a little oregano.  Finally, Seasoned Black Pepper a little salt and some chilli flakes.

 

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18October

Mince based twist on a pasta bake

Student Tea for four.

Mince based twist on a pasta bake

This dish is made with 500g pack of beef mince, 400g pack of Gnocci, a tin of chopped tomatoes and a packet of mozzarella.

To be fair I also added a chopped onion a chilli and a couple of cloves of garlic to the mince whilst it was being fried off, and the finished dish was so much better for it.  Those of you who pass this way frequently will also know that I am a strong believer that Mince always tastes better when you add some paprika to it.

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07October

Falafal Burgers - dinner for the price of a tin of Chickpeas?

Super Cheap Meat Free Supper

Falafal Burgers - dinner for the price of a tin of Chickpeas?

This is a little treat - it takes moments to prepare then you can either fry the cakes or pop them in the oven with a few oven chips, whilst you take a bath and relax after a hard day at work.

Okay so thats not likely to happen.  Lets say you can prepare these in the food processor and pop them in the oven to cook whilst you run a hoover round, help the kids with their home work, brush the dog, sew some name tags in the school uniform - and other new term related jobs which you will still be trying to find time to finish at Christmas!

This is a very uncomplicated dish and can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge.

To make four good sized burgers drain and rinse one 400g tin of chick peas.  Lay out out on a tea-towel and dry.

Into food processor place 2-3 garlic cloves, and one small red onion. Whizz up a little and then add in a handful of fresh parsley, one tablespoon of plain flour (I used rye flour) and two tablespoons of oil. Season with a little salt, and add a little (1/2tsp) of chilli powder and ground cumin, to taste.   A little twist of black pepper will finish the seasoning.  Add in the chickpeas and then whizup in to a chubby paste.

 

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06October

Chickpea and Coriander Cakes

This one is stolen from Dame Delia Smith

Chickpea and Coriander Cakes

Delia has written a number of wonderfully plain books - but only one, do I actually own.  I know how to cook, how to boil an egg and dont really want to learn how to 'cheat'.

Where my cooking skills fall down becomes apparent to me when I watch 'bake off' I dont bake like Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood but I am completely in awe of everyone participating in that programe.  I find the programme compulsive viewing and sole destroying at the same time.

The only Delia that I own, will come as no surprise, being the one she wrote on Frugal Food back in the 1970's, but this recipe isnt from that publication - but instead from her Vegetarian Collection.

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19September

Crispy Chicken

Crispy Chicken

I am known from time to time to fix my weekly meal plan around one recipe book. The book for the past couple of weeks has been the Hairy Dieters book.  I would confirm that I got given this book as a present, but I won't say who was so rude!

However I have made quite a few recipes from this book over the past couple of years and tonight we had a recipe I hadnt tried previously and its wonderfully simple.

You will need one chicken breast per person, put it in a food bag and bash it until its around 0.5cm thick.

Bake three slices of bread in a preheated oven (this will only take five to ten minutes) and then whizz it up in a food processor to make breadcrumbs. 

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09September

Spicy Sausage Ragu.........Stretched

One packet of sausages, one tin of chick peas and six meals

Spicy Sausage Ragu.........Stretched

I had an idea this morning. I wondered if you could spread one packet of sausages in to two family meals instead of just the one.

My original idea was to use a tin of Kidney beans, but I discovered when I opened the cupboard that I didn't have any.  So I then looked at the contents of the cupboard and settled on a tin of chickpeas.

The result was surprisingly lovely and would feed six adults and two children or eight adults if you serve it with a side salad and perhaps some garlic bread? 

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28August

Beef Provencal in a Slow Cooker

Beef Provencal in a Slow Cooker

So I was off to London for a meeting today so last night I assembled all the preparation for this dish and popped the whole crock pot in the fridge.

Later today, around lunchtime, Mr Faye put the crock in the Slow Cooker and put it on, on Low, for seven hours.

The end result was delicious, but the addition of the Orange zest was a step too far for our daughter who asked for a sandwich!

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27August

Chicken Jambalaya - in a Slow Cooker

Chicken Jambalaya - in a Slow Cooker

So we have done Chicken Jambalaya previously, but as a way to use up left over roast chicken on a Monday

However does it work as a Pile it in a slow cooker and leave it for a couple of hours to work its magic.  Are all the flavours all there, and is the rice done to perfection?

Well it came as a complete surpise to me - the answer is a resounding 'Yes' 

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26August

How Frugal is a Slow Cooker?

Can I save money on fuel if I switch to a Slow Cooker?

How Frugal is a Slow Cooker?

My husband bought a Slow Cooker a month or so ago, and its been in a cupboard ever since.

He got it from a local 'Free or For Sale' Facebook page. The person who sold it told a story of not being happy about putting raw meat and vegetables in a pot to simmer down for hours.

So for the princely sum of £6 we had an addition to the gadgets in our kitchen - a gadget which immediately disappeared in to a cupboard which has been where it has resided until today.

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23August

A summer Plum Pudding

Dont under estimate how many puddings you can get out of a packet of puff pastry

 A summer Plum Pudding

I am, and its already on record, a massive fan of shop bought ready rolled puff pastry.  So tonight it seemed to make sense to combine the glut of plums from the garden (what happened to the wasps this year?) with a packet of puff pastry.

However one 99p packet of pastry needs to be stretched 'literally' so that it does more than one pudding and this is how.......

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21July

Mozzarella and Parsley Croquettes

Mozzarella and Parsley Croquettes

I am  a big fan of mushed potato.  I love its cloud-like nature, its creamy texture, the way you can jazz it up with just a few herbs, a little pancetta or lashings of freshly ground black pepper.

It makes a perfect pie top when  you cant be bothered with pastry.  It's massively but simply enhanced by grated cheese or grainy mustard stirred through it.

The child in me still loves the fact you can mould it like the experts in seaside sand sculptures Is there anything more classically simple than a couple of vertical sausages standing to attention in a bed of creamy mash?

But this time of year when we have alfresco dining (if the weather behaves) beautiful salads, fresh veg and lashings of salad dressings, do we really have a place in our menu for the mashed spud?

 

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21July

Just the best Moussaka!

Just the best Moussaka!

Moussaka has become mainstream in the UK.  Easily found amongst the 'ready meals' in your local supermarket.  But remind yourself that being frugal isn't about living on packs of 9p noodles, its about living better, feeding yourself better, getting out of the Supermarket and back in to the kitchen.

If you are nervous about 'making your own' then this is the dish to try first.  You can make it in parts whilst you are doing other things and up to two days before you eat it as long has you keep it in the fridge.

I can guarantee that your efforts will be appreciated by all those invited to indulge even, even those who wondered what these beautifully shiny, if a little odd shaped, purple vegetables were, that you picked up in the Supermarket. 

 

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20July

Mediterranean Roast Chicken

Black olive and sundried tomato tapenade

Mediterranean Roast Chicken

The sun is out - the family however still want a roast dinner..........what to do?

It is quite an important thing, our Roast Chicken on a Sunday, not only because it causes us to sit down together as a family, but also because the other members of the family (our two dogs) have come to expect a roast dinner on a Sunday and left overs mixed in with their nomal food for a couple of days early in to the new week.

So after standing in the kitchen with this dead bird pondering the problem, I wondered what the result would be if I made a sort of tapenade with ten black olives and a few sun dried tomatoes?  

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20July

James Martin's Mums Goulash

Doing it by the book

James Martin's Mums Goulash

Some of you will remember that we went to Prague in February this year, and came back with a Hungarian Goulash problem.

It has taken several months of therapy to get us back on to more normal foods, and we think we are finally now in a a place to declare that we are 'over the goulash' - however the proof of the pudding as they say..............

So one more try today, to see if we are cured, and as a result I have decided to give James' Mums recipe an outing.  

I am not a big fan of the strict recipe when making a Goulash but I was interested to see how I got on

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