frugal cooking

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? 

Posted in Frugal Foods

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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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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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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19July

Peach Melba Meringue

Move over Masterchef!

Peach Melba Meringue

Okay its true, I have felt inspired since watching the end of Masterchef last night, and as a result tonight we had a dessert.

Not just any dessert

A thrown together "look what you can do with a tin of peaches, some fresh Raspberries, the last of the double cream, and ...........did you know Home Bargains have 6 meringue nests for 60p ish" pudding.

Oh and theres a secret ingredient just to make it extra special

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19July

Gluten Free, Four Flour Dinner Rolls

Try this with Corn Flour, Bread Flour, coconut Flour the options are endless

Gluten Free, Four Flour Dinner Rolls

As we have had visitors, we have odd things in the cupboard which need eating up.  I am going to have to worry about the 'sea' of gluten free breakfast options in the cupboard at a later date, but today I needed some bread to go with Goulash, and I had no Bread flour, so my option consisited of either, driving to the shops, or using what I had in the cupboards.

A rummage around and a short time later I had Rye, Plain, Spelt, and Brown Rice flours.  I had rejected the cornflour (because I cant get over the idea of uising it for anything other than thickening sauces) and coconut, because I have never known a food stuff remove the moisture from your mouth the way Coconut flour does.

Posted in Frugal Foods

15July

Baked Apples with Maple Syrup

Delicious Gluten and Dairy Free Dessert

Baked Apples with Maple Syrup

We have house guests this week, one of which is a 'blasted nuisance'.
No Gluten, Wheat, Cows Milk................and expects a pudding after supper.

So what to do?  Well my earlier attempt at Blueberry Muffins is making an appearance later this week and Carrot Cake is arriving on day three

Today, large pink Lady apples and some raisins, walnuts and a good dash of maple syrup come together to produce a delicious simple dish......in fact ask yourself, when did you last bake an apple?  To be honest I am pretty sure I never did...........until today 

Posted in Frugal Foods

25June

Courgette Taglitelle

A fabulous alternative to Pasta for the Summer

Courgette Taglitelle

Pasta.  Wonderful thing. Cheap, simple, quick to cook.................fattening.

So is there an alternative?  Well we have made lasagne with layers of vegetable in instead of the pasta sheets so today with Courgettes at their absolute best, I thought about making a little courgette side dish to go with my left over quiche and corn on the cob, for my lunch.

Posted in Frugal Foods

24June

Cheese and Caramelized Onion Quiche

The cooking of this makes it distinctly un-frugal.....unless you have solar panels!

Cheese and Caramelized Onion Quiche

This flan is a wonder.  It is essentially a cheese and onion quiche (especially if you double the mix and make the flan deeper) but its most definately worth the trouble..........and the trouble is......the onion.

Now, I will admit that the onions can probably be prepared in 90 minutes, but because I work from home and have solar panels I turned the heat right down and finally, after starting the onions at 9am took them off the heat at 1pm.

Whether you cook the onions quickly or slowly - do try this dish - it will stop you picking up a supermarket "cheese and onion quiche" ever again - assuming you have the time.
Perhaps you will revert to to Supermarket quiche, but if you do I bet you utter the words "its okay but this isnt as nice as the homemade one we had in the summer"

Posted in Frugal Foods

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