frugal cooking

07February

Homemade Kebab and Chips

Save money on take-aways

Homemade Kebab and Chips

Its a given that take-aways are an expensive way to feed a family.  Its always cheaper to make your own, but it does take a little thought and forward planning, but not much.

There are loads of meal ideas here and also elsewhere on the internet for using a £2.50 500g pack of beef mince, so theres no excuse really to pick an extraone up from time to time and keep it in the freezer.

This recipe easily makes nine 'sausage' sized kebabs.  You could mix lamb and beef mince together for a change, or if you have less mince, cook up a little red lentils, or use some gently 'blitzed' chickpeas - theres loads of ways to extend the amount of meals you can get from a packet of mince.

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02February

Grilled Lime Chicken Skewers and grilled Halloumi

Grilled Chicken

Grilled Lime Chicken Skewers and grilled Halloumi

This is a simple dish, but you have to prepare it in advance to allow the chicken to marinate.

These quantities serve four, but easily adjusts to feed more or less people, and feel free to change the chicken breast for chicken thighs if you want to use a cheaper cut and your family are happy with darker chicken meat.

The halloumi slices are approximately two slices per person, and are not intrinsic to the dish, but the saltiness of the cheese cuts through the acid of the lime maranade.  Either make this dish as the recipe describes or put the chicken pieces on skewers, alternated by cubes of cheese, and cook under a hot grill. 

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25January

French Onion Soup

Has it really been Two years since I made this soup last?

French Onion Soup

It was February 2013 that I last made French Onion Soup.  At the time I was cooking my way through the Dairy Diary 2012 book of Home Cookery.

http://www.frugalfoods.co.uk/index.php/fayes-frugal-food-blog/item/french-onion-soup

Its a perfect dish for a winters night, and today I wanted to try out a Prue Leith version of the recipe.  This one utilises Beef Stock, and some delicious large French onions.........it was also the slicing of which which left me with mascara all down my face.

Not at all pretty....................... but well worth it 

So whats changed in two years.....?  I have a new found understanding of cooking onions...s l o w l y

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24January

Braised Beef with Stilton Scones

Another Diary Dairy triumph

Braised Beef with Stilton Scones

It was with some surprise that, when I got to the Stewing Beef I bought from Aldi (to make this dish from the Fantastic Food for less from Dairy Diary), I discovered I had picked up 750g of meat.

This was considerably more than we needed to feed just the three of us so we used all the meat padded it o ut with some cubed sweet potato (you need to cook this for about 10 minutes in salted boiling water first) and ended up making two pies, one of which is currently residing in the Freezer.

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20January

Sausage and Baked Bean Stew

A second meal from Fantastic Food for less by Diary Diary

Sausage and Baked Bean Stew

Another recipe from my new Dairy Diary cook book called 'Fantastic Food for less' so unfortunately you wont find the whole recipe here, however in most of my blog entries I do include all the ingredients and method.  The book itself is a good investment as its full of good family food ideas.

Todays recipe got my attention because it ticks the 'what else can I do with sausages' box.  But it did come with a concern, in that none of the rest of my family will eat baked beans.

In addition, find Baked beans too acidic so much more than a tablespoon or two will make me feel sick for hours, so when I do use them in cooking it tends to be because they are the cheapest way to buy harricot Beans, and I tend to wash the sauce off....and make my own.

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17January

Spiced Cottage Pie

A warming slightly spicy twist on the standard Cottage Pie

Spiced Cottage Pie

This could be a Diary Diary triumph.  I do find it important that you choose carefully which recipe you cook first from a new cookery book.  Get it wrong and the book goes on a shelf for a while and then is sent off to the charity shop.

I do also find that mince based dishes tend to taste better when allowed to cool and are later reheated, so I cooked this up at lunchtime, assembled it, and then allowed it to cool down before reheated for supper.  I have mixed up the recipe slightly to use less mince and more vegetables to bulk it out.

 

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13January

Something different to do with a packet of sausages

A Sausage Pasta but with a creamy onion, chilli and basil sauce

Something different to do with a packet of sausages

I love sausages.  They are tasty and cheap.  I dont like ones which look too pink and I don't trust bags of cheap frozen ones but I do like the look of a tray of six or eight 'butchers sausages' beautifully herbed, preferably Lincolnshire.

However I am always on the look out for new recipes for sausages, and preferably ways to make sausages six sausages serve four people, and if thats your problem too, then try this recipe.

Its a take on a Nigel Slater Recipe and combines a creamy, slightly mustardy sauce, with a lovely Italian Basil flavour.  As you take the sausages out of their skins its easy to make the meat serve four, and by adjusting the amount of pasta you cook to go with it, you can adjust the amount of people you are serving.

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10January

Meatball bake with a macaroni Cheese topping

A great prepare it first and cook it later dish

Meatball bake with a macaroni Cheese topping

I have always been a great fan of Pasta, but it has to be said that Pasta is not a great fan of me.  That said its probably all those yummy sauces that it lends itself to so nicely which causes the trouble around the waist.  

So as a result I tend to avoid Pasta, to a certain extent, but this week the meal plan, stuck on the fridge, under a magnet showing me having my head chopped of in the Edinburgh Dungeons, has two pasta dishes on it.  One of the dishes is going to make a ragu out of sausages and then serve it with a delicious mustard sauce. The other is todays extravagansa.

This dish was borne out of necessity more than anything else.  My Diabetic husband feeds his bread habit with their Rye bread rather than Wheat Bread and as a result you will often find him in Lidl.  Whilst he is there he is always scanning for a bargain and over the last couple of weeks has brought home with him numerous packets of their 'ready to eat' meat balls.

 

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10January

I cant wait for this to arrive!

Dairy Diary has done it again with a Frugal Food Recipe Book

I cant wait for this to arrive!

I have been a big fan of the Dairy Book of Home Cookery since I was small and my mother had an edition in her kitchen - which is now mine

A couple of years ago Diary Diary gave me a copy of the new updated version to cook my way through and having done as much as was possible (in a family which doesnt eat Fish or Liver etc), I still keep the book as a great reference tool, and frequently refer to their Facebook page to see what new treats they have in store.

Nearly missed this one which is on special offer - I cant wait for it to arrive 

http://www.dairydiary.co.uk/fantastic-food-for-less-cookbook.html

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04December

Oven Baked Chicken Breasts with Garlic Spinach and Pan roasted potatoes

Chicken bakes it's self but you have to keep an eye on the potatoes

Oven Baked Chicken Breasts with Garlic Spinach and Pan roasted potatoes

Preheat the oven (180C)

Put a large heavy bottomed frying pan on the heat with a dash of olive oil

Season each chicken breast with oregano, black pepper and a little salt and then brown on both sides in the pan, before removing to an oven proof baking dish. Pop a rasher of streaky bacon on top of each

Add to the dish one lemon, quartered and a couple of peppers, sliced (seeds and membrane removed), and then pop in to the oven whilst you get on with the potatoes.

 

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22November

Christmas Shopping ruined my routine

Stuffed Peppers and Mince and Gnocci Ragu

Christmas Shopping ruined my routine

I am an avid fan of the shopping list, but today I failed miserably.

For the past couple of weeks I have been writing my meal plan and shopping list on a Friday - sometimes if I am feeling particularly energenic I even do the shopping on Friday evening to free up my Saturday.

Today my Daughter had to be in Swansea for a friends cinema/lunch party at 10.45 so we decided to take the time to make some roads into the Chrismas Shopping

Why is it that the put the heating up full in shops this time of year when the shoppers will have dressed for the cold and will be sweltering within moments of entering a store?

The Christmas Shopping lasted about an hour and then we decided to do the weeks food shopping on the way home...........no meal plan written and therefore no list prepared.

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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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