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Cheapest recipies.

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
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  • It's a bit of a time-suck, I know, but I started a thread of notes on my Facebook for my similarly cash-poor friends recently on how to cook on a severe budget. Most of them don't live in the UK, but they've still surprised me by either having success with the recipes or doing me one better!

    I have two I don't mind sharing at all, and please note that these recipes can be doubled if necessary for large freezing batches. They both freeze superbly well.

    ***

    So my wife and I are tightwads. This is because food is expensive in England and we don't want to pay any more than we have to. Every time I go to the store I see what people are buying and think, "You know, with all the screaming and moaning about 'credit crunch' this and 'recession' that, why are you still buying prepackaged spaghetti bolognaise at 7 quid a pop to feed your family of 4?"

    The most recent was seeing someone buy a plastic container of "American Style" chili for 6 quid - only 2 SERVINGS. That gave me a headache. I resolved to make it better.

    We tend to shop at certain times when Sainsbury's and Tesco do their reductions. If you go at just the right time and spend a good hour or two, you can catch reduced produce, meat and prepackaged meals at just the right time for up to 80% off. Here's how we do it in the form of chicken soup and chili, tailored for health, cholesterol-reducing and more money in the pocket:

    Chunky Beef Chili

    1kg stewing beef chunks (reduced to 97p)
    2 cans Tesco Value chopped tomatoes (2 x 31p)
    2 cans Tesco Value kidney beans (2 x 31p)
    1 can Tesco Value bertolli beans (31p)
    1c diced brussels sprouts (reduced price, calculated by weight to 8p)
    2 large chopped Sainsbury's Basic brand onions (reduced price, calculated to 2 x 6p)
    1 pack Old El Paso chili spice (splurge at 70p)
    9 halved walnuts, crushed (calculated at 20p)
    1/4c flaxseed, crushed (calculated at 26p)
    1/4c couscous (calculated at 13p)
    Various spices and herbs (parsley, fresh chive from the yard, paprika, cumin, salt)
    Tabasco sauce (be liberal - I'm firmly convinced that Tabasco doesn't actually cost anything)
    1/4c olive oil spread (reduced, calculated at 22p)
    1/2c plain low-fat yogurt (reduced, calculated at 7p)

    Melt the olive oil spread in a large, heavy-bottom saucepan. Soften diced sprouts and onions. Cut stewing beef into 1cm (approx) pieces and brown with vegetables. Add canned tomatoes, rinse beans and add. Throw in chili spice and other spices. Crush the nuts and flaxseed together in food process or (if you're a masochist like myself and Clarissa Dickson Wright of Two Fat Ladies fame) with a mortar and pestle. Add to mixture. Add a cup of water, stir and add couscous. Bring to a simmer, adding extra water if needed. Add the yogurt only when cool and about to reheat/serve/freeze.

    This makes about a good 12 individual servings of chili to have over rice, with pasta, in tortillas or in salad. Cost?

    £4.30, or 36p per serving.

    YAY!!!

    And now for my chicken soup recipe. If you get one of those chicken carcasses that they put on the grocery rotisserie, this is the best way to get rid of it:

    Grocery Roadkill Chicken Soup

    1 reduced rotisserie chicken (reduced to 1 quid)
    1 can Tesco Value kidney beans (31p)
    1 can Tesco Value bartolli beans (31p)
    2 potatoes (reduced, calculated to 2 x 3p)
    3 carrots (reduced, calculated to 2 x 5p)
    1 leek (calculated to 25p)
    2 chopped onions (reduced, calculated to 6p)
    Leftover roasted veg from last week's roast (can't really calculate... just say the added cost of one potato and one carrot, approx. 7p)
    1/2c couscous (calculated to 26p)
    2c chopped brussel's sprouts (reduced, calculated to 16p)
    1c chopped green beans (reduced, whole pack cost 21p)
    1/2c pearl barley (calculated to 16p)
    2 cloves crushed garlic (reduced, calculated to 3p)
    1 sprig fresh rosemary (reduced, calculated to 20p)
    Fresh peppercorns (reduced, calculated to 7p)
    2c (precooked) dried pasta (calculated to 35p)
    Drizzle of olive oil, assorted herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano), Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper.

    You can put anything you want in it, but those were my ingredients.

    Pull the meat off the chicken and give it a rough chop. Take the skin off if you're health conscious, but try to keep it aside for the stock if you're not particularly concerned.

    Break up the chicken bones, setting the cleaned wishbone aside (this is VERY IMPORTANT. Wishbones are necessary supplements to your weekly lottery ticket and thrift store score-factor.) Throw the bones, skin (optional), rosemary, half the chopped onion, peppercorns and olive oil in a large soup pot with enough water to cover the bones. Bring to the boil and simmer until 1/3 of the liquid is gone, then add another cup of water and wait until it's 2/3 volume again. (Pam puts in a sliced lemon with her stock, and her soup is amazing, so I highly recommend it - thanks, Pam!)

    Skim the top of the stock of there's scum on it. Drain your stock through a mesh strainer into another large pot (or bowl, if you plan to use your stockpot for the soup.) It should be clear with oily bubbles on top. Place back on the stove, add chicken and all other ingredients, leaving the couscous for last and setting the pasta aside. Season throughout the cooking and taste often (cook's privilege!)

    I cooked my pasta al dente and buttered it slightly with garlic butter. After adding the couscous, the starch from the couscous, potatoes and beans should make it fairly thick. You may want to add more water, or if you have the stomach for it, you can simmer the remaining onions, fat blobs and herbs from the stock for onion broth with another chopped onion.

    Fill soup bowls 1/3 full of pasta, then top with soup. You can also serve the soup with bread and cheese, or buttered bread, or with rice. This particular pot of soup, served with pasta, made about 10 individual servings.

    Cost?

    £3.60, or 36p per serving.

    To some, these totals aren't amazing, but to someone who could have (easily, and ordinarily, considering grocery prices) spent 10 quid on ONE meal for three, it's a serious bargain.

    I love cheap food, and I love being able to serve three people over the span of a few days on pocket change. There are some days where I mentally calculate everything I eat, and I eat less than £1 worth of food most days not because I'm starving myself, but because I've baked muffins (which are cheap and filling) or because we've managed to get some really good deals that week.

    Living in England can be expensive - living ANYWHERE right now can be expensive! - but I have a little extra time some days, and the payoff of having an extra half-hour in the kitchen can be really rewarding. Rather than working for a measly extra 6 quid an hour, sometimes my time in the kitchen can save me twice as much of the money which we already have. Rather than making things directly out of magazines and cookbooks, I'm learning the value of buying excruciatingly cheap and spending time making it worthwhile.

    ---
    Kate
  • hendo74hendo74 Forumite
    63 posts
    Part of the Furniture
    Hello all,
    Been finding some really good idea`s on here for feeding my family-1 son aged 2 in July,1 son aged 9 ,hungry hubby and me still trying to lose that baby weight!
    Got a slow cooker which i love find really handy, fed my baby son mostly-(cheated a few times bought jars)on home prepared food and he`s a great wee eater.Its great when im out at work ,cook loads of meat in- even my sunday roast.

    Now i noticed a lot of you say you make your own bread.This i would love to do-but where do i start?
    How much does a bread making machine cost?
    And what do i need to start making my own bread?Is it easy?What ingredients and can i make different kinds of bread?Would it be worth my while?We get a loaf every day.

    I love soya and linseed bread as does baby but other 2 prefer plain old white id love to get them into making healthy home baked bread.
    Any advice where do i start?
  • binskybinsky Forumite
    18 posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Hi

    I bought a cheap breadmaker from Argos, but I think Amazon also do cheap ones, or you could ask if anybody has an unwanted one on Freecycle. I tend to just follow the recipes supplied with my breadmaker - I haven't been adventurous enough yet to 'think outside the box'.

    I also love my slow cooker but tend to stick to the same 2 recipes which gets a bit boring. I'd love to try some of yours if you're willing to share?

    Thanks.
    Binsky
  • Rachie_BRachie_B Forumite
    8.8K posts
    binsky wrote: »
    Hi

    I bought a cheap breadmaker from Argos, but I think Amazon also do cheap ones, or you could ask if anybody has an unwanted one on Freecycle. I tend to just follow the recipes supplied with my breadmaker - I haven't been adventurous enough yet to 'think outside the box'.

    I also love my slow cooker but tend to stick to the same 2 recipes which gets a bit boring. I'd love to try some of yours if you're willing to share?

    Thanks.
    Binsky

    there are some fab recipes on the slow cooker threads :)

    eg http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=4273
  • zippychickzippychick Forumite
    9.4K posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker I've been Money Tipped!
    ✭✭✭✭
    hendo74 wrote: »
    Hello all,
    Been finding some really good idea`s on here for feeding my family-1 son aged 2 in July,1 son aged 9 ,hungry hubby and me still trying to lose that baby weight!
    Got a slow cooker which i love find really handy, fed my baby son mostly-(cheated a few times bought jars)on home prepared food and he`s a great wee eater.Its great when im out at work ,cook loads of meat in- even my sunday roast.

    Now i noticed a lot of you say you make your own bread.This i would love to do-but where do i start?
    How much does a bread making machine cost?
    And what do i need to start making my own bread?Is it easy?What ingredients and can i make different kinds of bread?Would it be worth my while?We get a loaf every day.

    I love soya and linseed bread as does baby but other 2 prefer plain old white id love to get them into making healthy home baked bread.
    Any advice where do i start?

    Ive only joined the breadmaker family recently

    I got mine off freecycle so its a good place to start! You would be surprised how many people have them lurking at the back of cupboards

    For starter white bread you need

    Strong white bread flour - around 68p tesco
    Skimmed milk powder - £2.15 for big box tesco, lasts ages. Apparently this is optional ingredent but i just add it anyway as recipe says
    Sunflower oil - storecupboard
    Salt & sugar - storedupboard
    Yeast - i use Hovis fast acting dried yeast - 70p from co op , lasts a good while
    Water - tap

    Do simple white bread first, and then take it from there. Only thing to remember is keep yeast away from sugar , salt and liquids. I do this by adding flour as penaltimate ingredient, and yeast last as flour covers all liquids. Just check if your machine is liquids first - instructions should say . If you use fresh yeast I think you need twice as much but i would check that. For me the dried stuff works perfect, just make sure you keep it away from heat etc as this activates it.

    Other stuff

    Granary flour
    Wholemeal flour
    Vitamin C tabs - for Granary

    I only started brown bread experimenting.

    The dough is amazing for pizza etc, and you can make with the basic bread ingredients. After a few loaves there will be noi stopping you. I also made madeira cake in mine! Yumsville!
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men :cool:
    Norn Iron club member #380

  • Quorn Sausage & Bean Bake - serves 4 at 78p per serving:

    Ingredients:
    1 pk of 8 quorn sausages (frozen) £1.88
    2 cans baked beans: total cost £0.58
    1 onion £0.08
    Bag of baking potatoes £0.55

    Method:
    Peel potatoes and cut into chunks and boil...in prep for mashing
    Fry Quorn Sausages, once cooked, slice each sausage into 3 or 4 pieces and then return to pan
    Add Baked Beans to pan and stir
    I then add a bit of worcestershire sauce and chilli powder to give it a bit of a kick (your choice)...you could also experiment with different spices.
    Slice onion (keep them as rings)
    whilst sausage and beans are warming, mash the potato
    Transfer contents of frying pan into an ovenproofed dish
    Use all the onion to place a layer(s) ontop of the sausages and beans, this stops the mash from falling into the sausages and beans.
    Then add the mash to the top.
    Bake in the oven on 200C until mash turns golden brown on top.

    Remove and eat

    This lasts me and my partner two meals, because it is very filling and tasty we dont have anything else with it...unless one of us fancy some bread for mopping up the left over sauce from our plate!

    Apart from the Quorn sausages, the other ingredients are all basic brands from the supermarkets.

    Also, i'm not a vegetarian, but absolutely love this meal.
  • Here is a cheap meal my kids love Sausage and bean casserole


    2 x tins baked beans
    6 x sausages
    2 teaspoon mixed herbs
    Rice

    Put enough rice for you all in saucepan and boil.
    Cook sausages and cut up into small pieces open beans put in saucepan add herbs and sausages when cooked,cook for 5-10mins serve sausage and beans on the rice the kids love it.
    :jmember of the thrifty gifty 2011 :j
  • Trying desperatly to curb our food spends. We roughly spend about £300 a month on food and would love to reduce this. I do have a bread maker but haven't used it in ages! Any cheap and nice ideas? Thanks
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