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    • brokenwings
    • By brokenwings 7th Sep 05, 6:21 PM
    • 604Posts
    • 1,093Thanks
    frugal 'special' dinner for 4 adults 2 kids please
    • #1
    • 7th Sep 05, 6:21 PM
    frugal 'special' dinner for 4 adults 2 kids please 7th Sep 05 at 6:21 PM
    Evening all

    ( blimey - anyone else remember dixon of dock green? )

    Saturday night i have to cook dinner for a special occasion for four adults and two kids - most of whom dislike anything foreign or spicey. I commited to this before my new lifetime money savings commitment and wondered if anyone has any suggestions for a frugal meal everyone will like.

    If you had asked me what i was cooking last week it would have been sirloin steak and chips for everyone - with a couple of bottles of merlot - and a tescos finest apple pie with extra thick double cream - ice cream for the kids.

    i can bake the apple pie myself instead of buying from the shop.
    i do have a slow cooker.
    i will try tofind cheap ice cream for the kids at lidls.

    are the steaks cheap and ok to eat at lidls? what about the wine?
    i have my own potatoes in the garden for chips.

    thanks all
    appreciate any help as i am new to this but really have to learn new ways asap.
Page 1
    • Katgoddess
    • By Katgoddess 7th Sep 05, 6:37 PM
    • 1,798 Posts
    • 1,426 Thanks
    • #2
    • 7th Sep 05, 6:37 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Sep 05, 6:37 PM
    Spaghetti bolognaise?

    There is a wonderful recipe in the index which uses nutmeg to add a touch of luxury.

    You could make it with yummy fresh pasta instead of dried. Serve with garlic bread, salad and parmasan.

    You can cheat a bit with the home made pie by buying ready made pastry or even a tin of pie filling.
    "A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for."
    • kingarhu
    • By kingarhu 7th Sep 05, 6:38 PM
    • 129 Posts
    • 28 Thanks
    • #3
    • 7th Sep 05, 6:38 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Sep 05, 6:38 PM
    In the ultimate money saving move I got two packs of sirloin steak free from Lidl's a few months ago (sell-by date that day, but I just froze them). Sadly they were a bit on the tough side. Fine for me - I'll rough it for a bargain, but I wouldn't really recomend them for guests.
    • savvy
    • By savvy 7th Sep 05, 6:38 PM
    • 30,169 Posts
    • 46,860 Thanks
    • #4
    • 7th Sep 05, 6:38 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Sep 05, 6:38 PM
    hi brokenwings

    There's a whole load of recipes on here that may be cheaper than buying steaks! What about a good old fashioned cottage pie, mince will be cheaper and bulk out with vegetables, use your potatoes for the mash.

    There are loads of cheap bottles of wine around at the mo, Tesco is doing Soave for around 2.52, Lidl's wines have been fine too.

    And what about apple crumble instead...............less hassly!!!
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    • misty
    • By misty 7th Sep 05, 6:45 PM
    • 1,031 Posts
    • 700 Thanks
    • #5
    • 7th Sep 05, 6:45 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Sep 05, 6:45 PM
    What about a roast dinner? I love roast dinners and would suit your guests if they don't like spicy. Chicken/Beef is a safe bet. You could pad it out with roast potatos and yorkshires (I have yorkshires with all meat). Ice cream/fruit/ or HM cake to finish. A really good roast dinner is just as special as posh nosh and basically anything I haven't had to cook myself is special.
    • Pooky
    • By Pooky 7th Sep 05, 6:57 PM
    • 6,910 Posts
    • 45,130 Thanks
    • #6
    • 7th Sep 05, 6:57 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Sep 05, 6:57 PM
    Lidls do an Australian shiraz - about 2.99 a bottle - (blue lable) and it's fantastic....hubby is a bit of a wine snob but will happily drink it.
    "Start every day off with a smile and get it over with" - W. C. Field.
  • Jay-Jay
    • #7
    • 7th Sep 05, 7:03 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Sep 05, 7:03 PM
    I can second that Lidl steaks are tough. I've always bought steaks from the supermarket but am a recent convert to the butcher's shop. If you don't have a butcher then Asda do cheap, decent steak in the chillers, but they're Argentinian and now I'd rather pay a little extra for British meat.

    I agree that a roast dinner would be lovely and you can pad it out with lots of veg. A big roasting chicken is only 4 in Asda/Morrisons or Asda also do two medium chickens for 5. If you cooked two you'd have 4 drumsticks, 4 thighs and loads of breastmeat so probably enough for a small pie the day after.

    Morrisons do ready-made shortcrust pastry for 79p (obviously everywhere else sells it too but I only know the price of Morrisons). Apple pie sounds good(maybe chuck in a few blackberries if you have any bushes growing near you)Keep some of the pastry for chicken pie the day after.

    If you save any left over veg for the day after you'll recoup a little of the cost of the meal.

    Asda do their owl label Australian and Chilean wine that starts at around 2.80. It's blummin decent stuff
    Just run, run and keep on running!

  • competitionscafe
    • #8
    • 7th Sep 05, 11:34 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Sep 05, 11:34 PM
    If it's frugal then why not go for one of the cheaper (but just as tasty) cuts rather than steaks (and avoid supermarket steaks - they don't hang [age] them properly so they will usually be tough). Lots of much nicer options - oxtail is very tasty, cheap and will have a tender, melt in the mouth texture if it's cooked nice and slowly. Other ideas: roast pork belly (another good cheap cut, good with chinese/asian spices) or lamb shank (again cook slowly, red wine, rosemary, yum!) or Lancashire Hotpot?.. Your local butcher may have more suggestions...

    You can make cheap ice-cream for the kids with condensed milk - much better than supermarket stuff which is probably full of additives.

    For wine ideas, try the Wine Finder on
    Last edited by competitionscafe; 07-09-2005 at 11:40 PM.
    "The happiest of people don't necessarily have the
    best of everything; they just make the best
    of everything that comes along their way."
    -- Author Unknown --
    • angelatgraceland
    • By angelatgraceland 8th Sep 05, 12:58 AM
    • 3,318 Posts
    • 23,074 Thanks
    • #9
    • 8th Sep 05, 12:58 AM
    • #9
    • 8th Sep 05, 12:58 AM
    My cheapy meal is Macaroni Cheese. Add a couple of onions and a tin of tomato or mushroom soup for more flavour. You could add chips also. I can send you a recipe if you are interested. If you opt for steaks, why not cook the cheap tough ones in your slowcooker in some red wine? Serve with mashed potato or bubble and squeak. If you want to cut down on the cost of a mince dish such as spag bog or shepherds pie, make it with realeat vegimince or half realeat and half mince. Less fat too, with a veggy option if you want one. Yes- I doooo remember Dixon of Dock Green!
    Last edited by angelatgraceland; 08-09-2005 at 1:00 AM.
    • apprentice tycoon
    • By apprentice tycoon 8th Sep 05, 5:59 AM
    • 3,286 Posts
    • 2,939 Thanks
    apprentice tycoon
    Is lasagne and salad a bit too foreign and spicy?
    • brokenwings
    • By brokenwings 8th Sep 05, 6:51 AM
    • 604 Posts
    • 1,093 Thanks
    wow thanks everyone

    so many ideas
    someone had in their signature that this board is addictive - i am now one of the junkies lol

    ok - i am doing pasta with pesto from lidls for the kids and me - with lidls ice cream to follow
    for the other three adults ( the seriously 'nothing different' people ) its cottage pie with veg from the freezer.

    i have some tins of summer fruit pie filling in the larder so im just going to make a sponge pudding topping to go on that - will top it off with some of the ice cream and a couple of bottles of the aussie shiraz.

    thanks again.
  • tr3mor
    If you want cheap meat, go take a look at the Tesco's freebies threads over on grabbit. You can get loads of free meat, I got a whole duck from them for nowt!
    • squeaky
    • By squeaky 8th Sep 05, 8:56 AM
    • 13,808 Posts
    • 15,843 Thanks
    For pudding - "reasonably" cheap I can highly recommend the lemon curd smash (the recipe is in our Old Style Recipe Collection under "sweets") because it is VERY yummy and looks and tastes dead posh! yet is simple to make and can be done well in advance of the meal and kept in the fridge before serving. I served mine in big balloon glasses. Magic!
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  • Maisie
    Or another one for 'afters'. Put a little stewed apple in a ramekin dish then rice pudding . (A touch of nutmeg added to rice is nice when cooking.) Or you could use tinned rice.
    On top of the layer of rice and apples put some sugar and under then under a hot grill to caramelise. Or use a cook's blowtorch. A simple form of brulee and it tastes good.

    Lidl's 'after eight' mint chocs are usually cheaper than other supermarkets if you want to finish the meal with choc mints and coffee. Or their coffee flavour chocolate is delicious.
    • brokenwings
    • By brokenwings 8th Sep 05, 12:21 PM
    • 604 Posts
    • 1,093 Thanks
    ok i think ive done even better than i hoped ---
    if its sunny or fine we are going to them instead of them coming to us LOL

    pray for nice weather for me please!! : )
  • Penny-Pincher!!
    Yummy...sounds lovely and should be quite cheap to make too

    Personally, I would do a roast and serve to adults and kids. Kids love roasts and they are so cheap and easy to make. If we have company-normally SIL and there is 5 of them (all big adults)with massive and there is 3 of us-so 8 in total This is going to sound awful but I normally buy a large cheap chicken when they come round, cheap sausages & cheap eggs for the yorkies. I buy SP most other things anyway-thats sounds horrid but we dont have alot of money either and feeding all of them costs a fortune

    Normally serve:

    Large Chicken (7-8 good servings-2.50)
    16 Standard Sausages In Bacon (bulk out the chicken-1.50)
    HM Roasties (Usually do a 7.5KG bag between roasties & mash 1.10 )
    Mashed Potatoes
    HM Yorkshires (Make 16 Huge Ones-0.55)
    Carrots (1KG Bag-0.50)
    Peas (Frozen Whole Bag Add Butter Before Serving-Tastes Lovely-0.47)
    Stuffing (2 packs of SM & made into balls-0.32)
    Roasted Parsnips (whole bag-0.75)
    Gravy (loads-0.20)

    Pudding Either:

    Crumble & custard(1.00)
    Pie & Custard (1.00)

    I prefer red to white wine, but with chicken most prefer white. We normally get Jacobs Creek Shiraz or Hardys when on special at Asda (20% off and buy 6 bottles and get a further 10% off) works out to about 2.80 a bottle

    So rough cost for a HUGE ROAST with all trimming and a good pud:

    =8.89 So per head 1.11

    Normally put in serving bowls and allow them to help themselves.

    Good Luck

    To repeat what others have said, requires education, to challenge it,
    requires brains!

    • elona
    • By elona 8th Sep 05, 7:06 PM
    • 11,150 Posts
    • 63,458 Thanks
    I like to make lemon and garlic chicken - just a really cheap chicken - squeeze lemon juice all over it - cut slits in the skin and push slivers of fresh garlic under the skin - cover with foil and cook normally.

    Even my Dad who is as conventional as you can get , likes this.

    Or dinner party chicken - get chicken thighs - skin and bone them then stuff with creamcheese dab of mustard, spices etc - roll up and cover with bacon like a swiss roll - put in baking dish for 45 mins covered with foil.

    I think it might be my signature that you were thinking of?
    Last edited by elona; 09-09-2005 at 4:39 PM.
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    • Downsizing _for_sanity
    • By Downsizing _for_sanity 9th Sep 05, 4:29 PM
    • 386 Posts
    • 1,434 Thanks
    Downsizing _for_sanity
    How about a Beef in Guiness pie? Looks v impressive and homemade - use the slowcooker to cook some braising or stewing steak, add some carrots and onions, worcester sauce and a can of guiness instead of any water. Use bought puff pastry on top to save time. "Eton Mess" is lovely for dessert - any cheap soft fruit, a tub of thick creme fraiche and a box of those meringue nests, all smashed up together. Looks fab in glass dishes. Lovely!
    • brokenwings
    • By brokenwings 9th Sep 05, 4:55 PM
    • 604 Posts
    • 1,093 Thanks

    hopefully will be going there for a barbie tomorrow if weather is fine, instead of them coming to us, but will definately be using all these recipes and ideas in the future

    thanks all
    • beadysam
    • By beadysam 9th Sep 05, 6:37 PM
    • 578 Posts
    • 157 Thanks
    How about a lovely warming chunky stew. Dump the pan and a ladle on the table and a dish of rice or some jackets so people can help themselves. Add a fresh baked loaf for people to slice themselves and get stuck in. I do this kind of thing often and it always goes down well.
    For pud you could pick some blackberries and apples from the hedgerows and make a crumble. Use brown sugar and add a handful of chopped dried fruit and a handful of oats to the crumble mix and its done!
    Good luck
    SAM x
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