Thursday, 15 August 2013

Using what I have

In an attempt to save a few pennies, I've been using up foods that I already have.  Also, to save on electricity, I tend to have a "cook up" and made sure the oven is full when I put it on.

I made two dishes the other night that will see me through several meals, and all without any additional money being spent.


Make 4oz of shortcrust pastry.  I used 1oz Trex and 1oz of Stork, combined with 4oz of plain flour and just enough water to make a nice firm dough.

Roll out and line a pie/flan/quiche dish, and bake blind for around 10 minutes at 180C.

I cooked up 4 slices of streaky bacon which were lurking in the fridge, grated some Aldi medium cheddar and some Aldi double Gloucester with chives and onion that were lurking alongside the bacon, and chucked them in the dish.  This is quite a deep dish and it took 9 beaten eggs to fill it to just below the brim, so perhaps start with 6 and add more if your dish needs them.  Bake at 180C for around 45 minutes and serve hot or cold.

I already had the items I used, but to break down the cost: pastry - 20p, bacon 28p,  Cheddar 30p, double Gloucester 20p, eggs 85p.  Total cost of quiche £1.83 and it divides into 8 decent portions, so about 23p per portion.


While I was preparing the quiche, I browned some beef mince that I'd found in the freezer.  Once browned and the fat drained off, I added some mushrooms (also hiding in the freezer) and a jar of Asda's own brand Bolognese sauce with onions and garlic which I found in the cupboard.  I also added a good slug of red wine, but that's entirely optional and was from a bottle I've had for ages and keep for cooking.

After all the ingredients had been combined, I transferred everything into a casserole dish and put it in the oven.  If your oven isn't already on, you could of course simmer everything gently on the hob for a while.  Mine was on, so I put the casserole dish in the oven along with the quiche.

I know Bolognese is traditionally served with spaghetti, but I can't stand the stuff!  I eat mine either with a jacket potato (which I didn't have) or on toast.  I also served it up some cabbage that needed finishing.  The remaining two portions of Bolognese will be put into containers and frozen for a later date.

The mince will have cost £1.50, the mushrooms about 5p, and the jar of sauce 89p, so the total cost of the Bolognese = £2.44.  The additional ingredients were cabbage 10p, and toast 10p.  The Bolognese easily makes 3 portions, or 4 if you're a bit more frugal, so works out at around 80p or 60p per portion.  Even with the toast and cabbage, each portion is £1 or less.

I hope the above recipes ideas will help make your pennies stretch a bit further.  Do have a look around your cupboards, fridge and freezer.  It's amazing what's lurking in there!

Until next time. x

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