Frugal | Cheap meals
I think it was Mrs Beeton who said the cheapest meal was a piece of toast between two pieces of bread that were spread with butter. I don’t see the point, just have a couple of rounds of toast, spread with whatever.
If you’re really desperate crumble a Bovril cube into a soup bowl and fill up with boiling water then dip your toast into that. You can also grow herbs on a windowsill, then chop herbs like basil into your saucepan, add a Bovril cube and simmer for 5 minutes to make a soup to dip your toast in. If you have a onion lurking in the fridge, chop it as small as possible, fry it in a little oil, add herbs, salt, your Bovril cube and water, then after the onion is soft, simmer for 30 minutes for a nourishing soup.
Egg, chips and peas.
I think eggs, chips and peas is really frugal, even if you use oven chips. Mine worked out at less than 50p. If you compare that with about a fiver for fish and chips, it’s amazing. Spice it up with sauce or ketchup, yummy!
中国翻炒 Chinese Stir Fry
This stir fry was frugal too. I had the diced pork from Lidl, 400g for £1.34. I did two meals with that, but could have done three. I chopped the pork smaller and fried it in the wok with chopped red onion and then added my boiled rice, stir fried it another minute; then added the soya sauce and Chinese 5 spice. When it was cooked I served it in a rice bowl (£1 from Matalan). I would normally add frozen peas, but forgot for some reason. If you want to bring out the flavour a bit add a little tomato puree. I bought long grain rice from Lidl for 40p a kilo and so that made it even more frugal. That came out at less than 75p and if you were cooking for a few people you could probably make it for less than 50p a bowl. Serve in in rice bowls, it looks so much better and those bowls hold more than you would think.
Chicken and chips
I like chicken and chips with veggies. I used to have a whole chicken leg, but they say we only need 50 grams of protein a day. We tend to eat far more than we need. I use oven chips because it easier and keeps my kitchen cleaner. I can buy 2 chicken legs for 99p at Aldi and half of one of those is enough. The chicken works at at 25p, oven chips at 20p and a portion of frozen peas (80g) at about 8p. 53p for a meal? You can afford to have a dessert and get your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day!
French Onion Soup.
Soups are easy to make and you can use whatever vegetables you have handy. Onions are cheap in most supermarkets and can be as little as 25p a kilo at Asian stores. Just chop them as finely as you can, then fry them in oil until they go transparent. If you fry them slowly for about an hour, they will caramelise. Then sprinkle in a Bovril cube, chop in some fresh basil and add a little salt and black pepper. Add boiling water and simmer for another 10 minutes. Make lots and you have soup to last for days.
Salads are great and I make them with cheap sardines or pink salmon. I bought sardines for 38p a tin in Aldi and that is enough sardines for 2 people. The lettuces are cheaper in there too. Try to make your salad look good and think about different ingredients. I put a handful of oven chips on mine! If you want nice skin try grating carrot onto you salad, it’s packed with beta carotene (vitamin A). Think about using tomatoes, lettuce, red onion, spring onion, beetroot, pickles, cheese, radishes, cress, carrot, new potatoes and just about anything that you can grow yourself.
You can do a nice frugal chicken stew with a couple of chicken legs from Aldi. Cook them in water until the meat is coming off the bones then, remove all the bones then add your veggies, some split peas, herbs and seasoning and cook for another hour. The split peas, about half a cup should be soaked overnight first; they are high in protein. You can get a stew pack, for about a pound and that’s the veggies taken care off; try to chop them small. Fresh herbs like basil are best, but you can use herbs d’ Provence or mixed herbs. You can make about 2 litres with the ingredients. I usually make 1.5 litres (the size of my saucepan) with 2 chicken legs and half a stew pack of veggies. It smells delicious while it’s cooking, especially if you use fresh basil.
Potatoes are so versatile you can bake them, roast them, make mash, boil them or make chips! If you fill the oven with potatoes and fry sausages the potatoes can be served up cut in half with a sausage in the middle; add a portion of vegetables and you have a really frugal meal. Give everyone a potato with a sausage and veggies, but be prepared for requests for more! Don’t forget the old favourite; bangers and mash too!
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