Add the oil and butter to the pan
Add all the other ingredients except the rice and stock and stir well
Stir through until the chicken and leek are cooked.
Add all the stock at once, no faffing around here!
Stir over a gentle heat until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked just as you like it. This can take around 15 – 20 minutes. Stirring constantly.
Serve with a sprinkle of the cheese on top of each on. I know!!! It’s not a chicken pie but it doesn’t have any gluten and it does have that comfort that only a risotto can bring on a cold night.
I like to simplify my cooking and make it simple for everyone else. If I make this again, I would use more leeks as they lost their flavour with the stock and the cheese.
Over to you Dear Reader. Who else is being battered by terrible weather? Who else is traveling to work in driving rain and coming home to a garden full of branches?
As an aside, there are plenty of gluten free products on Approved Food at the moment. I’ve just taken delivery of lots of very much reduced items to keep me going to a while, including gluten free stuffing mix so I can make faggots.
Love Froogs xxxxxxxxx
You steak is now flattened like a badger on the A38.
Drizzle some oil onto the steak and massage in. Oil on the steak and never in the pan!
Turn the steak over and massage a tiny amount of oil into the other side too.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
You will need a cast iron grill pan and you should set the flame under it at least fifteen minutes before you start cooking. The pan should be smoking hot before you use it.
I cook my steak for under five minutes on both sides. I don’t want to spoil it.
When I eat steak, I just serve it with salad. No chips, onion rings, peas or any thing else – just salad! Of course with some balsamic dressing.
Be as generous as you like with the dressing. I also don’t eat any low fat or artificial alternatives just real salad dressing.
When some of the fat starts to render down, the steak is cooked enough and I turn it.
A medium rare steak should be as soft to touch as your cheek. You are touching your cheek right now! Medium is the touch of your chin and well done similar to the touch of the tip of your nose. You’ve just touched your cheek, chin and nose haven’t you?
I cut my steak down into strips and serve it on top of my salad.
Medium to rare steak with salad in under twenty minutes of getting in from work including salad and dressing for £2.50 each.
Simple steak supper for £2.50 per person. I don’t think the Harvester can compete with that! We don’t eat out so can justify the occasional steak.
Over to you, how do you cook your steak? Who doesn’t cook steak at home and likes to leave it to a chef? Who also thinks that only the French can actually cook a rare steak with out over cooking it! Who likes steak tartare? Who has a really good recipe for it?
Love Froogs xxx
Hello Dear Reader,
Our weekend guests have now been and gone. I wanted to give them something really special for Sunday lunch and decided on Turkey and trimmings and tried some bargain basement products and was happily surprised by the outcomes. The local Co-op leaflets our house and I saw that roast potatoes were £1 a bag. Everyday and ordinary potatoes are really expensive, of course unless you grow your own, and sometimes it’s just as cheap to buy instant potato products. They are a good product and if you see them at this price then try them for yourself. We can make our lives easier!
I also tried Lidl’s turkey breast joint. Ignore the cooking instructions and please do the following or it will be a dried up shrivel of turkey leather.
- Add some water to the dish.
- Add some more bacon as it wasn’t enough.
- Rub some butter or margarine into the meat.
- Seal the dish tightly with foil to keep the moisture in.
- Reduce the heat and time suggested.
It is plenty enough for six people. I would suggest padding the meal out further with a sausage or two wrapped in bacon for each person, a Yorkshire pudding for each person, some plain sage and onion stuffing for each person. That, along with plenty of steamed veggies will provide a more than ample lunch for six hungry adults.
One of the bags of roast potatoes was really more than six people needed. They certainly worked out cheaper than buying a bag of potatoes and losing a lot through peeling them. I had to cook the potatoes for longer than the pack suggested and at a higher temperature, however my cooker is terminal and hasn’t got much longer. The turkey needed less time and adapting otherwise it could have been dry. You might just want to try the cheaper turkey breast without stuffing and just use two packs of Supermarket value stuffing. To jazz up the stuffing , add some finely diced fried onion and garlic.
Tesco Everyday Value stuffing – 20p
Tesco Everyday Value Batter mix, for the Yorkshire puddings – 20p
Tesco Everyday Value Gravy granules – 1/4 of a tub – 5p
Ready to Roast Potatoes – 1.00
Turkey breast joint – 5.99
Half a bag of mixed frozen veg – Lidl – 50p
Half a cauliflower – 35p – Aldi
4 carrots – 14p – Aldi
3 slices of bacon – 51p Aldi
Total Cost – £8.94 – served 6 – £1.49 per person.
Hello Dear Reader,
The last time we had a Chinese takeaway was on our wedding anniversary and it cost us £13 for the two of us. It was an expensive blow out but we decided it was a lot less than going out for a meal and we could justify the expense as a once a year treat. It will be a long time before we have another one!
Here’s my ingredients for our meal for four (lovely guests for supper tonight) of sweet and sour chickenless and egg fried rice.
Quorn (one bag is enough for 4 and one bag has gone in the freezer) 1.89
1/2 bunch of spring onions – chopped – 37p
1 chilli – 16p
punnet of mushrooms – 25p
1 tablespoon of minced ginger – 10
bag of bean sprouts – 50p
shredded savoy cabbage – 10p
tin of pineapple chunks – 20p
1 jars of sweet and sour sauce – 52p
oil – 5p
Egg fried rice
250g of long grained rice – 10p
1/2 bunch of spring onions – 37p
tin of peas (I had no frozen) – 20p
2 beaten eggs – 33p
Total Cost £5.18 – £1.29 per person
1. Start by boiling the rice – 1 mug of rice + 2 mugs of boiling water – cook until the water has almost absorbed and then turn the heat off and put the lid on and the rest of the water will be absorbed leaving the rice cooked and fluffy.
2. Heat the oil in the wok.
3. Add the ginger, chilli and garlic – stir and immediately add
4. Spring onions, quorn, beanspouts, any finely sliced vegetables and mushrooms into the oil and fry rapidly on high.
5. After two minutes add the sauce and drained pineapple and leave to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
6. Whilst simmering, heat oil in a wok and add the chopped spring onions.
7. Stir in the cooked rice and make sure it is coated with the oil
8. Stir in the beaten eggs – keep stirring until all the egg is cooked – it looks like bits of scrambled eggs in the rice.
9. Stir the cooked peas through until they are hot.
Serve immediately with a splash of soy sauce.
A lot cheaper than the take away! I made this in less time than it would have taken me to walk to the takeaway and pick up and order.
£1.29 is a very expensive meal for us but we had guests and it was lovely to cook something really quick and tasty for them.
If we had a takeaway once a week, like many people do, then we would spend on average £10 a week and just over £500 a year. We have a takeaway as a treat, well just the one this year and the rest of the time, we cook quick and easy Saturday Night Takeaways for ourselves.
Over to you Dear Reader. Who else has kicked the takeaway habits? Who else has kicked the eating our habit? Who else saves hundreds of pounds a year by cooking for themselves? Who else sees a takeaway as a once a year treat? Raise that home cooked frugal flag and wave it with pride!
Love Froogs xxxxxxxx
Hello Dear Reader,
Thanks to everyone who has entered the £50 Bonmarche giveaway – to enter, all you have to do is tweet @queen_frugal and her #frugalbonmarche giveaway. Wrapping up warm will save you some money but the biggest way that I save money is on the way I use energy around my home.
I use my mini oven when I’m cooking one meal just for the two of us. I bought my mini oven from Argos, but they are commonly found everywhere. When we went to France, the caravan didn’t have an oven, so we took it with us. You could use it in a camper van, or keep it in the utility room or as we do, just on the side in the kitchen. It uses a fraction of the energy that a big oven uses. If it’s just the two of us, then I can cook for two days by using a larger casserole dish and cooking for two days. I cover it with a microwave ‘lid’ and put the meals in the fridge until the next day.
Whilst I’m here, I’ll share my recipe for Minced Beef cobbler.
250g of minced beef
3 carrots – peeled and finely diced
1 onion – finely chopped
6 chopped mushrooms
cup of frozen peas
Fry the above and don’t add oil – the mince has enough fat.
Add some water, a stock cube, some thyme and a squirt of tomato ketchup and leave to simmer.
Thicken with instant gravy and pour into a roasting dish.
To make the cheese scones to top……………….the cobbles.
225g of SR flour
55g of marg or butter
40g of grated cheese – I used 20g of parmesan
150ml of milk
Rub in the marg or butter and add the grated cheese. Stir in the milk to form a dough.
Press flat with your hands or roll out and cut out the scones and place on top.
Place in the mini -oven (pre-heated to 180) for thirty minutes.
Mine looks sticky and dark but the light had gone and this was from the flash on the camera. This made meals for two nights and the next night just took eight minutes in the microwave as I stack the two meals with covers on top of each other and re-heat both at the same time.
I got really lucky on Sunday afternoon and picked up ready to roast potatoes and veggie packs including broccoli for 25p each!
Even though I have a menu plan, if it’s in the freezer then I consider that to be used at any time as long as it’s some where on the plan. I use my slow cooker to cook cheaper cuts of meat and it’s wonderful for slowly braising steak or sometimes known as chuck steak. It’s cut from the shoulder of the beast and as it’s a deeply muscular part of the body, it will require slow cooking. Along with the other fore quarter of beef, such as brisket which is best slow cooked, you could also use plate or skirt and shank or shin. The supermarkets are generally rubbish with meat and don’t know which part they are selling and will just label beef as stewing or braising but the cut is important. A good local butcher will be able to sell you exactly what you want. Very few seem to sell it on the bone, which is a shame as it always tastes better that way.
Meat shrinks to almost half the weight when cooked so if you want 100g each with your meal, or about 4oz, then you will need 150g each to start with. A human only needs 2oz of meat protein a day so 4oz is a very generous portion. When braising or slow cooking beef, my advice would be to leave the fat on and trim it afterwards as you will loose a mass of flavour if you remove it first. (If you want to lose weight, don’t worry too much about fat but reduce overall portion sizes).
I put my meat into the slow cooker at 6.30 in the morning and leave it on until I come home at six and thicken with some instant gravy. It’s so tender that the meat comes apart with a spoon.
I do most of my cooking in either my slow cooker or mini oven. It has drastically reduced my energy bill and I feel great that I’m cutting back on the amount of carbon I’m producing.
Back to the giveaway – to win a £50 Bonmarche voucher, and this is just for Frugal Queen readers, you need to tweet @queen_frugal warm and cosy #FrugalBonmarche. Good luck – I will randomly draw a tweet on Friday and announce the winner here and on Twitter.
Over to you Dear Reader. Who else rarely uses the ‘big oven’ any more? Who else is using the halogen? Remorska? mini oven? slow cooker? Who’s got one and needed reminding to use it?
Hello Dear Reader,
I’m a thrifty food blogger but I’m no chef. I cook and write about affordable family food that’s easy to cook and can be eaten by all the family. Our supper tonight was a typical evening meal that I would have given to my children. Feeding growing children is all about giving them tasty and wholesome food that they will eat.
I’ll start by sharing our steak pie. I made a suet pastry. It’s great if you, like me, are not good at making pastry. You will need 8oz of SR flour and 4oz of suet. If you can’t get suet and my American readers don’t seem able to get it, you can use dumpling mix so long as the ingredients state it has suet in it. When you make any pastry, you will need half fat to flour. I also added a pack of dumpling mix to the dry ingredients and stirred that through before I added chilled water to make the dough. There’s no rubbing in, just mix and add water.
I made the pie filling by chopping half a kilo of beef shin (meat off the bottom of the leg) with a diced onion, some salt and pepper and then covered it in water and cooked it for twelve hours in the slow cooker. I switched it on before I left for work and added gravy granules when I got home to thicken the sauce.
If you’ve never used suet pasty, then you will discover that it is not robust and you have to drape it over your rolling pin and place it carefully in your pie tin. I say tin because mine are enamels tins.
Fill generously with the cooked meat. You could always use a tin of stew steak and add some cooked veggies and potatoes to pad this out or as a more affordable alternative.
Roll out your pastry top and glaze with beaten egg. Bake at 200 for 35 – 45 minutes depending on your oven.
Whilst the pie is cooking, you can get on and make a Lemon sponge pudding. Children love puddings and it fills them up so they don’t need anything more for the rest of the evening.
You will need
4oz SR Flour
4oz butter or substitute
2 medium eggs
Place the lot in a bowl and beat together. I use an electric hand mixer.
Place three tablespoons of lemon curd in the bottom of a plastic pudding bowl and pour the cake mixture on top. Microwave on full heat for five minutes. If the sponge is cooked a sharp knife will come out clean.
You will also need custard! I am your fearless product tester and I can assure you that supermarket value instant custard is fine! As is the supermarket value lemon curd! The custard costs 15p and is enough for four.
I over did the lemon curd – but it makes a lovely lemony sauce when warm.
The pudding dish does not need greasing as the sponge shrinks away from the sides.
Lemon sponge and lemon sauce – I added some lemon flavouring to the sponge but you could add lemon zest if you had any lemons.
Here’s the lemon sponge with custard – A winning combination! Whilst that was cooling, I took the pie out of the oven.
I wanted to show you how it over flows so you can see that it needs to stand on a baking tray or your oven will be full of gravy. I served ours with mixed veg (half a bag 99p from Aldi).
Steak pie with mixed veg. There’s no need for any potatoes as the pasty is all the starch you will need.
Here’s our dinner for tonight and tomorrow night. I know it’s not what’s on the plan but all the ingredients were in the house so I went off piste. Very simple home cooked food that my children used to love. Admittedly, a bit heavy on the carbs but we’ll compensate for that by not eating any at the weekend.
Now Dear Reader, what food did you used to cook for your children that you still cook for yourselves now? Who else has a steamed pudding recipe? Try chocolate sponge with raspberry jam and custard tinned fruit, sponge and custard. As for pie, did your children have a favourite pie that you cooked them? My children loved fish pie the best or ‘eye, eye fishy pie’ as they called it. Over to you and I look forward to hearing from you.
Just to let you know – Frugal Mummy can be found at – http://frugalmummy.blogspot.co.uk/ – pop over and say hello to her and tell her I sent you.
Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxx
Hello Dear Reader,
We are told all the time that we can still eat meat if we eat the cheaper cuts but so often we have no idea what to do with them. My mum, unusually for a women in her time, worked as a butcher. And yes, she could carry sides of meat over her shoulders! You didn’t argue with her! So, with her being a butcher, I was perfectly used to butchering meat myself and I’m not squeamish when presented with an oxtail or tongue. Skinning and boning out chicken is fiddly but means, once you have acquired the skill that you can use cheaper cuts. If you have children, you may find that they don’t like bones so being able to bone out a chicken or leg of lamb means you will have less fuss when you feed them. The current trend for boneless chicken breasts means some where, a lot of chicken has gone to waste.
I’ll start by sharing how to skin and bone out a chicken thigh. (Chicken thighs can be bought for £1.50 a kilo and that’s a bargain).
Firstly, sharpen your meat knife and you’ll need a medium blade. Turn the chicken thigh over and grab and edge of the skin and lift.
Hold the knife against the skin to loosen any fatty bits. Oh and by the way, most of the fat is in the skin so removing them saves a big bum!
Hold the chicken with the knife and pull the skin.
Trim any fat and bits of skin that hang on.
Here we are so far with a skinned chicken thigh and now how to take the bone out.
Turn the thigh on its side and work the knife near the bone. Make small cuts making sure you don’t shave off fragments of bone.
When you have loosened some of the bone, hold on to it and work the meat off the bone with the tip of your knife.
Work the meat and sinew off the end of the bone. Run your fingers over the meat to make sure you haven’t left any tiny pieces of bone. If you wanted to ‘butterfly’ the thigh, you could cover it with a plastic bag and bash it with a rolling pin so it’s flat. This is a great way of griddling or grilling the chicken as it will cook evenly and quickly.
And there it is, skinned and boned chicken thigh with the bone removed.
As ever, I’m multi-tasking and fitting in feeding us with a minute to spare. I go to the gym after work and then come home and whilst dinner is cooking, I have a shower. Not so glamorous as the last time you saw me!
I certainly don’t waste the chicken bones and I’ve boiled them up, removed any fragments of meat and have made stock and we’ll have soup tomorrow.
Now, the recipe for sticky chicken thighs.
You will need chicken thighs,
Sweet chilli Sauce – I buy job lots of this from Approved Food.
2 crushed cloves of garlic
A good squirt of honey
A splash of soy sauce.
I covered the chicken thighs and put them in the oven for 30 minutes. I just used my mini-oven to cook them but they were not sticky enough when they came out.
I transferred them to a small frying pan and cooked them for another five minutes on a high heat. This gave the sauce a sticky jam like quality. Cook them until they start to brown but catch them before they burn as there is sugar in the sweet chilli sauce which will weld itself to a frying pan.
I cooked a small head of broccoli and some value brand noodles (12p Aldi) and served that with the sticky chicken.
Chicken thighs are really versatile so I thought I would share some of the other marinades I cook them in.
Mix 2 crushed garlic cloves with 4 tbsp of olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon a 1 tsp of dried oregano – mix and marinade the chicken thighs.
Mix together 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp of sugar, 2 tbsp of rice wine or apple juice, 1 tbsp of finely chopped ginger and 1 crushed garlic clove – mix and marinade the chicken thighs.
Honey and Mustard Marinade
Mix together wholegrain mustard, runny honey and the zest and juice of one lemon – mix and marinade the chicken thighs.
Sorry about the big post tonight but I would love it if more people would use cheaper cuts of meat. I’m also a great fan of offal (hence my pate and faggot recipes) and think it’s possible to eat well as long as we eat all of an animal and not just the choice cuts.
We ate two chicken thighs each and we both have chicken for lunch tomorrow as well as plenty of chicken stock for our soup tomorrow night. It’s certainly an economical cut of meat that I hope more of you try.
Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxx