Worried about the cost of food?

Hello Dear Reader,

I went to Lidl today and rising food costs are really concerning me. I can cook, we’re not fussed by what we eat and I try to feed us to get good nutrition for our money. The big price hikes are in good healthy food and that worries me for a lot of families. A tiny pack of stewing beef was four pounds and would just feed the two of us. I went straight to the reduced section and as I was there just as the store opened got a few affordable bargains. I bought a whole chicken for £2.70, and ten chicken drumsticks for £1.30 and reduced pork medallions, reduced sausages that at full price were £1.89 for six! A family would need maybe three packs? How is it that even sausages are expensive ?

I am also really concerned about the cost of fresh fruit and veg such as salad and apples. I paid £2.25 for six apples and that’s in Lidl which is cheaper than most.

I do stretch my budget so far that it squeaks. I buy frozen chicken normally and frozen cheap and sustainable fish like pollock. I buy frozen fruit like strawberries, raspberries and tinned fruit like apples. I defrost them and eat them with natural yogurt. I buy frozen vegetables and tinned veggies such as mushy peas and mushrooms. I also get plenty of protein from tinned fish and eggs and make dished like fish cakes and frittata. We also have plenty of meatfree days and I don’t know how any one can afford to eat it every day.

I also shop around in all the discount stores like Farmfoods, Lidl and Aldi and when I get there go straight for the reduced section and pop it in the freezer when I get home. The tuna and sweet corn is for sandwiches and for supper with baked potatoes. 

However, not all families will eat anything and not everyone will eat tinned or frozen and expecting people to simply change is really not easy. I wish there were cooking shows on TV that dealt with these genuine concerns as I’m sure families are just not coping. 

Over to you, what food worries do you have? What do you do to keep to your budget? 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx

Slimming world sweet and sour chicken

Hello Dear Reader,

This isn’t from the Slimming World website but it follows their healthy eating plan. We’re both following this as our clothes are tight and we need to stick to a lighter plateful. 

Here’s my sweet and sour.

I used a kilo bag of stir fry veggies from Farm Foods. 2 defrosted chicken breasts, also from Farmfoods and stir fried them with minced garlic, chili and ginger and I use the lazy in a jar as there’s no waste and I’ve always got them in the cupboard.

I cooked some brown rice and made my sweet and sour sauce

20g of corn flour, 3 heaped tbsp of tomato purée, tbsp wine vinegar, 3 tbsp of powdered sweetener, 80ml of water, 1 tbsp of soy sauce (gf in my case) blend in a mug or jug.

When the chicken and vegetables are cooked, add the garlic, chili and ginger and cook for one minute.

Add the sweet and sour sauce, whilst it’s cooking taste and add a splash more vinegar, or sweetener or soy sauce to your taste. If the sauce is thicker than you like, a a dash more water. 

Serve with rice. Cheap, cheerful and sugar free. Does anyone else have a slimming world recipe you’ve adapted on the cheap,

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs x

Humble food 

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve found my theme this week; homemade humble food with a really low price tag. Lunch today was roasted veggies, homemade hummus and some lettuce. 

I make my hummus with a tin of chickpeas that I drain and rinse with tap water. I add them to a bowl with 80ml of water, 3 tbsp of lemon juice, teaspoon of chili powder, 2 tsp of cumin, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and blend the lot. You can add more water if you choose.

DB had his with a bigger portion and some frittata made in the week for lunches. Well under my pound budget, really quick and easy to make. My salad dressing is a light salad cream with added water to make it a thinner sauce. If you’re following Slimming World, then it’s 2 syns for the dressing and the rest if free. 

I’ll be back later with more humble food.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Lemonade budget? 

Hello Dear Reader,

This is one of our cheapest meals and one of our favourites. I take a few potatoes, peel and slice a few potatoes and onions and chop up a few slices of bacon. 

I boil the potatoes until they are just cooked but not over cooked.

I fred the bacon and onions with frylight and added a crush clove of garlic. You can of course add a tablespoon of olive oil or use fattier streaky bacon.

I make a cheese sauce to go in top with 250g of quark with three beaten eggs and a heaped tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan. You could make a béchamel sauce and add 100g of grate mature cheddar and pour that over; mine is the low fat version. 

I minx the whole lot together and pour the cheese sauce on top. You could make twice as much cheese sauce and it would permeate throughout the potatoes. 

I cooked it for twenty minutes at 180. 

I served it with steamed greens. It costs pennies but we love it. If you’re following Slimming World then it’s syn free but full of flavour. It’s such a favourite here and you can add cooked vegetables or add corned beef. 

So, that’s our cheapest favourite meal, what’s yours? 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Fish, chips and minted pea purée 

Hello Dear Reader,

Egg, chips and beans, which were on the plan became fish and chips tonight. I peel and chip potatoes and part cook them in boiling water. Whilst they are cooking, I heat the oven to 200. 

I wrapped the cod (cooked from frozen – Farmfoods) in foil and once the chipped potatoes were part cooked, I transferred them to a baking tray and sprayed them with frylight.

I put the cod and potatoes into the oven for fifteen minutes. 

Whilst the fish and chips were cooking, I boiled the peas for ten minutes. When they were cooked, they were drained and I added two tablespoons of quark and a teaspoon of mint sauce and used my hand stick to blend it.

Soon as everything was ready and it was served.

It was delicious and we’re now off to vote in the local elections.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Love your leftovers

Hello Dear Reader,

Tonight we had a stir fry of chicken, onion, mushrooms and chopped up leftover s from Sunday lunch with sweet and sour sauce. Adding the leftovers meant I could make one large chicken breast feed the both of us. 

First, I sautéed onion and mushrooms no then added chopped raw chicken and kept turning it in a hot pan until it cooked.

I popped in the leftovers of carrots, cauliflower and peas and heated them through. 

I didn’t make the sauce, I used this sachet from Aldi and at 39p, I couldn’t make it for that price myself. It’s quite sticky so I added some water from the cooking rice to thin it down

Chicken, leftovers, brown rice and a drizzle of chilli sauce for me. I always keep and use leftovers and it’s rare that anything gets wasted.

Over to you my lovelies, what do you do with your left overs?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx

Sweet potato rosti with goat cheese

Hello Dear Reader,

I thought I’d share our lovely lunch following on with my promise to cook ourselves something special every week. I bought welsh goats cheese from Aldi as well as sweet potatoes and shallots which are a bit more expensive than regular potatoes and onions.

Here’s what I used

1 large sweet potato, about 500g grated

2 beaten eggs

2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely diced

Salt and pepper

Tablespoon of oil

200g of goats cheese

I grated one extra large peeled sweet potato and then popped it onto a clean tea towel and wrung out the sweet potato and added it to a bowl.

Combine the rest and shaped into six patties and brown them in a hot pan with oil.

Transfer to an oven tray and bake for fifteen minutes.

Crumble goat cheese on top and put back in the oven for five-ten minutes until the cheese has melted. 

If we had any salad, this would have been great but there’s very little available so we just ate them as they were.

Over to you, who loves goats cheese or is it just us Europeans? Does anyone else make something special at the weekend?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Recipes with mushrooms

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve never met a mushroom I didn’t like. I’m trying this year to cook ‘something nice’ once a week as some sort of a treat. I’m not big on treats because if I have them weekly, they’re not a treat but a regular occurrence. Perhaps I’m being a bit tough on myself or just picky about the words so I’ll just aim to cook something nice each weekend anyway and try and stay on budget.

I disagree when people say life is too short to stuff a mushroom. I think life is better because of stuffed mushrooms. I fill my big field mushrooms with pate which was 49p a tub  from Aldi and the mushrooms were 79p. I just wipe the mushrooms with a dry cloth and cut the stalks out, then filled with pate.

I keep the crusts of the gluten free bread, wizz them up in the food processor and pop them in a hot oven for twenty minutes. It’s so easy but really delicious. You can use any bread.

I succumbed to the avocados again! £1.50 for two in Aldi. I know they’re expensive but much cheaper than a take away or going out to eat. I bought the ready to eat ones and had them with spiralised courgette, finely sliced red onions and tomatoes. I tossed the onion, tomato and courgette in vinaigrette then laid the avocado on top.

You can use any bread as a topping and just bake until crispy.

Previously, I’d made a balsamic drizzle from balsamic vinegar and soft brown sugar which I mixed together in a jug and microwaved for three minutes until reduced. I keep it in a jar in the fridge and drizzle over with a spoon. That was Saturday’s supper and lovely it was too.

Mushrooms go really well in any kind of creamy sauce with pasta. I found this recipe that used cream, lots of cheese and butter and this is my tightwad cheap version that uses every day ingredients and costs a lot less.

In a pan, boil water in readiness to cook pasta. You can use any kind, it doesn’t matter. I used gluten free spaghetti as that’s what I had. You can cook the rest in the time it takes to cook the pasta, about 12 minutes.

You’ll need – serves 2

10 small mushrooms, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely diced,

1 tablespoon of oil

1 small bunch of spring onions or a small onion finely diced

1/2 bag of small bunch of cleaned spinach. I used baby leaf but proper spinach will need chopping.

1 heaped dessert spoon of corn flour

1/2 litre of milk – I used skimmed – you could use soya to make this vegan

Salt and pepper.

Heat the oil and add the spring onions, garlic and mushroom.

Stir over the heat for five minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked to your liking.

Add the flour and completely combine.

Add the milk and keep stirring until the sauce thickens.

Add the spinach and keep stirring until the spinach wilts.

Season with salt and pepper.

We added 20g of grated Parmesan – that’s optional

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and return to the saucepan.

Pour the sauce over the top and stir.

Serve with a salad if you like, we just ate it out of bowls just as it is.

What about you? Do you try and make something nice once a week or once a month? Is it a treat if it’s a regular occurrence? What’s your favourite mushroom recipe? As always, I love hearing from you.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

I spiralize 

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve been on the hunt for a spiralizer for a while and found one in B and M for £9.99. I made a ragu sauce with low fat pork and then just stirred in the raw courgette ribbons.

Really cheap and we had two courgette each. My sauce is watery as I don’t add any thickening. I’m trying to be good although I have the breaking strain of a kit kat and did think this would have been better with grated cheese. I didn’t give in (today).

It was much tastier than it looked.

Do you spiralize? Any veggi-getti recipe ideas are welcome.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx 

Meat free Monday 

Hello Dear Reader,

This tastes a whole lot better than it looks. We often have meat free meals and like this, they’re nothing fancy and certainly not expensive.

Our supper was wilted spinach, roasted red opinion, mushrooms and butternut squash with homemade fat free hummus.

I can’t take the credit for the hummus, like a lot of my recipes, is from the BBC. Here it is

1 tin of chick peas as well as the liquid in the tin.

Add to a jug and add,

1 teaspoon of tahini

2 cloves garlic, crushed,

1 heaped teaspoon of cumin,

2 heaped tablespoons of Greek yogurt,

Good squeeze of lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Blitz with a hand blender.

Poured the middle, we had half each. I finished this off with a sprinkle of paprika.

Just lovely. In my opinion, anything is good with spinach. All my veggies were on offer in Aldi so nothing more than 59p per pack so good for me and my wallet.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx