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Roasted Vegetable Bolognese

29 Dec

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If, like me, you are totally sick of turkey after eating nothing else for the past week, then this should be the perfect antidote. A twist on everyone’s favourite dish, spaghetti bolognese, this uses roasted vegetables to give a delicious flavour and an awesome texture, and the paprika also gives a depth of flavour that you don’t find in regular bolognese sauce. It should be very healthy, although you might want seconds!

Leftover bolognese should be fine to reheat for around three days if kept in the fridge, or around a month if frozen.

Tip: I’ve kept this recipe very simple, but if you wanted to add extra vegetables then mushrooms or grated carrot, cooked with the mince, would go very well.

Serves: five people.

Cost per person: £0.82 (price based on Tesco Value ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 400g beef mince
  • 2 peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tsps paprika
  • 2 tsps mixed herbs
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180C, and heat a pan drizzled with oil in the oven.

2) Slice the peppers into thick strips and the onion into quarters, and place in the hot oil, making sure they are coated on all sides. Cook for around 15-20 minutes, until they are starting to crispy at the edges.

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3) Chop the garlic and fry with the mince for around 5 minutes, until browned.

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4) Add the chopped tomatoes and season with paprika, mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

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5) Once the onion and peppers are cooked, remove from the oven. The onion should have separated into strips, but pull it apart if it hasn’t.

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6) Add the vegetables to the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes.

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7) Serve with pasta or spaghetti and enjoy!

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Ricey Cheesy Mess

8 Dec

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This is such a quick meal to make, and great for when you’ve almost run out of food – everything in it is pretty much guaranteed to be in the fridge. It’s also really versatile, and you can chuck almost anything in, depending on what you have or prefer. It’s not the prettiest food (hence the name!), but is really tasty and very easy to make, and is essentially a really cheap version of risotto.

It doesn’t really matter what cheese you use, but strong-flavoured is better; I use mature cheddar. The stock cube also isn’t essential, but it gives this dish a lot more flavour and just generally makes it more awesome.

Tip: if you have leftover (pre-cooked) chicken you can use that instead of the bacon, and it’s really tasty.

Serves: two people.

Cost per person: £0.42 (price based on Tesco Value ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 180g rice
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 75g grated cheese
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Method:

1) Put the rice on to boil, with the stock cube in the water.

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2) Chop the onion, garlic and bacon, and fry for around 10 minutes on a low heat. Season with mixed herbs.

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3) Add the pepper and fry for another 3 minutes.

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4) Drain the rice and mix in the bacon and vegetables with all but a small handful of the cheese. Serve with the rest of the cheese sprinkled on the top.

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Chocolate Cookies

1 Nov

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Everyone loves chocolate cookies, and these are great because instead of chocolate chips I’ve used big chunks of chocolate which makes them taste really luxurious. It’s only a little recipe so it’s great for when you really fancy a few homemade cookies and the gorgeous smell of them baking, but don’t want hundreds of them that end up going stale because you can’t eat them all.

Tip: you could try these with a mixture of white, milk and dark chocolate for a delicious twist. They would also be great with a few teaspoons of cocoa powder added with the flour to make them extra chocolatey!

Makes: eight or nine large cookies, or more if you made them smaller.

Cost per cookie: this depends on how many cookies you make but if you made nine cookies it would work out as £0.13 per cookie (price based on Tesco Value ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 125g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 200g chocolate

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180C.

2) Cream the butter and sugar together.

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3) Beat in the egg.

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4) Sift in the flour, and fold into the mixture.

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5) Break the chocolate into chunks and add it to the mixture.

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6) Shape the cookies on a greased baking tray. Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until golden.

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7) Try not to eat them all at once!

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Tuna Melt Piadina

13 Sep

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This is a popular recipe in Italy, and it’s great to make when you want something that’s both filling and healthy – tuna is very good for you. It’s a bit like a toasted sandwich, but much tastier!

This is best served as soon as it is cooked, so serve the first as soon as it is done and then cook the second one.

Tip: this would also be great with the addition of some sweetcorn with the tuna, or with spring onions instead of onions. If you would prefer it to be more crunchy the onion can also be used raw instead of fried.

Serves: two people.

Cost per person: £0.69 (price based on Tesco Value ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 250g self raising flour
  • 125ml water
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 can (200g) tuna, drained
  • 30g cheddar cheese (or similar)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Method

1) Finely chop the onion and fry on a medium heat for around 5 minutes, until soft and golden. Set aside.

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2) Mix together the flour and water in a bowl until it comes together, then form into a dough with your hands and knead for a few minutes.

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3) Divide the dough into 2 balls and flatten each piece to around 18cm wide.

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4) Fry the dough on a medium heat for around 3 minutes on each side, until lightly golden and puffed up.

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5) Whilst the dough is frying finely chop the apple and mix together with the tuna and onion.

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6) Remove the bread from the pan and carefully slice it in two by cutting around the edge and gradually cutting into the middle. Spread one half with half of the tuna filling.

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7) Sprinkle with cheese and put the other half of the bread on top and press down gently.

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8) Place it back in the pan and fry for another 3 minutes on each side, until golden on the outside and melted inside.

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9) Tuck in!

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Beef and Bean Pot Melt

6 Sep

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This tender, melt-in-the-mouth dish is a hearty treat, great as we move into autumn. It can be made with pretty much any cut of beef, and because it cooks for a long time even a very cheap cut will be succulent and tender. I used a cut of beef called skirt, but anything such as braising steak, brisket, chuck or shin would be delicious in this recipe. You may have to look in a butchers to find some of them if your supermarket doesn’t have a meat counter, but they shouldn’t be too expensive and there is often much more flavour to be found in a cheaper cut of meat!

Leftovers should be fine to reheat for around three days if kept in the fridge, or around a month if frozen.

Tip: small chunks of blue cheese or mature cheddar stirred through 5 minutes before cooking is done would add a lovely depth to this dish.

Serves: four people.

Cost per person: £1.02 (price based on Tesco Value ingredients, except for the beef).

Ingredients:

  • 400g diced beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can (400g) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1-2 tsps chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 50ml water
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 160C.

2) Dice the beef if not already done, and coat it in a layer of flour.

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3) Fry the beef on a high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until sealed and golden brown.

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4) Chop the onion and garlic and them to the beef. Cook on a medium heat for another 10 minutes.

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5) Add the water and chilli powder to the beef and onions, and simmer for 2 minutes.

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6) Add the chopped tomatoes, kidney beans and the chopped pepper, and stir together well.

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7) Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

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8) Serve with a jacket potato or mash, and enjoy!

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Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry

28 Aug

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Although this isn’t the cheapest recipe I’ve made, it isn’t too expensive and is well worth a little extra cost. Strong flavours and colours give this dish a real sense of luxury despite being on a budget, and it’s one of my favourite curries.

I’ve tried not to use too many spices in order to keep costs down, as it can get very expensive if you don’t already have them. However, turmeric really does add to the flavour of this dish which is why I’ve included it alongside the chilli.

Leftovers should be fine to reheat for around three days if kept in the fridge, or around a month if frozen.

Tip: if this recipe is too spicy for your liking try only using 1 tsp of chilli powder, as the turmeric is more important to the flavour of the whole dish than the chilli is.

Serves: four people.

Cost per person: £0.91 (price based on Tesco Value ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 500g sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 250g baby spinach
  • 2 tsps turmeric
  • 2 tsps chilli powder
  • Salt, to season
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Method

1) Boil the sweet potato for 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

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2) Chop the onion and fry on a medium heat with the garlic and turmeric for 3 minutes.

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3) Add the chilli powder and fry for another 2 minutes.

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4) Add the coconut milk and stir in well. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, until the coconut milk has thickened slightly.

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5) Season with salt and stir in the sweet potato. Simmer for another 4 minutes.

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6) Add the baby spinach – don’t worry when it doesn’t all fit in the pan! Simmer for 3 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted.

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7) Serve with rice, naan bread or chapattis.

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Strawberry Surprise Cupcakes

24 Aug

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I have a really sweet tooth so I thought these little cupcakes would be great. The strawberry jam gives a delicious addition to traditional fluffy sponge, and they’re so more-ish.

Tip: I’ve used strawberry jam as it’s my favourite, but pretty much any flavour of jam (although not marmalade!) would work well. I think blackcurrant or raspberry would be particularly good!

Makes: I made thirteen good sized cupcakes, but you could possibly get one more out of this recipe if you made them quite small.

Cost per cake: obviously this depends on how many cakes you make, but if you made thirteen cakes it would work out as £0.09 per cake (price based on Tesco Value ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 75g strawberry jam

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180C.

2) Cream together the butter and sugar, and then beat in the eggs and vanilla essence.

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3) Sift the flour into the mixture gradually, and fold in with a large metal spoon.

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4) Fill each of your cake cases around half full with mixture.

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5) Add around a teaspoon of jam to each cake case, taking care that the jam does not reach the sides – if it does, it will all ooze out of the side of the cake.

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6) Cover over the jam with a layer of mixture, ensuring it is all covered up.

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7) Bake in the oven for around 12-15 minutes, until golden.

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8) Try not to eat them all at once!

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