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Cheap, but interesting meals.

(28 Posts)
NettoSpookerstar Wed 07-Nov-12 14:18:13

So, having a tight couple of weeks because I spent too much on crap and need some meal ideas.
I know how to cook cheap food, but I'm struggling with interesting.
I love to cook, and am not inspired by tomato pasta or jacket potatoes and beans.
We eat anything except for celery, jam, rice pudding and peppers, not big fans of fruit with meat either.
I'm a SAHM so have loads of time, and a well stocked cupboard with spices, oils, vinegars, soy, chilli sauces etc.
Anyone have any ideas?

PoppadomPreach Wed 07-Nov-12 14:22:02

Boston baked beans! Cheap and v tasty (and reasonably healthy given the beans!)

400g dried haricot beans
3 onions, quartered
5 cloves
60g muscovado sugar
50g black treacle (I don't always have this so use more sugar)
50g ketchup
1 tbs English mustard (from powder)
2 tbs red wine vinegar
800g pork belly, rind removed and cut into 3-4cm cubes
Salt & pepper

Soak the beans overnight, covered in at least 8cm of water.

Preheat the oven to 160C. Rinse the beans and put them in an ovenproof lidded dish. Cover with 5cm of water and simmer for 40 min until nearly cooked. (Top up with boiling water if required).

Stud the onion quarters with cloves and add to the pot with the sugar, treacle, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, pork and some pepper.

Cover and place in the oven for 2.5-3 hours, until the beans are creamy and soft and the pork is completely tender. (Remove the lid for the last 30 min if too much liquid).

Season to taste and serve with bread and salad.

FermezLaBouche Wed 07-Nov-12 14:22:37

Do you know anyone who might be able to give you some game - pheasant, rabbit, etc? I know it's not to everyone's taste but I got given some pheasants recently and the meat I got off them will do me about 6 meals!

MarzipanAnimal Wed 07-Nov-12 14:27:02

Not everyone might find this interesting but I like it! Lentil curry: fry onions garlic and ginger, add spices, add red lentils, veg (I usually put sweet potato in) and coconut sachet (cheaper than coconut milk, ASDA sell them). Serve with rice. It's quite mushy/sloppy but I like that

MarzipanAnimal Wed 07-Nov-12 14:28:15

Oh and add water with the lentils obviously

NettoSpookerstar Wed 07-Nov-12 14:48:26

Good ideas, have made both BBB and lentil curry several times.
We do enjoy them though.
No one to give me game, wish there was, we love it.

4merlyknownasSHD Wed 07-Nov-12 15:11:42

Rolled and stuffed Breast of Lamb. Pouting or Sprats (fish). Toad-in-the-Hole.

NettoSpookerstar Wed 07-Nov-12 15:15:56

Ooh yes, breast of lamb.
Have only cooked that once but we loved it.
I'm hoping to get to Morrison's tomorrow for their cheap meat and fish, plus stock up on dried beans/lentils.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 07-Nov-12 15:37:32

Frittatas.... Great way to use up bits and pieces of cheese and vegetables. Cook up some potatoes, cool and slice. Mix together plenty of eggs, some grated cheese, chopped spring onions, grated courgette or wilted spinach..... tip it all into a big frying pan, cook for a few minutes and then put the whole pan under the grill until risen and golden. Nice in wedges with salad

KnockKnockPenny Wed 07-Nov-12 15:42:44

A few ideas from my blog. I know I sent them to you already Net, but some others might find them useful

Tuna Sweetcorn Burgers

Breadcrumb Pesto Spaghetti

Brown butter, sage & chicken spaghetti

mushroom soup though this is only cheap if you already have Sherry in the house!

MotherOfNations Wed 07-Nov-12 15:53:29

African chicken stew.
Fry onions chilli and chicken. Add tinned tomatoes and a vegetable stock cube and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Serve with rice.

NettoSpookerstar Wed 07-Nov-12 15:56:06

Had forgotten about fritatta, have plenty of eggs in and we haven't had it for ages.
Thanks, Knock, I made the burgers a while back and we loved them.
Have made the mushroom soup too, and yes, I do have sherry in!

We're not in danger of going hungry, it's just that I want to try new recipes and cook interesting food, rather than something that bores me to death.
Cooking is what I do, and the thought of cooking/eating boring food depresses me.

Ruffello Wed 07-Nov-12 16:42:06

Ottolenghi's turkey & sweetcorn meatballs are cheap and cheerful. Maybe substitute the pepper sauce for tomato, if you don't like peppers. Falafels are also good if, like me, you always have tins of chickpeas in your cupboard!

multitaskmama Wed 07-Nov-12 17:10:28

I am a SAHM and even when I worked, I cooked on a low budget, fresh food daily. The kids and hubby were happy with what I used to dish up as were my friends, so to help them out I put all my recipes here:

Here, you have curries, kebabs, desserts and a lot more. All made with basic ingredients, nothing fancy.

Oh, there is an article about a three course meal for less than a fiver too:

Good luck smile

MotherOfNations Wed 07-Nov-12 18:38:09

multitaskmama I can't wait yo try some of your recipes.

NettoSpookerstar Thu 08-Nov-12 08:05:30

Well I'm trying chorizo and cheese sausage rolls with cauliflower soup tonight.
I'll sub the cheese for mature cheddar as I have it in already, so I just need to buy puff pastry.
It'll use up the random sausages in the freezer, the rather sad looking cauli and some chorizo, which I've loads of from the Good Food show the other week.

eeky Thu 08-Nov-12 20:25:20

multitaskmama,I really wish you would stop using multiple threads as advertisement for your website. I haven't looked at it, and it may be great, but please could you stop using OP's question as an excuse to promote it? Thanks.

NettoSpookerstar Thu 08-Nov-12 20:50:04

With you on that eeky, which is why I haven't answered her.
I do have a blog, I do sometimes link to it, but only when really relevant, and not to push it for the sake of it.
I also participate in the whole site, which she doesn't.

NellyJob Thu 08-Nov-12 20:59:17

A paella looks lovely and goes down a treat, as well as being cheap.
Fry some finely chopped onion and garlic, add some turmeric and paella rice and Fry it some more.
Add boiling water or stock, salt and pepper (to about twice the volume of rice)
At some point add frozen peas, and strips of red pepper and later some cooked mussells (v cheap)
Decorate with unshelled prawns (cheap) which have been heated separetely with some lemon juice.
serve with wedges of lemon and decorate with some flat leaf parsely.

sashh Fri 09-Nov-12 04:03:15

The hairy dieters veg soup is fab. Various veggi rissoto would be cheap. Sweet potato wedges with lots of chill and paprika.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Fri 09-Nov-12 16:16:48

If you've got any red wine or port in the house, you could cook puy lentils in it with stock and maybe some rosemary etc. Meanwhile roast a pan of carrot chunks, shallots, garlic, whatever. Mix them together and eat with mashed or dauphinoisse potatoes. Tastes like it's v expensive (esp with the dauphs) but it isn't.

Sainsbo's do feta-style cheese for about 75p a pack. You could probably think of something exciting to do with that - eg pasta persto with rocket leaves, halved cherry tomatoes and feta, plus some herbs.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Fri 09-Nov-12 16:17:11


NettoSpookerstar Fri 09-Nov-12 16:28:59

No red wine but have port and puy lentils and potatoes and carrots.
Asda delivery came today.

Am trying the turkey meatballs up thread later, but with salad and mint/yoghurt sauce in wraps.
Will fry some peppers for DD as she likes them, its me who doesn't.

No feta but have an unused block of paneer still, must look for new recipes to try with it, then could do a dhal too one night.

Things aren't desperate or anything, it's more a case of still enjoying cooking whilst saving, especially with Christmas coming up as usually I'd choose a recipe then buy whatever I want for it.

NettoSpookerstar Fri 09-Nov-12 18:15:07

I saw a recipe on a TV show a while back, with feta baked in foil with lemon juice and oregano. I'll maybe do that with some homemade no knead bread and a soup. The greek lemon one I've been meaning to try.
My inspiration is returning!

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Fri 09-Nov-12 18:21:01

Ooh yes - baked feta is yummy. It would be great with some roasted garlic new potatoes (still in their skins) and some homemade tsatziki made with really thick Greek yoghurt. Greek baked butter beans are gorgeous too, and v cheap to make if you use dried beans (and not expensive even with tinned).

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