This week we shall mostly be eating……mince!

Well, this month is a 5 week one as far as pay-day is concerned and with this in mind, I decided not to do a big shop this week, but to use up what I had in the freezer, which turned out to be mainly mince and chicken! Pork, beef and lamb mince to be precise, 4 chicken breasts and a pack of 5 chicken thighs. The beef mince is still residing within the icy confines of my freezer as even I have my limits.Oh! and a pack of sausages too, which we had on Monday with mash and baked beans!

Saturday is curry night! The chicken breasts were enrobed in a delicious blanket of fragrant curry sauce, made with fresh ginger and chilis and coconut milk. (I know some will frown at the use of coconut milk here, but I like it!) Plain basmati rice and a cucumber and yoghurt relish took the heat out of it and refreshed the palate. The cost? Well the chicken was £4, the biggest cost, and the remainder of the ingredients £2.30ish so £6.30, but it was Saturday night after all and I fancied a curry to go with BGT! By the way, if you are a vegetarian, don’t sigh and log off! This recipe and most of the others can be adapted, have a look at the recipe page and see what you think.

On Sunday I eschewed the traditional roast and opted instead for spicy  lamb meatballs in a sauce of tomato, paprika and coriander, which I served with roasted baby new potatoes (which the previous week were one of ALDI’s super 6 offers and were therefore just 69p!) and a spring cabbage, again a super 6 offer at 69p. Total cost just £4.00.

On Tuesday we feasted on a spicy pork chili sprinkled with grated cheddar, and some fried dumplings jamaican style. This recipe is so versatile and can be adapted for vegetarians too. You could serve with basmati rice and a salad or wrapped in tortillas and covered with grated cheese and baked until the cheese is melted and golden. The fried dumplings are my personal favourite and the recipe comes from my lovely mother in law, who was, as far as I am concerned, the Queen of the dumplings. They use just 3 ingredients, S/R flour, cornmeal and milk and are utterly moreish, so not to be made too often! I haven’t met a child yet who doesn’t love them. The pork cost £1.99.

On Wednesday we enjoyed rice and chicken, I have many variations on this recipe, the one I cooked is on the recipe page and I will include more over the next few weeks, as we all love it.  You may think that 5 chicken thighs is not sufficient to feed a family, but if you cut the chicken and cook it together with rice and vegetables, it really goes a long way. This pack cost £1.99 plus the cost of rice and a few veg, negligible. It fed 3 of us with another portion left over. (I’d like to point out here that my husband is 6 foot 2 and has a healthy appetite, we are not a dainty meal type of family).

Now, all of these meals used some basic foodstuffs which I almost always have to hand, namely passatta (under 30p a box in Aldi), garlic, onions, red peppers, rice and basic spices such as cumin, coriander etc. nothing out of the ordinary and most very cheap. Another thing they all have in common is that they all contain plenty of vegetables, which are still cheap, plentiful, and as we are constantly being told on the news, very good for us! The recipes I have shown you this week cost around £16, plus the cost of some basics. Obviously costs will vary according to appetite, size of family, etc. but it does show that it is possible to eat fresh, tasty, healthy food on a tight budget and without spending hours in the kitchen using 5 different pots!

I hope that some of you will try at least one of the recipes, if you do, let me know how you got on. I would love to hear!