As my budget decreased over the years and food prices soared it's become an even bigger part of my life because I firmly believe that home cooked food is not only the best but the cheapest way of eating. I'm also not a fan of fatty or overly processed foods, too much time served in the food industry which was my career before I turned my crafting passion into a livelihood.
I tend to make up a big batch of something and tub it up for the freezer then defrost for a day and microwave for a super quick, cheap and healthy ready meal. It's always the case during the colder months, I'm far too busy serving customers to cook so I end up living on salads and sandwiches. Enough is enough and I'm craving some time in the kitchen.
So here is my first blogged recipe adapted from a very old favorite cook book bough for me when I was a wee nipper!
- Veg Oil 50ml 5p
- Bacon 300g 41p
- Onions 500g 25p
- Mince 500g £1.50
- Carrots 500g 40p
- Beef Stock Cubes 3 of 20p
- Garlic 1/4 bulb 8p
- Tomato Puree 48p
- Chopped Tomatoes 3 tins 93p
- Worcestershire Sauce 100ml 72p
- Lazy Chilies 4p if that
- Mushrooms £1.49
- Mixed Herbs 2p - yes I'm counting it
Total Cost Per Portion = 68p!!!
I have twelve good sized portions sat cooling. The total cost is £6.57 / 12 = just under 55p per portion. I'll usually serve if with pasta which is 8p per portion. I also bought a block of cheese for grating on top that works out at about 6p per portion. Still comes to less than 68p per portion.
Throw some vegetable oil in a frying pan. Sling in some bits of bacon. Bacon bits are cheaper than rashers and if I'm skint I leave it out completely but it is oh so worth having! When brown stuff the bacon in a slow cooker.
Chop a few onions and fry them in the sane fat until just soft, add to the slow cooker.
Fry some mince - frozen tends to be cheaper but fresh is nicer in my opinion. I usually get frozen but ASDA substituted my order for fresh mince so I'm having a treat this month. Once browned throw it in the slow cooker. Sling the frying pan in the washing up.
Peel and grate some carrots. Horse carrots are mega cheap and are perfectly fine to eat, they just don't look pretty and may need a good wash. Throw them in the slow cooker. The carrots cook down to nothing but make the sauce richer and thicker, and make the meal go further for next to no extra cash.
Now for the goodies . . . If I'm feeling very indulgent I'll actually follow the recipe and add some red wine but that tends to be only if I'm making this as a special meal for my fella. A few stock cubes and a few cloves of garlic- love the stuff! A little tin of tomato puree and a few tins of chopped tomatoes. The tinned tomatoes aren't in the original recipe but they're cheap as chips and each tin pads it out to an extra portion for what 31p.
I've also started slugging in some Worcestershire sauce and a tea spoon of chilies. Being a fan of cooking from scratch I always snubbed those lazy chilies jars but boyfriend left one at my house and it's been put to work so I guess I'm a convert. Neither of these are necessary but they do account for the absolute awesomeness of this latest batch.
Oh and I always nearly forget mushrooms, again not on the original recipe but I love em and they're cheap enough. And a few mixed herbs, oregano, basil, what ever I happen to have in at the time.
And that's it. This has been sat in my slow cooker filling the office with the most tempting smells all day. I've had a little taste while putting it into tubs for the freezer and it's just so awesome it deserved a blogg.
This version is actually a bit of a blow out in terms of budget. If money's tight I would double up on carrots and tomatoes and leave out the bacon and Worcestershire Sauce. That brings to price up to £7.25 but I would get about 18 portions out of it, plus pasta and cheese makes 54p per portion.
So who says you can't eat well on a tight budget!?!