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5 Cup Fruit Loaf

Monday, 10 June 2019
I love this recipe, and have used it for years but have never gotten around to blogging it.  Perfect for school lunchboxes, picnics, or just a quick bake for an afternoon tea treat, this recipe is SO easy.  My family love it, and it's great for filling a gap when there are hungry teens seeking a snack.

You could use dairy free milk to make this loaf vegan, use whatever dried fruit you have in your store cupboard. I've added a little vanilla bean paste or ground cinnamon/ginger on occasion, to give it a different flavour.  



5 Cup Fruit Loaf

1 cup rolled oats or dessicated coconut
1 cup sultanas/raisins or finely chopped dried apricots
1 cup light soft brown sugar
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup milk, I used full fat whole milk

Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4/350F.  Grease and line a loaf tin, I used a 2lb/900g loaf tin.  In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together then make a well in the centre.  Pour in the milk then mix until completely combined. Pour mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out free from crumbs or mixture.


5 Simple Salad Dressings

Wednesday, 15 May 2019
With the weather finally warming up again this week I thought it was about time I blogged our favourite simple salad dressings. I don't usually buy pre-made dressings, other than mayonnaise, as they're pricey and I like to customise our salad dressings to our tastes.

All you need is some measuring spoons and a jam jar, no special equipment.  Once made the dressings will keep in the fridge for a couple of days in the jam jar, just give them a good shake before you use them.




Lemon Dressing


90ml/6 Tblsp oil

30ml/2 Tblsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste



Honey/Maple and Mustard Dressing

90ml/6 Tblsp oil
45ml/3 Tblsp white vinegar
1 Tblsp Dijon mustard
1 Tblsp honey or maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste


Balsamic Dressing

90ml/6 Tblsp oil
2 Tblsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste


French Dressing

1/2 clove garlic, minced or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Dijon mustard
30ml/2 Tblsp white vinegar or lemon juice
60ml/6 Tblsp oil
salt and pepper to taste


Yoghurt Dressing

5 Tblsp/75ml or 1/3 cup natural yoghurt (can use dairy free)
2 Tblsp/30ml white vinegar or lemon juice
15ml/1 Tblsp oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 or 2 Tblsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder (optional)


To make any/all of the dressings above simply put all the ingredients into a jam jar, screw on the lid, and shake until completely combined.  Use immediately or store in the fridge, remembering to shake the jar again before using the dressing.




Aubergine and Potato Curry

Monday, 13 May 2019
Last week was cold, with rain and thunderstorms most days, and everyone felt grumpy and grim.  We needed comfort food to warm us up and lift our spirits.  I love this curry, it's quick and tasty, perfect for a rather chilly Spring weeknight and a great addition to your Meatfree Monday repertoire.

 Augergine and Potato Curry

For the rice: 
175g basmati or long grain white rice 
2 Tblsp sunflower oil 
1 onion, thinly sliced 
1 tsp cumin seeds 
½ cinnamon stick 
2 cloves 
2 cardamom pods 

For the curry: 
2 Tblsp oil 
2 Tblsp butter 
2 onions, diced 
3cm/1¼ inch fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated 
1½ tsp turmeric 
1½ tsp cumin seeds 
1 tsp black mustard seeds 
1 tsp chopped fresh green chilli (take out seeds and membranes for milder heat) 
2 large potatoes chopped into 1cm/½ inch dice 
2 large aubergines, chopped into 2cm/¾ inch dice 
3 Tblsp dried fenugreek (methi) 

Wash the rice until the water runs clear then cover with fresh water and set aside whilst you get the curry cooking. 

To make the curry, heat the oil and butter in a large lidded saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the ginger, turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds, chilli and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook for a couple of minutes until the spices are fragrant and then add the potato with ¼ cup/60ml water and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 5 – 10 minutes. Add a little more water if necessary. 

Once the potatoes are tender, add the aubergines to the pan with the methi and another ¼ cup/60ml of water. Cover with a lid and leave to steam for 10–15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and cooked through. Remove from the heat and allow the flavour to develop whilst you cook the rice. 

Drain the rice thoroughly. Put a large lidded saucepan over a medium heat, add the oil and onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Stir in all the spices and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add the drained rice and 250ml/1 cup of water and simmer very gently, covered, for 10–12 minutes, or until the water has absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove the whole spices before serving the rice. 

Serve the curry with the rice, chapati or roti, and whatever other condiments and accompaniments you prefer.  


Easy Shortbread Biscuits

Wednesday, 8 May 2019
I've baked these biscuits so many times that I've memorised the recipe, and I usually have to make a double batch.  We sometimes add a teaspoon of cinnamon or some orange zest for a change, and they are delicious with chocolate drizzled over as well.  These biscuits melt in your mouth and are proper buttery, delicious traditional shortbread.  

Easy Shortbread Biscuits

125g butter, softened (at room temperature)
55g sugar
180g plain flour

Preheat your oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 and line a couple of baking trays with non-stick baking paper or a reusable liner.

Beat the butter and the sugar together until noticeably paler in colour, the mixture should be smooth.  Stir in the flour until the mixture is a smooth paste.  You can freeze the mixture at this point if you want, or refrigerate the dough to bake later.  Tip the mixture onto a work surface and gently press or roll out the dough until 1cm/½in thick.

Cut the dough in to fingers and put on to the lined trays.  Prick each biscuit lightly a few times with a fork.  Put the trays of biscuits into the fridge for half an hour.  Don't miss out this step.  It allows the dough to rest and stops the biscuits from spreading too much when baked.  Sprinkle with a little sugar if you want.  Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown.  Leave to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an air tight container.


Carrot Hummus

Sunday, 5 May 2019
Hopefully the weather will start warming up and we can think about weekend picnics, and packed lunches for outings.  I've been experimenting with different dips and spread recipes recently to change up our usual picnic fare.  Carrots were very cheap recently, 1kg bags were 30p, and I had some miso that needed using up, so I thought why not add some to my usual hummus recipe for a delicious savoury flavour hit.

The dip is really tasty, and great for spreading thinly on flatbreads when making salad wraps.  I've even mixed some leftover dip with vegetable stock to make a quick cup of soup.  It's also rather tasty spread on a fresh white bread roll filled with lettuce and fish fingers.

Carrot Hummus 

500g carrots, thinly sliced (I don’t bother peeling them, just give them a good wash)
3 Tblsp oil
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground ginger
2 Tblsp water
1 tsp salt
400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 Tblsp miso paste or 1 Tblsp Marmite/Vegemite
1 Tblsp lemon juice
2 Tblsp water
dash of sesame oil

Put the carrots, oil, garlic, cumin, ginger, water and salt into a saucepan over a low/medium heat. Cook until the carrots are very soft, it usually takes around 20 - 30 minutes. Alternatively steam the carrots, etc in the microwave until very soft.  Once the carrots are soft, add the chickpeas and stir to combine, cook for another few minutes. in the chickpeas and heat through. 

Add the rest of the ingredients then either use a stick blender or pour the mixture into a food processor to blend the dip until smooth, adding a little more water if necessary to get the consistency that you prefer.  Serve with crackers and crudites.



Delicious Fish Curry

Friday, 3 May 2019
This is a delicious, easy and quick fish curry perfect for a busy weeknight.  I've been trying to find simple and thrifty ways of incorporating more fish into our Meal Plans as it's recommended that we eat at least two portions of fish a week, one being oily fish.  I normally use frozen or tinned fish to keep costs down.

This recipe uses frozen white fish fillets, you could use frozen salmon fillets instead.  If you're in a rush, or don't like cooking rice from scratch, you could use microwave rice pouches.  I usually serve our curry with steamed greens, or steamed mixed vegetables.

Delicious Fish Curry

300g basmati rice
1 Tblsp oil
2 large onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
400g tin chopped tomatoes or 450g fresh tomatoes, cut into chunks
3 Tblsp tikka curry paste
400g can coconut milk, full fat
500g frozen skinless and boneless white fish fillets
handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Put a large saucepan of water on to boil and cook the rice following pack instructions. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, wide saucepan over a medium heat and add the onions. Cook for 5-10 mins until softened and starting to colour. Add the garlic and tomatoes, and fry for 2 mins. Add the curry paste, fry for 2 mins more, then pour in the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Add the fish to the pan and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the coriander over the curry and serve with the rice.





One Pot Bolognese

Tuesday, 30 April 2019
One pot recipes are my absolute favourite, minimal washing up, and they're usually really low fuss. Busy weeknights with hangry family waiting for dinner in a hurry are pretty standard in our house so any recipe that I can whip up which pleases everyone and cuts down on the clean up is a winner for me.

I've made various versions of this recipe for a while, changing the mince and herbs used, adding some chilli to spice things up, using whatever pasta shapes we have in the cupboard. The cheese topping is always welcomed by my lot, and I usually serve this dish with steamed greens or mixed vegetables.

One Pot Bolognese

1 Tblsp oil
2 peppers, deseeded and diced (any colour will do)
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
500g beef mince
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
4 Tblsp tomato paste
750ml rich beef stock
1 Tblsp dried mixed herbs
500g dried wholemeal penne pasta
150g grated mature cheddar cheese, or more if you want

You will need a large pot for this recipe, which has an accompanying lid. Heat the oil in a large pot over a moderate heat. Add the peppers and onion, cooking until they have softened. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. 

Tip in the mince, breaking it up as it browns. You want the beef to be thoroughly broken up and no longer pink. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, mixed herbs, and stir until completely combined.

Reduce the heat to medium/low then stir through the pasta. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check that the pasta is cooked to your liking, cover and cook a little longer if necessary.

Sprinkle the cheese on top and put the lid back on the pan, cook for a few minutes until the cheese melts.  You could put the pot under a preheated grill if you want the cheese golden and bubbling.  We serve ours with wilted greens and steamed mixed vegetables.



Enchiladas

Sunday, 28 April 2019
I've not blogged in quite a while, we were poorly as several illnesses went through the house, now we're in exam season.  Our eldest is taking her final exams for her A levels, and our second daughter will be taking her GCSEs fairly soon.  It's been a hectic and stressful time, revision and preparation for both of them, along with the usual family busyness.

I decided to blog these delicious Enchiladas as they are an easy store cupboard/freezer dinner which takes very little time to prepare.  Full tums with minimum fuss is what the theme has been for the past couple of months.  If I've got time I make an extra batch and freeze it for those nights when we're all knackered and a super quick and easy dinner is needed. 


Enchiladas

2 Tblsp oil
300g frozen chopped onion or 1 large fresh onion, peeled and roughly diced
300g mixed frozen peppers or 2 freshs pepper, de-seeded and sliced
2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g tin red kidney beans in chilli sauce
1 x tin lentils, drained and rinsed
2 Tblsp lime or lemon juice, from a bottle is fine
handful of chopped fresh coriander
10 - 12 ready made flour tortillas
200g mature cheddar, grated

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the onion and peppers and fry until the pepper has softened and the onion is beginning to turn golden-brown. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and kidney beans and bring the mixture to the boil

Lower the heat until the mixture is gently simmering, cook for around 10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove the pan from the heat, then stir through the lime juice then season to taste. 

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 6.

Grease the inside of a large ovenproof dish with a little oil. Put one of the flour tortillas in the dish and spoon some of the filling mixture into the centre. Roll up the tortilla and push it to one end of the dish. Repeat the process with the remaining tortillas and filling mixture, lining the rolled tortillas up against each other.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the enchiladas and bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes, the cheese should be bubbling and golden. Let stand for a few minutes before serving, we have ours with wilted greens or a mixed leaf salad. 



Good Food Sorted by Chris Bavin

Wednesday, 6 March 2019
I was sent Chris Bavin's debut cookbook to review, and also asked my friend who isn't an especially keen cook to try a few recipes and tell me what she thought of the book. 


Chris Bavin is an award winning greengrocer turned TV presenter, best known for appearing on Eat Well for Less and Britain's Best Home Cook. He has a young family and is a keen cook, so he knows the challenges of getting healthy food on the table to please hangry children when you're knackered.

Good Food Sorted

The cookbook contains over 100 family friendly recipes, the vast majority of which are accompanied by a photo of the finished dish, and plenty of useful tips and tricks to save money and make cooking quicker and tastier.

There's a 'Feed the Freezer' and 'Love Your Leftovers' tip at the bottom of most of the recipes, as well a 'Flex Your Flavours' tip for alternative ingredients or additions to maximise taste with minimal effort.  

The book is divided up into sections: breakfast, pasta rice, noodles, meat, chicken, fish and shellfish, vegetarian, puddings, snacks, and feasts. It's written in a practical and accessible style with clear instructions and recipes are fairly straight forward.


The beginning of the book has advice on organising your store cupboard, freezer, etc which most families would find useful. There's also double page spreads with useful hints and tips designed to save time and money such as: 10 top tips for batch cooking and freezing, 5 handy herb and spice mixes, 10 ways to freeze flavours, 5 ways to use up fruit, 5 ways to keep ingredients fresh and 10 ingredients to freeze not throw.


The recipes use easy to source and fairly thrifty ingredients. Flicking through the recipes and pricing up the ingredients in my head, about 75% would fit within our family meal budget which is pretty good going for a cookbook that doesn't claim to be aimed at budget conscious cooks.


My friend who isn't a keen cook was able to try half a dozen recipes over two weeks, three on busy week nights. The recipes were all easy to follow, the dishes were tasty, and cooking from scratch didn't stress her out as much as she thought it would. She's even got a couple of meals stashed in the freezer because she made double quantities of the dinners she cooked on the weekend.

Good Food Sorted

I think the book is well written, the recipes are well set out and easy to follow, and the many hints and tips are useful and practical. It would be a good resource for busy families stuck in a cooking rut of making the same recipes on rotation, as well as those just wanting a bit more inspiration and variety. The many tips and hints are sure to save money, and cut down on food waste.

The tag line on the cover is "Save time, cook smart, eat well" and that sums up the book perfectly.  I'd recommend the cookbook to other families who want some tasty and quick meal inspiration, and have already loaned my copy to my friend until Easter so she can try more recipes and get her husband and children to cook a few to give her a rest.

Good Food Sorted by Chris Bavin is released on 7th March and rrp is £18.99, it's currently on offer for £13.99 on Amazon.


Pulled Jackfruit Tacos

Thursday, 28 February 2019
We've recently been trying out some vegan dishes and experimenting with including more plant based meals in our diet.  It's a great way to broaden our tastes and of course eat more vegetables and pulses.  My family will usually eat most things if they taste good enough to satisfy their tastes, and this meal was a hit with everyone.  Most of my family didn't even realise that there was no meat at all in the dish, jackfruit is great at absorbing flavours and has a 'meaty' texture.

With the recent unseasonably warm weather, these tacos were perfect for a weekend supper sitting out in the sun.  I never thought we'd be able to do that in the UK in Febriary, we had snow at the beginning of the month!  



Pulled Jackfruit Tacos

2 large onions, thinly sliced into strips
4 Tblsp oil
2 tsp Tamari, or soy sauce
3 tins green jackfruit in water, about 400g each
8 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tsp Cumin seeds, ground
2 tsp Garlic powder
3 tsp Smoked paprika
½ tsp Chilli powder, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
300ml vegetable stock

To serve
8 soft tortillas, or more
1 or two red onion, finely sliced
2 peppers, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 or 2 avocados, sliced
fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 200C.  Cook onion in oil on a low heat for 10 minutes until softened and sweet, be patient and don't rush this step.  Drain the jackfruit then break up into smaller chunks.  Add to the onions with all the remaining ingredients.  Increase the heat and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes or more until the liquid has been absorbed.

Tip the jackfruit mixture on to a lined oven tray and spread out to an even layer.  Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring twice during cooking.  You want the jackfruit to be lightly browned and no longer overly moist.  Serve on soft tortillas with sliced avocado, red pepper, red onion, a sprinkle of sliced chilli and fresh coriander.


Middle Eastern Inspired Pilaf with Chickpeas

Tuesday, 26 February 2019
I'm constantly trying to create dishes that fill our tums for pennies and taste delicious.  There's always rice in our store cupboard, along with spices and dried fruit, so this scrumptious pilaf was easy for me to whip up one evening when the shopping delivery hadn't come due to bad weather.  I've made it a few times, and adjusted the spices to our tastes.  Now that it has been thoroughly tested and approved by my family of hungry taste testers, I can blog the recipe.  This Middle Eastern Inspired Pilaf has been a delicious, filling, and thrifty discovery which will feature on our Family Meal Plans in the future. 


Middle Eastern Inspired Pilaf with Chickpeas

2 Tblsp oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 pepper, deseeded and diced
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
4 whole cloves
6 peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
300g uncooked long grain rice
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
75g raisins
600ml vegetable stock
75g lightly roasted cashews, roughly chopped

Put the oil in a large saucepan over a medium high heat.  Cook the onion and pepper until softened.  Add the rice and spices and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes, to enable the spices to become fragrant and to coat the rice in the oil.  Add the chickpeas, raisins and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender.  Stir through the cashews and then garnish with fresh mint.


My Fussy Eater App Review

Thursday, 17 January 2019
My fabulous blogging friend Ciara, who blogs over at My Fussy Eater, has developed an app which has been available on the Apple App Store for a while, and there's a newly released Android version available on Google Play. The app costs £3.99. 


The App contains over 160 recipes, 120 of which are her most popular blog recipes, and another 40 brand new recipes exclusive to the app. 

I was asked to test out the recently released Android version of the app and give my honest review. I think it's brilliant! Whether you want to encourage your family to eat a healthy balanced diet, or need ways to provide nutritious meals for fussy eaters, this app has so many delicious options.  It's a really well designed, user friendly app, easy to find the recipes you want, and with lots of handy features.


The 160 recipes include a selection of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, pulses, and wholegrains. You can make weekly Meal Plans, which is really useful, and create shopping lists. There's also a favourites function for bookmarking your most liked recipes, and you can search by dietary need such as gluten free, dairy free, etc. 


I really like the fact that you can choose UK or US measurements in the settings. Being able to view the recipes in UK measurements (grams, millilitres, etc) or US measurements (cups, ounces, etc) is so useful, particularly as it makes it easy to prepare the delicious recipes no matter where in the world you are.

I'd recommend this app without hesitation to families wanting to change up their dinner recipes, and expand breakfast and lunch options.  The recipes are really handy for adding more nutrition to meal times, for kids and adults alike.  My children, and my husband, have enthusiastically devoured every recipe we've tried.  For less than the cost of a cuppa and muffin you could have 160 recipes at your fingertips. Give it a whirl!


** I was gifted the app but all opinions are my own, I was asked to give it a thorough testing and honest review **

OUR FAMILY MEAL PLAN FOR WEEK OF 13/01/19 - £66

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Our back to routine week last week didn't exactly go to plan.  Our 12yo was poorly all week, with what turned out to be flu, and I've got yet another cold.  Aside from more soups than planned, and some homemade Lemon, Honey and Ginger Drink we stuck to our Meal Plan fairly well.

Hopefully this week will be back to proper normal, and everyone will be well again.  We've a play date on Tuesday, as well as the usual evening/after school events so I've factored them all in to our Meal Plan for the week.

We're getting low on spices and stock cubes so I've added them to the list this week.  We've still got some plain and self raising flour in the cupboard so I'm not getting any this week.  I've added extra rice and some popping corn kernels so I can make rice pudding pots and popcorn for snacks.

Breakfasts will be cereal and hot milk or porridge, both with homemade fruit compote or sliced banana. Weekend breakfasts will be toast and pancakes.

Packed lunches will be 5 Ingredient Eggy Quinoa Cups twice, and Wholemeal Savoury Scone Swirls three times.  Packed lunches will include some Vegetable Crisps, a piece or two of fruit and a baked treat for afters.  Weekend Lunches will be soups from the freezer with homemade wholemeal bread rolls.  

Slow Cooker Bean Chilli

2 onions, peeled and finely diced
500g sweet potato, peeled and cut into roughly 2cm/¾in chunks
2 peppers, deseeded and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 Tblsp sugar
200ml hot vegetable stock (made with 1 vegetable stock cube)
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 x 390g tins red kidney beans in chilli sauce
400g tin mixed beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp mixed dried herbs

Put all the ingredients into a slow cooker. Stir well then cover with the lid and cook on high for 3–4 hours or low for 8–10 hours until the sauce has thickened and the sweet potato is tender.

Mixed Vegetable and Egg Fried Rice

Simple Chicken Casserole

2 Tblsp plain flour
1kg chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
2 Tblsp oil
2 onions, finely sliced
4 - 6 carrots, sliced into thick batons
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
500ml chicken stock

Preheat your oven to 160C/Gas Mark 3.  Season the flour with a little salt and pepper then coat the chicken thighs in the seasoned flour.  Heat the oil in a large, heavy based casserole dish over a high heat then brown the chicken thighs on all sides.  Add the vegetables, herbs, and enough stock to just cover everything.

Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and then put in the oven for one and a half to two hours until the chicken and vegetables are tender and soft.  We'll be serving ours with mashed potato and steamed greens.


Slow Cooker Vegetable Stew with Dumplings

500g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 carrots, cut into chunks
3 parsnips, cut into chunks
2 Tblsp plain flour
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 Tblsp tomato paste
350ml hot vegetable stock (made with 1 stock cube)

Dumplings:
200g self-raising flour
75g vegetarian suet (I used Trex)
125ml cold water

Put the prepared vegetables into the slow cooker. Sprinkle over the flour and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and stock. Stir well then cook on high for 4 hours.

Make the dumplings. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the suet and rub into the flour until combined. Stir in enough cold water to bring the mixture together as a soft, dough. Divide into 12 equally sized pieces and roll each into a ball.

Remove the lid from the slow-cooker then arrange the dumplings gently on top. Replace the lid and continue to cook on high for a further 25-30 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through. We’ll be serving ours with steamed greens.

Homemade Fish and Chips

Homemade Pizzas

Toad in the Hole

Shopping List


47 items: £66.04

Packets and Cereals
2x       ASDA Smartprice Wheat Bisks (24x18g)          £1.48
2x       ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg)          £1.38
1x       Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (500g)          54p
2x       ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg)          90p
1x       ASDA Quinoa (300g)          £1.14
1x       ASDA Great to Bake Golden Syrup (750g)          £1.34
1x       Tropical Sun Popcorn (500g)          79p
1x       ASDA Scottish Porridge Oats (1Kg)          89p

Frozen
2x       ASDA Frozen for Freshness Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)          £1.90
1x       Ibco Pangasius Fillets (800g)          £3.50
1x       ASDA Frozen for Freshness Berry Medley (1Kg)          £2.75

Tins, Jars and Cooking
2x       ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice (400g)          56p
1x       Rajah Haldi Ground Turmeric (100g)          67p
1x       Rajah Paprika (100g)          67p
1x       Rajah Jeera Ground Cumin (100g)          67p
1x       ASDA Smartprice Strawberry Jam (454g)          28p
1x       ASDA Double Concentrated Tomato Puree (200g)          37p
1x       East End Ground Coriander (100g)          £1.15
1x       ASDA Stock Cubes - Chicken (12x10g)          43p
1x       ASDA Stock Cubes - Vegetable (12x10g)          39p
1x       TRS Cinnamon Powder (100g)          65p
1x       TRS Garam Masala (100g)          65p
1x       Rajah Ground Ginger (100g)          75p
2x       ASDA Chilli Beans in Chilli Sauce (390g)          £1.30
1x       ASDA Mexican Style Bean Mix in Water (400g)          65p

Dairy and Eggs
2x       ASDA Semi Skimmed Milk 6 Pints (3.41L)          £2.96
1x       ASDA British Whole Milk 6 Pints (3.41L)          £1.48
1x       ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15)          £2.00
1x       ASDA Butter - Unsalted (250g)          £1.49
1x       Trex Vegetable Fat (250g)          85p
1x       ASDA Mature Cheddar Cheese - Light (750g)          £3.65

Fruit and Vegetables
25      ASDA Grower's Selection Bananas by Weight (200g)          £3.00
2x       ASDA Grower's Selection Carrots (1Kg)          £1.30
1x       ASDA Grower's Selection Beetroot Bunched (500g)          £1.60
1x       ASDA Grower's Selection Sweet Potatoes (1Kg)          £1.00
5x       ASDA Farm Stores Pears (500g)          £2.95
6x       ASDA Farm Stores Apples (500g)          £3.54
1x       ASDA Grower's Selection British Parsnips (500g)          54p
1x       ASDA Farm Stores Brown Onions (1Kg)          75p
1x       ASDA Farm Stores White Potatoes (2.5Kg)          £1.25
1x       ASDA Grower's Selection Cooking Peppers (700g)          £1.45
1x       ASDA Grower's Selection Sweetclems (1.2Kg)          £1.80
1x       ASDA Grower's Selection Black Seedless Grapes (400g)          £1.00
1x       ASDA Grower's Selection Seedless Red Grapes (400g)          £1.00
1x       ASDA Farm Stores White Mushrooms (250g)          54p

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x       ASDA Butcher's Selection Chicken Thighs (1.1Kg)          £2.09
2x       ASDA Extra Special Pork Sausages (6 per pack - 400g)          £4.00


We purchased our groceries online from Asda, via My Supermarket on 12/01/2019 and out items cost £66.04. Had we shopped elsewhere our shopping list would've cost:

£76.59 from Tesco
£80.50 from Sainsbury's
£101.16 from Ocado
£102.58 from Waitrose

My lovely blogging buddy Ciara from My Fussy Eater has created a fab Meal Planning Facebook Group so we can inspire each other. She also has a book out which you can order here

And Katykicker has a Meal Planning Linky full of fabulous Meal Planning posts with lots of tasty ideas.

Spiced Chicken Traybake

Wednesday, 9 January 2019
I love low faff dinners that don't require much preparation, and pretty much cook themselves.  This chicken traybake is perfect for a busy weeknight, just prepare the vegetables and chicken in the morning, put them in the fridge, then into a preheated oven when you're ready to cook dinner.  You could use microwave pouches of rice, and cook the peas in the microwave too for extra speed and less fuss.

Spiced Chicken Traybake

3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garam masala
750g boneless and skinless chicken thigh fillets
3 large carrots, cut into quarters lengthwise then chopped into 2.5cm/inch lengths
1 pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 large handfuls frozen peas, defrosted in boiling water for a few minutes
1.5 cups rice

Chop the vegetables and put into a container in the fridge ready to cook later.  Mix the oil and spices together then pour over the chicken stir until evenly coated.  Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge all day, or just for half an hour or so whilst you have a well earned cuppa, and get the kids reading done or homework started before cooking dinner. 

Once you're ready to cook, preheat your oven to 200C.  Take the chicken out of the fridge, uncover it and stir through the prepared vegetables, except for the peas.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the carrot is tender and the chicken is cooked through. 

Meanwhile, cook the rice.  When the rice is cooked, drain the peas and stir them through the rice.  Serve alongside the cooked chicken and vegetables.  Garnish with some chopped spring onion or fresh coriander. 
   





OUR FAMILY MEAL PLAN FOR WEEK OF 07/01/19 - £65

Sunday, 6 January 2019

The week we're all properly back in routine, work and school as usual for everyone.  It makes Meal Planning easier, and there will be no children raiding the fridge and cupboards for random snacks throughout the day.

Breakfasts will be porridge or toast with fruit depending on the morning.  Weekend breakfasts will be pancakes and homemade crumpets or toasted teacakes.

Packed lunches will be Root Vegetable and Red Lentil Dhal and Butternut Squash and Lentil Curry alternated each day, served in flasks with homemade wholemeal bread rolls, a piece of fruit, and a baked treat for afters.

Weekend Lunches will be Twice Baked Potatoes, using already baked potatoes from the freezer, and Vegetable and Pearl Barley Soup with homemade bread rolls.

Dinners


Pepper, Sausage and Gnocchi Traybake

4 peppers, any colour, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 onions, peeled and cut into eighths
300g cherry tomatoes
2 x 500g packs of gnocchi
2 Tblsp oil
12 pork sausages

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 6.

Toss together the peppers, onion, tomatoes, gnocchi and olive oil and spread out on to a large foil lined baking tray.

Put the sausages on top of the vegetables then put the tray into the preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the sausages are cooked through, the gnocchi are golden, and the vegetables are tender. Serve with steamed greens or mixed vegetables.

Macaroni Cheese




Keema Naan with Speedy Vegetable Curry


Shopping List

37 items: £65.12

Frozen
3x       ASDA Frozen for Freshness Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)          £2.85
1x       ASDA Frozen for Freshness Berry Medley (1Kg)          £2.75

Tins, Jars and Cooking
5x       ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice (400g)          £1.40
1x       ASDA Curry Paste - Balti (200g)          £1.19
2x       Napolina Lentils in Water (400g)          £1.70

Dairy and Eggs
2x       ASDA Semi Skimmed Milk 6 Pints (3.41L)          £2.96
1x       ASDA British Whole Milk 6 Pints (3.41L)          £1.48
1x       ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15)          £2.00
1x       ASDA Mature Cheddar Cheese - Light (750g)          £3.65

Packets and Cereals
2x       ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg)          £1.38
1x       ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg)          45p
1x       ASDA Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g)          52p
1x       ASDA Wholewheat Penne (500g)          45p
2x       Il Pastaio Potato Gnocchi (500g)          £1.30
1x       Cypressa Red Split Lentils (500g)          £1.15
1x       ASDA Good and Balanced Pearl Barley (500g)          55p
1x       ASDA Quinoa (300g)          £1.14
2x       ASDA Scottish Porridge Oats (1Kg)          £1.78
1x       ASDA Four Seed Mix (150g)          90p
1x       ASDA Ready to Roll Puff Pastry (500g)          £1.00

Fruit and Vegetables
20      ASDA Grower's Selection Bananas by Weight (200g)          £3.00
2x       ASDA Grower's Selection Carrots (1Kg)          £1.30
2        ASDA Grower's Selection Butternut Squash by Weight (1.3Kg)          £1.95
1x       ASDA Grower's Selection Celery          52p
2x       ASDA Grower's Selection Sweet Potatoes (1Kg)          £2.00
4x       ASDA Farm Stores Pears (500g)          £2.36
4x       ASDA Farm Stores Apples (500g)          £2.36
3x       ASDA Chosen by Kids Easy Peasy Peelers (500g)          £2.37
2x       ASDA Grower's Selection Swede          £1.00
2x       ASDA Farm Stores Brown Onions (1Kg)          £1.50
1x       ASDA Farm Stores White Potatoes (2.5Kg)          £1.25
1x       ASDA Grower's Selection Cherry Tomatoes (325g)          75p
2x       ASDA Grower's Selection Cooking Peppers (700g)          £2.90

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x       ASDA Butcher's Selection Chicken Thighs (1.1Kg)          £2.09
2x       ASDA Extra Special Pork Sausages (6 per pack - 400g)          £4.00
1x       ASDA Butcher's Selection Beef Mince - 12% Fat (1Kg)          £4.50
1x       ASDA Farm Stores Cooking Bacon (600g)          67p

We purchased our groceries online from Asda, via My Supermarket on 05/01/2019 and out items cost £65.12.  Had we shopped elsewhere our shopping list would've cost:

£71.10 from Tesco
£82.59 from Sainsbury's
£88.30 from Ocado
£90.87 from Waitrose

My lovely blogging buddy Ciara from My Fussy Eater has created a fab Meal Planning Facebook Group so we can inspire each other. She also has a book out which you can order here


And Katykicker has a Meal Planning Linky full of fabulous Meal Planning posts with lots of tasty ideas.

Koshari

Wednesday, 2 January 2019
This is a delicious and filling store cupboard supper, perfect for using up part packets of pasta and rice. Koshari is an Egyptian street food dish made from rice, lentils and macaroni, topped with crisp onions and spicy tomato sauce.  The ingredients use to make this scrumptious supper came to £1.42, excluding energy costs,  I served it with steamed greens from our garden (free), but you could serve it with 500g steamed mixed vegetables for an extra 47p.

It does take a long time to get the onions really caramelised and tasty, don't rush that step it's well worth taking the time.  The rice, lentils, and macaroni are all cooked separately which might seem a bit of a faff but you can have them all going at the same time, or use a tin of lentils to cut out a step.

Koshari  

3 large onions, diced (30p)
2 cloves of garlic (5p) 
400g tin of chopped tomatoes (28p) 
1 Tblsp tomato purée (2p) 
pinch of chilli flakes, pinch of chilli powder or dash of hot sauce (5p)
1 cup (150g) lentils, rinsed and drained (39p) 
1 cup (200g) rice, rinsed and drained (9p) 
1 tsp ground cumin (2p)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (2p)
1 cup (150g) macaroni (20p)
Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions until deep golden, this can take a good 30 - 40 minutes.  Don't rush this step, your dish will be so much more flavoursome if you take the time to get the onions right.  Once the onions are deliciously brown and sticky, put a sieve over a bowl and tip the onions into it, so the deliciously flavoured oil drains into the bowl. 

Heat one teaspoonful of the onion oil in a small pan and crush or mince in a garlic clove.  Cook for a few seconds before adding the tomatoes, tomato purée and chilli.  Fill up the empty tomato tin with water and add this too.  Cook, uncovered, until thickened to a rich sauce. 

Put the lentils in a pan and cover generously with water. Add the other garlic clove, bring to the boil and cook for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain well and set aside. 

Heat the remaining oil from the onions in a saucepan and add the spices. Cook for a few seconds until fragrant, then add the rice. Cook, stirring to coat the rice in the oil and spices, then add one and a half cups of water and a large pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, cover tightly, and cook for 10 minutes until cooked through and all the water has been absorbed.  Leave covered for a further 10 minutes whilst you quickly cook the macaroni according to packet instructions. 

Mix the rice with the lentils and macaroni, season to taste.  Top with the rich tomato sauce and the caramelised onions.




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