Pork and Apple burger with quick beet slaw – 59p – 81p per burger

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I don’t know about you, but I’m always slightly let down by so-called ‘pork and apple’ things. I feel that they’re either too watery, or you can’t taste the apple, or they’re just a bit… meh. Definitely not one of my usual flavour combinations!

So I don’t honestly know what first possessed me to try doing these pork and apple burgers – I’m glad I did though, because they’re quick, cheap and summery. And go wonderfully well with the quick-slaw and fried onion I served them up with (we had no relish in the house, or salad – I had to think fast! 😉 ). I’ve pictured the burger here with home-made potato wedges though these are not included in the price below. We were stuffed from eating the burger on its own so the wedges were just a bit superfluous. If you want to make them then slice some potatoes, and toss them in a bowl, add a teaspoon of sugar, a good pinch of salt and some chilli flakes. The sugar makes them crisp really well and helps give them a sweet chilli flavour. Yum!

The bun is actually made using the naan bread recipe – don’t add the nigella and instead of shaping into a tear-shape, roll into a ball and leave on a baking sheet for 20 minutes to rise, remembering to leave a good space between them! You should only try to fit 6 to a tray as these grow like you wouldn’t believe. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes.

The main ingredient is listed as being from Aldi, but you can use other high meat-content sausages if you don’t have a store close by (the minimum you want to go is 85% meat), otherwise, prices are Tesco via mysupermarket as always.

Anyway, without further ado, you need:

1 pack of Aldi outdoor bred pork sausages (these are the cheapest 90% meat sausages I can find) – £1.75
1 apple, grated – 14p
1 onion, sliced into half rings – 16p
1 carrot, grated – 7p
1 cooked beetroot, grated – 9p from multipack of 5.

The bread cost 3p from the Naan recipe as it went mad whilst rising and we got 18 buns out of one batch! If you don’t want to make your own bread, Aldi Brioche buns are pretty good and work out at 25p per bun.

Price with homemade bread: £2.33 for 4, or 59p per burger
Price with brioche buns: 81p  per burger

For the patties, skin your sausages and grate your apple. Knead the sausagemeat and apple together then pat into 4 burgers. Fry these and set to one side. Using the fat in the pan, fry off your onion and place this on the bread. Pop your burgers back into the pan to keep them warm while you grate your carrot and beet. Stir these together with a little salt and distribute between your four buns. Place the meat on top and serve.

Easy, quick, impressive looking… ideal summer party food.

Enjoy!

— Farn ❤

Sausage Goop – 58p – 74p per person

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This recipe’s actually my Mum’s – credit where it’s due. And it’s not so much of a recipe as a can of tomatoes, a tbsp of brown sugar, a chopped onion, a sausage per person, a tbsp of paprika and a tbsp of dried basil, coupled with whatever random vegetables are in your fridge. This is another great recipe for using up the lingering odds and ends, if soup or pasta don’t appeal.

In any case, I’ve priced it as I would with anything else so that if you feel so inclined, you can include it in your budget, rather than as an ‘oh poop I’ve got nothing in’ panic meal. As usual, prices are for Tesco via MySupermarket.

1 can of Tesco Value Tomatoes – 34p
1 tbsp oil/cooking fat – 2p
1 onion – 16p
1 clove garlic – 4p
4-8 sausages (I allow 1 per person, cut into rounds, so have priced accordingly) – 75p (based on half of one of the ‘2 packs for £3 offer’ on Tesco Butcher’s Choice sausages – 8 sausages per pack, valid on publication 17/6/15)
3 carrots – 23p
100g frozen sweetcorn – 10p
1 can of kidney beans – 30p
1 tbsp paprika – 6p
1 tbsp dried basil/mixed herbs – 1p
1 tbsp/50g brown sugar – 15p

Finely chop/mince your garlic, chop your onion and slice your sausages into rounds. Chop your carrots according to how you like them and throw the lot into a pan until the onions are soft. Drain and add to the pan. Add your chopped tomatoes, any water you need to make a fairly curry-like consistency and then throw in your herbs and seasoning. Five minutes before serving, add the sweetcorn.

This recipe feeds 4 adults with a side of rice (around 250g of dried rice – 13p). That makes it around 58p per person, including rice. Do bear in mind though, that this is using only 4 of the sausages, rather than 2 per person. Upping the meat content pushes this to 74p per head.

Really though, using any old vegetables left in the fridge is fine. Mushrooms work really well, as do peppers, and you can leave out the can of beans if you’ve got enough other bits.

What are your quick, easy go-to recipes?

— Farn ❤

Fish noodle soup – 60p

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Based on a recipe from the Danish Meat Association, this was originally intended to be made with strips of pork (which is also delicious). I usually go for fish though as I find it quite hard to think of ways to cook fish which aren’t fish pie, breaded fish and baked fish.

2 fillets of pollock/coley – 50p per 100g from the fish counter, around £1.00.
2-3 spring onions – 20p
Sesame oil to fry with (though any oil works, sesame gives a really nice taste) – 2p
400mls stock – 2p Value stock cube
200mls coconut milk – 8p -as with previous recipes, I used the Maggi powdered milk as you don’t need to halve a can. If you can’t get the powdered milk, you can plan to make this and another coconut dish in the same week so as not to waste any.
1tsp of turmeric – 1p
50g frozen peas – 5p
50g frozen sweetcorn – 5p
1 carrot, very finely sliced – 7p
1tsp sambal olek/chilli jam/ a strong, red chilli and a tsp sugar… or all three if you’re that way inclined – 10p
Noodle nest – 19p This is a pack of Asda Smartprice noodles (the Supernoodle knockoffs). They’re by far the cheapest way I’ve found to buy noodles and I just use them without the flavourings.

Fry off the spring onions and the carrot rounds. Add the fish to the pan, followed by the coconut milk and everything else but the peas and sweetcorn. Cook for 15 minutes. Add the noodles. Cook for a further 3 minutes or so, adding more liquid if you feel it necessary. Finally, add the frozen veg, stir through and serve.

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Total Cost: £1.79 or 60p per person for a lunch sized portion, or 89p for a dinner sized portion. You can cut the costs here by using less fish and more veg, using dried chilli flakes and a little sugar or omitting this entirely.

Do you have any ideas for reducing the cost of this?

— Farn ❤

Chicken and Beans – 82p per serving

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I know I say this about a lot of dishes, but this one is really one of my favourites. It’s comforting, easy and quick to make. It tastes wholesome, earthy and is the perfect fodder to come in to after a long spring walk. In the past, I’ve been known to chop an onion and garlic, freeze it with a pack of chicken pieces and throw the lot in the freezer as a sort of ‘meal pack’. Then I know I’ve always got something filling and hearty to put in the slow cooker that involves no ‘fresh’ ingredients (obv. the onion and garlic were originally fresh but… you know…) This is perfect for when you’re coming back from a trip, or on those days when you’re tempted by takeaways.

Anyway, the prices below are from Tesco via Mysupermarket. You could easily do this cheaper by shopping in Aldi/Lidl, using dried beans instead of canned, making the chicken stock yourself from bones, or by buying lower welfare chicken.

2 cloves of garlic 8p
1 onion 16p
200g frozen sweetcorn 20p
1 can of interesting beans i.e. flageolet (these are best!), pinto, black eyed beans etc. 52p (or four cans for £2.00, cutting the price to 50p per can)
250mls rice (because I am odd and measure rice this way… I would estimate 200g, making it 8p)
1 value stock cube and 750mls-1litre of boiling water 2p
OR 750mls-1litre of chicken stock from leftover bones
1 piece of chicken per person from a pack of Tesco free range chicken thighs, £4.25 (or befriend your local butcher, buy lower welfare meat, use leftovers from a Sunday roast or check out the chicken thigh selection at Muscle Foods) As I use just over half a pack for this recipe, I’m writing the cost as £2.25,but give or take as you will.

Method: Put everything but the rice and sweetcorn (onion and garlic finely chopped, beans drained) in the slow cooker on high for 2 hours, or cook on the hob for 45 minutes. Cook the rice – either by adding it to the . When the rice is done and the water/stock absorbed, add the sweetcorn, stir through and serve.

Total cost: £3.29 or 82p per serving.

Using the prices above, this is at the more expensive end of the £1 per day spectrum. You can still come in on budget though – having a bowl of 10p porridge for breakfast puts you at 92p for the day, then follow this up by a couple of slices of the 12p loaf, buttered, for lunch and you’re just around the 95p mark. This gives you a little leeway for toppings – jam is cheap but not particularly healthy, whilst homemade hummus is a great alternative to butter and much better for you. You could make a bone broth from the leftovers of a whole chicken and add some veg peelings/nettles for a totally free soup (nettle soup is wonderful, by the way. I’ll cover that another day, I promise).

And if you’re wondering, the green in the pic is some celery I added, just to use it up.

Which are your favourite bean dishes?

— Farn ❤

Creamy pasta – 63p

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What do you do with the dregs in the bottom of the fridge? The obvious answer is soup, but when soup is your go-to dish for pretty much every leftover (I’m holding my hand up as being guilty of this), it’s nice to have an occasional change. I’ve priced the ‘recipe’ as usual below, but since I make this to use up the sad, lost vegetables which get left behind, it really costs a lot less. The only constants you need are the pasta, creme fraiche and mustard. Leave out the lardons for a vegetarian option. Use gluten free pasta if you’re intolerant/allergic.

As ever, prices are Tesco via Mysupermarket, unless otherwise stated (accurate as of  6/8/14 – when I first posted it on the facebook group).

300g wholewheat fusilli – 19p per 100g
300mls Creme Fraice – 90p
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard – 5p
1 carrot – 7.5p
1 onion – 16p
100g frozen sweetcorn – 10p
100g smoked lardons – 64p

Total price: £2.49/4 – 63p per serving.

Cook the pasta separately. Fry everything else off in a pan then add the crème fraiche and mustard as a sauce. Stir the pasta through and away you go.

Which other ways to

Sausage and potato hash – 69p-72p per person

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Let’s face it, this isn’t a pretty dish. Then again, so few hearty dinners are and what this is lacking in looks, it makes up for in deep, comforting taste.

Based on this dish, I took on board a lot of what Amelia (the blogger) said was wrong with the dish’s original incarnation and came up with the following. As ever, prices are Tesco viaMysupermarket:

1 onion – 16p
2 leeks – 80p ish (you can do this cheaper by using approx. 500g of frozen leeks – 71p)
500g potatoes – 35p ish
6-8 sausages (I allow 2 per person, but you can make them go further if you cut them into rounds) – £1.50 (based on the 2 packs for £3 offer on Tesco Butcher’s Choice sausages – 8 sausages per pack, valid on publication 13/5/15)
1 stock cube – 2p
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard – 5p

TOTAL: £2.88 or 72p per person (using fresh leeks).
69p per person when using frozen leeks.

You could get this down further by using cheaper sausages, or getting sausages from the reduced section. I did look into using Quorn sausages for this, but even buying a large pack of frozen sausages, you only save 1p per head so using the vegetarian option is an ethical choice rather than financial one in this recipe.

Anyhow, the method.

Mix up a stock and add the mustard. Roughly chop the veg and scatter in a lasagne dish, placing the sausages on top. Pour the stock over the top until the veg is covered, but the sausages are slightly elevated. Bake for 50 minutes at 160C, checking regularly. It’s ready when the potatoes are soft.

What are your favourite sausage dishes?

— Farn ❤

Butternut Squash Dhal – 42p per serving.

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Based on a BBC Good Food recipe, this simple, earthy curry is perfect for a warming supper. Deeply satisfying and packed with flavour, it’s one of my favourite vegetable-based mains.

At the moment, butternut squash is on sale as one of Aldi’s super six – until May 6th – so I thought I’d make use of it.  Other than the onion, everything else is a store-cupboard staple so it’s another good way of keeping costs down at the end of the month. Otherwise, as ever, prices are Tesco via Mysupermarket.

1 tbsp sunflower oil – 2p
1 onion, finely chopped – 16p
1 garlic clove, finely chopped – 4p
1 tsp ground coriander – 3p
1 tsp ground cumin – 1p
1 tsp ground turmeric – 1p
400g butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm (prepared weight) – 49p from Aldi*
400g can chopped tomatoes – 34p
1.2l stock – 2p value stock cube/free if you make your own
300g red lentils – 54p (18p per 100g)

Total: £1.66 – 42p per serving

Naan bread, to serve – 9p per bread – making this 51p per person per meal.

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Fry off the onion and garlic. Add spices, add the squash and other ingredients. Cook for around 40 minutes on a simmering heat, or until the squash is tender. These are generous portions, and freeze well, so it’s worth cooking a big batch while the squash is on sale. When it’s not, I use sweet potato as a substitute. The texture and colour are slightly different, but the sweet, satisfying taste is much the same.

Anyone tired of curry yet? 😉

— Farn ❤