Recipe Swap – Budget Busters

Reigning in the the household budget has been much on my mind lately, especially given our recent bills and it seems others have been thinking similarly.  So I thought this month’s recipe swap theme would be your best budget busting recipes.  Has anyone else been watching Save With Jamie?  Although I find the format at bit annoying at times and it’s pretty British-centric at times, I do think most of the recipes are good, the idea of making a roast go further is something I always strive for and the waste-avoidance tips have been helpful.

Now if I was to have a really strict food budget week I’d go full on vegetarian with maybe just a bit of ham or bacon.  But I’ve also got a serious iron deficiency so no vegetarian week here these days.  My other low cost meals often just stretch out a bit of left overs, some roast chicken in chicken, mushroom and pea parcels, roast beef or lamb into shepherds pie or corned beef into individual pies.  But you don’t always have left overs.

So what I’m after is your best budget busting recipes that do include some meat.  What are the best budget cuts for you?  How do you stretch it further without adding too much to the cost and still make it healthy?  I’ll start with one of my own recipes and then will be looking for more from you. As with last month I’m happy to give them all a try so please share yours in the comments or link to your own blog.

Sausage with white beans and gremolata

Olive oil
8 Pork sausages, cut into chunks (feel free to get any kind of sausage you like)
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Red capsicum,
2 x 400g cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 800g dried cannellini beans, soaked and cooked until soft)
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
4 tablespoons parsley, chopped (hopefully you have this in the garden)
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the sausages until they are browned all over and cooked through (I find I don’t need the oil in my pan especially as enough fat comes out of the sausages).  Lift them out of the pan with a slotted spoon and put them aside.

Chargrill the capsicum under the grill or in the oven until blackened.  Then remove the skin and and slice into strips.

Add half the garlic to the pan and cook gently until very soft.  Add the capsicums, beans and sausage.  Stir together and cook over a gentle heat for a couple of minutes until the sausage and heated through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the gremolata, smash the remaining garlic cloves into a paste, with a little salt, in a mortar and pestle.  Mix with lemon zest and chopped parsley.  Season to taste.  Stir the gremolata through the beans and then finish the dish with the lemon juice and an extra drizzle of olive oil .

This dish is extra cheap for me with a free supply of lemons and parsley and still plenty of garlic from last year’s crop.  I also keep an eye out for bulk buy quality sausages at my butcher for this and a few other dishes.

Now it’s over to you.

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15 Responses to Recipe Swap – Budget Busters

  1. Hotly Spiced says:

    I haven’t seen Jamie’s new show but I’ve heard a lot about it. This looks like a great meal and I’ll give it a try. I think I’ll make it tonight! xx

  2. skud says:

    Most of my cheap eats are veg or nearly-veg so I’m racking my brains a bit to think of ones that have more meat.

    One of my favourite sausage-and-beans recipes is soup with sausage, beans, and greens. It’s not really a firm recipe, more a set of guidelines. Start by frying up some sausages, then take them out of the pan and slice them diagonally. Tip out some of the fat if you want, then saute an onion and some garlic and maybe a pinch of red pepper flakes in what’s left. Add the sausages back in. Add stock, optional tinned tomatoes or passata or tomato paste, a can or two of cannelini beans (or beans cooked from dry, in which case I like borlotti), and a bunch of green stuff that you’ve shredded — I usually use kale, but one of my favourite spring soups is Italian fennel-flavoured sausage with cannelini and escarole.

    Not sure how family-friendly that would be, though.

    Here’s another meaty-but-also-grainy thing that we thought was great: meatloaf with bulgur

    Depending on your family’s tastes/how much meat you want in a meal: fried rice? I get creative with what I put in mine, and make them much more full of stuff than most people do. For instance just recently I did a really good one with pork and asian greens and kim chi in it. (Not saying your kids would eat that, but I’m just saying, there’s nothing stopping you tossing in more vegies and meat than is in the average stir fry!)

    Another option might be chili con carne? Again, lots of beans makes it cheap — I like a mix of red kidney beans, pintos, and black beans all soaked and cooked from dry. We have it over rice or baked (or, when lazy, microwaved) potatoes, with grated cheese/shredded lettuce/diced tomato/corn/coriander/sour cream or greek yoghurt on top. Another good flavour option is pork with black beans and cuban spices and citrus. Or with white beans and green sauce — find a recipe for “chile verde” and substitute green tomatoes (in season) for tomatillos, which are hard to find here.

    I also like doing a chili con carne pasta bake: a couple of litres of chili (from the double batch you made earlier), macaroni cooked to not-quite-done, and grated cheese or bechamel or some of each. Layer them in a casserole dish and bake until done.

    My recent cheap-and-cheerful pasta dinner of choice has been penne boiled until about 3 minutes away from done, then toss broccoli florets into the pot, and then when it’s all done, drain it, toss with a bit of butter and pepper, add a tin of tuna, and put grated parmesan on top (and, because I’m just that way, usually also a pinch of red pepper flakes).

    I guess finally, my tendency if trying to feed meat-eaters on a budget would be to go back to the old-fashioned nanna-style foods like shepherd’s pie, rissoles, slow-cooked stews, etc. But I’m notoriously into things like ww2 rationing cookbooks so I guess most Australians who aren’t weirdos/nerds might find all that to be a bit bleh 😉

    Oooh ooh ooh! Pasties! Calzones! I like the calzone recipe in The Enchanted Broccoli Forest but really it’s easy to figure out: yeast dough, some kind of tasty filling, put one inside the other and bake them. I have some left over sausage/roasted red pepper filling in the freezer now I think of it, so I should make another batch soon. But basically anything where you wrap a meat mixture in a home-made, not-too-rich pastry will generally be cost effective.

    OK, I’m done. I talk too much.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Wow what a comment, thanks Skud. I particularly like the chilli baked pasta and the calzones. I’ll give them both a go.

      Love that you have rationing cookbooks, very cool and nothing weird or nerdy about it!

  3. Liz says:

    I recently wanted to save money so I stopped shopping for a couple of weeks. We used up heaps of what was in the pantry and freezer. This meant quite a lot of lentil based dishes but also quite a few with mince from the freezer. My favourite mince dishes (and I really don’t like mince much) are: Burgers – I use up lots of my condiments with them so they also make me feel good about using pantry stuff. San Choi Bow which I usually make with chicken mince and Gyoza with pork mince. I make a sausage casserole similar to yours and I also make one with apple, mustard and onions which is pretty good. The other thing I use a lot when I want to save money are chicken wings – usually marinated and bbq’d, and pasta with tinned tuna but unfortunately there’s not much iron in chicken or tuna.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Yes I do that too Liz, I call it shopping from my freezer. I read somewhere how much yo can save by just putting the supermarket shop off for a day, two or three. I usually push the boundaries and try going to a week, besides a trip to stock the fruit bowl.

      San choi bow is a great idea, as are the burgers (I’m not a huge mince fan either), but I love that they both take advantage of condiments to add interest. Chicken wings too are an excellent suggestion.

  4. I love any sort of challenge and a financial one is just as worthy as any! I make big lots of soup-when I see how much soup costs at the store or supermarket I can’t believe it. You can make a great big pot of soup for a fraction of the cost 😀

    • Barbara Good says:

      Soup would be my fall back budget buster too Lorraine, but I have a very stubborn four year old who has flatly refused to eat soup for the last two years. Not. One. Spoonful. has passed her lips in that time. Did I mention she’s stubborn?
      I do still cook it every now and then and let her eat just the bread, but it never ends up a pleasant meal for any of us. Stubborn, did I already say that.

  5. Jenny Pearson says:

    Hi Barbara, I noticed that you mentioned above that you are not a fan of mince, however, I have included one mince recipe for you – give it a try. This will be a long post, so I will apologise at the beginning, also visited our mutual friend yesterday, who is looking great, and so is the bunting supplied by a lovely almost aunt, I was very impressed. Here goes with some budget buster recipes, firstly had you thought of good old fashioned zucchini slice, I jazz mine up a bit with left over roast potatoes cut up and added to the mix, or I microwave one or two and cut up to add to the zucchini and carrot already in the recipe, I also sprinkle the surface with either sunflower kernels or toasted sesame seeds to add a little interest. Now for some of my stand-by recipes

    Savoury Rice (my instead of fried rice!!) I usually have this with mini dim sims or chicken kebabs
    this recipe is microwaved
    30g butter
    1 onion, chopped
    2-3 rashers bacon, chopped
    microwave all together on high for 4 minutes
    then add – (here you can use up any small amounts of vegeables left in the fridge, or follow the recipe)
    2 cups long grain rice
    3 cups water with stock cubes or home-made stock
    diced capsicum, mushrooms, carrot, broccoli
    sprinkle with a pinch of Italian herb mix or similar
    microwave 10 minutes, stir, microwave a further 10 minutes then serve
    This makes quite a substantial quantity, but is great the next day for a light lunch.

    Devilled sausages
    sausages in quantity for people feeding (I buy nice pork ones for this recipe) maybe you could use the little chipolatas for your girls – they seem to be kid size
    1 large onion chopped/sliced
    1 large apple peeled and chopped
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    1 stock cube
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1/2 cup tomato sauce
    1 cup water
    Cook sausages to your liking remove from pan and set aside and keep hot
    In same pan, lightly brown the onion and apple, mix together the rest of the ingredients and add to the pan, return sausages to pan and continue to cook gently for 10-15 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Let mixture boil down and thicken with a little cornflour mixed to a smooth past with cold water. Place sausages on plate and pour sauce over. Serve with seasonal vegetables/salad.

    Mince corn and noodles

    500g minced beef
    1 large onion, chopped
    2-3 rashers bacon, chopped
    1 small tin corn niblets
    1 440g tin tomato soup
    250g spiral noodles
    pinch cayenne pepper
    Cook noodles in boiling water until ALMOST al dent, but not quite.
    Heat a small amount of oil in a large frypan – I use my electric one for this recipe – and brown mince, onion and bacon well. Add in corn niblets, tomato soup and pinch of cayenne pepper, stir through then add the almost al dente spirals and continue cooking until noodles are properly cooked. Serve. I have also in the past, added mushrooms to this recipe. This is a recipe I sometimes use for a weekend to have a meal on the table fairly quickly and it isn’t too bad in the health department.

    My lucky last recipe is Chicken and Almonds, and I nearly always make this after having roast chicken, and purposely leave enough cooked chicken to have this meal within a day or two of the roast.

    Chicken and Almonds
    Enough cooked chicken to feed the people you have (remembering you have vegetables in this recipe and serve over rice)
    Handful of blanched almonds, toasted
    125g sliced mushrooms or 1 tin of champignons chopped
    2 tablespoons cornflour
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 small onion, sliced
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    2 cups sliced celery
    3 spring onions
    1 cup chicken stock

    In a large frypan (my electric one comes into play here) heat a knob of butter and a little oil, and

    osaute almonds until they are nice and brown. Remove and drain. If necessary, add a little more oil and sauté onion, celery and garlic, stir in mushrooms, and cook a further 2-3 minutes. Tip in cooked chicken, spring onions and almonds. Combine the stock, cornflour and soy sauce and pour over other ingredients, stirring well. Allow to come to the boil and thicken slightly. Serve over steamed/boiled rice.

    hope I have been of some help, and have given you a few foods for thought – good luck Barbara, and if you have any hassles with these, refer to our mutual friend, she will most likely be able to help.

    • Jenny Pearson says:

      Barbara, forgot to say that, in the zucchini slice, you can add all manner of small amounts of vegetables, especially if you have any left-overs, such as a few peas or beans etc. And where I have listed capsicum in the savoury rice, I love a bit of colour, so use a nice red one, small size, as there are quite a few other vegetables already there – use what you like in this recipe, only inhibited by your imagination, and the girls’ taste. If you ever need to, ask for phone number from our mutual friend, only too happy to oblige.

      • Barbara Good says:

        Jenny I knew you would be a font of wisdom when it comes to restraining the household budget. Zucchini slice is one of my favourites, I love the idea of throwing in some left over roast potatoes (though I would have first stop Mr Good eating all the potatoes) and sunflower seeds… yum! Thanks for the other four recipes too – I’ll try them all.

        Glad you liked the bunting, it certainly wasn’t perfect, I’m still an amateur on the machine, but I did love the colours.

  6. renlikesred says:

    Hey barb, these “Grab ’em by the balls” meatballs are proving to be a budget friendly winner in our house, served however you like 🙂
    Also, was thinking about miss 4 and her soup – unless it’s chunky, no one here but me enjoys it much either, BUT something my kids are nuts for at the moment (and so on trend the little hipsters…) is drinking anything out of my ridiculous glass jar collection with stainless steel straws that I got from
    Wonder if that could tempt her with something like pumpkin soup? Might try it with my rascals.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Love the meatballs. Will be giving those a try. Also those straws are great, I might have to invest in some of those. Not sure if I could get Miss Four eating soup through one, but could be worth a try. Would have to make sure it wasn’t too hot first I would imagine.

  7. Pingback: Other people’s budget busting recipes | The New Good Life

  8. Pingback: Chilli Pasta Bake | The New Good Life

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