One month after my request for budget busting recipes I thought it time to share how I’ve done with these recipes and with reducing the food bills a bit. And I should say that this post is dedicated to reader Jenny who offered multiple recipes (see the comments for all her recipes), most of which I cooked during the last month (except the zucchini slice which I do often anyway) and some which I did multiple times.
First up was her Savoury Rice. This was like fried rice without the soy sauce and instead cooked in chicken stock. Jenny’s instructions are for cooking in the microwave which would make this a super speedy busy-day dinner. I did it on the stove top because I already had cooked rice left over from another meal (which I often do) so it was just as quick to cook it in a frying pan. While you could have this as it is for dinner, it’s also a great side dish and we’ve had it as such several times in the last month. This was great with the chicken wings (one of Liz’s budget suggestions) which I marinaded and baked in the oven (part of the latest Mama Bake meals). These type of dishes are great for using little bits of vegetables that are about to turn, but which you don’t have enough for anything else and this makes it extra budget friendly.
Second up was the Beef and Noodles. This one was a complete hit with Miss Two and Mr Good. Miss Four ate it second time around. I liked it, but it wasn’t my favourite dish of Jenny’s collection. Now I can’t promise that I stuck completely to her recipe. Firstly I have no idea what corn niblets are, I used a tin of corn kernels (which were a popular part of the dish). Also I used a smaller tin of tomato soup (just assumed I bought the right size), but this didn’t seem to matter, there was still plenty of sauce.
Third was devilled sausages and I really have to apologise to Jenny for this I one, it was not my best effort. My version of this dish looked almost black because I accidentally bought dark soy sauce in a different brand to what I usually buy (which tasted terrible, I was trying to stick to glass over plastic and that certainly back fired on me). I also used my own chicken stock which always comes out darker than store bought. Having said that I mucked this one up, the rest of the family thought it was fine. According to them it tasted like it had BBQ sauce in it (which they like but I don’t). Overall the dish was too sweet for me, but would be worth trying again with a few tweaks as the girls do like sausages.
The last of Jenny’s dishes was my absolute favourite and amazingly even Miss Four finished her entire bowl and only had nice things to say about – that is quite an accomplishment. The dish was Almond Chicken and I knew just from the name I was going to love this one. Annoyingly when I went to make it I had run out of celery, so I used carrot instead. This probably worked out better anyway because Miss Four loves carrot – she calls them vegetable lollies. I also used flaked almonds instead of blanched almonds because I thought the girls would eat them more readily. I toasted a few extras to sprinkle over the top of mine and Mr Good’s and I add parsley to mine. This was a truly delicious meal and a great way to use up left over cooked chicken.
I tried a few other recommended dishes like the chicken wings that Liz suggested. Skud’s suggested chilli con carn. My mama bake friend did a vegetarian version of this. If I’ve got any left overs I will be trying her idea of pasta bake chilli. Skud also recommended rissoles, these are also in the freezer thanks to mama bake.
I ran out of time for some of the other suggestions so didn’t get to Liz’s chicken san choy bow or Ren’s meatballs. I will try these eventually.
As for the budget, my food bill has been way down for the last month. These recipes certainly played a part in that and so did mama baking. While I did have to buy up lots of meat for the two sessions, generally speaking the cuts have been the less expensive ones, chicken drumstick or wings, chuck steak and so on. The best thing about both mama baking and these recipe swaps is that I can stock up on all the ingredients in one go and then not go back to the supermarket for two weeks. Just avoiding the shops is a money saving act, no opportunity to impulse buy, no pester power treats and using up what’s in the cupboard, fridge or freezer. Thanks for all the suggestions, I loved trying them out.
I’ve got another theme in mind for a November Recipe Swap which I’ll write about in a few days time.