A delicious and thrifty dish, made all the more frugal in this instance by the aubergine and beetroot being obtained during Tesco’s 2p evening reduction time (may not be all stores and times vary, worth asking).
Ingredients for sauce (amount serves four):
a little olive oil
1 leek, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
a bunch of fresh beetroot, peeled and cut into chunks
2 small aubergines, cubed
1 courgette, also cubed
1 pack of passata (we prefer Lidl’s cheap brand to Tesco value, much nicer)
1 can of red kidney beans
2 teaspoons of dried oregano (or other herbs, fresh are nice too)
salt and black pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to pack instructions. Meanwhile, fry the vegetables in the oil until softened then add the passata. Bring to the boil, adding beans, herbs and seasoning as you go, water if too thick, tomato puree if too thin. Turn down to a simmer until all is cooked, probably for about 20 minutes; test for seasoning, adjust if needed, and pile the sauce on top of your pasta. Garnish with parsley and enjoy.
Well, it’s still super icy and wintery here as you can see. What better way to warm up than with our new lasagne recipe? It can be gluten free and veggie and is totally delicious and frugal!
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This was made with gluten free lasagne sheets found in Lidl (Jan 2015), making it especially frugal, though many brands exist and the recipe will work with wheat based products too. It made enough for four huge portions or six medium.
1 250g pack of lasagne sheets
For the tomato sauce:
a little olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 aubergine, cut into small chunks
4 sticks of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 500g pack of passata
about 2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of dried oregano or other dried herbs
salt to taste
Method: fry the vegetables in the oil for a few minutes until softened. Add the passata, rinse out the pack/bottle with the water before adding it to the sauce. Bring to the boil, add your herbs and salt.
In a flat oven proof dish layer up the lasagne and the tomato sauce. It’s best to put a little sauce on the bottom to prevent sticking. The Lidl brand of lasagne did not need pre soaking (thank goodness! It always sticks together!) but check the instructions on your pack. Make the top layer sauce too.
For the white topping sauce:
1 tablespoon of vegetable margarine
1 tablespoon of gluten free flour
about a cup of soya milk
salt and pepper to taste
Method: melt the margarine and stir in the flour. Gradually add the milk over a medium heat, stirring all the time to avoid lumps (though don’t worry too much, in this dish they’re not very noticeable), until the sauce thickens. Add your seasoning and pour onto the top of the lasagne.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for at least forty minutes or until a knife slides easily into the middle of the lasagne.
1. This recipe used the most basic of vegetables, you can use whatever you have to hand: peppers, courgettes, peas, sweetcorn. We added sweetcorn to the white sauce pictured.
2. A layer of tinned spinach instead of the last layer of tomato sauce is very nice and juicy. Ditto mushrooms.
3. We topped with a small packet of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
4. You can add tomato puree if the sauce seems overly runny, though remember it does need to have more liquid than plain pasta sauce as the lasagne will absorb some of it.
Fruit crumble is a wonderfully frugal dish. You can use virtually any fruit (perhaps not banana!) and it’s a good way to use up items that might be passing their best. Summer brings luscious pink rhubarb, perfect for crumble. Autumn delivers apples and blackberries/brambles, also delicious. Here is a basic recipe for a combination of rhubarb and apples, adjust as you require:
2 or 3 apples, peeled and chopped (if you use eating apples you could reduce the sugar slightly)
4 or 5 sticks of rhubarb, chopped into chunks
4 tablespoons of sugar
Surprisingly, rose petals combine with rhubarb to give a beautiful flavour.
100g. flour (for a gluten-free version use Doves Farm gluten-free flour)
75g. vegetable margarine
optional additions: grated lemon rind, sunflower seeds, rolled oats.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Place the fruit in an ovenproof dish and top with the sugar. For the topping: rub the flour into the margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar and any other additions and place evenly over the filling. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about half an hour or until everything is bubbling: crispy on top, soft below. Lovely with custard or ice cream.
If you like this, you may also like our recipe for Apple Pie
Submitted by Charlotte.
This recipe is quick, easy to make and a good way to use up all that old tat lying around your kitchen before it goes by its sell by date and gives you food poisoning!
cooked and cooled rice
2 or 3 spring onions, chopped (or a bunch of chives)
2 chopped tomatoes
a quarter of a cucumber, diced
a tin of red kidney beans
a little vegetable oil
a little cyder vinegar
optional ingredients: any fruit or veg as long as it’s not rotten or a banana cause that’s just wrong.
Mix Together. Really. It couldn’t be more simple. If you can’t manage that I have to question your ability to function in the world!
Lovely with a baked potato
Roast Potatoes are a lovely part of a traditional roast meal. They can be easily and inexpensively fancied up a bit for celebration dinners.
Basic Roast Spuds:
Peel as many potatoes as you need for the meal. Par boil them in a pan of water (bring to boil, remove after a few minutes and drain when they are starting to cook). While they are coming to the boil, preheat some oil in your roasting tin in the oven (about half a cm deep). Once the pots are drained add them to the oil with a large spoon and mix a bit so they get a good covering (be careful – it will spit at you!). Roast in the oven at about 200C/400F for about 40 minutes or until nicely done.
Sage and Onion: add some chopped sage, onion and oatmeal to the oil before basting the potatoes with it.
Garlic: for a real garlic hit, make a small hole in each potato and place a garlic clove in there.
Sesame: sprinkle with sesame seeds – gives a surprisingly strong flavour.
Herby: add herbs of your choice to the oil – rosemary is good.
Crispy: after par boiling and draining mix a tablespoon of flour into the potatoes making sure they are all well coated – then proceed with the oil and roasting.
Chick peas are a very nutritious and cheap food – having dried ones in the cupboard ensures a cheap meal anytime (after soaking overnight). Check out cheap bulk deals such as available from Goodness Direct
1 – 2 Tablespoons of light vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 apple, peeled and finely chopped (this is a very good way of using up an apple that has gone wrinkly but is not rotten)
1 green pepper, finely chopped (optional)
2 – 3 teaspoons of curry powder
1-2 tins of cooked chick peas (or soak dried ones overnight and cooked – cheaper)
1 can of tomatoes
handful of raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut (optional)
some frozen peas (a cupful or more if you really like them)
Fry the onion, garlic and apple in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add the curry powder and stir for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes (chop them if needed) and green pepper. If you like really sweet tasting curry, then add the raisins and coconut. Cook for about 15 minutes at simmering level and then add your chick peas and cook for a further 10 minutes. Shortly before the end of cooking time put some frozen peas in, as these will go mushy if overcooked. Add salt to taste. We like this best with white basmati rice (you should get a whole kilo for unde £1 in the cheap supermarkets or value ranges) and lots of little toppings.
Ideas for toppings are chopped fresh tomato, cucumber, sliced banana (yes this does work!), sunflower seeds, avocado (not the most frugal ingredient but jam packed with nutrients), in fact anything you fancy! My kids love these all put in small separate bowls so they can help themselves.
A very frugal variation of this is to make potato and pea curry by replacing the chick peas with value tinned potatoes.