Hello Dear Reader,
Since I became frugal, I've become a right Carol Vorderman! I incidentally work out the cost of every meal and then the cost of every portion! I saw ready made lasagne in Lidl tonight and it was about £3.50 and it would feed two super models on a diet! I like to cook something really quick and easy when I get in from work and nothing is easier or quicker than lasagne.
I used 500g of minced beef from our butchers (bought in 2 kilo freezer packs so the meat for this worked out at £1.75)
2 carrots 14p, one onion 6p, half a head of celery 30p, 1 chicken stock cube 1.5p (Tesco Value 15p a pack) 200g of tomato puree (bought giant tins from Approved food).
I used the food processor to blitz the vegetables and fried them along with the minced beef. The smaller veggies are diced, the quicker they cook. When browned, I added a teaspoon of mixed herbs, a teaspoon of garlic powder and half a teaspoon of black pepper. I then added 200g tomato puree, crumbled the chicken stock cube and topped up with water. You can of course use tinned tomatoes but they are getting increasingly expensive. I leave that to simmer gently whilst I then make the cheese sauce.
I make cheese sauce in the microwave. Yes, FM, this is your jug, I'm looking after it and will pass it back to you on Friday xxxx. I used 100g of strong cheddar which is finely grated which I mix with two heaped tablespoons of plain flour. I use gluten free flour for sauce as it doesn't get any lumps (another Approved Food Bargain I have lurking around). I mix the flour and cheese, then add a heaped tablespoon of butter (marg in my case) and one litre of milk. (I use UHT skimmed - it's the cheapest) I mix it all together and microwave on full heat for ten minutes. After five, I take it out and beat it with a whisk until smooth and then let it cook some more. If it's too thick, add some more milk.
I don't pre-cook my lasagne but put it in dry and make sure my cheese sauce and meat sauce is 'wet' enough to cook it through. I start the bottom of my lasagne with a squirt of olive oil and then a layer of dry lasagne and then the meat sauce, some cheese sauce. Another layer of dry lasagne. I do three layers and the final layer is covered with cheese sauce. You can see how big it is and it just fits into my mini oven. We will have six portions from this and we'll eat it with a quarter of a bag of salad each. My meal, down to the last penny costs 58p per portion for the lasagne and 25p for the salad. 83p per person! Now, that's value lasagne. Homemade and cheaply cooked by using the microwave and mini-oven.
I cooked it on 200 degrees for 45 minutes. Prod it with a sharp knife to make sure the lasagne sheets are soft and cooked through. It 'caught' at the edges, but I can eat round those. My mini oven is not as predictable as my main oven, but it certainly saves a lot of energy.
Here's my dinner tonight, all prepared and eaten in under an hour. I also have tomorrow night's supper and something for our lunches too!
You can see, we have a massive supper each and plenty for other meals. This recipe would easily feed a family of six.
Right, now I have your attention and everyone's tummy is rumbling, I'm going to give you advanced warning of this weekend's 'sewing for beginners' tutorials. I'll start with choosing a sewing machine, go right onto how to thread it and get used to it and then end with the basics of how to make a cushion cover from sample book fabric! Don't miss it as I'll be blogging throughout the day on Saturday and sharing the basics for all of you who have shown an interest but don't know where to start.
I'm now off to sit in front of the fire and try and warm up, is it chilly where you are too?