2 sandwiches, 2 toasty breakfasts and 2 pasta dinners from 1 tin of sardines. Just 83p for all 6 meals!!

Mar 21, 2015 | 21 comments


Feeling ill

First of all, apologies for the recent lack of posts. I have been well and truly bugged over the last 10 days or so. Where I am, there has been a virulent virus doing the rounds that basically wipes you out for two weeks. It feels much more like flu than anything else and I have been feeling completely and utterly vile for what feels like forever now.
I haven’t been doing anything much other than sitting staring vacantly into space and feeling sorry for myself. Whenever I try to lay down to sleep, every ten minutes or so, I have to stand up to facilitate the deep, hacking, cough (I have to cross my legs tightly, if you know what I mean, blush). The only way I can get any sleep at all is to stay sitting up in a chair, which is uncomfortable and not much sleep happens. I still cough, just not as much.

I must be feeling a bit better today tho, as I have just had a little play in the kitchen.

During the long recesses of last night, I was thinking about the sandwich fillers we have been exploring lately. We have done a chicken and sun dried tomato one, a lovely, deep flavoured beefy one, and a creamy cheesy one. What we haven’t done is a fishy one.

So today, I set about putting that right. The first thing I tried was mashing up some sardines in tomato sauce and mixing it with value soft cheese. It was absolutely delicious, but rather too runny to put in a sandwich, would be fab with pasta or a jkt potato tho!

Second try was using some beans with it. I used the other half of the sardines, drained and rinsed some baked beans and mixed them in. Hmm, not quite right, a bit too dry this time. So a little splodge of soft cheese, and et voila, a fishy sandwich filling, packed full of protein, super easy to make and will freeze beautifully, in or out of the sandwich wrapping.

So to make both the pasta sauce and the sandwich filling…

Sandwich filling
Half a tin of sardines in tomato sauce, Asda 40p/120g, 20p
50g of drained value baked beans, 24p/tin, 6p
20g value soft cheese, Asda 71p/250g, 6p
Makes 4 sandwiches
Total cost 32p or 8p a sandwich, plus 2p for 2 slices value bread, total of 10p a sandwich

The beans I used were Lidl Campolargo ones and yielded 218g of drained beans, so I am assuming about a quarter of a tin

Divide the tin of sardines in half and put each half in a separate bowl. Mash them up, bones and all, they will add valuable calcium.

Drained baked beans
Open the beans and drain them in a sieve over a third bowl. Keep the sauce and use it in something else, I usually add any beans in an opened tin sitting in the fridge to the soup or casserole, so you can do the same with this.

Run the drained beans under the tap for a bit and drain off the water well. Now measure out 50g of them and tip them into the mashed up sardine bowl. Mash the beans up with the sardines. Or leave them whole if you want them that way, up to you.


Add 20g of value soft cheese and mix well. All done. This will give you enough sandwich filler for at least 4 sandwiches, maybe 5.


You can use it for packed lunches, or on toast for breakfast, or a quick toasty tea for the kids. Or with a a little pile of crudités, carrot and celery sticks for instance, and maybe a value pitta, toasted if at home, sliced up if not.

Now, with the other half of the sardines, make a rapid and simple pasta sauce


Half a tin of sardines in tomato sauce, Asda 40p/120g, 20p
50g value soft cheese, Asda 71p/250g, 14p
160g value pasta, Asda 29p/500g, 9p
Makes enough to dress 2 portions pasta generously
Total cost 43p or 22p each.

Simply mix the sardines and soft cheese together while the pasta is boiling. Mash it up, or not, just as you like. Drain the pasta well and mix through the sauce. Serve immediately.

Lemon zester

If you have any, a few little bits of lemon zest would work well in either of these recipes. I have had this little lemon zester gadget for many years, it is really handy and I can zest off just a few strips very easily with it.

You can add some sliced cherry tomatoes to the pasta, or some whole or chopped up olives, serve it with salady bits, roast some fennel/carrots/onions to go with it, make a simple salsa from diced cucumber and tomatoes or fennel, serve it with some peas or dark leafy veg. Anything you like



  1. Thrifty Lesley

    Ooh, yuk. I’ve managed to avoid colds since COVID restrictions. A nice side benefit

  2. Kath

    Going to give this a go , sounds quite nice .
    Get well soon Lesley you have my sympathies- I’m day 4 into heavy cold/ flu type thing too .

  3. Thrifty Lesley

    Patt, my mum used to rub Vicks on my chest when I was ill as a child!

  4. Patt

    I ‘think’ I read that Vicks Vapour Rub, on soles of feet overnight was great for easing coughing! Worth a try if you have some.
    Just opening a can of sardines to try this, late I know, I thought it was about 7 ish. Never mind.

  5. Lesley

    Ginny – sounds like a delicious option!

  6. Ginny

    Yummy! I’m allergic to cheese, so I added a tablespoon of tomato paste and a bit of mustard. Made a filling dinner over baking powder biscuits 🙂

  7. MaryA

    Just found your website. Love all the recipes, really innovative and healthy. Keep up the goid work.

  8. Lesley

    ooh yum, that toasty topping sounds good

  9. Katherine

    It does go an incredibly long way, doesn’t it? Inspired by this, I have also tried sardines and cream cheese thickened with dry bread crumbs to make a toast topping.

    The mackerel version is very good as well.

    We really enjoyed the onion tart – very tasty.

    Looking forward to your next plan.

  10. Lesley

    I haven’t tried it, but I would expect it all to freeze very well. Never thought of the tomato scones, yum, sounds good!

  11. Lesley

    Feel more on the road to recovery now. Still hacking away, and another night with not much sleep, but can feel the healing going on. Seems to go on forever doesn’t it. There’s a lot of it about as someone said once

  12. Lyn

    you have my sympathies – I am just beginning to feel slightly better but still have the achey limbs and foggy head – but I will try the recipes maybe tomorrow – still haven’t got much appetite yet.

  13. Joy

    What a fantastic idea, many thanks. Just wondering if it will freeze – I don’t see why not. I’ll give it a go, anyway. The spread might go nicely with your tomato scones!
    J x

  14. Lesley

    Having gone to bed at 9, exhausted after 2 nights with barely any sleep due to coughing, and got up again, after coughing every 2 or 3 minutes for an hour, I have a dish with an onion in it.
    But it is an ordinary onion, one with brown outer skin and white inner. Is that the right type?

  15. Anna

    Receipts sound yummy will give a try. The onion method for a cough does work but it has to be a WHITE onion. Don’t know why but brown onions do not work. Hope you feel well soon.

  16. Lesley

    Janene, really? Wow, never heard of that. Anything is worth a go, I shall do it tonight!

  17. Lesley

    I tried a bit on toast, then had the pasta for tea with a bowl of salady bits. It was lush

  18. Janene

    Hope you’re feeling better soon Lesley.
    Try a chopped up onion beside the bed at night. It’s supposed to help with the cough.

  19. Sarina

    That sounds quite lovely. I do have tins of sardines in tomato sauce at home, so shall have a go on making the pasta meal.

  20. Lesley

    Thanks, wonder if it’s the same thing? Seems to be sweeping the board here

  21. Caterina

    Get well soon, Lesley, sorry to read that you are so unwell!

    I have DH here in a similar state, high fever and night sweats, not fun at all.

    All the best,


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thrifty Lesley has an associated Facebook Group. Do come over and say hello if you haven’t already joined. I’d love to see you!

I’m a perpetual dieter, and to help with that endeavour, there is now also a Thrifty Lesley dieting group, a lovely, growing community.