Meal Plan 7 – casserole of bacon, veg, toms & soft cheese, 45p a serving

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This is a dinner on Meal Plan 7, served on Day 4.

100g bacon, 75p/500g, 15p
100g onion, £1.08/2kg, 5p
100g carrots, £1.18/2kg, 6p
100g white cabbage, 52p/900g, 6p
half a tin of tomatoes, 31p/tin, 16p
90g red lentils, 20p/100g, 18p
50g soft cheese, 88p/200g, 22p
tblsp oil, 1p?

First of all, prep the veg. Peel and slice the onion, maybe into half moons for a change. You could just give the carrots a good scrub, or peel them if you like. Cut them on the diagonal into thin slices. Shred the cabbage, including any thick centre stem.

Chop the bacon into small pieces.

Put the tblsp oil in a thick based pan and add the bacon. Crisp it up a bit. Add the onion and carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the cabbage, red lentils. tomatoes and half a can of water. Cover and simmer gently until everything is cooked, about 15 minutes. If the casserole has too much moisture at this stage, boil it quicker until it is the thickness you prefer.

Stir through the soft cheese. Now taste and season with salt and pepper. Add some herbs if you like, some fine chopped rosemary, a bay leaf, a few basil leaves, half a tsp of dried mixed herbs. You could add 1 or 2 of  worcestershire sauce, a tblsp of tomato sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce if you like! If it needs sweetness, a tsp at a time of jam, if it  needs sharpness the worcestershire, or a dab of vinegar, not too much, a tsp at a time.

serves 2, total of 89p, 45p a portion
per serving 436 cals, 27g protein, 17g fat, 41g carb

Very variable, you can add other veg, like sweetcorn, diced swede, dark green cabbage, mushrooms, chunks of potato, peeled or unpeeled, whatever you have and want to use. You could add some chickpeas, large brown or green lentils, any type of bean. It could be served with garlic bread, crispy croutons on top, a bit of rice, mash, saute or baked potatoes, lovely, fluffy dumplings, maybe with some herbs or cheese mixed into the mix, or plain old bread and butter

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Lesley

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    Hmm, fried and salty, I’m not sure I’ve done many of those. When I do the treaty things, I generally go off in a sweet direction.

    There are the savoury scone variations. I have some savoury muffins in hand that I haven’t posted yet, and a couple of other things

    I’ll see what else I can come up with.

  2. Eliza

    One reason I was so happy to find your blog is because your style of cooking really resonates with me — you like many of the same types of foods that I do, and you cook from scratch, like I do, and you are very interested in getting costs as low as possible, while being honest about any compromises in terms of taste or health. I do strive for balance, and while economy is super important to me now, the connection between diet and health has always been very clear. The way you pull all of your recipes together into a coordinated plan, though, is brilliant!

    I think there is room for comfort foods in a tight food budget, though my weakness is definitely fried and salty and even a bit cheesy. 🙂

    The only reason I can take advantage of the ethnic grocers is because they are so close by — have to be mindful of the gasoline cost and combine trips, as you say!

  3. Lesley

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    Have just looked up how much $2 is in £ and the converter that came up said it is £1.21, so yes, you are very much working to the budget we do here.

    I agree with your comment, good health is priceless. It is very easy when living on a tight budget to eat too many comforting things, which tend to make your overall diet fat, salt and sugar heavy. Not good for health on many levels.

    I’m a bit envious of the other ethnic stores you have access to. We have 2 very good Indian shops in Tunbridge Wells which is 17 miles away, so I have to save my trips to those until I am going to TW anyway. I think I’ll have a little Google and see if I can find other ethnic shops that I can visit if I combine it with something else.

  4. Lesley

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    the large green and brown lentils, and the more expensive puy usually cook in about 20 minutes from the packet. Chick peas, kidney, cannellini, haricot and beans like that, ideally need a good long soak, and then take 45 minutes or so to cook. Slow cooker is good for that (make sure kidney beans are given a good boil for 10 minutes before that to remove something not so nice in their skin).

    I put some chickpeas in to soak at lunch time, and they are in the Remoska, covered over with foil, right now. A good cheap way to cook them. Or you could use a pressure cooker. I sometimes do chcikpeas for hummous that way, 45 minutes from packet to cooked.

    Red lentils in supermarkets are usually 20p/100g. If you have access to an Indian shop, and you use the lentils often enough, you can get large bags of red lentils at 10p/100g – half the price

  5. lynn

    I always thought you had to boil lentils for ages before using so bought tins.
    MUCH cheaper dried red lentils from now on.
    Thank you for the tip : )

  6. Lesley

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    Yes, they are dried red lentils, and as you say, straight from the pack

  7. lynn

    That looks great. Are the lentils the dried type and straight from the pack?

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