Sunday, 1 June 2014

Recipe: Brown and wild rice salad with smoked mackerel and edamame

Brown and wild rice salad with mackerel and edamame

Bit of a health kick needed at Casa CutPriceKate - I have a wedding dress to fit into in a few months time (in a moment of braveness/madness I ordered it two sizes smaller than what I am now!) so am trying to plan my meals better to avoid unhealthy snacking. So packed lunches are very much the order of the day to avoid the temptation of buying a quick fix on the go. 

And I'm already looking forward to eating tomorrow's lunch that I've just made - brown and wild rice salad with mackerel and edamame beans and a few more veg thrown in to boot! 

I love edamame beans but usually just have them straight from the pot as a healthy snack. They're often pretty pricey though so I was delighted to find a pot in Waitrose today reduced from £2 to 65p. This time I decided to thrown the beans into a rice salad - here's how I made it:

1) Boil a mixture of brown and wild rice for 20-25 minutes.
2) Add a handful of frozen sweetcorn to the rice for the final few minutes of boiling.
3) Drain the rice and wash with cold water so the rice cools quickly.
4) Remove the edamame beans from the pods and place in a mixing bowl.
5) Chop a spring onion, red chilli and some fresh coriander and add to the bowl.
6) Flake a smoked mackerel fillet and add to the bowl.
7) Squeeze half a fresh lime over the mixture and then stir in the rice and sweetcorn.
8) Healthy and tasty packed lunch - done!

I think brown rice is really underrated - it's deliciously nutty and great for salads like this. Do give it a try if you never have before.

This salad cost around £1.20 to make - the most expensive ingredient being the reduced pot of edamame at 65p! The lime and spring onion were just 6p as both reduced. I used one mackerel fillet from a pack of four from Aldi - I've just started buying fish from there and have been pleasantly surprised at the quality for how cheap the prices are. Will definitely be trying more fresh meat and fish from there in the future.

Now I just can't wait until tomorrow's lunch to tuck into this!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

£5.10 worth of food for 51p

£5.10 worth of food for 51p

A quick nip in to Tesco Express on the way home tonight and I picked up £5.10 worth of food for just 51p. Two packs of cherry tomatoes each reduced from £1.70 to 17p and a pack of cinnamon and raisin bagels (Mr Kate's faves) again reduced from £1.70 to 17p. 90% savings!

At that price the fresh tomatoes are cheaper than a tin! Bargain!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Recipe: Smoky bean and chunky veg soup

Smoky bean and chunky veg soup

I had quite a bit of reduced veg left in the fridge at the weekend so decided to try and use lots of it up in a soup. I've had a jar of chipotle paste in my cupboard for a while now so thought I'd experiment and make a hot smoky soup.

Here's how I made it but please don't be limited by the veg I've used as you can pretty much throw in whatever veg you have and need to use up!

1) Dice an onion and soften in a pan on a low heat with a glug of oil.
2) Chop two leeks, a few carrots, half a swede and a few sticks of celery.
3) Add a teaspoon of smoked paprika and the chopped veg to the onion and continue to soften for five minutes or so.
4) Add a clove or two of chopped garlic - or a teaspoon from a jar of ready chopped garlic. (I buy jars of chopped garlic from Asian supermarkets as they're very cheap and keep in the fridge for weeks).
5) Stir in two teaspoons of chipotle paste - or more if you want the soup to be extra fiery!
6) Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and give it all a good stir.
7) Fill the empty tin with water and add to the soup.
8) Add a can of drained cannellini beans. (You could use other beans such as black-eye beans, flageolet beans, kidney beans etc.)
9) Add a good grind of black paper and a touch of salt and leave the soup to simmer for 20 minutes or until all the veg is tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed.
10) Add a handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn for the final few minutes of cooking.
11) Serve with a sprinkling of coriander leaves and a dash of lime juice for extra zing.

I really enjoyed this soup - although as the weather is starting to turn warmer I need to start making more salads as soup in the summer months never seems quite right to me! A good job the lettuces in our fledgling veg patch look about ready to pick - time to start planning some interesting salads for lunch instead methinks!

Oh and the cost of this soup? About £1 for four portions - I won't list the individual prices for all the reduced vegetables as it was so packed full of veg we'll be here all night!

Smoked haddock fillets for 79p and ten sausages for 99p!

Smoked haddock fillets for 79p and ten sausages for 99p!

A fruitful five minutes in my local mini Co-op on the way home from work tonight! Picked up a pack of ten decent sausages reduced from £3.50 to 99p and smoked haddock fillets reduced from £3 to 79p.

Both straight in to the freezer to use another day. I'm thinking of creating my own take on kedgeree with the smoked haddock - time to plan a new recipe...!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Recipe: Rhubarb and clementine porridge

Rhubarb and clementine porridge

I've really got into eating porridge for breakfast of late. However I do have a confession to make - I've been having the individual sachets pre-packed with fruity bits. But the cost adds up and, when I saw this 1kg bag of porridge oats in Morrisons for just 75p, I decided it was time to change!

And I'm certainly glad I did - not just for the price but also for the taste. Today I made rhubarb and clementine porridge for a fraction of the price and a much better taste.

Here's how I made it to serve one - simply up the quantities to make for more people:

1) Chop a stalk of rhubarb and slice a clementine in half.
2) Put the rhubarb in a saucepan with the juice of the clementine and one or two teaspoons of brown sugar.
3) Heat gently on a low heat, stirring occasionally, for around 10 minutes or until the rhubarb is soft.
4) Add half a cup of porridge oats to a separate saucepan with one and a half cups of milk.
4) Bring to the boil and then simmer for around five minutes - making sure you stir now and then to avoid the porridge sticking to the pan.
5) Transfer the porridge to a bowl, add the rhubarb and then drizzle the remaining juice from the rhubarb around the edge of the porridge.
6) Enjoy!

I really loved this - the best bowl of porridge I've ever had. The clementine juice set the rhubarb off perfectly and added a lovely zing to the porridge.

The rhubarb was free from Mr Kate's Uncle Gerald's veg patch - we've got some growing in our fledgling veg patch at the mo as well but it doesn't seem to be doing too well unfortunately.

The clementine was left over from a bag of reduced fruit and cost just 7p. So allowing 3p for the sugar, 7p for the clementine, 15p for the milk and 5p for the oats, this came in at 30p per portion. If you need to keep the costs down even more you can of course replace the milk with water to make the porridge or use half water and half milk. It won't be as creamy but will still taste great.

If you have a satsuma, mandarin or orange lingering in your fruit bowl then these are a great replacement for the clementine - just make the most of whatever fruit you have and need to use up.

No more porridge sachets for me (well, when I've finished the two packs I've got left!) - it's proper porridge all the way from now!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Recipe: Tortilla wrap pizzas

Tortilla wrap pizzas 

Love pizza but don't love the calories? I made these lighter option pizzas when I stumbled across a packet of wholemeal wraps reduced from £1.89 to just 10p. We always seem to have a few wraps left in a packet whenever we have fajitas - wrap pizzas are the way forward to use them up! They're also a great way of using up leftover veg and meat from your fridge.

I made these by spreading a dollop of chilli pesto on each wrap as a replacement for a tomato base. I then lightly fried a few leftover slices of bacon chopped up with a yellow pepper, some spring onions and a sprinkling of cajun spices. I also threw in a handful of frozen sweetcorn. Once the topping was cooked I popped it on the bases along with a grating of cheese for Mr Kate. No cheese for me though as I'm really not a fan!

I then popped them into a pre-heated oven for 5-10 minutes until the cheese melted and the base was crisp. And there you have it - a pizza with about half the calories but still full of flavour. And they cost me next to nothing!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Recipe: Spicy cottage pie with root veg mash for 25p per portion

Recipe: Spicy cottage pie with root veg mash for 25p per portion

I was delighted to come home the other day to find that Mr Kate had bought two packs of mince reduced from £2 to 20p! They went straight in the freezer to use another day.

I love cooking with mince; it's so cheap and easy and proper comfort food too. But I do like to try creating different recipes with it instead of sticking to the usual chilli con carne or bolognese. So tonight I teamed up the mince with some reduced root vegetables to create a spicy cottage pie.

Here's how I made it (and my all important prices too!)...


500g of mince (20p)
Half a bag of parsnips (5p)
Half a swede (15p)
Three carrots (10p)
One onion (10p)
One fresh chilli (4p)
Garlic - I used a teaspoon from a jar of ready chopped garlic or you could use one or two cloves of fresh garlic. (5p) 
A handful of tomatoes (10p)
Glug of oil (5p)
Ground coriander (5p) 
Cumin (5p)
Beef stock cube (4p)
Salt and pepper (1p)

1) Chop the parsnips, swede and carrots and boil until tender.
2) Whilst the veg are boiling, dice an onion and soften on a low heat in a frying pan with a glug of oil.
3) Chop the chilli (leave the seeds in if you want it extra spicy) and add to the onions along with the garlic.
4) Add the mince to the onions and cook until browned.
5) Chop a few tomatoes and add to the mince along with a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of ground coriander and a crumbled stock cube.
6) Add a splash of water to the mince.
7) Spoon the mince into an oven-proof dish.
8) Mash the veg and add a dollop of butter or drop of milk if you like (I didn't as we're counting the calories at the mo!) and add to the top of the mince, using a fork to finish the top.
9) Grind a little black pepper and salt over the topping.
10) Cook in the oven for 30-45 minutes until nice and brown on the top.

Once my head had got round the fact that this wasn't a traditional cottage pie with the usual spuds, I really rather enjoyed this! A lighter and much healthier version of cottage pie and packed with veg.

We had the pie with Tenderstem broccoli - reduced of course from £1.49 to 19p!

The cottage pie came in at exactly £1 for four portions - 25p each. Bargainous!