Tag Archives: frugal living

Frugal Recipe: Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew

My husband is a yellow sticker bargain ninja. He’s forever coming home with bargains he’s found at the supermarket, some things go straight in the freezer, but fresh fruit and vegetables need to be used within a day or two.

This week he came home with two packets of  Mixed Roasting Vegetables from the Co-op which should have been £1.50 each, but were reduced to 83p each. The packs contained a small swede, 3 carrots, 2 parsnips and two medium sized onions. They were crying out to be used in a stew, so that’s what I did.

There was quite a lot of chopping involved in this stew, and I threw in some lentils and a leek I already had which was beginning to see better days. The result was so tasty and hearty that I’ll be making it again. It was a giant stew, which filled my slow cooker to the brim and took 8 hours to cook.

Frugal Recipe: Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew

It fed our family for three meals. I made stew and dumplings, I turned it into a pie and I just served it as stew with mashed potato. I even managed to freeze a portion for a rainy day.

This recipe uses two of the packs of vegetables, but you can half the quantities of everything if you want to make a smaller stew. With the yellow sticker bargain, I reckon I made this huge stew for around £3.

Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew

Ingredients:

2 medium sized onions, chopped
1 leek, sliced
1 tablespoon of oil, whatever you have
2 small swedes, diced
2 parsnips
3 carrots
2 large potatoes
75g  red lentils, rinsed
2.5 pints of vegetable stock (made with a stock cube)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 tablespoon of mixed herbs
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of sugar
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce
1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup

How to make your Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew

Chop you onions and cook them in half a tablespoon of oil until they are soft. Add them to the slow cooker when soft. Slice your leek and fry that until tender in the rest of the oil. Add the garlic towards the end of cooking and stir that through for a few minutes, when that’s cooked, tip the leeks and garlic into the slow cooker.

Peel and chop your swedes, carrots, parsnips and potatoes into similar sized pieces and add to the slow cooker.

Switch your slow cooker onto high and add the stock, chopped tomatoes, lentils and the rest of the ingredients. Put the lid on and cook until all the root vegetables are soft, for me this took 8 hours.

Once the vegetables are cooked, taste the stew and add more seasoning if you think it needs it. Stir through and serve however you want.

Frugal Recipe: Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew

My favourite way we had the stew was with dumplings. It was just the most perfect warming, hearty meal and I know I’ll be craving stew and dumplings now every time the temperature dips. My husband loved the pie, which was just a dish of the stew, which I stirred a tablespoon of vegetable gravy granules through and topped with a puff pastry lid. But it’s just as good served with a pile of buttery mash.

If you enjoyed this, you might like to try these slow cooker recipes:

Frugal Recipe: Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew

Frugal Recipe: Slow Cooker Pork and Baked Beans

This year, for various reasons we are tightening our belts. I’ve been looking to cut costs in the kitchen, and one way to do this is to batch cook dishes and freeze in portions. Another way to do this is to eat more beans and lentils. This week, I’ve done both and made a huge batch of slow cooker pork and baked beans.

This dish does take a bit of planning ahead, but at £1.12 (current price at Morrison’s) for 500g of haricot beans, it’s a pretty frugal way to feed the family. Sure, you can buy baked beans, but this recipe is worth trying at least once. It’s like the baked beans we get in a tin, but a little different. Lighter and less stodgy perhaps, they are certainly tasty.

I’ve used diced pork pieces in this recipe, but I think it’d be just as lovely if you swapped the pork for sausages or chipolatas. I like it served on thick buttered toast, but it would be great with a pile of buttery mash or on a jacket potato.

This recipe makes so much food, it’s great for batch cooking and freezing and really economical too. There’s probably enough for two good-sized meals for a hungry family of four.

Slow Cooker Pork and Baked Beans

Slow Cooker Pork and Baked Beans

Ingredients:

500g dried haricot beans, soaked for 24 hours
1 tablespoon oil, I used vegetable, but use what you have
450g diced pork (or swap for sausages)
4 rashers of smoked bacon, finely chopped
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs
Salt and pepper
1 pint of stock, made with a stock cube

How to make your pork and baked beans:

The day before you want to cook your pork and baked beans, soak your dried haricot beans in plenty of water, following the instructions on the back of the packet. Once they’ve soaked for 24 hours, change the water and boil them for half an hour, or until they’re not chalky inside. Drain and set aside.

In a frying pan, add your oil and cook the diced pork until it is browned. Once brown put it in your slow cooker. In the same pan, fry off the bacon pieces (you can buy packets of lardons which are cheaper than bacon slices if you prefer). Once the bacon is cooked, add that to the slow cooker.

Turn the slow cooker to high and add the beans and rest of the ingredients, but leave the salt out until later. The economy stock cubes I used were pretty salty, so it’s worth waiting until near the end to taste and see if you need to add more salt.

I cooked the pork and baked beans on high for two hours, then checked it and gave it a stir. It looked watery and I wasn’t convinced it would work. I then went out for two more hours and while I was out, magic had happened in the slow cooker. The sauce had thickened, the beans had softened and the pork and smoked bacon had given out their flavours. It had in total about 4 and a half hours on high, but cook it until the sauce has thickened and it looks, smells and tastes good.

Taste the sauce. Add more of whatever you think it needs. I added a bit more ketchup and it didn’t need any extra salt. Serve it however you like, it’s great on toast for lunch or piled on top of mashed potato.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, this works just as well in the oven. Put it in a lidded casserole dish on 160° for 2-3 hours, stir it every so often and when the sauce is thick, it’s done.

This is a great dish to cook in the depths of winter. I’m pleased as punch to have several tubs of this in my freezer for a rainy day.

If you enjoyed this, you might like to try these slow cooker recipes:

Slow Cooker Pork and Baked Beans

Frugal living & shrewd shopping

These days most people are tightening their belts, money has to stretch further than ever before. For us when I left my old well paid job due to ill health and became self-employed, that marked a drastic change in our finances. Gone are the pre-child days where if I fancied an expensive pair of shoes I’d just buy them, nowadays I do endless research, lots of saving up and then hunt around for a bargain. I’m not alone in this, most people I know are careful, buying Christmas presents in the January sales for example or hunting round the many charity shops in the village for bargains.

We’re very into make do and mend, patching and darning to get an extra few months out of a garment. There is (for me at least) a certain joy in the simplicity of it all; hearty meals made from cheap, often reduced ingredients bubbling away gently in the slow cooker. The central heating off on all but the coldest days, the log fire providing most of the heat we need. Growing our own fruit, vegetables and herbs in the garden and always searching out yellow stickered items, bargains, discounts. I enjoy the challenge of trying to make a little go a long way.

All winter I’ve been wearing boots which leak, I’d bought a cheap pair from a supermarket back in September, but by the time winter came along they were letting water in and my feet were freezing. Going everywhere with a spare pair of socks in my bag was getting tiresome, so I decided to treat myself to a proper pair of good quality boots which should hopefully last a couple of winters at least, but quality boots are expensive.

True to form I thoroughly researched online for what I wanted, I knew the style, the brand and how much I wanted to pay. I opted for these lovely Blowfish boots, I need flat boots because of my back, they need to be easy to put on and take off (there’s a zip), they needed to be comfortable and practical for pottering about mum-style.

VouchaCodes

Full price these boots were £60 but I could neither afford nor justify that, even on an essential item like boots which would keep my feet dry. I knew I’d have to try and knock the price down a bit. I managed to find them in a large department store in the sale, but using VouchaCodes I was able to find a voucher code which would reduce that cost even further. I ended up paying just £25 for my £60 boots. Result! At least I’ll have dry feet now.

How do you make your money stretch a bit further?