So how many of you have been trying the 80p per head challenge at home? (See Super Soup….from Sunday 13th Jan) The rules are simple, just add the cost of all the ingredients you use for a meal (dont worry about things like salt and sugar, we’ve always got those havent we?), then divide by the number of people in the family. The aim is to keep it all under a fiver. I’d love to hear feedback of how it’s going. Feel free to share your recipes here.
This weeks meal ideas all come in at under a fiver too.
I used to think buying a whole chicken for a Sunday roast was a bit expensive. They cost around £6 for a large, half decent one, and for one meal that’s a bit steep. Especially if its not even a special occasion!…or at least that’s how I used to think before I realised that if I could make the bird stretch further, it would end up being a rather good investment. A large supermarket (beginning with an S) sells two large chickens for £10. It’s worth freezing the second one. You can get three meals out of each bird – honest! This takes the cost per meal down from £6 to just £1.67.
Here’s how to get the most out of your sunday roast…warning, there are a few pictures of my dinner coming up. I know it’s boring, but it’s just to show you what kind of portion size you can expect to get for an adult for each meal.
Meal #One ~ The Sunday Roast
Everybody gets a reasonable helping of Chicken, with loads of Roast Spuds and veggies. They get over the fact that they are denied seconds, eventually. Usually mentioning the ‘P’ word helps. (Hands up who loves pudding…Me! Me! The stodgier the better)
After dinner, put whatever breast meat you didn’t use, plus the leg meat into a sandwich bag or container. Put the bones and carcass in a separate bag, and refrigerate or freeze.
Total cost: £4.66/78p per head
Meal #Two ~ Getting creative with the leftovers
Put the leftover chicken, chopped, into a large bowl, but leave a handful aside for Meal #3 (If you’re not planning on having #3 tomorrow, now would be a good time to freeze the leftover meat and bones). Chop up a stick of celery and some spring onions quite small, and chuck those into the bowl. Add about 100g sweetcorn and either half a can of condensed chicken or mushroom soup, or a few tablespoons of mayonaise, and a splash of milk to slacken the mixture a little. Season with salt and pepper.
At this point you can take a number of different directions with your mixture:
You could throw in some cruhed garlic, mushrooms and tarragon, thyme or sage, put it in an ovenproof dish, and top with some puff or filo pastry to make a pie;
Heat, add pesto and serve with pasta; or simply use as a Jacket Potato filling
You could mix in some medium curry powder, some ground cumin and ground coriander, add a squeeze of lemon juice, then top with breadcrumbs made from any old loaf you have, (or crushed up crisps) and grate some cheese over the top, then bake in the oven until golden and bubbling. serve with rice, mango chutney and veggies or salad
Total cost for curried chicken version: £3.83/64p per head
Meal #3 ~ The stock / Chicken noodle Soup
At this point you need to make your stock, and if you dont intend using it for the soup, just pop into some storage bags, and bung them in the frezer until you need it. Put the carcass into a large saucepan (I would love to invest on one of those big Stockpots. But for now my casserole pan is just big enough!); add a couple of carrots, roughly chopped, no need to peel; a couple of sticks of celery, roughly chopped; a large onion, roughly chopped; a bay leaf or two; half a dozen black peppercorns (or ground pepper) and a heaped teaspoon of salt. Cover the lot with boiling water, bring to the boil and simmer for at least 40 minutes, then strain through a sieve.
You’re now ready to get on with the soup. For this you will need to saute a finely chopped carrot, chopped red pepper and some sliced spring onions in a tbsp of olive oil for a few minutes; add as much stock as you need (work on at least half a pint of stock per person, as a general rule of thumb, but you can add more if you need it); boil the kettle, then pour the water over some fine egg noodles, broken up in a bowl (you could add the dry noodles straight into the stock, but the starch creates a froth on the top of the soup); add the leftover chicken (chopped small), to the stock, along with some sweetcorn; leave the noodles in the water for five minutes, then drain and add to the soup. Taste, season, serve and enjoy!
Total cost (including bread on the side): £3.90/65p per head
This recipe is so simple, yet so delicious. But if you wanted to do something a bit different, you could add some garlic, ginger and chilli at the sauteing stage, for more of an oriental flavour. You could even go the whole nine yards and add soy, lime and fish sauce, (and prawns if you have some) for a real Thai flavour…but that would probably take the cost up quite considerably.
On a competely different note, the snow is tumbling down outide right now….leftover Pea and Bacon Soup tonight from the freezer. Perfect!