Frugal meals: Devilled Sausages

This may come as a shock but I live on a *gasp* budget. Crazy right :-p But if you’re reading my blog I’m guessing you are probably doing the same. And when you think how much money gets spent on food in a week, well it makes perfect sense to cook some budget-friendly meals. Cheap and cheerful! Devilled sausages are a regular favourite here and so easy to make 🙂

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Devilled sausages are the perfect comfort food

Ingredients:

6-8 sausages of your choice

Splash of olive oil

2 small onions
1 large green apple
2 small tomatoes (you can substitute with half a can of crushed or diced tomatoes)
1 clove garlic crushed

3/4 cup tomato sauce (preferably homemade for extra flavour)
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp malt vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 clove crushed garlic (yes, another one. You can leave it out if you want. Or you know, add more because garlic is the shizz!)

It may look like a lot of ingredients when you could mix up a Maggi packet and call it a day, but I’d wager most people have these things stashed in their pantry.

Step 1
Preheat your oven to 180°C then fry your sausages in a pan. You can use whichever sausages you prefer or have a go at making your own.

Obviously cheaper sausages have less meat and more fat, etc. in them but sausages NEED fat to hold them together and give them that sausage-y texture. Also…they are cheaper! Because this is meant to be a frugal meal, right 😉

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Save money by buying whichever variety of sausages your butcher has on sale this week

When they are browned all over remove them from the pan, chop into bite sized pieces and transfer to a casserole dish.

Step 2

Slice the apples and onions thinly, and chop the tomatoes into a large-ish dice. Toss them into the pan you used for the sausages, add a splash of oil and the crushed garlic. Sautée for about 15 minutes until soft. When they are done add them to the casserole dish with the sausages.

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Don't wash your pan after cooking the sausages. It saves time and add flavour!

Step 3
Here is where you forget the packet of goodness-knows-what-dried-powder that you find in the supermarket, and instead make a delicious alternative with REAL ingredients. In a bowl mix together the remaining ingredients from the list and pour over the sausage mixture. Give it a good stir and pop it into the oven. Cook for 45 minutes with the lid on.

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Cook on 180°C or 350°F for 45 minutes

While you wait…
Do yourself a favour and make up a BIG bowl of mashed potato. The creamier the better. It is the perfect accompaniment to Devilled Sausages.

Enjoy!

Now I didn’t share a photo of the finished product because let’s face it, no matter how awesome this tastes it is never going to be a particularly pretty dish. Looks aside, my munchkins are GUARANTEED to eat seconds and even thirds when I cook this dish. Any leftovers make the perfect lunch for The Mister to take to work with some buttered bread.

Honestly, the vast majority of us are living on a budget so it makes sense to have a few of these frugal meals up our sleeves. 
What is your favourite frugal dinner?

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A Shameful Collection: otherwise titled ‘Perfect Steamed Rice’

I have a collection of large, white, plastic spoons. And while I love these spoons and use them daily for serving dinner, it’s not a collection I’m particularly proud of. You see, each of these spoons came with a rice cooker. One. Per. Cooker.

Yes, I’ve been through more than my share of rice cookers over the years. They are cheap and (I think) designed to break within the year. Truly, they don’t even save much in the way of time and effort. And you know what- they don’t even make particularly nice rice!

I’ll share a secret with you. Steamed rice is one of THE EASIEST foods to prepare. Once you’ve done it this way, you’ll never want to use a rice cooker again.

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Measure out 2 cups of rice then put it into a strainer. Wash. Thoroughly. Hold the strainer under running water and move the rice around with your fingers to make sure it all gets washed. Wash it until the water runs clear. DO NOT skimp on the washing.

Put your rice into a large pot and cover with water. Make sure the water comes to about 2cm above the rice.  Set your pot on the stove over high heat and pop on the lid.

Now listen. Once you can hear the water boil, turn the heat down low. You are absolutely NOT to take off the lid to check. Just listen for the boiling.

Once it’s boiling and you’ve turned the heat down, start timing. 10 minutes. When the ten minutes are up remove the pot from the stove and set it on a board. You are still not allowed to take off the lid. No peeking! Time another 10 minutes.

Now your rice is done! Yes, you can finally take the lid off and look and what you’ve cooked. You are looking at absolutely perfect steamed rice. Take that rice cooker! All it needs is a little fluffing with a fork or chopsticks.

While I love my spoons, I will NEVER be adding another one to my collection.

2 cups of dry rice makes approximately 4 cups of cooked rice.
I used medium grain white rice in this recipe.

Cooking like a grandma: Stewed Rhubarb

I cook like a grandma.

When I was little, I used to plan weekends at my Nanna’s house. I’d spend some time during the week pouring over old cookbooks, making a shopping list and then come Sunday, we would COOK!

We made cakes, biscuits, Welsh rarebit, roast dinners with all the trimmings. There was custard, ice cream made from scratch, sausage rolls and vegetable soup. It was old-fashioned, made by hand and rarely expensive. The ingredients were REAL FOOD.  No packets meant little to no waste. These days with my Nanna are some of my most loved childhood memories.

As an adult, when I hear people say they don’t know how to cook, that it’s too hard or too expensive to cook real food, I feel they are really saying that they never learnt to cook like a grandma. I’m no gourmet, but I can make a mean apple pie, and I’d love to teach you some basic recipes…like my Nanna makes.

I found some rhubarb on sale this week *SCORE* took it home and stewed it. Stewed fruit is perfect for making crumbles, a fav with babies (just mash it a bit with a fork if need be), and perfectly delicious on its own. Hot or cold, just add cream 😉

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You’ll need:
A bunch of rhubarb
An orange (juice and zest)
A quarter cup of sugar (feel free to use an alternative… or even leave it out if you don’t mind your fruit tart)
Water

Simply chop the rhubarb into roughly inch long pieces. Put it in a pot with the orange juice and zest. Sprinkle over the sugar if you are using it, just cover with water and put the pot on high heat.

Bring to the boil, making sure your fruit stays under the water. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the fruit is soft. Once it’s ready…EAT IT :p

Keep your stewed rhubarb in a covered container in the fridge. Storing it with its juice will help it keep without drying out, and it’s good for a few days.

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Did your grandmother teach you how to cook?

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