Monday, 4 February 2013

A week's worth of frugal food

Hello Dear Reader,

Did anyone see the 'Dispatches' documentary about Weight Watchers? Usual scaremongering journalism that assumes no one has a brain and no one cooks for themselves. They were berating the WW products, which I don't buy, not as I think there's anything wrong with them but because I cook all our food. If I were to go out and buy the 'ready meals', I would be very much out of pocket. Eating healthily does not have to break the bank or bust a gut. Today, we had our usual dinner of Sunday lunch revisited. We had a small shoulder of pork, which I sliced and put a one hundred gram portion on two plates for me and two hundred grams on two plates for Dearly Beloved.

 If you're wondering on my precision, I place the plate on the electronic scale, set them to zero and then start to load my plate. I did the same with potatoes, that I firstly cook by boiling, draining and then spray with oil (fry light - I use this whether I am being careful about weight or not) and then roast in the top of a hot oven. My weekly roast dinner is stretched to four meals and we always have a reheated roast on Monday. The cost was £1.30 for each meal and the points for my meal was  six, including gravy as all the veg are pointless.

Supper for tomorrow night, as I bought them and I'm going to use them, will be courgette fritters with spicy veggie cous cous.

For two, you'll need: 2 large courgettes - grated, 2 tablespoons of plain flour, 1 egg, dried corriander, dried mint, and dried parsley - a tablespoon of the combined herbs. Mix well, form into patties and dry fry in non-stick pan or you can use a spray of oil. Serve with cooked mixed veg, some sauted finely chopped onions, added to some cous cous with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and smoked paprika. I'll divide the fritter mixture in half and the points will come to three for the fritters and three for the cous cous as the veggies and onions are pointless. (6 points for my supper)

Wednesday - Spicy Turkey meatballs in tomato sauce with green beans and mash.

For this, you'll need a 450g pack of turkey mince, currently £1.25 in Aldi, and yes, I bough several packs and put them in the freezer, one onion - finely minced, two cloves of garlic that you squish through the garlic press,salt and pepper as is your preference, one and a half teaspoons of coriander and cumin - finely chopped fresh coriander is best but expensive, squish into balls and fry in a non stick pan with just a spray of oil. To make the sauce, you'll need another very finely chopped onion, another clove of pressed garlic and a tin of chopped tomatoes. Fry the onions and garlic with spray oil and add the tinned chopped tomatoes when they are soft, cook through and serve with the meat ball, some mashed potatoes and cooked green beans. We always have frozen green beans. I divide the meatballs so DB has two thirds and I just a third, I have 100g of mashed potato with no butter so my supper comes to six points.

Thursday - Bacon and Veggie Frittata.

I love frittata, it's the easiest, laziest thing to make and there's only one pan to wash.

You'll need - four eggs, a 120g tub of extra light cream cheese (I use Aldi) which you beat together, along with some dried or fresh chopped chives and salt and pepper to taste. You will also need chopped cooked veg, I'll have cauliflower, onion,carrot, courgette, red pepper, green beans, mushrooms. You'll also need, 4 rashers of bacon with the fat cut off, cut into pieces and cooked. Combine the lot and pour into a large non-stick frying pan and as ever, I'd use spray oil. For Dearly Beloved, I would add some bubble and squeak of beans, mash and onion but I'll just have half the frittata. My supper will have eight points.

Friday - fish and chips - baked and not fried. 

You can use any fish of your choice, I will use pollock. I'll dip them in egg and then bread crumbs so 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs attach themselves to each piece of fish. I'll cook them for just about fifteen minutes in a hot over and I'll give them a spray of fry light just as they go in. DB usually has twice as much as I do, but I'll have 100g of fish and 100g of chips, where I par boil them and then drain and spray them in fry light and cook them in a hot oven for 20/25 minutes making sure I add the fish in the last section of cooking. We'll also have a tin of mushy peas between us. My supper will have eight points. 

Saturday - Chicken stew (dumplings for Dearly Beloved) 

You will need eight skinned, boned out and chopped chicken thighs - (I just buy a pack from Aldi and do the rest myself) I know the above picture has whole chicken thighs, skin and all - which are wonderful for flavour and always best cooked on the bone. I just remove the bone so I know the exact weight of what I have. I of course cook the bones for stock. You will also need veg of your choice, I'll include masses to pad it out and make it more affordable and filling and will include: carrots, leeks, courgette, green beans and onion and garlic. I'll use the dumpling mix I have from Approved food to make DB's dumplings. I'll brown off the meat in a non stick pan, then the same again with the onions and leeks - add the lot to the slow cooker and leave it whilst we go out for a walk! I add the dumplings in the last hour of cooking but I will have just one. So, my dinner of 100g of chicken thigh, the addition of gravy mix and one 80g dumpling will come to 10 points. 

You certainly don't need to buy expensive ready meals or go mad on unhealthy food or calories to eat cheaply and simply. 

Over to you, what's on your plates this week?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxx


  1. I'm using up everything in my freezer in the run-up to pay day (the 15th) so we're having an assortment of leftovers, including Christmas turkey, turned into whatever I can using my kitchen cupboard contents! I'm enjoying the challenge!

  2. I get annoyed with reporters who get hung up on the frozen Weight Watchers foods. I have never been to a WW meeting when they were discussed as a major part of the program. In fact, they're hardly ever mentioned except as an option if you're in a rush.

    The strength of WW, IMO, is that dieters actually learn to cook low-calorie, nutritious foods for themselves. The fact that all of the Nutri-System and Jenny Craig foods come pre-packaged may make it easier to diet, but also potentially harder to keep the weight off when they're back on their own.

    There is a reason WW is the most successful diet plan in the world, and frozen foods aren't it.

  3. Thank you for the recipes - they all look scrummy. I bought a reduced celeriac today as recommendation on here the other day. Plan on cooking that tomorrow. Bonus was it had a yellow reduced sticker on it :)

  4. Totally agree with you Froogs - and Mike, too.

    There are some people who are scared of cooking, and the ready meals can help, but they are not integral to the WW plan. Fresh fruit and veg are encouraged, as is cooking from scratch. In the free magazine you get at meetings - Your Week (You're Weak as I sometimes jokingly call it), they often show you two versions of the same meal, one you can buy in and one you can make yourself, and the homemade version always looks more tempting.

  5. Thanks for the reminder that we don't need to buy anything other than healthy foods. Every year just after the first of January, I see scores of diet food products advertised, when all we really need is to get back to careful planning, and making ourselves accountable.

    I'm going to try your baked fish and chips. They look fabulous!

  6. Yummy, good wholesome food without loads of additives. Will try some of those recipes. The boys love a ww recipe I do for macaroni cheese. Instead of putting all milk in the sauce you use a veg stock cube and do half stock half milk, the recipe only uses 40 G cheddar.It is delicious and tasty. We have it with cabbage and carrots usually I double the recipe up because it is for two but, it is still a cheap meal. Jan

  7. We are eating all the weird and wonderful left overs that I have frozen. today was yesterdays left overs. But tomorrow we have 1 veggie sausage, 2 fish finger and some veggie rissoles I made from left overs a few weeks ago ( like bubble and squeak, but a lot more veggie squeak lol ), probably with baked beans. I want to eat everything in the freezer

  8. Hello,
    We like yam and black bean quesadillas. They are simple to make: saute an onion and garlic and add some tex-mex or similar spice and a little water. Then add one grated yam and cook about 10 minutes until soft. Add one can of black beans and heat through. Spray the bottom of a big tortilla or wrap with cooking spray, fill with this mixture plus a handful of cheese, top with a second tortilla and cook in a frying pan until brown and cheese is melted. Flip the quesadilla. I cut into 8 pieces like a pizza & serve with salsa.
    thanks for your recipes.

  9. well I think I will try a couple of these recipes for sure!!That willbe on our plates this week!!

  10. Love your blog; I'm a frittata lover, too; easy solution to both cooking and storing. I usually make enough for two meals, after Mum goes through and picks out the vegs she wants for her supper. She's not a fan of mixed foods unless it's soup or stew.

    I was reading some of your recipes and can see I will be trying them out in days to come. Have a great week! ~ Linne

  11. I saw the programme about WW and I found it interesting. The main aim is to make money out of people's weaknesses and lazyiness. A big reason that so many people are overweight is because they are too lazy to cook properly (or don't know how to) and prefer to shove something in the microwave. When you think about it, when I was growing up in the 60's, there wasn't so much fast food/junk food available. Both my parents worked, and they still managed to cook good wholesome food from scratch and they took pleasure and pride in feeding us healthy meals. I remember standing in the kitchen watching (and helping) my parents to cook. That's how I learned. Many parents now also don't even know how to cook, and therefore are not passing these skills on to their offspring.
    Sorry for the rant but that is my opinion.

  12. I don't meal plan in a strict sense but I kind of have in mind what I will make us for dinner and I do cook every meal from scratch. I do not believe in take away food or ready meals- I think the latter are full of preservatives and are unhealthy and I doubt they would be as tasty as the real deal.

    Everyone always asks me why I am not fatter with all the baking and cooking with butter and I definitely think that cooking things from scratch is the key.

    Yesterday I found a rib roast on the bone for $27 reduced to $10. I carved it in half marinated it and roasted it and fed us both for $2.50 a head. Tonight I will roast up the other half and make a salad and a cauli and broccoli gratin arrangement.

    I am always shocked at how cheap UK food is.

    I always take my lunch from home. Today it's crackers and pate. I had a slice of chocolate cake for breakfast. Look I know this isn't ideal in terms of health, but hey, it's what I felt like.

    I think a lot of people don't know how to cook, or find it boring or hard or stressful. I spose this leads them down the ready meal path.

    Love the blog as always.x

  13. Aside from the financial aspect, any nutrition program's ready-made meals are just too high in sodium for me to want to buy them. You can follow WW and make your own food. I know plenty of people who do that.

  14. yesterday I cooked a whole chicken in my Slow cooker with ots of veg. We had some of the chicken with made up gravy and veg and the stock was liqidised with the veg and made a very tasty soup which is now in the freezer ready for the weekend.
    I will be doing this again it was delish. Thanks for the tip last week.

  15. Almost every meal we eat is cooked from scratch. If we do buy a meal it is from a local place that cooks fresh with lots of vegetables.

    I have allergies to some of the lesser used grains, egg yolk, crustaceans, alfalfa to name a few. Therefore I use natural products most of the time as it is difficult to avoid cross contamination. I get very tired of cooking but that is my lot and when I discipline myself I am far healthier.

  16. I agree with your reader who said she is shocked by low food prices in the UK. I am also.
    Items such as your instant custard are just unavailable in the US. In fact custard mix is very rare. You might find it in a specialty shop and it would be pricey, two dollars or more for small packet.
    So many things are missed here by ex pats, Marmite is a biggie, I buy it when I find it, but it is over six dollars for a small jar. Salad cream is also sadly missed.
    Love your blog. Thank you.

    1. And what, please, is Marmite? Linda

    2. Marmite is...something Americans can't even begin to understand, LOL.


  17. I use Weight Watcher recipes, but not their prepared meals. I never buy prepared meals, I cook all of our food from scratch. I don't weigh it, but I measure it as I serve it. I cook in pots and skillets that require no oil, I use fat free chicken or beef stock to add moisture and I bake things in the oven. We seldomly eat dessert.

  18. Please interpret for we folk in the USA: What is a courgette? :-) Linda

  19. We eat wholesome food cooked from scratch. This week we have had beef casserole (made in the slow cooker and served with steamed vegetables (Sun), stirfry chicken with broccoli and almonds served with sauteed, grated sweet potato (Mon) and bacon, mushrooms and scrambled eggs (Tues). Tonight will be grilled sausages and salad.

    I eat a gluten and grain free diet so almost all processed foods are excluded for that reason, too.

  20. Thank you for sharing such a great content. I am very glad to come across such a nice stuff. I love food and recipes all the time. I would love to recommend it to others. Merguez Sausage


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