A blog follower (and friend) recently messaged me to ask me for weeknight supper ideas as she will be working 5 days a week very soon. Weeknight suppers need to be easy and quick, but also (somewhat) healthy... and since this is a money-saving blog, inexpensive!
Apologies in advance for not having any photos of these meals, but I'm sure you know what these are without requiring photos to accompany them.
We have these meals quite often because I know my kids will eat them. If you're wondering, most of the ingredients in the meals can be found at any grocery store/ shop, and I really don't "do" fancy (and usually expensive) ingredients. Just keeping it simple! Speaking of which, we eat together as a family and we all eat the same meal... we don't have "kids' meals" and "adults' meals".
I also keep in mind what my children have had to eat for breakfast and lunch and even for the previous few days. It's all about balance, right?!
There are so many meals listed here... I hope your family enjoys one or two new ones soon! I'd also love to know what your favourite quick, easy and affordable weeknight meals are too! Please comment below or on the Finding the Pennies Facebook page!
Take care, Lauren xoxo
I love blueberries... but they can be quite expensive. Fresh blueberries are delicious on their own, no extras required. High in antioxidants and low in sugar, these little spheres of goodness are often found in the Bolton kitchen. My kids love it when their awesomely cool mommy tosses a blueberry high into the air and catches it in her mouth. I know - I'm amazing. I also love baking with blueberries or adding them to smoothies... but I wouldn't dream of using fresh blueberries when using frozen work perfectly fine and are at least 50% cheaper.
Both of these bags hold 400g of frozen blueberries, but the one on the left from Aldi is 25% cheaper at £1.50 (as of last week where we live) than the bag on the left from Sainsbury's at £2.00. One noticeable difference, though, is the size of the berries - the ones from Sainsbury's are larger than the ones from Aldi, but they taste EXACTLY the same. And since I'd be whizzing the blueberries into smithereens or baking them until they burst in muffins or dessert, size doesn't really matter in this case.
I've already mentioned adding frozen blueberries to smoothies, but today, I want to share with you 3 more delicious, no-fuss ways of using frozen blueberries: in blueberry muffins, blueberry cake and blueberry syrup. Because these aren't recipes I've created myself, I'm simply going to provide the link to these recipes to give their creators the credit.
Einstein Blueberry Muffins... so great, they're insane! From EverydayCheapskate.com
I'm pretty sure this was the first blog I ever followed. Mary's recipes are so simple and frugal... right up my alley! Not only are these muffins delicious and pretty quick to whip up, but the whole batch comes in at about £1. Yep. If you want to cut down on the sugar, simply reduce the amount in the muffins or skip the cinnamon sugar topping. I only use half of the topping anyway, saving the rest in my fridge for either more muffins or on top of porridge.
Blueberry Syrup from MostlyHomemadeMom.com. When I woke up yesterday, I thought, "Doesn't waffles with blueberry syrup sound good?" So that's what I made for breakfast and, boy, was it good! Yes, there's more sugar involved in recipe, but there's also sugar in maple syrup, so the addition of blueberries makes it a healthier option, right?! Anyway, this delicious recipe only took about 5 minutes to prepare and can also be used to top pancakes and ice cream.
(Blue)Berry Upside Down Cake from OneGoodThingbyJillee.com. This is one of my more recent favourite blogs to follow, as Jillee blogs on frugal homekeeping, natural remedies, beauty and organising. I don't usually bake a cake on Sunday, but I did today for the visiting pastor to our church who was having lunch at our house after the morning service. This the whole cake cost less than £3 to make, took maybe 10 minutes to prepare and was ABSOLUTELY delicious. This is a definite "keeper" recipe.
I'd love to know what your favourite uses for frozen (or fresh) blueberries. Please leave a comment below or on the Finding The Pennies Facebook page. Take care xo
Don't you just love simple, delicious food?! I definitely do. Today I'm going to share with you my favourite method of cooking a whole chicken - it's seriously easy and makes the most of your bird.
This is not the first time I've shared how I make slow cooker chicken, but it is the first time on findingthepennies.com and for many of my newer followers. Cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker results in delicious, fall-off-the-bone chicken - which means you get every little bit of edible chicken of the chicken you've purchased as well as chicken stock to use in soups later on.
Start by placing small bowls or balled up aluminum foil on the bottom of the slow cooker - this will keep the chicken off the bottom of the slow cooker so the chicken doesn't sit in the juices. Then cut the string that's around the legs and remove it from around the chicken; it's helpful not to have the string in the way when you're trying to removing the pieces of chicken from the slow cooker when it's finished cooking. Simply turn the chicken "upside down" so that the back of the chicken is facing up, breasts facing down. Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper, place the lid on and allow to cook on low for 7 hours or on high for 4 hours. That's it.
Just a warning: the chicken doesn't turn out pretty AT ALL. It's not gorgeous and roasted... no, it's pale and shiny... but it's delicious and that's what matters. We simply had "roasted" chicken for supper this evening served with (store bought, frozen) sweet potato fries and sweet corn. We usually use the leftover chicken in wraps for supper the following evening, but you can also use the chicken in soup, pasta, tacos or sandwiches.
After I've pulled out all of the chicken... bones and all... I allow the slow cooker and stock to cool, then pour the stock through a sieve into a jug and refrigerate. If you're not planning on making soup within a few days, I'd recommend you freeze the stock until you're ready to use it. Yay for frugality! Yay for stretching your pennies!
I hope you enjoy making chicken this way, too! If you try this method of cooking chicken, please feel free to leave your comments below.
What is the perfect lunch on a warm, sunny July day? I'm sure soup came to mind straight away... yeah, right. Actually, when cooked in the slow cooker, it doesn't heat up the kitchen and it was very quick to get started before heading to church this morning with only a few steps to finish off when we returned home.
A Real Cost Savings
I'm sure it's no surprise to you that making your own soup is very inexpensive. Even using convenient, frozen butternut squash and onion, this recipe probably cost about £2 to make. Sure you could open a tin or two of soup for the same price, but it would never be this thick, creamy and fresh - plus, I'm always weary of the amount of sodium in tinned soup. On occasion I'll buy a carton of New Covent Garden soup on sale for about £1.25-£1.50 each, but to feed a family of 4, I'd need two cartons and there may not be any leftovers. Again, we had a large bowl each - the girls ate up their kiddy-sized portions - and there's some leftover for my lunch tomorrow! I just LOVE stretching our pennies!
The original recipe is from Peasandcrayons.com and calls for almond milk, which I didn't have on hand. I was planning to use plain 'ol normal milk when I remembered there was a small pot of double cream in the fridge that I didn't have any plans for (I needed less cream for a recipe I made yesterday than I thought); waste not, want not, I used probably a third to half a cup of cream in place of the milk.
Recipe - serves 4-6
16oz/ 4-5 C. of butternut squash, cubed (I used a bag of frozen bns)
6-8 large carrots - I definitely didn't peel them - less work, extra nutrients in the peel
1/4 C. chopped onion - frozen onion is my new best friend!
2 C. vegetable broth - I dissolved a chicken stock cube in 2 C. boiling water
a drizzle of olive oil - if you roast your veg first, like I did, but that's optional
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 C. almond milk - again, I chose to use up some double cream
If you choose to roast bns and carrots for a little extra flavour, lay it all out on a sheet pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with a little salt. Bang in it in the oven for about 30 minutes at about 200 degrees C, or until the veg is golden brown... but just make sure you don't burn it! Ick!
Place all of the veg, including the onion, and all of the juice on the sheet pan if you roasted your veg into the slow cooker... add in the stock and paprika... lid on.
Let the slow cooker do it's thing for 6-8 hours on LOW or 3-4 hours on HIGH, which is what I did. Turn off the slow cooker and puree with an immersion blender or use a blender or food processor in batches to puree to the desired consistency. Add in your milk of choice and serve.
The original recipe suggests serving the soup with toppings such as crumbled bacon, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sesame seeds and/or cinnamon... but I didn't.
We enjoyed ours with some leftover toasted buns spread with margarine or herbed cream cheese.