Friday, November 18, 2011

Sausage Rolls

Home-made sausage rolls are so easy, quick, cheap and yummy!!! A great treat for Saturday lunch - and fantastic for parties. And the best part about making your own is that you can add whatever you want! It's a great way to get extra veggies into a food kids love!

Puff Pastry
Chopped Onion
BBQ Sauce
Sausage Mince

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Take puff pastry out of freezer and allow to defrost flat - will take about 10 minutes.
3. Mix mince, onion, sauce and bread crumbs until combined. One portion of sausage mince from the grocery store (~$2) needs ~3 tablespoons of sauce and ~6 tablespoons of breadcrumbs.
4. Add in any extra ingredients you wish - veggies etc. and mix thoroughly.
5. You can get two lengths of sausage roll from each pastry sheet. Form the meat mix as so:


6. Cut pastry in half, apply a bit of egg wash to pastry on one side of meat, then roll pastry around meat, brushing top with egg. Cut into desired lengths and place on tray in oven for 20-30 minutes.



You can freeze the sausage rolls once they are made. Best to unfreeze them naturally, rather than putting them in the microwave, because of the pastry.

A note on freezing

If you buy the sausage mince fresh and use it fresh, you can freeze the rolls after they have been made. If you buy the mince frozen, or freeze the mince before you make the rolls, you need to cook the sausage rolls before you freeze them. Also, did you know that puff pastry can be thawed and refrozen? Very handy when you're making this sort of thing, as you often don't know how many sheets you'll need! I find i need 2.5 sheets for one portion of sausage mince.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

What to do with leftover cake

OK, i know this probably isn't an issue you deal with on a regular basis, but if you've got a birthday coming up (or you just had one!!), chances are that you've got lots of cake left over!! My son just turned 2 and i made twice as much cake as necessary, plus i had the off-cuts from turning a rectangle into a number 2! WHat did i do with the leftovers? Well, with the offcuts i turned them into trifle!! A very cheap and easy dessert that will go a long way! All you need is some cake, custard, cream (although, i don't like cream, so i leave that off and only my husband adds it!), jelly (49c a pack at woolies!) and a can of fruit (about $2 from woolies). How easy is that!

Everyone does trifle different, but i layer cake first, and then drizzle with some sherry if no kids are going to be eating it (which is very rare for me these days!!!), then i layer the drained fruit (i'll add in any bits of fruit i have in the bowl which are about to turn too), custard and then jelly on the top. WHat could be easier?

I've made 'single serve' trifles before too - same idea and same sort of layering. Last week i had some jelly that i'd made with some strawberries set in it that i wanted to do something a little extra - plus i was trying to amuse my toddler in that crucial 10 minutes before food is on the table!! Along with the jelly, what i had on hand was some choc chip cookies and ice-cream, so we broke up the cookies in the bottom of each bowl, then added some jelly and extra strawberries and finished with some ice-cream on top. We put them in the fridge while we ate dinner to allow the ice-cream to just melt a tiny bit over it all and when we served them it was perfect - hubby couldn't believe how much he liked it!!! What a quick, easy crowd pleaser :D

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin & Feta Pasta

I got this recipe off the Facebook page "$120 food challenge" and my hubby just LOVES it!! I've actually altered it a little, and you can do the same!! Take out anything you don't like and add in anything that you do like or have in the cupboard!!

The "$120 food challenge" is a really great Facebook group - it's by a mum who has a budget of $120 to feed her family per week - so most of the recipes she posts are really cheap to make!!


Olive Oil
Rosemary/Mixed Herbs
Lemon Zest
Lemon Juice
Pine Nuts
Salt & Pepper


Ok, there's LOTS going on with this recipe, but the beauty is that you can do them ahead of time and then just throw it all together at the end!

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Dice pumpkin into small pieces & place on roasting tray with oil, freshly ground pepper an half the rosemary leaves or mixed herbs. Put in oven and bake for 30min/until done.
2. Place pine nuts on oven tray and place in oven to cook for ~5 minutes. Keep a pretty close eye on them because they cook really quick!! Alternatively, you could fry them in a pan.
3. Cut up 8-10 cloves of garlic and place in a bowl. Mix with more olive oil and the remaining herbs. Dice fetta into 1cm pieces and mix through garlic and oil. This forms the pasta sauce, so use heaps of olive oil!!
4. Cook pasta ~15 minutes before serving (or 15 minutes after pumpkin has been put in oven if you are doing it all at once)
5. Dice bacon, zucchini and onion and fry.
6. When everything is ready and you are ready to serve, mix all the ingredients together quickly and serve! A recap, this will include:
- pasta
- roasted pumpkin and herbs
- feta mix
- fried bacon, zucchini and onion
- pine nuts
- lemon zest and juice to taste


Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Fortnight Menu

OK, proof that i DO do a menu a fortnight in advance:

Tonight: Steak Sandwiches
Mon 7/11: Carbonara
Tues 8/11: Apricot Chicken
Wed 9/11: Spaghetti Bolognaise
Thur 10/11: Chicken Snitzel & veg
Fri 11/11: Tacos
Sat 12/11: BBQ ribs with corn on the cob and potato bake
Sun 13/11: Satay Chicken
Mon 14/11: Imperial Beef & Fried Rice
Tue 15/11: Sugar spiced pork cutlets & corn fritas
Wed 16/11: Lamb patties with beetroot & tzatziki (new recipe for us!)
Thur 17/11: Chicken wings & veg
Fri 18/11: Slow roasted lamb with roast veg (another new recipe!!)
Sat 19/11: Rice noodle salad (look out world - 3 new recipes in 1 week!!)
Sun 20/11: Chicken enchilladas

Now, i can make everything up to Friday with what i've got already, so i'm going to get the groceries delivered Friday morning and we get our fresh fruit & veg every saturday morning at the markets. It cost us about $15 for fruit and veg for the week yesterday and i think the only thing i missed was carrots, which is only about $1 from the shops - and i don't have to get any of them until Tuesday :D I'll keep you posted on how much my Friday shop is for the rest of the fortnight!

I'll probably try and stretch this shop out to the following Tuesday as well, when i'll do another grocery delivery (i like to do them Tuesday and Friday because my son is in daycare and i find it easier without him around!!). I know i've got at least one meal already made in the freezer, and we might have pizza one night, so that should do us!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The best crumble recipe EVER!!!

Well, i think it is anyway! This is a recipe from my mum and it is the yummies crumble mix you will ever taste!! I usually use Apple as the base, but you really can use any fruit you want. Apricot, peach - even strawberries work well!! I will often mix in a little of whatever fruit i have that's about to turn with my apple. Anyway, here's the crumble recipe:


Flour: 3/4, 1 1/8, 1 1/2 cups
Brown Sugar: 1/2, 3/4, 1 cups
Softened Butter: 90, 135, 180 grams
Milk Powder: 3 , 4 1/2, 6 tablespoons

[i've included 3 different amounts for each - depends on how much fruit and how big your baking dish is. It's kinda a small/medium/large serving guide]


1. Put fruit in baking dish and spread evenly.
2. Mix flour, brown sugar and milk powder. Rub in butter until crumbly.
3. Pour mix over fruit and bake in moderate oven for 30 minutes.

Easiest, yummiest dessert you'll ever make!! Goes great with cream, custard and/or ice-cream!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cooking on a budget

Life is expensive right? And it doesn't seem to matter what we are doing, there's a cost - this is especially true to something that is basic to our survival: eating. Since we're on a budget, we have to eat on a budget - but how do you do this without sacrificing the quality of the food you eat?

Firstly, you MUST plan. If you haven't got a meal planner pad, either invest in one, create one in excel, find an app or download one. Personally, i'm quite tactile, so i like to have a meal planner pad. Mine is from Kikki-K, but i've also seen them in Typo, and i'm sure there's plenty of other places to get them too :D I've had a quick search online and come up with a couple of sites where you can find them:

The reason i like to have a pad of planners is because if i make some leftovers (like my cannelloni yesterday), i can then jot it down for one day in a fortnight or something like that - this avoids overstocking the freezer and forgetting about your leftovers, thus making your next fortnight (or whatever your grocery period is) much cheaper.

I try to plan for a fortnight and then i do my groceries ONCE for this period of time. This brings me to my second tip - avoid grocery stores. The more times you visit a grocery store, the more you spend!! Sounds obvious right? But it's so easy to do!! Run out of carrots for dinner tonight? I'll just pop into the store WRONG!!! Can you swap what you had planned for something else on your menu that doesn't use carrots? Can you substitute another veggie? Do you REALLY need carrots in that recipe? Simple way to avoid the store, but it does require a change of thinking.

By planning your menu a fortnight in advance, you can avoid visiting the store by making your fortnightly shopping list based on what you will be eating! This will avoid running out of things!! Which in turn avoids going to the store. Why is going to grocery stores so damaging to the budget? Because you tend to make impulse purchases - or buy more than you planned to buy for the fortnight. E.g. I have a rule that when we run out of yoghurt, that's it until the next shop. I had to implement this rule VERY early on because my husband would take a full litre of yoghurt and eat it in ONE SITTING!!! So, by not restocking the fridge with yoghurt every time we ran out, we saved money (not only on yoghurt, but also impulse buys that go along with that trip to the store), and hubby learnt to spread his yoghurt eating out.

Another way to avoid going over budget is online shopping. Once i've made my menu for the fortnight, i do my shopping online. I order EXACTLY what we will need for that fortnight and i can keep track of the total cost as i go. If i come in under budget, then i can splurge on a few extras. And if i come in over budget, then i can re-examine my menu to try and cut costs - checking the freezer for pre-made meals etc.

We have managed to find some great local markets where we buy our fruit and veg each week. This saves us heaps of money because the produce tends to be better quality, so it lasts longer, leading to less waste. It's usually much cheaper too, which is an extra bonus. I like to support local businesses too, but that's really more of a personal incentive than a budget saving incentive!

Seasonal cooking is another obvious way to save money - and get the better quality produce! You're not going to make a mango salad in winter are you? This is obvious, but you'll find that meat price varies throughout the year, and this principle can be applied to what's on special! Supermarket catalogues are a great indicator of what is in season - because that's what's on special!!! Have a quick flick through your catalogues before you do your menu planning and plan your meals around what's on special - this will save you bucket loads!!

Well, i've got heaps more tips and tricks, but this post is already long enough! I hope you've found something new and useful in this post - if you have be sure to join as a follower and share with your friends!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A new place to share & Cannelloni

Ok, so i already have too many blogs, but i've had so many people ask for this that i just can't put it off any longer!! I am definitely not the worlds best cook - in fact cooking is one of my least favourite things to do, but it's something that i have to do everyday and it seems that i'm not bad at it LOL.

So, here is a place for me to share my recipes and how i manage my kitchen on a daily basis. These aren't new recipes or fancy recipes. Just basic cooking to feed my growing family on a budget. We are a family of 4 now, with a 2 year old boy who eats from sun up to sun down and a 12 week old that i'm breastfeeding, so i pretty much eat along with my son!!! And we're on a tight budget because i don't have maternity leave since i'm a casual so we're on a single income

So, today i'm going to share what we had last night - Cannelloni!

Cannelloni is a really basic, simple, cheap recipe that can be prepared in advance and frozen of quick, easy future meals!! That's my idea of a perfect meal!! And you can put heaps of veggies in it too!!


Mince (i usually use beef, but any meat will work)
Feta Cheese
Veggies (i usually use carrots, capsicum, onions, mushroom and whatever else i have on hand - last night i added zucchini :D )
Cannelloni Shells
Pasta Sauce
Grated Cheese


Mix the mince, feta and veggies. Fill the cannelloni shells with the mix and line them up in a baking dish. Cover with pasta sauce - you can make this yourself or just buy it already made. Put it in a moderate oven (160-180) for 20 minutes covered with foil. Take it out, remove the foil and cover with grated cheese. Put it back in the oven for 10 minutes and you're done!!

The great thing about this is that you can make up as much mince as you like and add as much veggies as you want, then fill as many shells as possible and make up extra servings for the freezer. When you are ready to eat these servings, take them out that morning and allow them to defrost naturally - don't microwave them :)

Well i hope you have benefited from this post and i can't wait to share more with you in the future!!!