Sausages and Beans in Tomato Sauce

Preparation time 40 minutes, plus 8+ hours soaking time.

This healthier version of an old favourite came about because I wanted to experiment with pinto beans. With no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, these beans are also very low in fat and sugar. Everyone asked for seconds so it must have been tasty! Prices this time are Tesco and Aldi prices.

You will need:

100g dried pinto beans, 500g/£1.09

carton passata, 29p

400g tin chopped tomatoes, 31p

500g carrots, chopped, 46p/kg

1 red pepper, chopped, 50p

125g spring onions, chopped 5op/125g

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce £2.21/290ml

1 tablespoon paprika 95p/48g

2 teaspoons garlic salt 95p/90g

500ml water

Dash of olive oil (optional)

6 sausages** £3.00/10

Total 83p per serving

1. Rinse the pinto beans and leave to soak in a large bowl with plenty of water (1 part beans to 5 parts water) for at least 8 hours.

2. Drain pinto beans and rinse.

3. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil with a dash of olive oil. Add the pinto beans.

4. Bubble vigorously over a high heat for 10 minutes, and then leave to bubble gently for at least one hour.

5. Meanwhile, in another saucepan combine the passata, tomatoes, carrots, pepper, spring onions and seasoning.

6. Add 500ml water and stir.

7. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 40 minutes.

8. In the meantime, place the sausages on a baking tray (do not prick the skins) and cook in a preheated oven at 180°C for 30 minutes.

9. Remove sausages from the oven and chop into bite-sized chunks.

10. Use a blender to whizz the tomato mixture to a pulp.

11. Drain the pinto beans and combine in a saucepan with enough tomato sauce to cover.

12. Add the sausage chunks and heat through until piping hot.

13. Serve with rice, mashed potatoes or slices of toast.

TOP TIPS

Timing is everything. If you follow the instructions in the right order, it will all be a doddle.

Any leftover sauce can be refrigerated or frozen and then reheated. Add a little basil or dried mixed herbs for a tasty pasta sauce.

**I used a 10 pack of sausages. I cooked all 10 and then saved 4 sausages for lunch boxes the following day.

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Slow-cooker Spring Supper

10 mins preparation

I had a bag of prepared leeks and spring greens in my fridge that needed using up, plus a chorizo sausage. I also knew I was going to be busy that day, so I decided to use my slow cooker. I came up with this delicious recipe. By dinner time we had faster than fast food – we had a ready and waiting steaming hot supper! This time I shopped in Tesco and Aldi, so the prices are based on those shops.

You will need:

225g chorizo, cut into chunks  £2.50/225g (Tesco)

300g bag leeks and spring greens or leeks and cabbage £1.00/300g (Tesco)

75g chopped onion (I use frozen, chopped onion) £1.00/500g (Tesco)

75g chopped pepper (I use frozen, chopped mixed peppers) £1.00/500g (Tesco)

500g carton passata 29p/500g (Aldi)

400g tin chopped tomatoes 31p/400g (Aldi)

150g red lentils £2.99/2kg

567g tin potatoes 15p/567g

Handful of fresh parsley (from windowsill)

1 chicken stock cube £3.00/200g (Tesco)

Water

Total: 98p per serving (less if you use Tesco value stock cubes)

1. Put onion, pepper, chorizo, chopped tomatoes, lentils, potatoes and passata into slow cooker.

2. Add parsley and stock cube.

3. Top up with water with enough room to cover.

4. Stir and leave to cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

5. Bob’s your uncle. Dish it up after a long day, steaming hot. Serve with some grated cheese.

TOP TIPS

Although this recipe was designed for a family of five, it had plenty left over. Why not freeze what’s left for another day when you don’t want to cook or want something quick and healthy to eat without resorting to ready-meals.

Jacket Potatoes

Preparation time 5 minutes, cooking time 1-2 hours.

Why am I including jacket potatoes on my Easy Cooking blog? Because they are often overlooked as an ideal cheap, nutritious way to feed a family. Yet they are so simple to prepare and very filling. Jacket potatoes can be filled with a variety of foods and an accompanying salad always goes down a treat.

You will need:

1 large potato per person, scrubbed but not peeled, 87.2p/kg

Dribble of vegetable oil (optional)

Approx. 21p per serving

1. Prick the potato a few times with the pointy end of a small, sharp knife. This is so that the insides cook evenly.

2. Dribble oil and smear it over the potato with your hands. A little goes a very long way.

3. Place into a pre-heated oven 150°C for 2 hours, or 200°C for 60 minutes.

4. Slice in half and serve with butter, margarine, grated cheese, baked beans, houmous, tuna and mayonnaise, leftover stew, leftover chilli, etc., etc.

TOP TIPS

An alternative to the humble potato is the sweet potato, which cooks in exactly the same way but is slightly more expensive, coming in currently at £1.28/kg

At around 25p a tin, ‘economy’ or ‘value’ baked beans make an ideal filling.

I love my sweet potato with a little vegetable margarine and a sprinkling of herbamare. Delicious!