Cooking on a budget is not a concept that I entertain very often but I am up for the challenge this month. This is my second challenge from Violet's Pantry. All those who want to take part have been challenged to cook a meal for 2 people on a budget of £5. This is the budget that they have on the TV program Ready, Steak, Cook for those of you that know it.
I do not budget for my shopping. Instead I just add items to my basket or trolley without much thought as to how much they actually cost. The only time I mind is when my dear husband comes shopping with me and starts adding CD's and DVD's to the trolley.
I was really not sure how I could come up with a meal for 2 people for just £5.00. My first thought was to make beans on toast as this would certainly come in under budget. That wasn't a very inspired thing to make though so I quickly left that idea behind. It took me a little while to think about it and actually the challenge wasn't too difficult to achieve. I had a look through my cupboards and fridge to see what I had and in the end I came up with a pasta dish. We eat quite a lot of pasta in our house so I thought I would see if I could come up with something suitable.
I made a creamy mushroom and bacon tagliatelle dish. This was based on a recipe that I had made before which used parma ham instead of the bacon. Changing the recipe to use bacon was very easy and although the flavours were slightly different, it was still a very delicious meal. Another bonus of this dish is that it was very quick to prepare. It took around 10 minutes to make altogether so I think would be a great meal to cook when you are a little short on time.
Everything except for the chicken stock and bacon was bought from Tesco but is easily available in any supermarket. I had previously made some chicken stock when we had roast chicken just before Christmas and had frozen small portions of it. I am not quite sure how to price this up and as I had it in the freezer already, I have not included it in the cost. I have priced it up for the exact amount that I used. The only other item that I haven't included in the price is the olive oil as this is somthing that is always in my kitchen cupboard.
Small pot of double cream - 56p
Mushrooms - 35p
Tagliatelle pasta - 52p
Bacon - £1.00 (I bought a lot of bacon from my butcher and used 4 slices for the recipe)
Garlic - 10p (I bought a head of garlic for around 50p and just used one clove for the recipe)
Parmesan - 75p
I was very surprised that the recipe came in under budget and by quite a lot too. I really thought that I would struggle to cook a delicious meal for 2 for £5.00. I am going to embrace the challenge and see how many more meals I can create that come in on or under budget. It just goes to show that it is possible to cook a delicous meal from scratch without spending a fortune.