This will be the last ‘budget meals’ post for a few weeks. Even though I’ve now gotten addicted to checking the prices of everything so I’ll pretty much keep cooking this way. I really think that most people can save quite a substantial amount every month if they just actually start looking at what they’re buying. And where they’re buying it. So many people buy from the same supermarket all the time without thinking twice about the possibilities at other shops. I won’t be naming any names, but there is a certain Supermarket brand that prides themselves in being much cheaper than others. 2 years ago I wouldn’t set foot in this supermarket and now I absolutely love it. I still don’t buy my fresh produce or meat there but buying all the dry goods, cleaning materials and toiletries there saves us about R1000 a month. Then there’s a luxury supermarket which I absolutely adore but I can’t afford to buy every little thing there, but I won’t buy fresh produce anywhere else. Their quality is just incredible and the produce lasts so much longer than the produce from anywhere else. To start saving money on groceries, you have to start looking at different options. Try to find a really good butcher who’s not to expensive and buy all your meat from there, take into consideration whether the produce you buy at a certain supermarket will last as long as the same produce from a different supermarket. Start venturing out a bit and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Now, back to the food. In our house, pasta is a regular feature. We have it at least once a week because well, why the hell not? It’s such a good canvas for almost anything you can think of. I like doing bakes pasta’s every now and then and I actually made this dish without even considering the costs. I just had the ingredients in the fridge and decided to do a baked pasta with it. It just happens to work out to approximately R18.25 per portion, serving 4. Not bad for quite an indulgent and satisfying meal. Serve with a side salad or some garlic bread if you want to bulk it up.
500g (17.64 ounces) Chicken breasts, cubed
250g (8.82 ounces) mushrooms, sliced
700ml (23.67 fluid ounces) Chicken stock
125ml (4.23 fluid ounces) cream/milk mixed with 2tbsn maizena
1/2 tsp dried thyme (use fresh if you have)
1 tsp paprika
1tsp mustard powder (use whichever mustard you have in the house)
1tsp Crushed Chilli
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheese
500g (17.64 ounces) cooked pasta (I used spirals)
- In a saucepan, fry the cubed chicken in some oil until golden. Add the mushrooms and fry for another 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and allow to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Add the cream/milk mix and allow to thicken.
- Add all the flavourings and mix with the cooked pasta.
- Transfer to a oven-proof dish and scatter the grated cheese over.
- Bake at 180°C (356 degrees Fahrenheit) for 20 minutes until the cheese is golden.