Cheddar and Broccoli Soup

Cost Per Serving – £0.45

It is winter, we have had snow and its time to think of those winter warming meals. Soup is a delicious and nutritious meal that can be enjoyed any time of day, serve with some homemade wholemeal bread and butter for a really filling meal.

I am fortunate enough to have a soup maker, I bought it on a whim a long time ago when it was this time of year and all I wanted to eat at lunch was soup. I looked at tinned soups and those in the chilled section most lunch time trips to the supermarket. The chilled soups lacked flavour and in my opinion were too expensive for what they were and I never really fancied any of the tinned selection. Don’t get me wrong I love Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup. I always have a tin or 4 in my cupboard. Tomato soup isn’t something I would make myself as for me the Heinz version is perfection but for all other vegetable soups I love to experiment and see what I can make.

I wanted to make a broccoli soup because broccoli is such a nutritious vegetable. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable. It is high in vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin K and Potassium and is a good source of fibre & what could be better than adding this amazing vegetable to a soup with some delicious extra mature Cheddar cheese.

The picture today is from a soup i retrieved from the freezer for lunch. I left it to defrost overnight in the fridge, added a little water and heated on the hob. It was actually still a bit thick so I gave it a quick whizz in the blender before heating. Traditionally this soup should be Broccoli and Stilton but I think at the time of cooking I didn’t have any Stilton in and I was trying to make something with what I had in stock in the fridge and cupboards. I always have Cheddar cheese in the fridge so the decision for Broccoli and Cheddar stemmed from there.

I used my soup maker to make this but you can easily make in a pan. Both sets of instructions are below.

1 Onion – £0.17
1 Potato – £0.11
1 tsp Lazy Garlic – £0.10
750ml Vegetable Stock – £0.20
salt and pepper to taste £0.02
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg – £0.06
1 Large Head Broccoli – £0.50
125g Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese – £0.63

Total Cost – £1.79
Cost Per Serving – £0.45 (Serves 4)

Soup Maker

1) Peel and chop the onion, chop the broccoli into florets and chop the stalk, add to the soup maker. Add the stock, garlic, salt & pepper & Nutmeg. Set the soup maker to the smooth function.

2) Once the soup maker has finished check consistency, it can be quite thick so blend further if required.

3) Stir in grated cheese until melted.

4) Blend once more until smooth.

Hob

1) Peel and chop the onion and cook in a pan with a splash of oil for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

2) Chop the broccoli into florets and chop the stalk, add the stock, salt and pepper and nutmeg to the pan and cook until broccoli is cooked through.

3) Using a stick blender, carefully blend the soup until smooth

4) Stir in grated cheese until melted

5) Blend once more until smooth

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Homemade Egg & Cheese Breakfast Bagels

Cost per serving – £0.37

A bagel is a great breakfast to start your week off. They are filling, less calories than you think (these worked out at around 225 kcal per serving) and you can make them for 11p per bagel! Yes, yes I know you can buy them from supermarkets, but store bought bagels are twice the price and definitely not as tasty as these homemade versions.

If egg and cheese is not your bag you could just simply enjoy it toasted with butter or why not add some cream cheese, alternatively you could turn it into a bacon bagel with mashed avocado. There are so many possibilities.

I did a lot of research for these bagels, I read recipe after recipe after recipe and looked at all of the reviews. In all honesty all recipes were pretty similar, stating the most important step is the water bath. What i found was the recipes I located were all just white flour, I wanted to add a bit of wholemeal to the mix so adapted my recipe to include this. Next time I will increase the wholemeal content and reduce the white flour content to see what effect that has on the bagel and carry on until i have reached a happy medium. I also amended my recipe to only make 4 bagels, I didn’t want to have to make 6 or 10 or 12…especially as these were just a test, plus I only wanted a couple for breakfast in the week. This recipe can of course be doubled to make 8 or tripled to make 12 – and of course once cooked you can freeze for future use.

180ml Warm Water
180g White Bread Flour – £0.08
70g Wholemeal Bread Flour – £0.04
1/2  tsp Salt – £0.01
1/2 tbsp Granulated Sugar £0.01
1.5 tsp Dry Yeast – £0.06
1 x egg – £0.11
20g Mixed Seeds – £0.12

Toppings
1 x Egg – £0.11
30g Cheddar Cheese – £0.15

Total Cost – £0.43
Cost Per Serving – £0.11
Cost with Egg & Cheese – £0.37

Egg & Cheese Seeded Bagel

1) I made this in my breadmaker so I added the ingredients in the order listed above. Ensure that your yeast does not touch the salt before the mixing process begins. Set your breadmaker to the dough setting and let it do its thing!

2) Once the timer has gone off, punch the dough down and leave for 10 minutes

3) Remove from breadmaker and divide the mixture into 4. Roll each section into a ball and then with a floured finger make a hole in each bagel. Stretch the hole out to be a couple of cm wide as it will shrink back very quickly.

5) Bring a large pan of water to the boil and carefully add each bagel, cook a couple at a time and cook each side 1 minute. When both sides are cooked remove from the water. Repeat on remaining bagels

6) Coat the bagels with the egg mix and sprinkle on your chosen seeds.

7) Place bagels in a preheated oven at 220 degrees for 12-15 minutes on a lined baking tray. I prefer to use a silicone liner but baking paper will also do. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a rack.

BATCH TIP – Make more that required cook, cool, wrap then freeze. Defrost and use as normal.

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Next Weeks Menu (WC 11.01.21)

As it is January one of the more depressing months of the year, here at Quids In Cooking towers we decided to have a review of what is in the freezers and cupboards to cut down on our shopping bill this week. We found we probably had enough for a week of evening meals if not more, we also found we had more frozen broccoli than most major supermarket chains.

We have two freezers here at Quids In Cooking Towers. Mainly because when the husband and I met we both had flats so we kept both as it seemed like the most sensible option. We tried to live with only one freezer at one point as we didn’t really have anywhere for our second freezer to live but I buy a lot of frozen vegetables and as you know we love to batch cook, so we eventually had the electrics installed in our garage and freezer number two lives quite happily in there.

Freezer number one, the one in the kitchen is mainly filled with everyday food, berries, a bag of frozen vegetables, garlic bread… you know the essentials. Freezer number two is where things get forgotten. As its a chest freezer its not so easy to remember what is where and we often find food that I had made and forgotten about. So this little January exercise really helps us remember what is what and to allow us to start from February afresh.

Here is a quick run down of what we will be eating this week. What is on your menu? Please let us know in the comments section or drop us a note on Facebook, twitter or Instagram.

Batch Cooked Lasagne
Creamy Mushroom Mac N Cheese
Sausage & Cheesy Mash
Salmon with a Tomato Relish and Garlic New Potatoes
Chicken and Broccoli Bake
Sausage Pasta Bake, Garlic Bread and a Simple Salad
Butternut Squash Risotto

Today I am attempting to make some homemade bagels, hopefully they will be nice enough to enjoy tomorrow morning with folded egg and cheese. To start the working week off the right way. Drop in tomorrow to see how this has gone!

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Creamy Mushroom Mac N Cheese

Price per serving – £0.84

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to cheese sauce. From an early age I was taught how to make a roux and then form a sauce. It’s something I have taught my husband and one day will hopefully teach my children, it is a fundamental skill in cooking and you can make so many dishes with just a few ingredients.

When it comes to Mac N cheese there is nothing better than a really cheesey, gooey roux sauce, well that’s what I thought. I have been browsing some very old recipe cards. I have had them for around 25 years, they have moved with me through 5 different houses and have been sat on my kitchen cupboards for the last 3 years. I decided over the holiday period to get them down and dust them off, after a quick re-organisation I found a recipe for Mac N Cheese. I picked it up and to my surprise no roux sauce, what is this wizardry I hear you ask…. I decided to make it for dinner one evening. I didn’t have much hope but I was so very wrong. It was actually blooming delicious. The sauce was creamy yet not overwhelming, I’m not saying that’s it, no more roux sauces for me but it made a delicious change.

What i love about this recipe is that there are so many sneaky vegetables added. If you are looking for a recipe that is healthy and packed full of veg well this is it!… not something you would expect from Mac N Cheese is it! I actually upped the quantities of the veg in this recipe to bulk it out and create a healthier dish. I used Red leicester in the dish below but feel free to substitute with a low fat mature Cheddar to reduce the calories further.

Serves 4

300g Dried Macaroni Pasta – £0.33
1 tbsp Olive Oil – £0.08
1 Red Onion – Peeled and finely chopped – £0.21
1 tsp of Lazy Garlic – £0.10
1 Red Pepper – £0.33
1 Green Pepper – £0.33
175g Sliced Mushrooms – £0.40
200g Low Fat Soft Cheese £0.80
200ml Passata – £0.12
Salt & Pepper to taste – £0.05
125g Red Leicester £0.60

Total Cost – £3.35
Cost Per Serving – £0.84

1) Cook the dried macaroni according to packet instructions

2) Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic, red and green peppers. Fry on a medium heat for around 5 minutes until the vegetables being to soften.

3) Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes

4) Drain the pasta and add to the onion and pepper mix.

5) Stir in the soft cheese, Passata and half of the red leicester. Season to taste and mix thoroughly.

6) If eating straight away, top with remaining cheese and grill under a high heat for 5-10 minutes.

BATCH TIP – I make this in advance and then freeze extra portions. If you want to do this follow steps 1-5 and then allow the pasta mix to cool completely before freezing or refrigerating. Defrost thoroughly, top with cheese and cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes. If you feel as though the cheese is getting a little too well done, cover with tinfoil for the remaining minutes.

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Vegetable packed salad with a protein punch

Today I chose to make a quick salad for lunch. This salad was absolutely packed with colourful vegetables and had a protein punch of a beautiful boiled egg and some mature Cheddar cheese.

Salads are exactly what you want them to be, if you don’t fancy tomatoes than omit them, if you love avocado add some on top. The possibilities are absolutely endless. The only restriction is your imagination.

Deconstructed brunch wrap served with homemade salsa

I started the day off by de-christmasing the house. It is a bit sad really the living room looks so bare now but its good to get back to reality I guess. For the last week and a half I have been living in that strange period of time where you don’t know what day it is, before you can blink it is 3pm and you don’t know what you have done with the morning. I have over indulged during the Christmas period and the last few days of eating normal food has been lovely.

Once I had took all the decorations down it was too late for breakfast and too early for lunch so I had a quick rummage in the fridge.

I love a wrap, I have probably mentioned this before. Its because you can literally throw anything in them and you have a meal. Left over beans in you pop, a rogue potato sitting on the fridge shelf, yes why not put that in too, some Mexican rice from the cupboard, sure!

1 Green Pepper – £0.30
1/2 Red Onion – £0.07
1 Potato – £0.11
4 Mushrooms – £0.25
1/2 pack of Mexican Rice – £0.18
4 eggs – £0.47
40g Cheddar Cheese – £0.17
200g Baked Beans – £0.15
2 x wraps – £0.22

For the Salsa
10 cherry Tomatoes – £0.15
1/2 Red Onion – £0.07
1 tbsp corriander – £0.08
1tsp Lazy Garlic – £0.10
Lime Juice £0.05

Total Cost – £2.37
Cost Per Serving – £1.19

1) Begin by making the salsa, chop the tomatoes and onion into small pieces and mix together. Add a dash of lime juice, the garlic and corriander and mix well. Put to one side for later.

2) Heat a pan with a dash of olive oil, chop the potatoes into small even sized chunks and fry in the pan, stirring occasionally

3) Slice the peppers, onions and mushrooms. Add to the pan of potatoes. Fry until cooked.

4) Cook the Mexican rice according to packet instructions and add half of the pack to the potato, pepper mix, stir in half a tin of baked beans and cook until the beans are hot.

5) Warm each wrap by placing in a hot frying pan for 30 seconds, flip and cook the other side for a further 30 seconds.

6) Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan, crack the eggs into a cup and whisk with a fork, add to hot pan stirring continously. Once cooked remove from heat.

7) Place wraps on a plate, top with a generous helping of the potato, pepper and rice mix. Top with the freshly cooked scrambled eggs, sprinkle with cheese and serve with the delicious homemade salsa.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog. If so please give me a like on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and don’t forget to sign up on our contact us page for updates to the blog.

New Year, New Start

2020 has been one of those years, when i look back it is so easy to remember the bad things, the global pandemic, the loss of lives, the terrible bushfires in Australia, the locusts in Africa, the celebrity deaths and the loss of jobs up and down the country. But plenty of good things, truly heartwarming things that bring a smile to your face have happened in 2020. Captain Sir Tom Moore turned 100 and raised nearly £40M for the NHS, the world united and protested that Black Lives Matter, Scotland made a drive to end period poverty and Marcus Rashford made the UK government U turn and made sure that no child would go hungry in the UK.

I haven’t posted many meals lately, mainly because the hubby and I have been living off Christmas leftovers and buffet food – yes, we had a buffet for 2 on boxing day & the day after boxing day, it was filled with lots of delicious picky bits, which if I am honest is my favourite meal. I love being able to eat a little bit of this and a little bit of that and I think we will be eating cheese and biscuits for days to come.

New year, new start. It is the time for resolutions, to evaluate your life and decide what changes you want to make.  I’m not sure why it always seems more possible to make life changes at the start of a new year, rather than just a Tuesday say, but the new year makes the possibilities seem endless.

Today I am planning for 2021. I have always been a collector of cookery books, a few years ago I signed up to a subscription service and each month I received a book based on a brand, i actually have no idea how much it cost me over the years and I have never really used them but I love to browse through every now and again for inspiration and i am going to find a more permanent home for them in my house. When I was younger my mum subscribed to a recipe card collection for me, there are hundreds and hundreds of cards and I haven’t looked at them in years either. I pulled the plastic case down off the kitchen cupboard this morning and I am sat with a brew going through and deciding what I can cook from these cards, so keep your eyes peeled next week for some delicious posts.

When I look back at 2020 I didn’t think I would end the year writing a food blog, posting meals and trying to help people and myself save money, but you know what, I thoroughly enjoy it. I absolutely love receiving comments from people who have read the blog or want to share a tip with me. That’s what i love about social media and the internet although there may be trolls lurking the majority of people have big hearts and enjoy taking the time to converse with others and cooking unites so very many people.

Looking forward to 2021, the vaccine for Covid-19 will be rolled out on mass meaning the vulnerable can start to socialise and we can return to a sense of normality. Quids in Cooking is also set to go through a few changes too. When I started Quids In Cooking, I quickly made the logo and the website. I wanted to get started and get my ideas out there but i haven’t been 100% in love with the branding and logo which is why we have partnered with a very talented design agency to rebrand quidsincooking.com in 2021. More to come on that in the future.

So from me and all at Quids In Cooking towers, thank you for your support in 2020. We wish you a very Happy New Year.

Love B x

You are NOT alone

So that is Christmas 2020 done, its been a weird one this year normally we have 9 people over for Christmas day, this year there were just 3 of us due to local restrictions. It was a lovely day but I missed the big gathering of family. We managed a mini zoom call with everyone and although that was slightly confusing at times with the grandparents it made Christmas that little bit more normal. I can honestly say Christmas 2020 will definitely be a Christmas i will never forget.

I know Christmas isn’t a joyous occasion for everyone. This time between Christmas and New Year isn’t always the best, people have suffered loss, are alone or simply are struggling with life.

Please remember you are NOT alone, if you are struggling this Christmas and New Year period and you need to talk to someone. There are plenty of people out there who can help. I have posted some details below and if this helps just one person it is worth posting.

https://www.samaritans.org

Call – 116 123 – Samaritans open 24 hours a day 7 days a week & it is free to call.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/

The Fry Up

Good morning. How are we all this Sunday? Here at Quids In Cooking Towers we are still in T3 lockdown so not much to do other than relax today.

This morning I had a bit of a treat and I had a full English fry up made by Mr Quids In Cooking himself. It was delicious. And i do believe things always taste better when they are cooked by someone else!

What makes a fry up for you? This was not a planned breakfast so we were missing a couple of things but it was delicious non the less. Normally we would go all out and have mushrooms, potato cakes, hash browns, bacon, beans, eggs, sausages, tinned tomatoes, toast and of course Mr Q would have black pudding. Fry ups are funny things as I would quite happily have one at any time of the day. Sometimes we even have it as a dinner if we have left over bacon and sausages from the week.

The great thing about the fry up is you can customise it to your tastes, if you are a vegetarian, try omitting the meat and adding some halloumi and avocado. If you don’t like eggs, you don’t need to have them. Cook what makes you happy! Cook what makes you finish your plate, put your knife and fork down and think that was right blooming delicious.

The key to a good fry up is the timing. Making sure everything comes out hot and at the same time. Its a bit like making a roast dinner in that aspect. So if you are struggling with timing the Quids In Cooking top tip of the day is to write a list of all the ingredients and work back how long each item takes. Use your phone to set timers for each item to help you make sure everything comes out perfect.

The Fry Up – Poached eggs, chilli beans, tomatoes, smoked back bacon, chipolata sausages and wholemeal toast.

Serves 2

4 Rashers Smoked Back Bacon – £0.59
4 Chipolata Sausages – £0.43
1 Tin Baked Beans – £0.31
1 Tin chopped or plum tomatoes £0.28
4 Slices wholemeal bread toasted & buttered – £0.20
4 eggs – £0.48
Pinch of Chilli – £0.05

Total Cost – £2.34
Price per serving – £1.17

1) Preheat the oven to 200c

2) Prepare your ingredients.
2.1) Open baked beans and tomatoes and empty contents into two pans.  Place on hob
2.2) Cover a baking tray in foil and add your bacon. 
2.3) Add a dash of oil to a roasting tray and add your sausages
2.4) Crack your eggs into 4 separate ramekins
2.5) Place your bread in the toaster so you can push the leaver down when you are ready. 
2.6) Boil the kettle

3) Place the roasting tray with sausages into the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.

4) At the 10 minute mark, turn the sausages by giving the pan a shake and then add the tray of bacon to the oven. Set another timer for 7 minutes.

5) Once your 7 minute time has sounded, turn the bacon, feel free to give your sausages another shake and set a timer for 5 minutes.

6) Ignite your burners (or turn them on if electric) and turn to a low to medium heat. Cooking your tomatoes and beans through. Don’t forget to stir occasionally. If you want to add a kick to your beans add a pinch of chilli flakes whilst cooking.

7) Take a shallow frying pan or wok and add around 2 inches of the boiling water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a very low simmer. Holding your ramekins close the water slowly drop the eggs into the water one at a time equally spaced apart. They should take around 5 minutes to cook, and every now and then take a spoonful of the boiling water and gently pour over the top of the eggs to cook the surface.

8) Press the toaster leaver down and get your plates ready to serve your meal.

9) Once the timer has gone off remove bacon and sausages from oven, checking both are cooked thoroughly. Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel allowing the water to drain off. The egg whites should be cooked through. Plate up the beans and tomatos and butter your toast. Remove eggs from paper towels and place on plate. Voila. Breakfast is served.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog. If so please give me a like on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and don’t forget to sign up on our contact us page for updates to the blog.

Homemade Brioche Bun Chicken Burgers

Do you remember a while ago I was having a bit of a rant about mince meat and my dislike. Which leads to one problem that I don’t eat Beef Burgers. In my house its all about the chicken breast burger. 100% chicken topped with cheese, in a beautiful brioche bun filled with lettuce, tomato, bacon and pineapple. Served with a side of homemade chips.

I will be posting the brioche bun recipe later in the week. So for now I will cost this meal based on shop bought buns.

This is a more expensive meal than the usual options i post but it feels like a delightful naughty treat.

1 Chicken Breast – £0.98
2 Tbsp Seasoning – £0.14
1 Brioche Bun (or bun of your choice) – £0.22
2 Rashers Smoked Back Bacon – £0.29
1 Pineapple Ring – £0.16
30g Cheddar Cheese – £0.13
1/4 cup Lettuce – £0.05
1/2 Tomato – £0.05
1 Potato – £0.11

Total Cost – £2.13

The beautiful thing about this meal is you can customise it any which way you want. Need to save a few pence, omit the bacon and pineapple which will bring the cost below £2.

1) Cut the chips into even sized pieces. I cooked mine in my ajrfryer for 25 minutes with a drizzle of oil.

2) Season Chicken, this can be done with herbs and spices or chicken marinades. Its your choice, of course you can always opt for a plain chicken breast. For the purpose of this i used cajun chicken spice.

2) Place a heavy pan on the hob and heat to a high heat. After 2-3 minutes reduce the heat to medium and add a splash of oil making sure the oil coats the pan. Place the chicken breast into the pan and cook on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes.

3) When your timer has gone off turn the chicken and cook the other side for a further 5-6 minutes. At this point i add my cheese to the cooked surface. Allowing it to melt whilst the other side is cooking.

4) When cooked ensure chicken is cooked thoroughly either with a meat thermometer or by cutting the chicken and checking the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear.

5) If cooking in a cast iron skillet or similar place under the grill for a couple of minutes to finish melting the cheese.

6) Slice your Brioche Bun and assemble your toppings. I chose lettuce, tomato, smoked back bacon and pineapple. Place your cooked chicken breast on top and apply any sauces you may desire (BBQ is particularly tasty in this combo)

Don’t forget to drop in later in the week when I will reveal how to make the delicious brioche buns

I hope you enjoy reading this blog. If so please give me a like on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and don’t forget to sign up on our contact us page for updates to the blog.