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Frugal spaghetti bolognese

2011 November 15
by imperfectpages

I’m always keen to save money where possible, and with the price of groceries going up and up I’m always looking for ways to cut down our shopping bill. I try to bulk up our meals with veg and pulses, and today I tired a new version of my bolognese recipe that cut right down on the beef but still fed our family of four comfortably.

I’m the kind of cook who adds pinches and handfuls, not carefully measured quantities. When often use recipes for inspiration rather than following them to the letter. I commented in reply to Jenny the other day that I find writing up recipes quite hard work. But I don’t think they need to be, on this blog. I’m not a food blog, I’m just talking to you a little bit about how I cook. So with that in mind, here’s my very casual interpretation of a recipe for frugal bolognese.

I usually buy a packet of mince from the supermarket, either 400 or 500g. I’d aim to have some left over from this, but often we just get a bit greedy and stuff in a second helping when we could have done without, so nothing is left over for the freezer anyway. Today I bought 340g of mince from the local butchers – less than £2.30.

I fried

  • a small onion, finely chopped
  • a large carrot, grated
  • a medium courgette, grated
  • 340g beef mince
I then added
  • flour
  • a tin of chopped tomatoes and a splash of water
  • 1/4 cup of green lentils that had boiled for 10 minutes
  • a little bit of dried rosemary and oregano
  • worcestershire sauce
  • a beef oxo cube
  • pepper (no more salt for the babas – although we added more to ours at the table)
  • a tiny pinch of chilli flakes
Then in the slow cooker on low for the best part of the day.
I’m pleased to report it was lovely – really tasty. There was probably more vegetable/lentil than there was beef – better for your wallet and your health.
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5 Responses leave one →
  1. November 15, 2011

    thanks for the mention!! i am the same with my recipes – they are very slap dash and use up whatever i have to hand in the fridge or cupboards! my OH finds it amusing that i NEVER stick to a recipe exactly as I always alter at least one ingredient!!
    i love spaghetti bolognese and using lentils and cooking it in the slow cooker makes it a great frugal feast – wonder if i can get away with sneaking some lentils into mine without my carnivore of an OH sussing them out!!? xx

  2. November 16, 2011

    I tend to bulk out my spag bol with lots and lots of veg so it’s usually 1/5 mince to 4/5 veg – uber healthy and makes it go lots further

    Reminds me it must be time to have another bulk cooking weekend

  3. November 16, 2011

    Cheers I might just have to try that. Like you we just end up eating it rather than freezing it most of the time.

  4. November 17, 2011

    You could…substitute the beef completely for red lentils ;)
    It’s a dish I always serve to the kid’s meat eating friends with loads of success.

  5. December 3, 2011

    How are you? I am betting you are swamped by card sales, but just called to check xxx

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