Cheapskate Puttanesca

Hi everyone,

In a bid to use up my stores I discovered a tin of plum tomatoes that expired in September. Knowing that I have the house to myself tonight I decided to make a puttanesca sauce, but wanted to do it on the cheap.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t usually look for reasons to not eat anchovies and capers, but after introducing sardines to my diet back in the summer (when I realised how cheap they are) I noticed they had an extremely similar taste to anchovies, but are generally half the price.

Next time you make a puttanesca sauce, why not give sardines a go? A tin is 33p in Lidl (I am now obsessed with Lidl).

The ‘To Die For’ Sauce

Everyone has a Bolognese sauce they swear by.

Mine is Soya Mince, Pasatta, Basil, Oregano, Italian Seasoning, Onion, Garlic and Red Wine. The amount of Red Wine you put in depends on how good or bad your day was. Basically as much as will improve/enhance your mood.

This sauce was made all the more special, because it was just for me. The boy had one of those chilled pots of meat sauce (the trouble of living in a 1/2 pescetarian 1/2 meat house).

This meant I could add garlic, which the boy hates, onion, which the boy hates and red wine, which the boy hates. Basically it my idea of heaven in sauce format, and the boy’s idea of hell.

I like to pretend I am Italian, when the reality is that all I have to connect me to Italy is the anglo version of the name of their city Firenze.



Mish Mash Lasagne

I think a lot of people may be put off making a lasagne as it does take a good hour minimum, and there’s the white sauce to do, and etc etc.

But I like making a lasagne every now and then as it is a good way of using up odd bits and pieces.

Basically you can throw anything into a lasagne. It is an all forgiving dish.

In today’s lasagne there was:

A courgette the size of a marrow.

Loads of sweetcorn.

The leftover dregs of the frozen onion and peppers.

100g Dried Soya Mince

The leftover few pieces of a bag of Quorn Chicken Pieces.

Gravy granules.

Passata, half a jar of pasta sauce, herbs, breadcrumbs, mozzarella, cheddar, paprika.

I can’t claim my lasagne is in any way Gourmet, I just want to encourage you that if you have a bag of spinach wilting, frozen veg, a hunk of cheese and a lone carrot or something, then a lasagne will take all in its folds like a cuddly hug and make you a nice dinner with it.


My 78p Dinner: Runner Bean and ‘Feta’ Pasta

Ok, disclaimer. One of the ingredients in this dish was given to me free from my boss, and I am totally not including the store cupboard ingredients of oil and lazy garlic. Sue me.

Feta appears as ‘Feta’ in the title because to drive the cost of this meal down I bought ‘salad cheese’ not real Feta.

I am also not including my glass of Rioja in the cost of this meal.

INGREDIENTS (Makes enough for two generous portions which I am basing the 78p price on)

Tesco Salad Cheese – 90p

Tesco Loose Red Onion – 17p

Last dregs of my Spinach – around about 20p

200g dried pasta – a Tesco 500g bag of dried pasta is 59p so 200g = 24p

Runner Beans – Free from your boss at work.

Store Cupboard – Garlic, Oil, salt, butter (optional)



Prep your runner beans, these are the bugger to do veg, you need to ‘top and tail’ them and de-string them. If, like me, you have never done this before then watch the same video on YouTube that I did. Cut them into small pieces.

Put your pasta on to cook.

Add some oil to a pan and sweat your garlic and onion.

When the pasta is about half way there add your runner beans and spinach to the onion/garlic pan.

When the pasta is done and your runner beans are at your desired softness mix it all together with the salad cheese that has been cut into small chunks. Mix in a little butter at the same time over a low heat if you like.

Eat. Drink Rioja. Remember your favourite line about drinking Rioja from the song ‘TCR’ by Sleaford Mods. Hope that people don’t think you are a wine twat.



Tart Me Up or Down Easy Macaroni Cheese

It’s been a while since I last posted a recipe, and this is a household favourite, to the point that I haven’t thought to include it till now because everyone has a Macaroni Cheese recipe, this is mine.

To an extent it could be considered healthy because it uses cottage cheese for part of the recipe, I have adapted this from a Slimming World recipe I found online.


300g Macaroni (but you won’t explode if you use another pasta)

a 200g-300g tub of cottage cheese, use a basics own brand unflavoured one.

300ml Vegetable stock made up to your desired flavour intensity.

2 eggs.

130-200g cheddar. You will be fine with 130g but I have been known to go up to 200g.


Herbs: Chives, Oregano, Italian Seasoning and Paprika were all added to mine, but do what you like. ┬áDon’t worry if they are out of date, it really won’t matter, they just might not be as strong.


A 125g packet of Mozzarella, cut into little strips.

Secret Jillett family addition. When my Dad first started cooking for us after my mum left he was known to add a crumbled pack of crisps to the top of a cheesy pasta dish. Don’t knock it till you try it. But be warned, it may catch fire under a grill. That was an interesting day in the Jillett household.


Put the pasta on to cook.

Make up the stock, add the cottage cheese and give it a wee stir.

Grate your cheddar.

Preheat the oven. I’ll be honest, I rarely do temperatures on my oven and instead cook everything on Gas Mark 7. I AM AN ANIMAL. You are not. Gas mark 5-7 will cook it fine.

When the pasta is done drain it and over a very low heat add the stock/cottage cheese mix, add the two beaten eggs, and about half the grated cheese.

You may find the mixture splits, this is purely bad aesthetically and will have no negative bearing on the dinner. It will still be lush and yums.

Add the cheesy, eggy pasta mix to a nice big dish and add your tart me up additions if you are doing so (in the picture I have used all of them), if not just add the other half of your grated cheese.

Cook for about 25 minutes until it is as crispy as you like.

Dance around the kitchen to Absolute 80s. If you are not doing this when cooking then you are living wrong.



The ‘I’m now too full to move’ Macaroni Peas

I am still a woman on a mission to eat out of the cupboards and freezer, particularly now that I am…ahem…UNEMPLOYED.

I have vanquished certain things that have been living in my kitchen for the better part of a year to the pits of my belly, such as the slightly iffy prawns, and today I used up 150g of dried fruit that I think may be past it’s best before date in some rock cakes. Which were yummers.

I also made a Jack Monroe recipe of ‘Macaroni Peas’ which in turned was inspired by a ‘River Cottage’ recipe, and I can’t say mine had any originality thrown at it other than rather generous amounts of cheese and cooking water thrown at the sauce, but I didn’t really need to mess with such a simple recipe.

So that uses up some of the macaroni that has been unopened for many months, frozen peas which are always quite slow to be used up, and some slightly sweaty cheese from the fridge.

A frozen garlic baguette may have found it’s way into the oven as well.

I am now very, very full.

I may do some energetic hoovering now to try and make the food baby go away. There are no laws against late night hoovering here in the UK, is it true that in Germany there are? I must ask my Aunt who lives in Mainz if that is true or a myth.