In our house at the moment, we are both crazy busy. Tony and I work complete opposite schedules, I get home an hour before he has to leave for work, so cooking together is a thing of the past. I've come to rely on our slow cooker more and more so that I can contribute to our evening meals.
A recent visit to The One Stop found me with 4 packs of tomatoes for 10p each, and a Co-op raid gave me a pack of chillis for 10p. Can you see where this is going? Homemade pasta sauce of course!
I quartered all the tomatoes and threw them in, adding mushrooms, a whole pepper, an onion, 2 chillis and a good selection of herbs and spices, and set the slow cooker on “low” as I left for work.
Tony was left with very strict instructions to stir regularly and to take photographs throughout the cooking. About an hour before I got home, he thickened the sauce up using cornflower. I still haven't mastered making sauces in the slow cooker that aren't liquidy messes before adding cornflower. Any ideas?
All in all, the ingredients cost us:
30p one whole pepper
25p half a punnet of mushrooms
£1.20 for enough pasta sauce for 6 individual servings. Combined with pasta for 29p from Aldi (1/2 pack used) and some pork sausage meat (1/2 pack) I found in Tesco for 37p (in the frozen section with the stuffing balls – worth a look to see if there is still any), we had delicious pasta and sausage meatballs meal for just 36.5p each.
Of course, buying fresh tomatoes at full price would make this a costly meal, so I only buy reduced tomatoes to turn into pasta sauce. Or you can grow them later in the year. The sauce freezes really well too, so is a great money saver. Also great for using up everything that looks as though it is about to go off – the mushrooms in this had seen better days.
There are loads of slow cooker recipes everywhere you look. I don't tend to follow any recipes, but rather throw in anything and everything and see what I end up with.
Did you know that you can cook jacket potatoes in a slow cooker?