With spring still a fair way off, we thought it was time to dig into the Oily Rag archives to find more reader tips for low-cost winter meals. But first we are going to celebrate the Royal baby with a special right royal recipe: the Prince's bubble and squeak.
All you need for this great English traditional meal is equal amounts of cold meat, cooked potato and cooked cabbage, along with some butter, pepper and salt. Chop potatoes into large chunks and fry in a little butter. Add cabbage with salt and pepper to taste. Fry slices of meat to heat through, then place meat into a hot dish with alternate layers of vegetables.
Onelady7 from Hamilton has a sausage pie recipe for others to try. "Use two of the tubes of sausage meat for a family-size pie, a packet of puff pastry, some herbs of your choice - fresh or dried - and some chopped and sauteed onions. Use a dish that can go in the oven and put pastry on the bottom and sides.
"Add a layer of sausage meat, cover with herbs and onions, then add the rest of the meat. Put pastry on top and bake until the pastry is cooked."
JayFKay from Manurewa also works wonders with simple sausages. "Cook cubed potatoes. Fry sausages and sliced onions.
"Drain off fat and cut sausages into three. Make up a packet of Maggi oxtail soup with 1 & 1/2 cups of water, add to pan with sausages, onions, potatoes and mixed frozen veges. Heat until frozen veges are cooked."
Linda from Te Puke says, "We empty a tube of sausage meat and a finely chopped onion into a glass dish, squish together, then microwave until cooked. Add a tin of baked beans and spread over, then cover with mashed potato and a sprinkle of grated cheese. Grill until brown."
Cate from Hamilton knows what it's like being a student living off the smell of an oily rag. "When we were both studying with a young family, we discovered that adding a good heap of rolled oats to the mince mixture was a fantastic healthy 'stretcher' to bulk up the patties. Even better is to then add grated carrot or zucchini, which puts moisture back into the patties and is unrecognisable to those fussy vegetable-averse people." Great tip Cate!
M.E. from Auckland has a favourite way with chicken. "Buy a fresh or frozen whole chicken on special and cut it up yourself. It is so easy and you get two full chicken breasts, two thighs, two wings, two drumsticks and a carcass for chicken stew and dumplings. Cooking for one, a chicken can last me up to two weeks. I also get three servings out of each breast by cubing and using in gravy and steamed rice dishes like butter chicken, Thai curries or teriyaki chicken. Think about when you get a takeaway butter chicken - you really only get about a breast's worth in a container for two to four."
M.E. also has a favourite recipe for rice, which must be one of the cheapest ingredients to use - which is why it is one of the world's most popular foods. "One of my favourite cheap, yummy meals that Mum makes is eggs and rice. Cut onions into thick slices and cook until translucent and add scrambled egg mix, then salt to taste. Cook on medium so it doesn't burn and barely stir so you have a nice, big fluffy scramble. Take off the heat for a minute before you think it's cooked because egg keeps cooking. Serve on fresh steamed rice."
Do you have a favourite winter tip you would like to share with readers? Send it to us at www.oilyrag.co.nz or write to Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei. Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ.