This week we're skint and next week is half term, so we thought it might be time to clear out the house and sell some stuff, and clear out the food cupboards rather than buy new food. (Yes, Nigel Slater has shamed me!)
Today I looked in vague disinterest at what I had, then figured 'what the heck'. If the kids hated it, they could go without, I had no real alternatives in, and the stuff was all just taking up space. Turns out this was my most appreciated dinner in a while! I give you 'No cooking slow cooker sausage stew'.
Sausages (frozen leftovers from some event G helped at! We don't buy sausages so they were a novelty)
1 can tomatoes
1 can baked beans
1 can chopped carrots
1/2 can each frozen peas and corn
2 cans pork stock
Couscous (ours was mushroom and garlic, bought on offer for camping and not used!)
Throw sausages direct from freezer into slow cooker. I did take off the wrapping first, that was the tricky food prep part, along with opening the cans. Add the tomatoes and beans, drain the carrots and throw them in. Add the frozen veg, toss a stock cube at it and top it off by rinsing out your cans with hot water and adding it to the mix. Put on the lid, turn it to 'high' and leave it till your kids are moaning about being 'staaaaaaaaarving'. Then boil that kettle again (thats the hard work done), bung your couscous in a bowl, cover with boiling water and put your plate on top as a lid. Invert it first if you feel smart to avoid a soggy placemat later. Get out plates, clear the wool, googly eyes, consent forms, 500 mugs and cups and glasses and half-eaten sweets from the dining table, then stir the couscous and check it. Assuming its not hard or swimming in water, serve it up and top with the casserole. Add pepper, grated cheese or other nice things if you feel luxurious, or leave as is if you feel studenty. No mess, no cooking, leftovers are already in situ for reheating at suppertime. Kettle is boiled twice meaning you get at least two cups of tea during the tough prep time! Our sausages were free, so this cost about £1.40 for enough to feed 6 people... Kids hoovered it up and started mooching around mine and daddy's. Happy all round - and half a shelf cleared in my cupboard.
*I would usually make something like this with soaked black eyed beans, not canned, fresh veg, lots of herbs, spices etc, diced chicken or something and a white bean and garlic mash on the side. My kids really liked this cheap and simple variation, a much for mummy playing hide and seek rather than cooking before dinnertime as the taste. Not a recipe as such in that nobody needs to write that down, but a point to inspire you next time you don't want to head out to get veg in the pouring rain, and the kids are climbing the walls. Sometimes a basic meal after a few hours of fun with mum is the perfect family memory.
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