We’re back to budgeting. It’s hard working full time and getting meals on the table -and unfortunately convenience costs. We’re trying to shy away from easy expensive large supermarket shopping; admittedly there isn’t as much choice but it is forcing us to think more about we eat.

Slow cooking is great as it means there’s a healthy dinner on the table when we get in, but that relies on me remembering to prepare the vegetables before I leave for work and I’d rather have an extra coffee and a cuddle with the boys!

This week I wanted to make a stew/soup style dish and I decided that tinned vegetables would be the key to speed. So on Monday, when I got in from work, exhausted, cold, wet and hungry, I knew that comforting stodge was needed. I put a dash of oil in the pan, added a handful of frozen chopped onions and started frying them. As they softened, I added a heaped teaspoon of minced garlic. I opened two tins of new potatoes and two tins of sliced carrots, rinsed them and added them to the pan. I chucked in a tin of chopped tomatoes, a vegetable stock cube and a shake of dried mixed herbs. I left this to simmer whilst I went for a shower,  then I threw in some frozen spinach and left it for another 5 minutes. When I was ready to serve, I crushed everything with the potato masher to a nice thick consistency.

Munchkin had his with grated cheese whereas Teen 2 (who is known for his love affair with spice) opted for a generous dash of extra hot chilli sauce. This went down so well, that I didn’t even get a chance to photograph it.

I think it really worked  and next time I’ll be brave and add extra frozen veg maybe broccoli, cauliflower and even sweetcorn to make it even healthier and tastier.

Snack time after school can be a flashpoint for some. Munchkin tends to just eat any leftovers from his lunchbox, but this week I decided to trial something new: homemade mushroom pate. I feel a fraud for sharing this ‘recipe’ but it’s just too delicious not to… I started with a 350g punnet of mushrooms which I chopped and gently fried. Once they started releasing their liquid, I added some of the minced garlic and continued frying until almost dry. I left them to cool them blended with a 250g tub of cream cheese (49p). This will (technically) keep for up to a week in the fridge but Munchkin,who despises mushrooms, had a taste and discovered he loved it and has had it on crackers each evening so that’s something new to add to the menu. I realise it doesn’t look too delicious here – but trust me, it really is!

Tuesday we had spaghetti bolognese. Discovering a new brand of meat free mince is always a nice surprise and at £1.20 per bag, it’s great value for money! It was a little coarser than our usual brand but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Mr six and the teens loved it.

So that’s a few days back in the budgeting world. I’d love to hear your food savvy tips