Monday, November 8, 2010

Cheap eats ~ and a fun day out

Bloomin' amazing Ballarat Botanicals' Atrium 
I have the best mother-in-law!

Yes ~ the notoriously bagged relation in most marriages is a god-send in mine!  Up for the weekend and we enjoyed Fish n Chips on Friday (with champagne, from France, so it can be called champagne) and then spareribs with steamed vegetables and roasted potatoes.  Again, with champagne!

Some people have expense accounts, some people have restaurant tabs ~ we have a mother-in-law who comes up and spoils us rotten :D  If you've got a great mother or mother-in-law ~ let her know!!

Sunday we went and checked out the Bonsai Exhibition at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens and will be going back to the Gardens over summer to enjoy the flowers, the beauty and a couple of picnic dinners - just to change the scenery without spending the money on a take out or eat out dinner.  Hopefully we'll be able to rope in a few friends and even try a few pot-luck platters!  Sharing food, the meals and the preparation, makes life so much more gratifying!  Speaking of sharing ~ just had to share some of the pictures we took ~ SmallBoy thought the outing was going to be 'lame' - he wants a bonsai for his birthday now... *grins*


Mega Meals for Minimal Money

We all know fish is good for us ~ but knowing that MIL spent over $30 to feed us on Friday, its not going to be one of those meals we can have too often.  But for the cost of a large tin of no-name tuna in brine ($2.19) this meal will feed 4-6 people and you can add extra bits & bobs to suit your own taste and budget ~ or tailor it to what you have in the pantry and freezer! This costs us about $1 per head for 4 people with left overs for lunch.

Tuna Mornay - cheap, healthy and very yummy. Anything with an asterisk is optional.
Serve with rice or noodles (spirals, macaroni)

1 onion, diced*
1-2 cloves garlic*
20-30g butter
3-4 tbsp plain flour
1-2 cups milk (or 1/2 milk, 1/2 water)
425g tin tuna
1 cup froz veg (eg. peas, corn, mixed chopped veg, pineapple & corn is nice too)*
1-2 tsp mustard*
A little salt & pepper
A squeeze of lemon or lime (fresh or bottled)*

Melt a little of the butter to saute the onions & garlic
Add remaining butter and melt
Add flour, blend with butter & cook for a minute or two
Slowly add milk to make a roux (like a white sauce)
Add the tuna and mix through (until smooth, no chunks left)
Add the veggies and mix through
Add the mustard and mix through
Salt & pepper to your liking

Put on top of cooked rice or pasta


Easy as, little mess, yum...

You can do all the extra of adding it into a casserole dish and baking it ~ but it's only extra washing up to do and this is a tasty variation of several different recipes you can find.  If you put your rice into a rice cooker, that takes about 20mins and your tuna mornay will be ready at the same time as the rice.  Left overs make a delicious toasted sandwich filling and if you've got a Breville maker make sure you let it cool or you'll burn your mouth ~ experienced tongue burner warning!

Until tomorrow ~ keep telling your friends ~ buying those eBay items ~ throwing that spare change our way. Desperate pre-Christmas panic is starting to grow ~ we've still got birthdays before then and all the news on mortgage foreclosure auctions with only $3000 in arrears is terribly scary...

Don't want to beg - but when the news says beggars are getting $200-$300 per day - it's an option...

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