Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner:
Honey Roast Chicken, Hand Pies and Bread & Butter Pudding Recipes
February Core Ingredients:
Rhubarb; Carrots; Potatoes; Swede; Chicken and Honey
It gives me great pleasure to announce to all of my readers that I will be working in partnership with Organic UK for the next eight months. I will be creating thrifty and yet exciting recipes using seasonal organic ingredients and posting a meal planner post on the first Monday of every month. Each meal planner will have at least three to four recipes, all using organic produce and all keeping a tight watch on the pennies, proving that organic can be thrifty as well as ethical. Each menu plan with have a mix of recipes, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts, and will be based around a monthly set of SIX ORGANIC CORE INGREDIENTS. The core ingredients for February are: Rhubarb; Carrots; Potatoes; Swede; Chicken and Honey. It’s an exciting and challenging project and one that I am sure you will all find interesting, especially when you discover that organic is NOT that expensive. I will be providing a cost breakdown of each recipe and meal, and the cost will NEVER go above the limit of £15 per meal for a family of four, and in some cases with imaginative use of left-overs, you will be shocked to see that some meals maybe well under £5 per meal per family of four!
My first post for February’s Thrifty and Organic Meal Planner is all based around the wonderful organic ingredients of root vegetables, forced rhubarb, honey and of course a wonderful free-range whole chicken…….I have created three delicious new recipes that make great use of these seasonal delights and, as you will see the total cost of all three recipes is only £22:20! It’s a long held myth that organic is VERY expensive, however, as I have discovered on many occasions that is simply not the case; in the case of poultry, a large free-range organic bird will provide a family of four with at least THREE meals; the main event – a delicious roast dinner; a supper or lunch box meal of little pies and finally a pot of fragrant stew or soup made with the carcass. So, a high quality organic chicken costing £10 or more is EXCELLENT value, and will provide a family of four with several meals, plus the bird will have a superior flavour to one that has been raised in a more mass-produced factory environment.
But to come back to my thrifty plan, as you will see my large organic bird cost me almost double the price of a non-organic mass-produced bird, which tend to be smaller as they are slaughtered at a younger age; but, it provided me and my family with several meals of outstanding taste and flavour, as well as helping to support an ethical practice of rearing poultry for the family table. (NB: All organic producers are regularly inspected by The Soil Association for continued and current organic status to be granted)
One of the other core ingredients for February is HONEY; bees are going through a tough time at the moment, and it is imperative for our planet to ensure that their numbers do not drop any further. Huge numbers of bees have been lost in recent years, potentially jeopardising future food supplies. Their loss is a sign that something is badly wrong and there is strong evidence that neonicotinoids, which is a class of pesticide first used in agriculture in the 1990′s, (which is exactly the time when mass bee disappearances started occurring) are involved in the deaths. Organic Honey is regulated by strict set of guidelines, which covers not only the origin of bees, but also the siting of the apiaries. The standards indicate that the apiaries must be on land that is certified as organic and be such that within a radius of 4 miles from the apiary site, nectar and pollen sources consist essentially of organic crops or uncultivated areas. It may seem strange that honey could be certified as organic, as bees have a wide area in which they forage, however, there are standards for organic honey, as I have already mentioned, and I can assure you that organic honey is TRULY delicious!
For my February meal plan, I have worked with the weather as well as with organic produce, and have developed a meal plan that takes care of a main family meal or Sunday lunch, as well as supper, school and office lunches and a comforting pudding for a cold winter’s evening too. The meal plan costings are based on all of the major core ingredient prices as well as some of the higher cost additional ingredients that were required to make the dishes, such as butter, milk, eggs and flour. I have not costed in salt, pepper, seasonings and herbs. You may see that I served my roast chicken dinner with sprouts and Yorkshire puddings, this is an option you may decide to try, but sadly my sprouts were not organic and therefore I did not add them to the meal plan. Likewise, the little hand pies can be served as a supper dish, with fresh seasonal vegetables, this is an option as the recipe makes TWELVE little pies, so you may have some left after adding them to a lunch box, or, you can freeze the rest for the future.
The bread and butter pudding can be made from stale bread, very thrifty, and it feeds 4 to 6 people with ease, so the leftovers will make a nice snack or pudding for the children. Likewise, the rhubarb compote makes enough for 6 to 8 servings, so dollop some on your breakfast porridge, or make a quick crumble by scattering muesli over the top and baking it for 15 minutes. I hope that I have inspired you to buy more organic produce, as well as show you that it is NOT expensive to eat ethically. The three recipes are posted below, underneath the costings for all three meals, and they can all be printed, just click on the “print recipe” button at the top right of the recipe card. I look forward to hearing your comments about organic produce and some recipe suggestions of your own, have a great week and see you next month for another Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner, when there will be six NEW core ingredients as well as three or four new organic recipes. See later on the blog with my usual daily posts, have a great week, Karen.
Honey Roast Chicken with Winter Roots
Organic Chicken (1.95 kilos) = £10:18
Organic Butter (65g) = £0:38
Organic Carrots (375g) = £0:65
Organic Onions (375g) = £0:50
Organic Potatoes (1 kilo) = £1:50
Organic Swede (1 small one) = £0.98
Organic Honey (3 tablespoons) = £0:75
Roast Chicken & Vegetable Hand Pies
Leftover Chicken, Vegetables and Gravy = nil
Organic butter (125g) = £0:75
Dove’s Farm Organic White Flour (250g) = £0:30
Bread and Butter Pudding with Rhubarb Compote
Organic Butter (60g) = £0:36
8 Slices Organic Bread = £0:50
4 large Organic Free-Range Eggs = £1:40
Organic Rhubarb (400g) = £3:00
Organic Honey (3 tablespoons) = £0:75
Fairtrade Sugar (4 tablespoons) = £0:40
Organic Mixed Dried Fruit (4 tablespoons, made up from organic dried fruit and peel) = £0:50
Organic Whole Milk (300mls) = £0:30
Total Cost for Three Meals for a Family of Four = £22:20
(I shopped at Sainsbury’s using the So Organic Range and the local Farm Shop. Prices correct at time of publishing. )