Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner for May: Chicken, Exotic Spices and Floral Fruit

Minted Asparagus and Pea Soup with Melted Cheese Croutons

Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner for May:

Chicken, Exotic Spices and Floral Fruit

Roast Root Vegetable Curry

Roast Root Vegetable Curry

Hello and welcome to my FIRST Thrifty and Organic Meal Planner for 2014! As regular Lavender and Lovage readers will know, I worked with Organic UK throughout last year with a series of special menus based around key seasonal organic ingredients, and I created and developed new recipes and menus that used these “core” ingredients every month. Last month, April 2014, saw me share a “taster” menu plan with you that used some fabulous organic lamb for a special Easter menu - Organic Easter Menu: French Herb & Garlic Lamb and Pots au Chocolat - and following on from that post, I am delighted to share my first FULL Thrifty and Organic Meal Planner menu with you today, which kicks off my new partnership with Organic UK for the coming year. The aim of these meal plans is to encourage people to make just one or two small changes to their shopping baskets by adding an organic ingredient (or ingredients) to their shopping list; to show you that organic does not have to be expensive, and with some careful menu and recipe planning you can feed your family within your budget and enjoy the benefits of organic produce. Each month I will showcase SIX seasonal “core ingredients” and share some family-friendly recipes (including leftovers ideas) which wont’ break the bank. My core ingredients for May are shown below, along with my new monthly menu planner, shopping list and individual meal costings. 

Dukkah Crusted Roast Chicken and Vegetables with a Fresh Mint Dressing

Dukkah Crusted Roast Chicken and Vegetables with a Fresh Mint Dressing

Core Ingredients for May:

Whole Chicken; New/Baby Potatoes; Asparagus; Peas; Gooseberries and Bread

Menu Plan & Recipes for May:

Minted Asparagus and Pea Soup with Toasted Cheese Croutons

Dukkah Crusted Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables and a Fresh Mint Dressing

Roast Root Vegetable Curry

French Toast with Gooseberry & Elderflower Compote

Organic Dukkah Coated Chicken and Vegetables

Organic Dukkah Coated Chicken and Vegetables

As well as using organic ingredients, I aim to cook “within the seasons” and to keep the costs down to maximum of £15 per meal for a family of four; in actual fact, last year most of my meals came in at a very low £5 to £8 per meal for four people, which was extremely thrifty. I will also be sharing a breakdown of costs per meal (and per person), in order to show you that using organic does not have to be more expensive. In addition to the meal planners I will be sharing, I will also share some exciting and cost-effective “leftovers” ideas, as many of the recipes will yield plenty of meals for another day! So, it’s now time to see just how thrifty I was with my organic shopping list this month – I hope you will find my recipes inspiring and enticing, and I would just like to make the point that I shopped at various outlets, as well as using my own organic, free-range eggs in one recipe. I shopped at Morrisons, Aldi, Sainsbury’s and various local farm shops – and in many cases I took advantage of special offers on organic produce as they approached their “sell by date”. That’s all for now, see you next month with my new menu plan, and I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as my family did if you make them, Karen 

 French Toast and Elderflower & Gooseberry Compote

French Toast and Elderflower & Gooseberry Compote

Please Note: I have only listed the main ingredients in each recipe; “pantry staples” such as flour, oil, sugar, seasoning, spices and herbs have not been added, unless they are a large part of the recipe or are a core ingredient for the month. 

Shopping List for May:

1.75g Organic whole chicken = £10:95

450g New potatoes = £0:75

1 Fennel bulb = £1:20

350g Carrots = £0:50

2 Onions = £0:65

Dukkah = £1.20

450g Asparagus = £3:00

Peas (frozen) = £0:95

Organic stock cubes = £0:20

Bread (soup) = £0:30

Cheese = £0:70

Rice = £0:50

Apple = £0:25

Curry powder = £0:20

Gooseberries (frozen) = £1.40

Elderflower cordial = £0:20

Milk = £0:15

Bread (French toast) = £0:30

Eggs = £0:30

Total: £23:70

Individual meal breakdown costs:

Minted Asparagus and Pea Soup with Toasted Cheese Croutons = £5:15 

Price per person, serves 4 = £1:28

Dukkah Crusted Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables and a Fresh Mint Dressing = £15:25

Price per person, serves 6 with leftovers = £2:54

Roast Root Vegetable Curry = £1:95

Price per person, serves 4 = £0:48

French Toast with Gooseberry & Elderflower Compote = £2:35

Price per person, serves 4 = £0:58

Minted Asparagus and Pea Soup with Melted Cheese Croutons

Minted Asparagus and Pea Soup with Melted Cheese Croutons

More recipe and leftover ideas:

Chicken Club Sandwiches

Chicken and Vegetable Hand Pies or Pasties

Chicken Curry

Chicken and Vegetable Stew

Cheese and Asparagus Tart

Asparagus and Pea Risotto

Vegetable Stew

Vegetarian Baked Gratin

Gooseberry Fool

Gooseberry Pie or Crumble

Organic Dukkah Coated Chicken and Vegetables

Organic Dukkah Coated Chicken and Vegetables

RECIPES:

Minted Asparagus and Pea Soup with Melted Cheese Croutons

Minted Asparagus & Pea Soup with Toasted Cheese Croutons

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Snack, Soup, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion Easter, Formal Party, Valentines day
Region British
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
A delectable soup that makes the most of seasonal British asparagus and can be served as a main meal for lunch or supper, as this soup has tasty toasted cheese croutons as a substantial "garnish".

Ingredients

  • 25g butter
  • 450g fresh asparagus, woody ends trimmed (chopped onto small pieces)
  • 225g frozen or fresh peas
  • 1 litre organic vegetable stock (I use Kallo organic vegetable stock cubes)
  • 150mls whole milk or single cream
  • bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices organic bread (white, wholemeal or granary)
  • 75g Cheddar cheese, cut into thin slices
  • fresh mint and/or cooked asparagus tips to garnish

Note

A delectable soup that makes the most of seasonal British asparagus and can be served as a main meal for lunch or supper, as this soup has tasty toasted cheese croutons as a substantial "garnish".

Directions

Step 1 Heat the butter in a large saucepan and add the chopped asparagus and peas. Sauté the vegetables in the butter with the lid on for about 2 to 3 minutes and then take a couple of asparagus tips out and set to one side as a garnish.
Step 2 Add the stock and simmer for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the asparagus is cooked and soft. Take off the heat, add the milk or cream along with the chopped mint and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 3 Liquidise the soup in a blender until smooth and then return it to the pan. Reheat it without boiling and then serve in warm bowls with the * toasted cheese croutons, asparagus tips and freshly chopped mint on the top.
Step 4 *Whilst the soup is being reheated, make the toasted cheese croutons. Preheat a grill and place the sliced cheese on top of the sliced bread. Grill until the cheese has melted and then cut into small squares and serve as a garnish on top of the soup, see above.

Dukkah Crusted Roast Chicken and Vegetables with a Fresh Mint Dressing

Dukkah Crusted Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

Serves 6 people with leftovers
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 45 minutes
Total time 2 hours
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party, Easter, Formal Party, Thanksgiving
Region Moroccan
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
A dukkah coated whole roast chicken that is cooked along with the root vegetables in fennel infused olive oil and is served with a fresh mint and yoghurt dressing for an easy and tasty "one tray" family meal.

Ingredients

  • 1.75 kg to 2 kg organic whole chicken
  • 2 tablespoons dukkah seasoning mixture
  • olive oil
  • 12 small potatoes, cut into wedges (no need to peel)
  • 4 carrots, cut into chunky pieces (peeled or scraped)
  • 2 large onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • salt and pepper

Note

A dukkah coated whole roast chicken that is cooked along with the root vegetables in fennel infused olive oil and is served with a fresh mint and yoghurt dressing for an easy and tasty "one tray" family meal.

Directions

Step 1 Pre-heat oven to 225C/450F/Gas mark 7.
Step 2 Place all of the vegetables in a large roasting tray and add a glug of olive oil, about 1 tablespoon. Mix the vegetables in the oil and then add the fennel seeds, salt and pepper.
Step 3 Sit the chicken on top of the vegetables, prick it all over with the tip of a knife and rub some olive oil over it, then spoon on the dukkah and rub it in. Place the chicken and vegetables into the oven and turn the heat down to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.
Step 4 Roast the chicken and vegetables for 1 hour 20 minutes for a 1.75kg bird or for 1 hour 30 minutes for a 2 kilo bird, basting the chicken and vegetables at regular intervals.
Step 5 When the chicken and vegetables are cooked, take them out and lift the chicken off the vegetables and place it on a carving board or platter. Cover it loosely with foil and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Put the vegetables back into the oven to allow them to crisp up and brown.
Step 6 When the chicken has rested and the vegetables are golden brown and crisp, carve the chicken and serve it with the roasted root vegetables and a fresh mint and yoghurt dressing; make the dressing by adding freshly chopped mint to natural yoghurt and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

Organic Veggie Curry

Roast Root Vegetable Curry

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving
Region Indian
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
A fabulous curry that is easy to make and uses leftover vegetables; once the sauce is made, you can add your leftover vegetables (or meat) to the sauce and then reheat it when you are ready to serve it, allowing the flavours and spices to infuse and add more taste to the vegetables.

Ingredients

  • Leftover roasted or cooked root vegetables (such as potatoes, carrots, onions, fennel, parsnips and swede)
  • 25g butter or oil
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 small apple, cored and chopped but not peeled
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 300mls (1/2 pint) vegetable stock or water
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chutney
  • cooked steamed rice to serve

Note

A fabulous curry that is easy to make and uses leftover vegetables; once the sauce is made, you can add your leftover vegetables (or meat) to the sauce and then reheat it when you are ready to serve it, allowing the flavours and spices to infuse and add more taste to the vegetables.

Directions

Step 1 Melt the butter or oil in a small saucepan. Brown the chopped onions and then stir in the curry powder, flour, stock and chopped apple; simmer gently for 30 minutes and then add the salt (to taste), lemon juice and chutney.
Step 2 Add the cooked leftover vegetables to the curry sauce and heat over a low heat for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are hot.
Step 3 Serve with steamed Basmati rice and assorted sambals.

FRENCH TOAST WITH GOOSEBERRY AND ELDERFLOWER COMPOTE

French Toast with Gooseberry & Elderflower compote

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party, Easter, Valentines day
Region British
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
A brilliant way to use up stale bread, this recipe makes a wonderfully tasty dessert or breakfast dish for the family! Fresh gooseberries are poached in an elderflower syrup and are then spooned over golden, crunchy fried French toast.

Ingredients

  • 450g fresh gooseberries
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50mls water mixed with 4 tablespoons elderflower syrup or cordial
  • unsalted butter (to fry the toast)
  • 4 slices white bread
  • 2 free-range eggs (beaten with 100mls full fat milk and 1 tablespoon sugar)
  • caster sugar to serve

Note

A brilliant way to use up stale bread, this recipe makes a wonderfully tasty dessert or breakfast dish for the family! Fresh gooseberries are poached in an elderflower syrup and are then spooned over golden, crunchy fried French toast.

Directions

Step 1 Top and tail the gooseberries and poach them in the elderflower cordial water with the sugar until they are soft. Set to one side and keep warm whilst you make the French toast.
Step 2 Beat the eggs, milk and sugar together and pour it into a shallow bowl.
Step 3 Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan, OR on a large griddle. Dip the bread into the egg and milk mixture, for about 20 to 30 seconds on both sides and then fry it immediately in the hot butter.
Step 4 Cook until golden brown on both sides, cut into fingers and then serve straight away with a spoonful of the warm gooseberry and elderflower compote in the side and a sprinkling of caster sugar.

Thrifty and Organic

Disclaimer: Organic UK is paying me an agreed fee to create and develop these Thrifty and Organic Recipes. However, as I am a big supporter of organic produce, I am happy to share these sponsored organic recipes and posts on my blog, for the benefit of my readers.

Thrifty and Organic May

 

Comments

  1. says

    I love these posts as I am always thinking of ways to reduce my food bills and use up leftovers. You are very creative with your recipes, that dukkah crusted roast chicken looks amazing.

  2. says

    What a fabulous collection of recipes! That chicken looks wonderful in particular and I bet the leftovers would be great too. Gooseberries are one of my favourite fruits and I look forward to them each year – I have yet to see them this year but love the idea of serving them with over French toast.

  3. says

    Oh Karen! What a great selection of recipes. I’m a big fan of chicken, the one with exotic spices looks so tempting ;) I’m drooling all over my laptop now!

  4. says

    Oh, all that talk of new potatoes and asparagus is making me very jealous :-) On the other hand root vegetables are in abundance here right now, and I buy a free-range, organic chicken every week – I’m always looking for new ways to prepare them both, so there’s plenty of inspiration here.
    Sue

  5. says

    The Organic UK campaign is a brilliant one – esp as people automatically think organic ingredients are soooo expesive. Love the meal plan Karen and that asparagus and pea soup and crispy looking roast chicken are def on my meal plan.

  6. says

    Everything looks amazing. I buy almost everything organic, local, humane, free-range, etc., etc. I’ll sheepishly admit that I haven’t paid much attention to what groceries cost but I am amazed that all that only cost £23.70! I’m a rather extravagant food shopper, so I never feel like I can legitimately tell people that it’s easy to afford organic, but I guess it really is, which makes me happy because I’d like nothing more than to get pesticides out of our air, water, and soil.

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