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I’m officially on a fast day today. Definitely needed it. A solid weekend of boozing and eating far more chocolates than recommended for a monthly allowance, let alone a daily one, has left me in serious need of a cleanse…

Anyway, a challenge I always face on a fast day is what to cook the rest of the family. All hungry, growing lads (and the OH needs extra looking after at the moment, with his ill-health). I don’t want to inflict fasting diets on them, heaven forbid. But it’s nice to prepare something I can join in with, albeit in a lesser capacity.

We’re also really trying to count the pennies at the mo. The end of the month is thankfully fast approaching, along with a pleasant paycheque, but the overdraft looms over us and budgeting is definitely the order of the day.

So, this evenings meal is a bit of a thrifty one, mainly using things left over in the fridge! Hooray! And it could easily be doctored a little to suit the fasting dieter too. Result.

Leftovers Pasta Bake (Classy name, eh!)

You will not neccessarily need, but it’s a suggestion anyway:

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1) enough pasta to satisfy.

2) a tin/ packet of cheap chopped tomatoes. Nothing fancy, defeats the objective.

3) a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.

4) a teaspoon of sugar

5) whatever old onions and garlic you have lurking in the fridge.

6) a dollop of creme fraiche (again, lurking in my fridge, a dollop of cream cheese or cream wld do just as good I reckon.)

7) olive oil

8) oregano

9) leftover cheese. Cheddar is fine, but I had some emmantal to use up, so I’ve gone for that.

How to do it.

1) Get the pasta on the boil and chop those onions. Heat the olive oil and fry those onions until nice and soft.

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2) Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar and oregano. Then reduce it down to a lovely thick sauce. Pop the oven on at 200c.

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3) meanwhile, grate your cheese and put to one side. Now is also an excellent time to rustle up some homemade garlic bread too. Very simple. Homemade bread, bit of butter, rub in a bit of garlic, and sprinkle over oregano and parsley.

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4) when the sauce is cooked, add the creme fraiche and stir in. Drain the pasta well, and mix into the sauce.

5) pour the pasta mix into a suitable oven proof dish, then pour over your grated cheese. Should now be looking a little like this…

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6) Pop in the oven for 20 mins. After 10 mins, add the garlic bread (but keep an eye on it, garlic bread does funny things sometimes.)

And there you have it, a frugal feast!

The Verdict?

Again, a big thumbs up! The boys both polished off most of it and said that it was very nice. Even OH who usually hates wholewheat pasta, said it was very tasty indeed.

Total cost?

I got the pasta from http://www.approvedfood.co.uk (29p), the tomatoes were cheap supermarket basics, and the rest was either leftovers or in the stock cupboard. Total cost? Around £1.70?

Not a lot anyway. Again, big smiles! At under 50p a head, it sounds good to me!

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