Climbing Trees and Calzone for Lunch


When I was a teenager and still living at home, my family and I would consider it quite the treat to visit a well known chain of pizza making restaurants for lunch, whenever we were in Exeter on a shopping treat. I loved having a pizza there where you could cut your own slice and serve it yourself and of course a large, refillable coke (although there was always too much ice which I don’t like!). 

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Bread Bolognese

Bread Bolognese

I am always on the look out for new recipes and in particular ones that are thrifty, allows me to use items I already have in my kitchen, and meals that will be eaten and enjoyed by all members of my family. That is not too much to ask, is it?

While looking in my cupboards Friday morning for some meal time inspiration, I suddenly remembered a  thrifty chilli  bake recipe which the talented Helen posted a while ago where she used bread – yes bread – in place of minced beef!! I was thinking of making a bread bolognese having looked through my food cupbaords, especially given that I had half a loaf of slightly stale wholemeal bread. Anyway,  lo and behold Helen had made such a thing herself but with lentils aswell as bread!!

So feeling inspired and a little creative (and sneaky to my meat loving OH hee hee!) I decided to have a go at making my own Bread Bolognese – and trust me not only did it look just like it contained minced beef, it tasted very similar too! You don’t believe me do you? Well, read on and be amazed !!

Bread Bolognese
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: mains
Serves: 5
  • 1 tbsp oilve oil
  • 6 slices of wholemeal bread, cut into small cubes
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 oxo cube
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes with herbs
  • ½ mug of white wine (only because I had some that needed using up, otherwise use hot water)
  • 1 x 400g can baked beans (optional, not something I normally add to meaty bolognese but i had some in the cupboard!)
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp oregano (dried)
  • 1 tsp basil (dried)
  • black pepper for seasoning
  • *To serve*
  • pasta of your choice
  • grated cheese
  1. heat the oil over a moderate heat and add the onions and carrots and cook for 5 minutes until softened
  2. add the peppers and garlic and herbs and stir, and cook for a few more minutes
  3. add the bread and the oxo cube and mix again
  4. add the tomatoes and baked beans (if you choose to use them) and white wine and bring to the boil
  5. then reduce the heat, add a lid and cook for 40-45 minutes until the carrots are soft remembering to stir occasionally to avoid it drying out/sticking to the bottom of the pan
  6. serve with your choice of pasta



Not only was this super easy to make, super thrify and saved me throwing out some semi stale bread, it passed the family taste test!!! *does a happy dance*

Seriously, they all ate it and once I confessed to my OH what it actually contained he actually admitted that he liked it and not only that but he admitted that using bread in place of beef mince works!!! *still dancing happily*.

I think this would be perfect for a vegetarian option too – obviously change the beef oxo cube to a veggie one- and could save someone from using quorn mince for any meat eaters, just use bread!  GENIUS !!!

This meal is very thrifty as I mentioned and although I used wine because I had some which had been opened a few weeks , if water was used in its place I worked out that this meal costs  (approximately worked out)

6 slices of bread – 50p
2 carrot –  16p
1 red pepper – 33p (taken from pack of 3 for £1)
1 onion – 16p
1 tin of value chopped toms – 45p
1 tin of value baked beans – 24p
1 oxo cube – 10p
herbs & garlic – 10p
oil – 10p

thats just 42p per portion and if you omitted the baked beans then that brings the price per portion down to 38p!!!

This is going to be made again and I will be experimenting with it now so watch this space (and thank you Helen for the idea!)

Linking up to


Breaded Turkey Escalopes with Slow Cooked Pepper Pasta (52 Cook Books #1)

I dont know about you but I have several cookbooks and I rarely make anything from them! I love to look through them, however, admiring the photography and getting ideas on recipes to make into my own, but I don’t often find a recipe that I then go on to cook for my family. It is a little odd really. However, I am also often at a loss as to what to cook sometimes and I do get fed up with the same meals I make for my family. The only reason I do not cook new recipes is because my boys (and even my OH to be honest) are a bit fussy and are not open to trying new food!

Well, with it being a new year and I find myself with that surge of enthusiasm to make some changes and try some new foods/meals that I only really get at this time of year, it appears I am not alone. Mary who blogs at Keynko has come up with a new linky called 52 Cook Books where she is taking on the weekly challenge to cook a new meal using a recipe from one of the 52 cookbooks she owns. What a great idea and one I am going to try and join in with as often as I can.

My first 52 Cook Books meal I made tonight and it actually combines recipes from two cookbooks, although as with all my cooking I have not stuck to the recipes in their entirety due to not having all the necessary ingredients. Moreover my meal has been inspired by two different recipes from two cookbooks – which having checked with Mary is allowed (phew!).

Here is what I made
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