Posts Tagged ‘school lunches’

I don’t bake and cook things at home to save money.

It’s not that I don’t like to save money, but rather that it’s never been my primary goal.  What motivates me is a desire to feed my family well, to cut down on all the hidden unknowns in packaged foods, and to minimise waste.

But as I’ve mentioned before, the huge bonus from our push to make as much from scratch as possible is that we’ve cut our living expenses dramatically.  And sometimes it’s nice to crunch the numbers, just to see how much of a saving this lifestyle really affords us.

Last weekend I baked rolls for the boys.  Here’s the breakdown:

A bag of leg ham offcuts from Paesanella…$1.86

Kalamata olives… $3.84

Sundried tomatoes (30g)…$0.80

Picasso sheeps cheese…$4

Sourdough bread dough (2kg)…$2

Oven electricity…$0.50

. . . . . . . . . .

Total cost for 24 rolls = $13

Lunch per starving wolf-child per day = $1.08

. . . . . . . . . .

I really can’t ask for more than that!  The bread stores well in the freezer, and our sons take two low GI sourdough rolls each day – Small Man’s are stuffed with olive and sheeps’ cheese; Big Boy’s with off the bone leg ham, cheese, homemade quince paste and sundried tomatoes.

Apart from the nitrites in the ham (which I grit my teeth and accept) and the salt in the olives, there aren’t any other preservatives in the meal – no hidden chemicals or food additives with strange numbers.  The ingredients are all topnotch and I’ve reduced the salt in my standard dough, resulting in bread which is 30% less salty than commercial loaves.  I know it’s not a big deal in a roll stuffed with ham and olives, but every little bit helps.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to make things at home, but in this case, a Saturday morning’s work saved me a week of packing sandwiches at 7am, and $50 in bought lunches!

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Here’s an easy way to use up all the bits and pieces leftover in the fridge.

Make a batch of your standard bread dough – I used sourdough, but you could just as easily make these with the yeasted bread recipe.  Knock up your dough and give it a first rise, then roll or push it out on an oiled bench to form a large rectangle.

Cover it with whatever you can find in the fridge – I used Pete’s chilli jam, a few slices of leftover sopressa, grated cheddar cheese and some of our marinated feta.

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Lightly press down the toppings, then with the help of your spatula, carefully roll the dough up, encasing the filling.

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Cut the dough into rolls – my  900g of white/rye sourdough made a dozen small rolls  – then place them on a parchment lined baking tray.  Cover and allow them to rise until puffy.  Preheat your oven to 240C (with fan).

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Once the rolls have had their second rise, lower the oven to 220C (with fan) and bake the rolls for 15 minutes.  Rotate the tray, lower the heat to 175C (with fan) and allow the rolls to bake for another 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown.  Watch that the toppings don’t burn too much, although sweet fillings, like the chilli jam, will always char a bit in the oven.

I keep stuffed rolls in the freezer for school lunches – the perfect thing for days when Big Boy has a 6.45am start!

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