No. 44 – Sheffield Futures #nomineat Challenge

Sheffield Futures are a charity based in the city, supporting young people, aged 16-25 to:

  • live healthy lifestyles,
  • look after themselves,
  • develop skills needed in a successful adulthood,
  • make a positive contribution to their community, and
  • overcome disadvantage and reach their full potential.

In other words, they are pretty awesome!


When I heard about their #nomineat challenge, which wants people to share their favourite meal to cook for under £3 per person, with the recipes being used in the charity’s ‘Money for Life‘ masterclasses, I had to get involved.

January is all about budget cooking for me, less cost, but still packing a flavour punch with meals that are nourishing and filling for growing kids and young people at the same time.

I got my kids involved, and their suggestion was one of their favourites – my ‘Beany Cheesy pasta bake‘ – easy to make, full of veggie protein, requiring only 2 pans and an oven dish, and no fancy ingredients (plus you have to make a cheese sauce from scratch which is an essential life skill in my opinion). And the dish comes in at £3.62 but serves 4 people, so plenty of budget left for pudding!

Ingredients (all from Tesco, and own brand, but not basics range)

  • Tablespoon olive oil (3p)
  • Red onion, diced (15p)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (6p)
  • 2 red or yellow peppers, chopped (86p)
  • 2 tin tomatoes (70p)
  • 350g dried pasta (35p)
  • Vegetable stock cube (5p)
  • Tin black beans (50p)
  • Sprinkle of chilli powder (1p)
  • 40g margarine (8p)
  • 40g plain flour (4p)
  • 400ml semi skimmed milk (20p)
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated (60p)


  1. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic and tinned tomatoes to a pan and cook over a medium heat until the vegetables are softened.
  2. Add in the tinned tomatoes, pasta, stock cube, drained black beans and chilli powder, stir well and cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Keep stirring occasionally and checking that the pasta isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan (you may need to add a little water to the pan).
  4. In the meantime, melt the margarine in the other pan over a medium heat, then add the flour and stir well for a minute until the mixture starts to thicken.
  5. Add the milk little by little, stirring well, and ensuring the sauce has no lumps, until all of the milk is incorporated and you have a lovely thick smooth white sauce. This takes a good 5 minutes!
  6. Remove the sauce from the heat then add the grated cheese, stirring well until the cheese has all melted.
  7. Check that your pasta is cooked, and if so, pour the tomatoey beany mix into your oven dish, then top with your cheese sauce, making sure you pour slowly to cover the whole dish.
  8. Pop the oven dish into a preheated oven at 180c for about 25 minutes until the cheese is starting to go all crispy on top.
  9. Tuck in! This is delicious as leftovers too for a filling lunch the next day.


Hope that fits the bill Sheffield Futures? Would love to know what you think!

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