As the cost of living crisis continues, many of us will be raiding cupboards and supermarket aisles for ingredients that will return a hit for money, as well as consulting cookbooks and websites for recipes that promise nutrition on a budget. Here are four recipes for family meals on a budget.
Sure to be an Ulster classic, served with vegetables and whipped broth.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 3 onions, finely chopped, 4 roasted potatoes, peeled and chopped. 250 grams of fresh greens, thick stems, chopped leaves; 2 tablespoons plain flour 1 bowl vegetable broth, up to 500 ml; 8 ham sausages 150 g cream fresh; 3 green onions, trimmed and finely chopped.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onions for 15-20 minutes, stirring, until golden and caramelized. Add a little water if the onions start to pick up.
Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, until they are very soft and the fork ends very easily. Place the vegetables in a metal colander over the potatoes for the last 5-6 minutes, until cooked through.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir until they disappear. Gradually add the broth, stirring until combined. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then simmer gently for 10 minutes, until it thickens. Heat the grill on high.
Roast sausages for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Drain the potatoes and let them dry in the colander for 1 minute before flipping them back into the skillet. Mash well, then fold in fresh cream and green onions; season to taste.
The hero divides between dishes and tops it with sausages and vegetables. Add broth as desired.
Stir up a nutritious chicken stew for a filling family dinner. Chicken thighs are full of flavor and are less expensive compared to breasts, while vegetables and potatoes make the soup go even further.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 1 bunch green onions, sliced 1 small swede, peeled and cut into small pieces; 400 grams of potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces; 8 skinless chicken thighs; 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 500 ml chicken broth 200 g cabbage, sliced 2 tsp corn flour (optional).
Heat the oil in a large pot. Add sliced green onions and saute for 1 minute, until softened. Put in the swede and potatoes and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes, then add the chicken, mustard and broth. Cover and cook for 35 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through.
Add cabbage and simmer for another 5 minutes. If the stew seems too thin, mix the cornmeal with 1 tablespoon cold water and pour 2 teaspoons into the skillet. Let the foil bubble and thicken, then check again. If it’s still too fluffy, add a little more cornmeal mixture and let the fluffy bubble and thicken more.
Season to taste, then spoon the soup into bowls. Sprinkle over sliced green onions and serve.
This quick stir fry is packed with prawns, eggs, and peas. Cook everything in a skillet over medium heat.
Ingredients: 250gm long grain brown rice. 150 grams of frozen peas 100 grams of mangetout 1½ tablespoons of rapeseed oil. 1 onion finely chopped. 2 cloves garlic mashed. a thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated; 150 grams of raw shrimp; 3 medium eggs, whisked 2 tsp sesame seeds. 1 tablespoon of low-salt soy sauce. ½ tablespoon rice or white wine vinegar; 4 green onions cut into slices.
Cook the rice following the package instructions. Boil a separate pot of water and boil peas and mango for 1 minute, then drain and set aside with rice.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan or skillet over medium heat and fry the onions for 10 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and saute for another minute. Stir in the boiled vegetables and fry for 5 minutes, then fry the prawns for another 2 minutes. Stir the rice into the pan and then push everything to one side. Pour the beaten eggs into the empty side of the pan and stir to combine. Fold everything together with the sesame seeds, soy and vinegar, then finish with the scattered green onions.
Double beans, roasted peppers, and hot peppers
Chili is a healthy, low-fat option that packs in vegetables and flavor.
Ingredients: 2 chopped onions. 2 celery sticks, finely chopped; 2 yellow or orange peppers, finely chopped; 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil. 2 x 460 g roasted red peppers; 2 teaspoons chipotle paste. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar. 1 tablespoon cocoa powder 1 tablespoon dried oregano 1 tablespoon smoked paprika; 2 tablespoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 x 400 grams chopped tomatoes; 400 grams can fried beans. 3 cans x 400 g beans, drained and washed; 2 x 400gm black beans, drained and rinsed.
Place the chopped onion, celery, and pepper with the oil in the largest casserole dish and fry gently over low heat until soft but not colored.
Strain both jars of peppers over a bowl to catch the juices. Put a quarter of a capsicum in a blender with the chipotle paste, vinegar, cocoa, spices and dried herbs. Blend until puréed, then add the soft vegetables and cook for a few minutes.
Add tomatoes and fried beans with a can of water and the reserved pepper juice. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour, until thickened and tomato pieces have broken down into a smoother sauce. Add the black beans, black beans, and the rest of the roasted peppers cut into bite-size pieces. Season to taste and serve.
Karen Wright: A delicious, fun, freezer-friendly casserole
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