As I promised this is a follow on from last week’s blog on cooking on a budget. I have included some very simple ideas using ingredients that are easily available and not too time consuming to prepare as well as of course considering their health benefits.
Let’s take pasta. This could be made into a balanced economical meal by simply fry a diced onion lightly in a little olive oil, add a can of tomatoes with herbs (you can buy these ready done). Heat this through add some sweetcorn and pour over the pasta and then add a can of tuna drained. This makes a complete meal. You can always boost the vegetable content by adding any extra that you want to like some sliced peppers, mushrooms or finely sliced celery to the tomato sauce.
What about some cooked rice, this is delicious with some lightly fried onion and some soya sauce added. I usually add some extra roasted vegetables like courgettes that have been thinly sliced and cooked with the onion. To this you could add a can of chickpeas or kidney beans that have been drained and rinsed and of course some extra vegetables if you want to. This makes a substantial lunch or main meal.
Not forgetting the humble potato; A jacket potato baked in the oven lends itself to a whole selection of toppings including some tuna and sweetcorn or some humus or some chilli bean casserole (see below) which would make a good main meal.
I have added a couple of recipes below that are easy to make both freeze well and appeal to most members of the family. Also look out for the shepherdless pie which was recipe of the month May ’12.
Aduki bean burgers
These will freeze and are a good example of how beans and nuts supply a good source of economical protein. The carrots and onion add the important vegetables. These are ideal served with a salad or extra steamed vegetables to make a main meal or in a bun with extra sliced tomato for a really substantial lunch.
8oz/250g of dried aduki beans soaked in cold water overnight or 2 cans drained and rinsed.
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 white onion finely diced
2 medium carrots washed and grated.
100g/4oz ground nuts
100g/4oz rolled oats.
2 tbsp of tamari or soya sauce.
1 tbsp of tomato puree.
1 tsp dried thyme (optional)
Rolled oats for coating.
1.Drain the dried beans and cover with boiling water and simmer for 30 min or open the cans and drain and rinse.
2.Put oil in a pan and lightly fry the onion till soft, add the carrot and cook for 5min till vegetables are soft. Remove from the heat and put to cool.
3.In a large bowl put all the ingredients including the carrots and onion, except the oats for rolling. Mix well. Add the aduki beans and mash with a fork to form a sticky mass If some beans are still whole do not worry as this adds to the texture.
4. Shape into burgers and coat with the oats.
5.Place on a Baking tray and bake for 15 min in a moderate oven. Or freeze. They can be cooked from frozen in a moderate oven for 30 min.
Chilli bean casserole
Completely meat free, very tasty and freezes very well. Serve with rice or quinoa, over a baked potato or even some crusty bread for a substantial meal. The beans add the protein and the vegetables the essential vitamins and minerals. This is a particular family favourite.
1 tin of red kidney beans drained and rinsed.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions peeled and finely chopped.
2 cloves of garlic rushed or 1 tsp of lazy garlic.
1lb/500g of mixed vegetables any combination of the following, peppers cored and diced, celery, diced carrot, diced courgette, sweetcorn, cauliflower florets, mushrooms etc.
½ tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp of both cayenne pepper and chilli powder (these can be adjusted to taste depends on how hot you want it.
1 tin of chopped tomatoes.
2 tbsp of tomato puree
2 oz/50g of bulgar wheat
1pt of vegetable stock
Juice of ½ lemon.
1.Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for 5 mins till soft.
2.Add the prepared vegetables, spices, bulgar wheat, stock, tomatoes and puree and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and simmer for about 30 mins till vegetables are soft and bulgar wheat has plumped up and is soft.
3.Add the kidney beans and lemon juice, heat through and serve.
Next week I will list lots of menu ideas for main meals and snacks to help you with your selection of healthy meals. I hope that you find them useful.
Blog originally written by Caroline Aug 2013