Saturday, July 30, 2011

Budget meals ideas - from the Super Saturday

Red Lentil Loaves:
Makes the equivalent of four loaves and serves 24-32. Can also be cooked in muffin pans to make lunches or individual serves – can also be baked in a casserole dish and scooped out – can freeze and then thaw and reheat in oven
1 kg red lentils

10 cups water

3 bay leaves
6 cloves of garlic, chopped

6 onions, sliced

75 g butter

6 eggs
6 cups grated cheese

810 g tinned chopped tomatoes or 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

9 slices wholemeal bread, crumbled (I save crusts in the freezer and crumb them in a food processor). 

6 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/2 cups chopped parsley
*To un-bulk and make one loaf only, serving only 6 - 8, reduce the lentils to two cups, water to three cups, and all other ingredients to 1 /3.
Simmer the lentils gently with the water, bay leaves and garlic until they are tender and the water is absorbed. You will need a LARGE saucepan. Boil away any excess water.
Meanwhile, saute the onions in the butter until transparent.
Once the lentils are thoroughly cooked remove the bay leaves and add the cooked onions and the remaining ingredients. Stir thoroughly then spoon into well-greased or baking paper-lined loaf tins or muffin moulds. You can also pour into a casserole dish and serve from this, without unmoulding.
Bake at 180 degrees for about 45 minutes (slightly less for muffin sized mini loaves), or until firm in the middle. 

Brown Rice, Peas and Cheese

Cook some brown rice (soak it first to make it a bit softer and start the germination) – cook some frozen peas – grate some cheese – serve in bowls with soy sauce.

Black Bean Chili and Corn Bread

1.5 cups yellow corn meal
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
½ cup oil
1 cup milk

mix with a fork in the order shown – greased tin – 180-200 degrees – 35 – 40 minutes.

Black Bean Chili:
Sauté a chopped onion (or two) in a little olive oil, add some minced garlic, and spices (eg cumin, coriander, chili powder), and a chopped capsicum.

Add around 2 or 3 cups cooked black beans and say 2 tins of chopped tomatoes.  Simmer for few minutes then add tinned or frozen corn.  Simmer a couple more minutes.

One loaf of cornbread and a pot of chili will do about 6 – 8 people.  Sour cream, grated cheese and salad are all nice additions but it’s till good without them

Mexican Skillet Rice

In a large pan heat:
2 Tab oil
1 cup uncooked rice – white, brown or brown basmati
Fry 1 – 2 min, stirring to coat
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic minced
½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
Cook, stirring, until water is absorbed.
1 cup boiling stock (Massell chicken stock is good and keeps it vegetarian) – a little more if you are using brown rice
2 chopped capsicums
1 can (or a bit less) corn – drained
Cover, simmer 20 minutes without stirring – till liquid is absorbed.
Spread over the top:
250 ml sour cream
a bit of grated cheddar
Grill for a minute or two – or just let it stand for a few minutes – or just serve with the sour cream and cheese on the side.
Serves 4 – 6

Sweet and Sour Lentils

Bring to boil and simmer 20 min:
1 cup lentils (I usually use brown)
2 cups water
2 beef stock cubes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup apple or pineapple juice
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup peeled chopped apple (optional)
sautéed onion (optional)

Serve the lentils over rice. Serves 4.


Pasta – bake some pumpkin with a few chili flakes, or with some honey.  Cook some pasta and mix pumpkin through – or just bake the pumpkin plain and fry some sage leaves in butter to serve over the pasta.  Some parmesen cheese is good.

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Risotto – bake pumpkin (chopped quite small), make a basic risotto, add pumpkin at the end – dress it up with chopped rosemary or parsley – or serve with a tangy cheese (eg labna) or even some yogurt or cream.

Tomato Scones

Fry some onions with mixed herbs and garlic, then add a tin of chopped tomatoes.  Let it simmer down till a bit thicker then thicken with a little cornfour and water. (You can also fry up a couple of slices of chopped bacon.)
Make a scone dough – roll it out into a long strip that is about 8-10 inches wide.  Spread the tomato mix along the strip.  Roll the strip (like a sponge roll) and slice into rounds.  Put them in a baking dish, sprinkle with grated cheese, bake 10 – 15 min in a moderate oven.

Ginger Sesame Noodles with Broccoli
2 T. tahini (sesame paste)
1 T. light brown sugar
45 ml. mirin
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 c. tamari (or soy sauce)
1 ½ tab. water
500 g. spaghetti
2 heads (or more) broccoli florets, cut into 1" pieces
1 ½ tab. toasted sesame oil
15 ml canola oil (or any type of oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tab fresh or bottled minced ginger
Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Put the pasta water on to boil in a large covered pot. In a small bowl, combine the tahini, brown sugar, mirin, and red pepper flakes until well blended. Set aside.

When the water comes to a boil, salt it and add the linguine. Cook the linguine until it is al dente, about 10 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of the cooking time, add the broccoli and cook until just tender. When the noodles and broccoli are cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Toss with the sesame oil and set aside.

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the noodles and broccoli and the sauce, and toss to combine and heat through. Server hot, sprinkled with sesame seeds.  Serves about 6.

Cannellini Bake with Zucchini and Tomato

1 tab olive oil
4 zucchini, halved and sliced
1 garlic clove crushed
some mixed dried herbs
3 ripe tomatoes – diced
2 x 400 g cans of cannellini beans – or about 3 cups of cooked cannellini beans

Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium high.  Cook zucchini for 5 minutes until golden.  Stir through garlic and herbs and cook for a moment longer.  Fold through tomato and beans cook for 4 minutes or so until heated through.
Transfer to baking dish – crumble feta over and drizzle with olive oil then grill for 5 minutes or so till the feta starts to brown.  Serves 4.

Tuna and Rice

Soak some brown rice – make a white sauce with onions and garlic – add a tin of tuna (drained) and some grated cheese – serve with cooked brown rice.

Baked Potatoes and Coleslaw
(Of course, this relies on potatoes actually being a reasonable price.) Put some fairly large potatoes in the crock pot – either wrapped in alfoil or not – prick the potatoes – cook on low for most of the day.  Serve with a coleslaw made with shredded cabbage, grated carrots, some parsley (if you have it) and some dry roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds (or both).  Dressing: 1 egg, 1 tab white wine vinegar, 2 teas salted capers (rinsed), 1/3 cup veg oil – mix in blender.

Red Lentil Pasta Sauce
1 cup red lentils
1 onion - chopped
2 teasp minced garlic
1/2 cup tomato paste
4 large tomatoes chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary - or more
2 tablespoons chopped basil - or more
grated rind of 1 lemon
4 cups stock - chicken or veg

Put all the ingredients into a pre heated slow cooker and cook on low for 4 -5 hours or high for 2 -3  hours.  Serve with pasta – this will be enough for around 800 gm of pasta – which will easily serve 10 people – but the sauce can be frozen so you can use half and freeze the other half.

Other ideas:

Tomato and Bacon Pasta
Pea and Ham Soup
Hummus with tabouli and flat bread (make the hummus by putting a drained can of chick peas with about ¼ cup tahini, some lemon juice, a clove or two of garlic, some olive oil and a bit of water, into a food processor and whizz).
Baked veges (if they are ever cheap again.)
Roti and Dhal
Rice with eggs and tomatoes (fry some scrambled eggs, then cooked some chopped tomatoes with some soy sauce and serve with rice)

Web sites: links at side

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