A full WEEK OF FOOD on a BUDGET (part 2)

(Approx. reading time 6 mins 4 secs)

This post is all about the actual food we cooked with some very simple recipes. The recipes are very, very loose and more guidelines than actual recipes aimed to give an idea of what can be cooked rather than to provide fully-fleshed out recipes. This series is all about showing how my shopping list template works in real life.

Tuna melt wraps

These wraps are very fast to put together and require no cooking at all. Great for a quick lunch, snack, or on-the-go meal.

Ingredients: tuna, cheddar cheese, mixed greens, corn, wraps.

Steps

  • Mix everything (except for the wraps) in a bowl to make the filling
  • Fill in the wraps
  • Toast (or eat without toasting).

Cottage pie

The British classic. It takes a while to prepare, but it’s well worth it. And it can be prepared ahead of time, and frozen! I often make it vegetarian with Quorn mince, and vegan with nutritional yeast instead of the cheddar.

Ingredients: beef mince, mushroom stalks, onions, garlic, salt, mustard, potatoes, cheddar cheese.

Steps

  • Chop the onions, mushrooms stalks and garlic.
  • Mix with the mince, salt and mustard.
  • Cook in a pan until beef is brown.
  • Cover the bottom of an ovenproof dish with the cooked beef mix.
  • Boil the potatoes.
  • Rince and mash.
  • Mix with cheese and add salt (if needed).
  • Top the beef with the mash.
  • Add more cheese on top (if wanted), and heat in a medium oven on a high rack until the mash (or cheese) browns.

Rice with green onions

And easy and quick side or main. Can be made in a rice cooker or pressure cooker too (how I usually make it).

Ingredients: rice, green onions (scallions), salt, oil

Steps

  • Wash the rice until the water is clear.
  • Put in a pot and cover with water (for basmati, use 1.5 cups of water for every cup of rice).
  • Add oil and salt.
  • Cover, bring to a boil, and immediately lower the heat so that it will simmer.
  • When all the water is gone, take away from heat.
  • Leave to sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

5-ingredient slaw

Another quick side for when you need a veggie and don’t feel like cooking! It works great as a sandwich or wrap filler too, and can be made vegan with any vegan mayo (which is what I used this time around).

Ingredients: onions, cabbage, carrots, mayo, salt

Steps

  • Slice all the vegetables.
  • Mix with mayo and salt to taste.

Sweet chilli grilled fish

Continuing the theme of quick and easy: grilled fish. Any white fish or chicken will go fantastic with sweet chilli sauce and will only take a few minutes to cook.

Ingredients: white fish (fillets), salt, sweet chilli sauce

Steps

  • Salt the fish fillets.
  • Grill on one side until cooked.
  • Flip over and spread sweet chilli sauce on top.
  • As soon as the sauce is warm, remove from heat and serve immediately.

Mushroom omelette

Simple lunch, great on top of some nice bread. If you’re not a fan of omelettes, this can always be turned into a scramble or even add some rice for egg-fried rice.

Ingredients: eggs, green onions (scallions), cheddar cheese, mushrooms, salt (if needed).

Steps

  • Slice the mushrooms. Either slice them thinly so they cook inside the omelette or sautee them.
  • In a bowl mix the eggs, sliced green onions, grated cheese and salt.
  • Cook in a pan until only the top is still raw.
  • Add the mushrooms on one half of the omelette and fold over the other half.
  • Cook until the inside is as hard as wanted.

BBQ ginger meatballs

Really flavourful and juicy meatballs, packed with veggies! I served with noodles and broccoli (for a variation of beef and broccoli noodles), in a sub with slaw, and a a side for rice.

Ingredients: BBQ sauce, beef mince, green onions (scallions), ginger, garlic, carrots, salt (if needed)

Steps

  • Grate the carrots, ginger and garlic, and slice the green onions.
  • Mix with the mince, BBQ sauce, and salt (if needed).
  • Shape into meatballs.
  • Either fry in a pan or roast on the oven.

Tomato sauce

Italians will probably have a heart attack if you do this in front of them. But when you just don’t have the time to make a proper slow-cooked tomato sauce, this version is a great alternative.

Ingredients: tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt

Steps:

  • Boil (or microwave for a few minutes) the tomatoes until they are soft and the skin starts to peel off.
  • Take off the water and in a blender (or food processor) add the tomatoes, garlic, basil, and salt.
  • Blend and use.

Pizza

Homemade pizza is a lot easier than it seems, and the taste is well worth the effort!

Ingredients: flour, salt, sugar, yeast, tomato sauce (the recipe above), cheese, toppings (olives, anchovies, basil)

Steps:

  • Make bread with the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast.
  • Divide the dough into the pizzas and shape. They don’t have to be round, you can make the most of your oven by making them square or rectangular.
  • Bake until the dough starts to cook but is still white.
  • Take from the oven and add all the toppings.
  • Put back in the oven until the dough and cheese turn golden brown.

Cheesy garlic bread

The perfect companion to pizza, pasta, and pretty much anything Italian. Or have it on its own (I won’t judge).

Ingredients: flour, yeast, sugar, salt, garlic, butter, cheese

Steps:

  • Same first 3 steps as the pizzas above.
  • Top with minced garlic, softened butter and cheese.
  • Keep baking until the cheese and dough are golden brown.

Berry muffins

Delicious muffins, quick to make and with real fruit!

Ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, frozen berries, sesame seeds, milk (if needed)

Steps:

  • Thaw the berries, and separate the liquid.
  • Follow my muffin recipe using the liquid of the thawed berries instead of milk. If the liquid is not enough, add milk.
  • Add sesame seeds on top before baking.

Fish and chips

Just as good as the frish from the chippies, but a lot healthier.

Ingredients: white fish, flour, egg, potatoes, salt, mayo

Steps:

  • Cut the potatoes.
  • Salt and roast in a medium-high oven until cooked.
  • Dredge (cover) the fish in flour, salted egg, and flour again/
  • Fry in a pan with very hot oil.
  • Serve with mayo.

Quesadillas

Easy, cheap, and filling. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack.

Ingredients: wraps, cheese, mixed greens

Steps:

  • Fill a wrap with cheese and mixed green.
  • Fold in half.
  • Heat in a grill (or pan).

Noodles with broccoli

The go-to when you want something delicious, somewhat healthy and cannot be bothered to cook.

Ingredients: egg noodles (the kind that needs to be boiled), stock, broccoli (or any vegetable you have around), ginger, garlic, salt, oil

Steps:

  • Boil the noodles in stock with chopped vegetables.
  • When the noodles are cooked and the vegetables have soften, drain the stock (you can keep it if you want a soup, or for later use).
  • Add minced ginger and garlic, and salt if needed.
  • Saute for a few minutes in oil.

Gnocchi

A longer, more involved recipe. But a great way to use leftover potatoes or mash, and it can be frozen. A good weekend project to enjoy the whole week!

Ingredients: mashed potatoes, flour, salt, other ingredients to serve with (tomato sauce, or butter, cheese and basil for example)

Steps:

  • Mix the mashed potato with enough flour to make a soft dough that is easy to shape and not sticky. Depending on the liquid content of the potatoes, you might need more or less flour. The amounts could range from half the weight of the potatoes, to the same weight.
  • Divide the dough into smaller amounts that are easier to work with (about a large handful is a good size).
  • Roll the dough into snakes of approximately 1 centimetre (just under 1/2 inch) of width, and cut every 2 centimetres (just under 2 inches).
  • You can shape each gnocchi, and leave them with the cutting shape (what I did in the photo above).
  • Boil in salted water. When the gnocchi float, you want to leave boil them for an extra minute or two (depending on how ‘al dente’ you want them).
  • Serve with your prefered sauce (I generally tomato sauce or butter, cheese and basil).

Basil salad

No-fuss salad to have as a side with anything and everything!

Ingredients: mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, fresh basil, mustard, ginger, oil, balsamic vinegar

Steps:

  • Dice the tomatoes, grate the carrots, and cut the mixed greens and basil in ribbons (if needed).
  • In a separate bowl prepare the salad dressing with oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and ginger.
  • Combine right before serving.

Seeded crackers

A fun and versatile recipe, great as a snack or with some soup.

Ingredients: flour, butter, milk, sesame seeds, linseeds (flaxseeds), salt

Steps:

Red lentil broccoli soup

One of those great cold day soups. Very quick to make, and very filling.

Ingredients: red lentils, broccoli, onion, garlic, ginger, oil, mustard, stock, salt, sesame seeds

Steps:

  • Dice the onions, mince the garlic and ginger. Brown in a bit of oil.
  • Add all the other ingredients and boil until lentils become a paste.
  • Serve with sesame seeds on top and crackers or bread.

Rice with mushrooms

It’s rice, with veggies. Not much to say, other than: easy, cheap and delicious.

Ingredients: rice, onion, green onions, mushrooms, garlic, salt

Steps:

  • Cook the rice (or warm up leftover rice).
  • In a separate pan, brown diced onions, green onions, sliced mushrooms, and minced garlic.
  • Mix with the rice.

Tuna quiche

Inspired by a meal served by a friend, but simplified to become a weekday meal.

Ingredients: flour, butter, salt, eggs, tuna, cheese

Steps:

  • Make a shortbread dough (or use a premade one), and cover a quiche or pie pan.
  • In a bowl mix the eggs, tuna and cheese.
  • Fill the pastry with the egg-tuna mix and bake at 180 C (350 F) until golden brown on top.

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