Sizzling Sausages and Beans

When you own a tin of cannellini beans that’s sat around so long it’s nearly out of date*.

As much as I love food (and come on, that’s all you hear from people these days), it’s usually the first thing that gets compromised come the end of the month. So aside from eating jacket potato and beans (that’s next week), I made a list of the things I need to use up, and set out to find a recipe that needed little other ingredients to make them happen.

Joe Wicks has some awesome quick meals, often with simple ingredients, and very little clearing up. I tend to make extra for lunch the next day (where recipes allow) as they’re often very inexpensive too.

Simple things like using chipolatas instead of sausages are great ways to cut corners without cutting flavour or interest. Yes, chipolatas are going to make the meal more expensive than if it were just vegetarian, but when they’re the only thing you need to buy (and they will make enough for two portions) it feels like a real winner!

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This is by no means a showpiece of a meal, but as it’s being demonstrated time and time again, by the likes of Jamie Oliver, Clean Eating Alice and Joe Wicks (to name a few), there really is no excuse for living off frozen chips and pizza. I can’t actually remember the last time I bought chips for home, my thought process has literally changed to ‘buy a potato’ to make potato wedges instead.

I guess it’s just about breaking the habits. Once you find a few cost effective, quick, healthy meals, your freezer draw contains ice for G&Ts, not frozen mac & cheese…

*do people really believe those dates?

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Curry Chicken Lettuce Boats

Just as you’d thought you’d heard enough about Joe Wicks (is it just me or is he everywhere?!) here’s another Lean in 15 meal for you.

This not only makes a great meal for one, but you could easily include it in a buffet style dinner for friends and family. Super quick and easy to prepare, it really ticks all the boxes.

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Ok so you could take it that step further by making your own homemade mayo, however I didn’t fancy the washing up!

I’ve found meals like this are a great way for me to make sure i’m eating enough fruit and veg. When buying and cooking for one, it’s often easy to avoid greens for fear of them going bad before you have a chance to use them up. I doubled this recipe and popped the little boats in a box for lunch the next day. By some miracle the way I had tightly packed them in meant they weren’t a complete mess by the time I got there! Meaning I had an awesome lunch and nothing was wasted.

Looking forward to the summer when I can pull things like this out for evening get togethers with a glass of wine (or two) in the sun.

‘Greek’ Chicken

Ok so i’m a little dubious about the title…

So we’re back to Joe Wicks with what probably has to be the quickest meal i’ve ever cooked (and managed to hold a steady conversation at the same time). I think I was so surprised when i’d finished eating it that I wondered if I had missed something.

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But I have to say, I felt it was a little odd. Olives, pomegranate, spring onions and pine nuts mixed with yoghurt and chicken stock. Although admittedly mine did have somewhat more chicken stock than in the book – but I had doubled everything to make enough for lunch too.

However, it looked and smelt lovely, and not to say it didn’t taste lovely either… I just felt it didn’t really know what it wanted to be. I’m still looking forward to lunch tomorrow though!

Roast squash, sage, chestnut and pancetta risotto

Introduced to me by my housemate, this really is a winner!

If you’re a bit unsure of butternut squash, I feel this could be a great way to warm to it. Colourful and full of flavour, there’s something to enjoy in every bite. It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe which you can find here, although you also need a basic risotto recipe (not listed fully in the method or ingredients list).

Half way through making the risotto, the butternut squash needs to come out of the oven to have further ingredients adding to it, which is a little tricky on your own with a pan of risotto to stop from potentially burning! So I have to admit, I needed an extra pair of hands to allow for 100% risotto attention! We also removed the skin from the butternut squash after that initial 30 minutes too – the recipe doesn’t state this but it just felt like the right thing to do!

Next time I cook this (and there will be a next time as it’s too tasty not to!) I will try roasting the butternut squash seeds for 5 minutes before adding them to the sage and chestnuts, I just felt they were too soft after only 10 minutes in the oven.

We also fried streaky bacon separately as there were vegetarians among us! So (although it made for slightly more washing up) it is a very versatile recipe to please all. And I’d definitely recommend the serving suggestion of mascarpone cheese – it really brings it all together.

When your ‘tell it how it is’ brother says he’d eat this at a restaurant, you know you’re onto a winner! And with very little meat in the recipe, it’s all the more astonishing!

Spiced Lamb Wrap

When your wrap game is on form!

If you only have 20 minutes spare then you can do a lot worse than this. You can find the recipe in ‘Love your Lunch Box’ by James Ramsden – designed to keep lunchtime exciting without eating into your evenings to prepare it. And when you’re cooking for one, you can have lunch and dinner with singular effort!

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This is really so simple, there’s not much to say! Only tip would be to add more yoghurt & mango sauce than you expect, as it soon gets lost underneath all of the fillings. Just don’t get too excited loading them up as it can turn messy! Looking forward to lunch already… and dinner…

Chicken & Chorizo Paella

Something to see you through to pay day.

So i’m really glad I kept this one up my sleeve this month. It’s made a good four portions and tastes really authentic!

This is from Save with Jamie and I admit I made it slightly cheaper still by missing out the prawns. Don’t get me wrong, I can imagine it would be amazing with them, but I felt I could go without. It also suggests serving with lemon wedges but I keep a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge, which does the job nicely when drizzled over the finished paella.

So pop you’re music on and get chopping! (As that’s probably the most difficult part of this meal). I chopped everything in advance, and always have the remaining ingredients to hand for the moment I need them (plus it looks pretty on the work top when you have lots of colourful ingredients!). The cooking takes a fair bit of stirring, however I can imagine it’s easier in a proper paella pan. In order to keep the rice cooking for long enough I did have to add splashes of water as the recipe suggests.

To be honest I feel I should have made something more complex with it being the weekend. As this is actually perfect for a weekday meal, it only took me an hour and by the time I was finished I only had one pot and a chopping board to wash up!

Chicken & Chorizo Pasta Bake

Happy New Year!

So it’s January, and like many of you I have spent most my money on Christmas, New Year (and treating myself in the sales). Meaning, food has taken a cheap seat this month! The plan is to cook a few meals that make a lot of portions – just to see me through.

This is a recipe I stumbled across whilst doing my Tesco shop, you can find it here. With the left over chicken and chorizo, I have a paella recipe I’ll be making soon too. To be honest, I have the general idea that anything with chorizo is going to be amazing. Which creates pretty high hopes.

This was dead easy to make, and the preparation/cooking time was pretty bang on at 40 minutes. Plus at £3 a portion you can’t really complain. The fresh basil really helps to lift the flavours, along with the chorizo – without them it would be pretty similar to something you could find in a jar.

I guess a pasta bake is just something that doesn’t really excite me. It’s only at times like this, when money is tight, that I really tend to think of them. Although having something which provides you with a couple of portions saves you so much time… and that I can be grateful for! Plus now I have some soft cheese for all the potatoes I’ve bought for lunches…