health

How to feed the whole family (on the cheap).

By ELLY JEAN-LOUIS

Ok everyone, let’s face it…feeding a family is expensive. We all love to eat but sometimes things can get a little out of hand when it comes to what goes into the shopping trolley and the cost of the bill once you reach the cash register.

There’s no need to shy away, we’re all guilty (unless you’re a super mum and have your budget down pat).

For this reason I have created three simple meals that cost $30 or less and are packed with nutritional value for your family. If none of the below tickle your fancy, some of my past meals have all cost around $30 (10 minute fried rice, chilli prawn linguine, cheats pizza, salad jar, steak sandwhich and raw zucchini pasta).

VEGETARIAN LASAGNE

A personal favourite of mine.

I created this recipe a few years ago – I threw together some pantry items and voila. It’s the easiest meal ever, it’s packed with goodies and my family and I have been hooked ever since.

INGREDIENTS

1 large pack of baby spinach, roughly chopped

1 red onion, diced

1 garlic clove, sliced

200g low fat ricotta

70g walnuts, chopped

1 punnet swiss brown mushrooms, sliced

Fresh egg pasta lasagne sheets

½ jar of your favourite pasta sauce

A handful of mozzarella to top

Salt and pepper

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 180°.

2. Add all of your lasagne ingredients into a large bowl (chopped spinach, onion, garlic, ricotta, walnuts, mushrooms and salt and pepper). Mix till the ricotta is fully incorporated throughout the mix.

3. Add half of the spinach filling to a large ovenproof dish then top with an even layer of pasta. Repeat by adding another spinach and pasta sheet. Spread your desired pasta sauce over the pasta, sprinkle with cheese and bake on 180° for 30 minutes or until golden.

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CHICKEN AND CHORIZO PAELLA

My family can be fussy but this went down a treat. It also tastes great the next day for lunch if you have left overs.

INGREDIENTS

2tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 chorizo sausage, sliced

4-5 chicken drumsticks (free range if possible)

½ bunch parsley

1tsp paprika

1 red capsicum, diced

2 cups medium grain white rice

1tbs spoon tomato paste

4 cups chicken stock

10 frozen prawns (optional)

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180°.

2. Peel and finely slice the garlic, peel and roughly chop the chorizo and carrot. Finely chop the stalks of the parsley.

3. Add oil to a large heavy oven-proof pan. Add the garlic, carrot, parsley stalks, chorizo and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken drumsticks and cook till just brown. Add paprika and cook for a further 3 minutes. Throw in the diced capsicum and allow all of the ingredients to cook for a further 2 minutes.

4. Stir through the tomato purée. Add rice and stir through ingredients until it is coated, then add the stock. Season with salt and pepper then bring to the boil. Once boiled, placed onto the medium shelf in your oven and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.

5. After 20 minutes, remove paella, add in the prawns and stir through the mix (this will ensure that no hard rice is left on the top). Place back into the oven for 10 minutes.

6. Remove the paella from the oven. Top with fresh parley and lemon wedges.

 

FISH AND LACHLAN’S CHIPS

 

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Lachlan is my boyfriend. He doesn’t have an extensive recipe repertoire. However, his chips are AMAZING and no matter how hard we all try we cannot replicate them. They are crispy on the outside and “oh-so-fluffy” on the inside. I think I was able to replicate them today with the recipe below. If you perfect them be prepared… your life will change.

INGREDIENTS

CHIPS

5- 6 desiree potatoes

3tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper

FISH

4 pieces of thick boneless white fish (ethically bred if possible)

Vegetable oil for frying

TEMPURA BATTER

1 egg

1 cup iced water

Pinch of bicarbonate soda

¾ cup plain flour

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 230°C. Line a large baking tray with foil. Cut potatoes into chips and place in a bowl filled with ½ water, cover cling wrap and microwave for 7 minutes. Add oil to foiled tray then add drained potatoes. Rub oil into the potatoes and season. Place in oven for 15 minutes then flip and allow them to cook for another 10 minutes until golden and crisp.

2. Meanwhile, pat fish dry with paper towel. Cut into equal pieces. Pour vegetable oil into a large non-stick frying pan till it is roughly 3cm-deep. Heat over medium-high heat.

3. Place bicarbonate soda, flour and beaten egg into a medium bowl. Slowly add iced water, whisking constantly until smooth. Dip fish into batter to coat, allowing excess batter to drip off. Cook fish, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden and crisp. Drain on a wire rack over a baking tray.

4. Serve immediately with lemon and steamed broccoli.

So there they are. My family meals for $30 and under. Other great hits in our home are pasta bakes, burritos, slow cooked meals (using cheaper cuts of meat) and soups.

What do you cook for your family when you’re on a budget? 

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