Personally speaking I’ve a family of five to feed daily and I’m only too aware of how costly it can be. Total Nutrition it’s all about serving up delicious meals that all age groups in my family will eat whilst also keeping an eye on my pocket. Below are my top tips for making more of a meal and making that meal go further:
Top tips for saving the pennies!
• Split red lentils are my key meal stretcher however most importantly they have amazing health benefits: full of fibre, they also support lowering of cholesterol and the management of blood sugar. They are a great source of protein and of essential nutrients like folate, magnesium and iron – and to top it off, they are cheap!
What’s more split red lentils don’t require any soaking and will cook in roughly 15 minutes. At home they can be added, without anyone noticing, to spaghetti bolognaise (large mug full when adding tomatoes to your recipe) or even a lentil bolognasise using no meat at all, chilli, chicken curry…in fact any casserole or saucy meal. Split red lentils are readily available in all supermarkets and are really good value. If using along side chicken or minced beef it will allow you to spread that meal considerably further often doubling the amount made and don’t forget all those health benefits!
• Tins of chickpeas, butterbeans, kidney beans, haricot beans are all classified as pulses or legumes. These are brilliant additions to the diet as they contain the same amount of calories as cereals but the protein content is almost equal to that of meat and poultry. Pulses contain negligible amounts of fat and any fats they do contain are unsaturated (the good kind). Among the vitamins pulses contain sources of thiamine, riboflavin and nicotinic acid. The iron content is high and they also contain potassium, phosphorous, manganese and magnesium – all sounds great however how do you use them to recession bust? Houmous is a brilliant dip made usually from chickpeas however most white pulses will make an excellent alternative. Using them in casseroles again is an excellent way of making chicken and lamb go much further whilst still getting the excellent flavour of your meat. Add any of the above tins, post a rinse under water, for about 20-30 minutes towards the end of cooking to allow flavours to be absorbed.
• Vegetables and fruits bought locally and in season are the most nutritious and cheap way of including them in our diets. Carrots, parsnips, turnips, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celeriac, kale, leeks and apples are all currently in season and can be bought locally. Root vegetables can be used as an alternative healthy mash and green leafy veggies (such as kale, broccoli, sprouts) are bursting with essential nutrients and one portion should be included daily.
Check out the Bord Bia website www.whatsinseason.ie – one of my favourites.
Best of look with the winter cooking and you’ll surprise yourself – with a little experimentation you will be a recession master chef in no time!