Feed 4 for £5!

Try these weekday meals to feed four people for £5 – they’re easy to make, too…

Spicy pasta

Cook 300g wholewheat pasta to the pack instructions, then drain. Meanwhile, drain the oil from a 50g can anchovies into a large pan, add 1 finely chopped large onion and cook for 5 min. Add 1tsp dried oregano, a good pinch chilli flakes and the anchovies. Cook for 2 min or until the anchovies dissolve. Add 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes and frozen veg of your choice. Simmer for 10 min. Toss with the pasta, then scatter with 25g shaved parmesan.

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Chorizo, bean and potato stew

Peel and chop 800g potatoes into chunks, then boil or microwave until tender. Chop an 80g pack sliced chorizo and dry-fry in a large pan with 350g frozen sliced peppers for 5 min. Add a400g can chopped tomatoes, a 395g can kidney beans in chilli sauce and 100ml water. Simmer for 10 min. Add the potatoes to the pan, then cover and simmer for 5 min or until heated through.

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Veg-packed omelette

Spray a non-stick frying pan with oil, then cook 250g frozen sliced peppers for 5 min. Add 150g frozen peas and cook until hot. Beat 6 eggs in a large bowl. Squeeze out the moisture from 175g thawed frozen leaf spinach, then stir into the eggs along with the cooked veg. Season with black pepper. Clean the frying pan, then return to the heat and spray with oil. Cook the omelette for a few min, stirring occasionally, then add 60g cubed reduced-fat cheddar. Cook until the bottom is set, then flip and repeat on the other side.

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Fish with butterbean and spinach mash

Mix 2tsp harissa paste with the juice ½ lemon and spread over
4 frozen white fish fillets. Bake in a lined baking tray according to the pack instructions. Meanwhile, empty 2 x 400g cans butter beans into a saucepan and heat for 5 min. Drain, then return to the pan. Stir in the zest 1 lemon and a squeeze juice, 2tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and 350g thawed and squeezed leaf spinach. Heat gently, stirring, until the mixture is piping hot. Serve with the fish.

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Biryani

Spray a large wok or non-stick frying pan with oil and fry 250g lean lamb, beef or turkey mince for 5 min. Add 3tbsp medium curry paste and 150g basmati rice, then cook for 1 min, stirring. Drain a400g can chickpeas, then add to the pan with 350ml boiling water. Cover and simmer gently for 8 min. Stir in 500g frozen mixed veg, then cover and cook for a further 8 min. Set aside for 5 min, then stir well and serve each portion topped with 1tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt.

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Kindly provided by the Healthly Food Guide.

Would you Adam or Eve it?

Apples have been tempting us since the garden of Eden.  Fat free and fibre rich, they are handy sized packs of energy for tucking into lunch boxes, conveniently packaged in their own silky skin, and satisfyingly crunchy and sweet.  They have a low glycaemic index, which means they release glucose into the bloodstream slowly and so keep hunger pangs at bay for longer.  While they are a good source of vitamin C the amount varies between varieties and freshness. Research shows that a flavonoid (quercetin) in apples can apple lower blood cholesterol.

Years ago, during the cold winter months, apples were often the only fruit available and were carefully packed in newspaper or straw and stored.  In the 40s and 50s my father had an old chest of drawers in the garden shed where apples and pears from local farms and our own single tree were carefully kept in their straw blankets away from frost. Then as soon as the stored fruits began to shrivel in the spring they were baked in their jackets and dolloped with custard, packed into pies, stewed to accompany meat and stuffed into dumplings.  In Autumn hard working housewives made windfalls and crab apples into chutneys and jams and jellies, homemade and very potent wine and cider.   Scrumping for apples was a favourite pastime of many a small boy (and girl).

The hundreds of varieties easily available all the year round now present a diversity of smell, flavour and texture  Each variety has its culinary virtues.

The Bramley is the classic English cooker – green-skinned, and slightly acid-fleshed, it melts to a soft smoothness as a sauce for pork and ham. As it’s pectin-rich, it makes lovely jelly to flavour with herbs. Simply chop the whole fruit, cook to a purée with enough water to cover, drain through a cloth overnight and boil up the juice with its own volume of sugar until setting point is reached (dab a drop on a saucer and push with your finger: when it wrinkles, it’s ready). Stir in some chopped mint, thyme or tarragon, pot and seal.

Cox’s Orange Pippin bakes fluffily: simply core, stuff with raisins, drizzle with honey and cook in the oven along with the Sunday roast.

Egremont Russet – citrus-scented, and light-fleshed , ideal with strong cheese (not that we should have this regularly!) and  delicious when cooked  with cloves and cinnamon.

Discovery and Spartan – both sweet, crisp-fleshed, and scarlet-skinned. They have a faint flavour of raspberries and are gorgeous with duck or game or added in chunks to a chicken casserole near the end of the cooking time.

Fiesta (also called Red Pippin) is a cross between Cox and the crisp American variety Ida Red, has all the virtues but is a better keeper than Cox.

Granny Smith is beautiful with broccoli or red or dark-leaved cabbages.

Golden Delicious holds its shape when cooked and  won’t collapse when pushed whole into a chicken or turkey with a moistening stuffing.

Gala from New Zealand, is similar to the Golden Delicious and available in petite size.

Empire, an American variety, is an all-rounder.

When choosing fruit, examine carefully for bruising or wrinkling, judge juiciness by the ratio of weight to volume in your hand, and use your nose to select for fragrance. Don’t discard any apple that has spent too long in the fruit bowl – just cut out the bad bits and cook the rest.  It may not have all the virtues of a fresh one but will certainly be worth eating with chicken or pork.

This article was kindly supplied by Susan Booth, owner of Alive Fitness based in Derby.

© Copyright 2015 Find My Fitness.