Another new featurette which I’d like to continue, Thrifty and Nifty Food. A collection of simple and tasty dishes that you can make from scratch without breaking the bank. I cook from fresh almost every day because:
1. I know what is going into my meals and it’s easy to make healthy choices when you’re doing the cooking.
2. I know it is better for my purse and I can make more meals for less money.
3. I love it.
Supermarkets tend to make us think that it’s too complicated and expensive to cook from scratch everyday but it doesn’t have to be if you keep a well stocked cupboard and mix up meals with fresh produce. My number one tip though is to have a wide variety of herbs, spices and condiments. Sound expensive??? It’s not if you buy at least one new item weekly until you have a great selection of flavourings. For each recipe I will put the essentials in RED, the extra flavour in GREEN and you can add other ingredients if you have them, in ORANGE. Simples!
To kick things off: Lentil and Bacon Soup
A super quick and easy recipe adapted from the Hugh Fearlessly-Eatsitall and Fizz Carr family cook book. I first made this recipe with a massive pack of reduced bacon bits. All those bits of pork that don’t quite make picture perfect rashers get lobbed in a packet and sold for pennies really. So after one too many bacon sarnies,Ii used the rest of the bacon bits to make this lovely wholesome soup which hardly costs anything.
1 Large Onion, Oregano or Thyme, 1/2 Tbsp
2 Celery Stalks
200g of Red Lentils
5 Rashers of Bacon or equivalent in bacon bits
Tomatoe Puree 1/2 tbsp
Oregano or Thyme, 1/2 Tbsp
Lots of Black Pepper
1.5 Litres of Veg/Chicken Stock
1. Peel and chop onions, carrots and celery finely. Snip the bacon bits into little pieces with scissors.
2. Pour plenty of your oil into a large pan and warm on a medium heat. Once warmed, add the onion, carrots, celery and fry gently for 10-15 minutes, don’t let them colour too quickly by stiring frequently.
3. While the veg is gently frying, crisp up the bacon bits either under the grill or in a frying pan. Add to the veg once it’s as crispy as you like.
4. Add the lentils and stock to the pan. Stir in the pepper, herbs, tomato puree and Worcester sauce. No need for salt as the bacon should season the soup well but check for taste at the end of cooking.
5. Bring to the boil, then reduce and simmer for at least half an hour until the lentils are soft.
6. Tastes even better the next day. Serve piping hot with some crusty bread to dunk.
And there you have it, a thrifty and nifty meal to fill you and your family up. As you can see from the pics it comes out more like stew then soup but if you want to make it more liquidy, add more stock. It was a great dinner that the family loved, and plenty left over for throughout the week.
Do you have any thrifty dinners you make again and again???