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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Eating the cupboards!



3rd August 2016
If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.  Milton Berle
It was nice to wake up in my own time this morning, even if it was still more or less the same time as I normally would on a Wednesday, at least I don't have to rush to get stuff done before work, I'm liking this extra time.  We're off to the hospital this morning for mom's check up, we were only there half hour last time so hopefully it'll be similar.  She did manage to eat a meal yesterday, tinned stewed steak, packet mash and peas, it didn't really take much chewing but I better check with them today if that's okay as they said no chewing for 6 weeks and it's only been 4.

I'm thinking I might make Falafels today, I've had a packet mix in the cupboard for months so I'm going to make it.  My mission this month is to go through the pantry and freezer and use up all the foods in their so that I don't have to go shopping for much, it's a frugal month this month.  Why do we buy foods and shove them in the cupboard and not use them - what's that all about?   I reckon I can eat for a good fortnight from the contents of my cupboard and freezer and there isn't that much in there so if yours are packed, how long could you live on yours?

I might need to buy fish fingers at some point though because I'm fancying a fish finger sarnie! 

I fancy making spag bol with lentils too, it's the one that was on Eat well for less and comes in at 10sp Smart Points a portion, I'm guessing they're decent sized portions too.  It's definitely a cheap meal financially to make and now I've Smart Pointed it, I can get the ingredients when I do go shopping.

Puy lentil bolognaise with pasta
Preparation time less than 30 mins, Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour, Serves 8
This recipe for delicious vegetarian bolognaise sauce makes enough for 2 meals. Try it with rice and chilli, or as a lasagne or even topped with mash.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil (9sp)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stems celery, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée (1sp)
  • 500g/1lb 2oz Puy lentils, rinsed and drained (34sp)
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 1½ litres/2½ pints vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 300g/10½oz dried pasta (28sp)
  • vegetarian cheese, to serve (40g = 6sp) Lighter Mature Cathedral ciy is the same
  • green salad, to serve
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1.    Heat a large sauté pan or casserole dish until medium hot. Add the olive oil, onions, carrots and celery and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. You want them to soften but not colour – you can put a lid onto the pan to help keep the moisture in and steam the vegetables at the same time.
2.    Add the thyme and garlic and cook for another minute then add the tomato purée and turn the heat up. Stir well so that the tomato purée goes all through the vegetables then add the Puy lentils and mix once more.
3.    Tip in the tinned tomatoes and the vegetable stock, stir well and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender and the sauce reduced slightly.
4.    Add the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
5.    When the sauce has only 15 minutes left to cook, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook to al dente according to packet instructions, then drain, reserving some of the cooking water.
6.    You have enough sauce to serve 8 people. To serve 4, set aside half the sauce at this point. See below for meal ideas.
7.    Tip the drained pasta into the sauté pan with the sauce and mix well, adding the reserved pasta water if necessary to coat all the pasta in sauce.
8.    Serve straightaway with a green salad and a grating of cheese.
9.    Use the extra sauce to make another meal. Try one of these: Serve with a jacket potato and a dollop of cream cheese: Add chilli sauce and tinned kidney beans to make a chilli and serve with rice: Layer up between sheets of lasagne pasta and a béchamel sauce to make a lasagne: Top with a layer of mashed potato and a grating of cheese to make a Cumberland pie.
I'm going to take the top tip of one of my members yesterday and get on top of the shopping list, when they run out of something they add it to the list that's stuck to the front of their fridge - it's so simple, I can't remember how many times I've gone to the shop for a few things and come out and I've forgot the one thing I needed!  

I'm still trying to decide whether to shop online or not too, decisions, decisions!  And if I do, which supermarket do I chose...

But I'm not going anywhere for a few days because I'm using what I have!  And when I do shop, I'll definitely be trying some of their own branded stuff, watching this Eat Well for Less programme shows we really are influenced by labels, they're not telling the difference on most foods! 

Right I'm off, all this talk about food makes me wanna eat!  Here's to a great day folks, let's enjoy it, we can do this!

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