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I just want healthy food ideas that are not going to break the bank!

(39 Posts)
mommmmyof2 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:07:12

Ok so been on internet all morning now and I am getting a little fed up, I just want to start cooking a bit more and I am thinking along the lines of casseroles and spaghetti bolognese but every recipe is so complex!

You need about a hundred ingredients and I just don't have money to buy fresh herbs that I have no idea how to cook to be honest.blush

Anybody have any ideas?

notnowbernard Thu 17-Mar-11 13:09:05

Spag bol is easy

Ditto shepherd's pie
You don't need 100s of ingredients, honestly

Get an easier cook book!

mommmmyof2 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:12:20

I think I need to invest in a cook book, I really don't fancy adding wine and all sorts to my dinner, just quick easy and not too expensive, I not asking for much am I grin

GypsyMoth Thu 17-Mar-11 13:12:30

i'm also looking for some inspiration.....not only cooking,but baking too

mommmmyof2 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:13:43

Me too, I want to start baking more, I have never made a pastry and kind at all and realllllly want to.Love cooking but seem to not have the money to buy all the ingredients and equipment..

notnowbernard Thu 17-Mar-11 13:14:25

I am a reluctant cook I must admit

I'm alright at following a recipe but don't get the buzz out of cooking that DP does

But once you get going things like spag bol etc become dead easy

A stew is a piece of piss, it really is. You don't have to use fresh herbs (though it's nice to do so) you can but dried ones. Or if you can, they are easy to grow?

mommmmyof2 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:17:45

My dh said that someone at his work grows his herbs and he said it is easy and really cheap so I might look into that.

I do try and cook from scratch when I can but I just get suckered in to buying jar mixes for certain things, which really then isn't me cooking, just sticking it all together and heating hmm

notnowbernard Thu 17-Mar-11 13:19:06

cheaper to cook from scratch IME

A tin of budget-range toms much cheaper than a jar of Ragu or whatever

ivykaty44 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:24:18

You don't have to have fresh herbs - you use a smaller amount of dried herbs instead.

Shepards/cottage pie - never ever use really tomatoes, use tomato paste and stock and then it will not be bitter.

fry of small onion, add finely chopped carrot put in minced meat and cook till brown, and make sure you break up the mince as its cooking. Then one table sppon of plain flour sprinkle over onions and meat.

Put two tablespposn of tomato puree into a measuring jug and add half a pint of stock made up form bullion stock or even oxo cube. Then pour over the meat and bring to the boil - turn down the heat stir and let slowly simmer for 20 minutes approx whilst you sort the mash potato out grin to go on the top

mommmmyof2 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:26:58

I buy cheap mixes and because I don't tend to go anywhere but aldi our aldi don't have things like herbs and stuff and certain things so then we end up going to 2 or 3 different shops.

The packet mix that I used to buy for my shepherds pie was something like 60p and then I would add my veg.But also I would have no clue what stock to use with which meal?

mommmmyof2 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:28:28

Thankyou inykaty44 can I ask what does the flour do?

limpingbint Thu 17-Mar-11 13:28:51

Look for cottage pie and spag bol it is the same basic thing minced beef and onions - for the bol you add toms and peppers and a bit of tom puree or passata (also a spoon of sugar) and the cottage pie carrots and peas and an oxo - you don'r need a cookery book for these - just add stuff and see what happens. No one is going to keel over from trying it - just have a crack. Stews and all that are simple too as long as you fry the meant chop up veg and add them and then a stock cube in water to cover - cook the hell out of it....

I always cook from scratch I have to as I have two coeliac kids one of whom is a diabetic who we have to carb count for. I never ever buy ars because they all taste dreadful to me anyway and I cannot believe what they can charge for such things. I do think that pastes and stuff for curries may be the exception to this (although don't use them myself) because they do have a lot of different spices in them which can be intimidating for beginners and getting it right can be hard

I really do think cook books can be a bit scary for loads of people - all very well adding herbs and spices and all that but I am sure that lots and lots of people make lovely meals without them. Also re. equipment - just a big saucepan and an oven proof dish will do for cottage pie. H

mommmmyof2 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:34:26

Thankyou for your tips limpingbint I should maybe have a little more faith in my taste buds and go for it instead of trying to follow everthing by the letter.It is shopping night tonight so I will see what I can get and see what happens.

bronze Thu 17-Mar-11 13:35:17

If you buy a cookery book. fo a good start can I recommend Jamie Olivers ministry of food.

notnowbernard Thu 17-Mar-11 13:36:12

This is my spag bol:

Fry an onion and couple of cloves of garlic
Add mince and fry until brown
Add mushrooms (and any other veg you wish to put in)
Add tin of toms, stir well
Season with s&p. Dried mixed herbs (even Aldi should have this grin)
If you like your sauce a bit sweeter and tomatoey, you can add tom sauce
If you like it rich, bit of beef stock (from a cube) or red wine

Cook for 30 mins or so on a low heat

Cook pasta or spagetti as per packet

ivykaty44 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:39:39

Yes the flour gives the mixture a nice soft texture trust me its good and it soaks up the fat from the mince wink - I also add a little cinnamon - just a quarter of a teaspoon if I have some as it makes it rather lovely - but I didn't add any last time as I forgot but my dd2s mate said it was the yummiest ever.

I served it with gravy and add a teaspoon of mint sauce to the gravy and it was real comfort food with pease grin

Sometime I use granuels and sometime I make onion gravy with stock and an onion and a dash of either soy, lea perins or balsamic vinegar - whichever I have in the cubboard. Then freeze the gravy I don't use for the following week or another meal that needs gravy.

mommmmyof2 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:40:02

Oh my sister has that book bronze it may just make an appearence in my kitchen when she is not looking, all the help I can get is much appreciated

Oh that sounds easy enough notnowbernard I will definatly be giving that a go. So commen sence a good cook book and some nice mners I think I can't go wrong grin

colditz Thu 17-Mar-11 13:42:16

You don't need all those hebs. Invest in some dried ones, they are much cheaper, go a lot further, and although not as nice, they will do. i use mainly garlic - frozen - salt, pepper, dry chilli and dried thyme.

mommmmyof2 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:42:42

So I have so far a spag bol and a cottage pie to try out, both seem ok to do.I have had a look and we have flour left over from dh's cooking madness last week so I will be giving that a go.I had heard of it being added before but never knew why.

notnowbernard Thu 17-Mar-11 13:46:21

I also like frozen puff pastry

So easy... you can use it to make tarts, pies etc

mommmmyof2 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:46:34

coldtitz you know when they say a clove of garlic is that like one of the little peices? see these are questions I have never asked.I sort of just put it in until I can taste it confused

PurveyorOfWoo Thu 17-Mar-11 13:48:22

Growing your own herbs is a good idea, I usually have a few pots on the kitchen windowsill - chives, thyme, oregano etc. Mint in the garden (but grow it in a pot else it takes over). You can also freeze fresh herbs very successfully - I do this when I occasionally buy a bag of herbs to avoid throwing any away (the bags are always too much for one meal). You can even make up little herb selections in the freezer buy using an ice cube tray - put a bit of each herb you have to hand in each square and freeze, then you can just throw a cube in your stews as needed. Alternatively you can dry your own fresh herbs - either by picking them in big bunches and tying up and hanging upside down in a warm place, or placing on a baking tray in a warm over until they are dry (store in a glass jar with lid)

Recipes can seem over complicated. I often trawl the web for a key recipe then compare the ingredients and try and make a composite based on what I have available/like the best.

You don't need many fancy ingredients, but it is good to keep a few key pieces in your store cupboard - what you keep may depend on your tastes e.g. harrisa, umeboshi, tahini, fish sauce, chilli flakes, Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, herbs, cinnamon (lovely in stews) are all great seasonings and most keep for a fair while in the cupboard or fridge.

Nigel Slater is a good source of unfussy recipes with great flavour. I'd recommend his 'Real Fast Food' for fabulous ideas for easy food with store cupboard ingredients.

PurveyorOfWoo Thu 17-Mar-11 13:50:10

Oh yes, how could I forget garlic blush

I also keep a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge - so many ways to use it (including for cleaning!)

Becaroooo Thu 17-Mar-11 13:55:11

Frozen puff pastry is great...I use it to make tomato and basil tarts, sweet fruit tarts and "posh pizza" as I call it!

I use mostly dried herbs, only use fresh garlic and parsley.

One of the best cook books I have is Nigel Slaters "Real food"...I think thats the sort of book you are after smile

mommmmyof2 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:55:12

I always have chilli flakes that is the one thing I won't live without purveyorofwoo but some of those other things I not heard of, which is bad really! I am 27 and I thought I was a good cook on the whole but really thinking about it I don't really cook alot anymore or from scratch.When I put my mind into it I can do a good job.I am going to have to start again I think.I hate freezer food and I am sick of the same meals.

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