A world of fresh delicious thrifty food

Monthly Archives: January 2013

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More chorizo and potato! This time in quesadillas. Quesadillas are a huge hit in our house and very versatile, lovely fillings include refried beans, grated courgette (zucchini) and carrot, goats cheese and sun blush tomatoes. Potato and chorizo however are two of my favourite ingredients, so this is what I have used for this recipe which is one of my favourite meals of all time.

Serves 2 (with left overs for lunch!)

Freezing – Does not freeze, but makes great leftovers cold the next day

Ingredients

Chorizo 100g  (the ring type, not the cooking sausage or the slices)

Potato x 1 large (or 2 small)

Red onion x 1

Grated mozzarella 100g (1 cup)

Dried chilli x 1 teaspoon (optional, leave out if you don’t like too much heat)

Salt and Pepper + extra salt for boiling potatoes

Olive oil  x 2 Teaspoons + extra for greasing

Tortilla Bread Slices x 2

  • Fill and boil the kettle
  • Peel and cube the potatoes into 1.5 cm pieces and place in a saucepan
  • Add the boiling water to the saucepan, salt the water and bring the potatoes back to the boil
  • Lower the heat and simmer potatoes for about 5 minutes until they are just cooked, but still firm (important not to overcook at this point), then drain into a colander and set aside
  • While the potatoes are boiling slice the onion finely
  • Chop the chorizo into cubes – about 1cm
  • Place chorizo in a non-stick pan and turn on the heat
  • Cook the chorizo, stirring occasionally until you can no longer the see white fat and it has melted into oil within the pan.
  • Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and set aside
  • Add olive oil to the melted chorizo fat and heat on high
  • Once boiling hot, reduce heat to medium
  • Add cooked potatoes to the fat
  • Whatever you do from this point onwards DO NOT STIR – it will turn the potatoes to mush
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Give the pan a good shake to coat the potatoes in oil
  • Cook for 5 minutes, shaking once in-between
  • Add the onion cook for 5 more minutes,  shaking once or twice in-between
  • By now the potatoes should have browned nicely  and the onions should be soft
  • Add the chorizo back to the pan cook for a few more minutes
  • Turn off the heat cover and set aside
  • If you are making guacamole prepare this now
  • Next take a large frying pan and drizzle with a little olive oil
  • Rub the oil in with kitchen roll so it covers the pan
  • Place the frying pan on the highest heat
  • Take a tortilla
  • Put in on a plate
  • Put half the chorizo potato mix and half the grated mozzarella on the right half of your tortilla, leaving the left half empty
  • Fold the left half over the right half so you have a semi-circle filled with ingredients
  • Do the same with the other tortilla using the other half of the ingredients
  • Once the pan is hot turn the heat down to medium
  • Slide both tortillas into the frying pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until they are crispy and browing (being careful not to burn)
  • Once ready place on a chopping board and leave for a couple of minutes, then cut each one into four pieces – I find this is easier with a pizza slicer
  • Serve with guacamole and salad – enjoy!

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Meat free ricotta balls are a great alternative to meatballs when combined with  lovely tomato sauce and pasta. They are also yummy as a snack.

You will find these are so versatile  and you can experiment by adding different flavours to them like paprika, cayenne, chilli, cumin or even chopped up sundried tomato. If you are going for a less healthy option you could add a square of mozzarella for a melt in the middle finish.

Kids love these, my 2-year-old son ate nearly half a batch yesterday over lunch. Here is the basic recipe.

Note to my American followers – I have added American measurements in – these are approximate, but I believe they are correct, please let me know if you have any issues

Serves 4 if serving in tomato sauce with pasta or bread –25  balls

Freezing

Freeze these once the are cooked. To reheat thaw, wrap in foil and heat in the oven on 190C, 170C Fan, 373F, Gas 5 for 10 minutes

Ingredients

Ricotta – 1 Tub (250g) – 1 cup

Egg x 1 yolk only

Grana Padano grated  50g – 1/2 cup

Garlic clove crushed x 1

Bread crumbs – panko/dried  – 60 g  – 1 /2 Cup

Black pepper and a pinch of salt

Oil for greasing baking tray

Method

  • Heat oven to 190C, 170C Fan, 373F, Gas 5
  • Lightly grease a baking tray with oil
  • Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl

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  • Ensure they are well mixed with a fork
  • Shape into little balls about 2cm/1 inch balls (mixture makes around 25 balls)
  • Place on a baking tray
  • Place in oven on a medium to high shelf
  • Bake  for about 15 minutes until golden
  • Serve in tomato sauce with pasta or bread – alternatively eat them on their own as a snack
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As we are in January and probably all attempting to eat more healthily, here is a lighter alternative to Carbonara – I find it just as satisfying.

To reduce the calories further I often use a cream substitute such as Emlea because you can’t  really taste the difference, I also grill rather than fry the bacon. The peas are cooked for a long time, such is the way with a lot of Italian cooking, that they take on a lovely flavour and softness which makes them especially palatable for kids.

This is a very cheap dish, so great all round.

Serves 4

Freezing

Can be frozen then re-heated in microwave or pan, but you may find you need to add a little extra liquid such as milk or water.

Ingredients

Rigatoni 400g

Pancetta or smoked bacon 150g

Red onion x 1

Olive oil – 1 tbs

Frozen petit pois (or normal peas) 150g

Single Cream 250ml

Chicken Stock 250ml

Back pepper to taste

Grana Padano (or parmesan) 50g

Method

  • Grill the bacon on a medium heat until crispy – set aside on kitchen roll to absorb the excess fat
  • While the bacon is grilling, finely chop the onion
  • Heat the olive oil in a large non stick pan on a medium heat
  • Add the onions to the oil and cook until translucent and soft
  • Cut the bacon into 1cm squares, it find this easier with scissors (I also remove all the fat, but that is up to you)
  • Add bacon to the onions once they have softened
  • Put in the peas and then heat until no longer frozen
  • Season with black pepper and then add stock  – I find this to be enough seasoning considering saltiness of the bacon, but do add salt if you prefer
  • Cook on a medium, stirring occasionally until almost all the liquid had absorbed (just a bit should remain) this will take around 25 minutes. Once it reaches this stage add the cream and heat it until it simmers
  • In the meantime boil some water, cook the rigatoni until al dente and drain
  • Add the pasta to the cream sauce and stir in half the cheese
  • Serve immediately sprinkled with the excess cheese

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These chicken nuggets are an amazing home made alternative to processed shop bought ones and they taste delicious. Whether they are thrifty or not is a matter of opinion, they work out at about £3.00 for 20, which is probably more than processed nuggets, but these are healthier and far better.

If you are not keen on chilli pesto, you can substitute it with green or red pesto. These are a family favourite, I think you will really like them.

Serves

Makes 20 nuggets

Freezing

Can be frozen before cooking. Defrost before cooking

Ingredients

Chicken breasts x 2

Chilli Pesto – 3 tablespoons

Panko Breadcrumbs – 100g

Olive oil x 2 tablespoons

Method

  • Pre heat oven to 230C, 210C fan, 450F, Gas mark 8 and add two tablespoons olive oil to a small baking tray. Place in oven for oil to heat (on a shelf about a quarter down from the top)
  • Cut each chicken breast into about 10 pieces
  • Place in a bowl and mix with the pesto until completely coated
  • Put Panko breadcrumbs into a freezer bag, add the chicken, seal bag and shake until the chicken is coated. Alternatively place bread crumbs in a bowl and then add the chicken a few bits at a time until coated
  • Remove the baking tray from the oven and check the oil is bubbling hot. You can tell by putting a breadcrumb in, if it sizzles it means it is hot enough, if not return the tray to the oven until very hot. This is important to ensure nuggets are not soggy
  • When the oil is hot, place chicken nuggets on the baking tray and return to the oven.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes turning once. The nuggets should be crispy and slightly golden
  • Serve with salad or chips or both!