3 spring onions
1/2 bottle of passata (Italian tomato puree kind of thing) sauce (about 350g)
LOTS of olive oil (5 or 6 table spoons, be generous!)
½ tsp minced or fresh chopped garlic
Lots of black pepper
1 packet penne pasta
Lots of salt (3 or 4 teaspoons, be lavish)
Parmesan (if you feel rich or Italian) or 250g grated cheddar (if you don’t)
Chop the spring onions in to 3mm rounds and fry gently in lots of olive oil and black pepper. Add garlic. Add the passata sauce and simmer for 15mins, stirring occasionally. While the passata simmers, bring a large pot of water to the boil and add 3 or 4 teaspoons of salt. It’s the pasta that is salty, not the sauce. When it is boiling, throw in the penne pasta. Cook 10 mins until al dente, or only just cooked. If you think it is still a little bit too hard, that means it is just right. Drain the pasta and mix it with the passata sauce. Add grated parmesan or cheddar, mix it in, and enjoy!
I onion diced
1 green or red pepper diced
1 tsp garlic (fresh chopped, or bottled minced)
Pinch (or more, ’sup to you how hot you like it) cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 cup of lentils cooked in stock for 30 mins OR 1 tin of lentils (drained)
I tin of kidney beans (drained)
1 tin of black beans (drained)
1 tin of sweetcorn (drained)
I or 2 tins of diced tomatoes (depends how liquid you want it)
Dice onions and green peppers. Gently fry onions, green/red pepper and spices. Add lentils and contents of tins, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve with Doritos and grated cheese. Optional – add lettuce/tomato/sour cream/guacamole
If your family are reluctant to be vegetarian, you can add mince. It makes it go much further.
Creamy Mushroom Spaghetti
200 to 300g mushrooms sliced
Butter for frying
4 cloves minced garlic
Ground black pepper
250ml cream OR 230ml milk + 2 table spoons butter and 2 table spoons of cornflour (because some of us are on a budget)
Parmesan cheese (if you feel fancy) or 250 grated cheddar (if you don’t)
1 tsp Italian herbs (oregano and basil)
3 or 4 teaspoons salt
1 packet of spaghetti
Serve with mixed greens and tomato salad plus balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add all the salt. Thinly slice mushrooms and fry in a pan with butter, add garlic and herbs. Add cream OR milk mixed with cornflour and add 2 extra table spoons of butter. Simmer gently. Put the spaghetti into the pot of boiling water and cook until al dente (only just done). Drain off the water and return to the pot. Add the mushroom sauce and the grated cheese and mix. Serve with salad (and dressing – it’s those things that make it feel like a fancy meal rather than a poor vegetarian substitute).
AMAZING broccoli salad:
Yummy Healthy Brownies (yes, it’s possible)
Heat oven to 180 degrees C (170 fan)
Put in a large bowl:
125g melted butter
I cup light brown sugar
1 large or 2 small eggs
1/2 cup of dried, shredded coconut
1 teaspoon of vanilla
4 heaped table spoons of cocoa (or more, if you like them very dark)
1 cup of rolled oats
1 cup of wholewheat flour (or replace ½ of the cup with ground almond flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Optional – mix in ¼ cup of sunflower seeds/pumpkin/chia seeds (if your family will let you get away with it, mine don’t) Add almonds on top (unless your kids have braces or hate nuts)
Optional – dark choc chips/buttons (if you are feeling decadent)
1 or 2 table spoons of water to make it all sticky, you don’t want it to be dry.
Mix all together in the order stated above (I hate it when recipes put the ingredients that you are supposed to use first at the end of the list. I’m in a hurry, so I just throw things in and then get sad when I realise I should have done it in a different order. Perhaps you are more methodical than me, and actually read through the whole thing first…)
Press flat a baking dish/Pyrex (add almonds if you want them to look like the photo)
Bake for 15/17 minutes. You want them soft and slightly sticky. Cut when still warm. Leave to cool before removing using a spatula (I think that is what it is called, you know, the frying tool?).
Store in an air tight box.
Add butter icing for birthdays.
These are a lunchbox staple in this house, and I’m told they have high trading value at break time.
P.S. Feel free to add links to your favorite recipes in the comments, or send them, or the recipes, to me and I will add them. Happy eating!