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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

How to feed a family on a budget | Quick and healthy, home cooked pasta dish.

A healthy family meal on a tight budget?


This is my first 'Foodie' post.... and I am quite excited about it!

Exploring things you love is good for the soul.

I love writing, so I started a blog.
I love clothes, and shoes, and colours, and breaking the rules, so it makes sense to write about style...but I also love food, can I write about both?

After reading Amber at  Forever Amber and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb's blogging tips I realised that you can write about anything that you want. As long as there is a passion.
And I sure do love my food!

I have to admit to not knowing a thing about writing recipes, but, I sure as hell know how to feed a big family (there are six of us) and I know about healthy eating.

I am basically a lazy-bones, so any unnecessary fussing or faffing about is out of the question. Complicated techniques or potentially failed recipes are out too (I can't afford to waste food), and, I absolutely REFUSE to cook more than one dish.

Who really has time for fussy children (or husbands) and making two or three different options at dinner? Not me!

These multiple-option meals inevitably end up being processed rubbish, and nobody wants to feed their family poor quality food.

Here is a simple meal that everyone, in my house, demolishes.

It just so happens to be a vegetarian dish, but we are not a vegetarian family. 
We like our meat, but, I also like to cook meat-free meals.
Variety in the spice of life after all! (and Veggie meals just so happen to be cheaper to make)

I should point out (at this point) that we have 2 nut allergy sufferers at home (one of which is allergic to egg too). 
I don't really think of this as affecting our eating habits but, of course, it must (even subconsciously) so if these recipes help any fellow allergic families then that is an added bonus!

I call this dish 'Tasty pasta'

It is super quick, super cheap, super healthy and well-balanced....perfect!


How to feed a family on a budget | Quick and healthy, home cooked pasta dish.
Ingredients (to feed six)

500g Pasta (any style will work, I am using penne today)
A large head of Broccoli (bigger the better) or whatever green veg you choose (Savoy cabbage, spring greens and Kale work really well).
Mushrooms (optional)
2 large Onions
400g tin of Chickpeas (Lidl's are great)
Olive oil
A red chilli (or two!)... this is optional, depending on taste.
1 heaped teaspoon of Cumin seeds
Grated Parmesan cheese (to finish)...this is optional but is delicious.
Garlic, I use 5 cloves but 2 or 3 would be enough for non-garlic addicts.
Salt and pepper (don't forget the important seasoning!)

Ingredients for pasta dish

ingredients for pasta dish

First, get a large pan of water on to boil. 

Salt the water well (the salt drains away with the cooking water but makes a HUGE difference to the flavour of the pasta...pasta cooked without salt is pretty 'Meh').

Then chop your onions (roughly will do) and get them into a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (it looks a lot but don't worry, the pasta needs it) and a generous teaspoon of cumin seeds. 

Don't have the pan too hot (make it medium-high), you don't want to burn anything!

Salted water for pasta


Cooking onions


Chestnut mushrooms

I also added mushrooms (only because there were a few sad ones lurking in the fridge)
Don't wash them, just wipe off the dirt and peel any less than pristine ones.
I chop them roughly so my middle girl can pick them out easily without fussing.


Garlic

Next add the garlic. I always use a crusher because I dislike wasting time. 
Just chop off the rough end and crush....skin and all!
I recommend pulling the skin out between cloves (it makes it easier to clean).

Make sure your pan is not too hot at this point, burnt garlic can ruin a dish.

I then chopped my chilli into slices, quite chunky again (for the picker-outer).
You can chop yours finer, of course, if it suits your family.

Cook this for at least 10 minutes (I try for 20) to ensure the garlic is cooked, the onion is soft and sweet and the chilli and cumin have flavoured everything.

Season well at this point with salt and black pepper. 


Next,  add your chickpeas (rinse them first) and cook for a further 5 minutes.


How to feed a family on a budget | Quick and healthy, home cooked pasta dish.


Meanwhile, your pan of salted water should be boiling. 
Add your pasta and cook for 5 minutes. 
You will be adding the broccoli to the pasta pan, half way through cooking, so wash and chop it now.

Broccoli

Add the broccoli to the pan and cook for a further 5-6 minutes....or until your pasta is ready.

Cooking Broccoli

Drain the pasta and broccoli mixture well and pop it back into the pan.
Add the contents of your frying pan and mix well.
The broccoli should break up and coat the pasta.
Check your seasoning and then serve.... adding as much grated parmesan as you like!


How to feed a family on a budget | Quick and healthy, home cooked pasta dish.

Here are a couple of pictures of two of the clan (my youngest girl and my son) tucking in.
There was even a request for seconds! 

How to feed a family on a budget | Quick and healthy, home cooked pasta dish.


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6 comments

  1. Looks delicious. Definitely need to try this xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a real winner in this house (for the cook and the eaters).
      Please let me know if it works out for you.
      Samantha
      XXX

      Delete
  2. Good to see your first food post!! The meal looks lovely! =) Will await your next recipe...! I wonder what clever person put you on to a food blog.... ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you 'Prettyflower',
      It was a clever colleague of mine who pointed out that most of my life is spent talking about food....the rest of the time is dedicated to shoes (but you can't eat those).
      XXX

      Delete
  3. Excellent article! We will be linking to
    this particularly great article on our site. Keep up the
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you...look out for more delicious recipes!
      Samantha
      XXX

      Delete

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