Times are tough, cupboards are empty and things are starting to look desperate. Don’t fear! Despite what many will have you believe, creating nutritious and tasty meals needn’t require expensive, specialized ingredients. Anyone can create fantastic, balanced and budget meals with just a handful of back-of-the-pantry components and a touch of creativity; there’s no need to dig out that takeaway pizza menu today. Don’t believe me? Well take a look at these three simple, yet oh-so alluring recipes that’ll bring a little flair to your dinner table. Here are 3 Great Budget Meals that are Improvised, Nutritional & Balanced!
1. Bean Stew
I’m of the mind that anything—yes, anything—can be improved with beans, and in a stew, they’re a perfect base to add any number of components onto. A couple tins of beans, some tomatoes (tinned or fresh); diced onion and your choice of herbs is all you need for a superb bit of grub.
I’m partial to butter beans for their chunkiness, but absolutely any variety will do the trick. If there’s anything else laying around your fridge or kitchen cupboards: leftover spinach, courgette or sweet potato, they’ll only improve this recipe. That’s what makes it so marvelous! Bean stew is fantastic by itself, but just about anything would make a perfect accompaniment. It’s truly hard to go wrong with this healthy and filling meal.
2. Chicken Tikka
With some curry paste, a little natural yogurt and, of course, chicken, you can be on your way to a flavoursome source of protein that’s as adaptable as it is healthy. Mix the paste and yogurt to make a marinade, then let the chicken soak in its flavour for 30-60 minutes before cooking on the frying pan.
Once cooked, this chicken will be ideal for any pairing you throw at it. Chuck it in some pittas; slice it thin and mix into a fresh salad; or skewer it with grilled peppers and onions. The choice is yours! It’s a misconception fuelled by the takeaway industry that Indian cooking is a one-way ticket to indigestion and excessive fat consumption. Indian flavours—done right—can be an exciting way to nourish your body and use up any spare ingredients.
3. Vegetable Tray Bake
Skin-on garlic, a splash of oil, some fresh herbs (any you may have to hand) and a selection of root vegetables are all the basic ingredients for a tray bake that’ll have your entire household rushing to the kitchen.
I usually introduce some good old Maris Pipers (potatoes) to mine too. Chop up the veggies and mix them in your largest baking tray with the garlic, herbs and oil. Bake in the oven until everything is tender, and dish up! Like the bean stew, adding to this recipe only improves it, so go wild and experiment with whatever is going unloved in your pantry. Your taste buds will thank you.