Valentine's Day Ideas on a budget
Dieting on a budget using the Meal Plans and other Thrifty Lesley Recipes

There has been a lot going on in the kitchen today. Remember all those plums I had earlier in the year? I got a pot of them out of the freezer and cooked them up with a tsp of mixed spice and had them for breakfast with 25g porridge.

Then lunchtime I had a soup. In the sort of 5:2 but every day diet I am doing, I have worked out a fall back list of protein and veg that is very handy. You can have a protein and a pile of veg and have it many ways. Hot or cold protein and cooked or salad veg, or like today, as soup.

 

imageI had some Christmas ham that needed using and wouldn’t last another day and a tiny bit of turkey. Together, they came to just over 200g, so, easy, 2 portions of soup. So I chopped up the meat finely, then weighed out some old swede that needed using, carrot, onions and broccoli. Put the whole lot in a big saucepan, covered it with water and simmered it for 20 minutes. A touch of salt and Bob’s your Uncle. Delicious, and believe it or not, you get 2 large bowlfuls for your 200 cals. So it feels like a lot, is warming and filling. If you are dieting, and other people you are feeding are not, it is easy to fill them up with bread and butter, hot, crusty rolls etc

100g chicken/turkey/prawns/lambs liver/tinned salmon/lean ham
or 70g fresh salmon/fresh tuna/beef/lamb
or 2 Sainsburys chicken goujons
or 125g white fish fillet
or 35g dry red lentils
or 30g smoked mackerel

and
200g green veg (not peas), carrot, swede, mushroom, tomato, onion, cress, cooked or salad
Serves 1 x 200 cal portion
Can be on a plate with hot or cold vegetables, or salad veg or made into soup

Tuna & Veg
185g tin of tuna in brine
240g green veg (not peas), carrot, swede, mushroom, tomato, onion, cress,
Serves 1 x 200 cal portion, cooked or salad

imageimageSo that was lunch. During the afternoon, I peeled and cored the last of the Fiesta apples, really very wrinkly now and not all that interesting to eat raw even when peeled. Then simmered them in a bottle of mulled wine leftover from a WI party. When the apples were cooked, I fished them out and reduced the liquid down to a rich syrup. That made a large bowl of deliciousness that we shall have some of tomorrow.

 

 

After that, I started a Dahl Sambar for dinner. I found this recipe in a book abandoned in a flat, along with other interesting ideas for pulses and veg. Just looks a pile of browness I know in the picture, but it tastes really good. I had half a portion, at 200 cals, just on it’s own, for dinner.

imageMakes 4 portions, 31p each

250g any dahl, lentils, split peas. I used red lentils, from a large bag at 10p/100g,  25p
675g mixed vegetables.
300g carrots, Sainsbury Basics, 1.5kg/89p, 18p
300g potato, Sainsbury Whites 5kg/£3.39, 20p
100g onion 98p/2kg, 5p
tamarind, 50g from a block, 60p/200g, 15p or use a tsp or 2 from a tub of paste
2tbsp ghee or oil, Asda 1 litre/£1.50, 5p
1tsp mustard seeds
1.5tsp ground cumin
2tsp ground coriander
pinch chill
1tsp turmeric
4tblsp (36g) dried coconut, Asda 96p/200g, 17p

I used the individual dried spices as I have them, but a pot of curry powder would work just as well. Rajah Mild Madras is 66p for 100g at Asda. At 5g a tsp, 6 tsps would be about 20p

I tried using ghee this time, but I don’t think it made any difference to the taste, so I’ve priced it using oil

£1.25 for the whole recipe, plenty for 4 portions, you could easily get 5, especially if you have some rice and/or a nan with it.

Cook the lentils/peas until soft. As I used red lentils, that don’t take long to cook, I missed out this step.

Melt the ghee in a large pan and add the mustard seeds, when they start popping, add the remaining spices and fry for a little. Then add all the veg and fry until they soften.

Add the lentils and a litre of water if using red lentils, about half that if using cooked lentils, and simmer until everything is soft. Add the coconut. Add more water at any point if it needs it.

Tamarind – if you are using block tamarind, simmer in a little water to extract the pulp and push through a sieve.

Salt the dahl, then add the tamarind. This is a strong, souring, flavour and you need to be careful with it or your dahl could taste harsh. Basically, just add a bit at a time, give it all a good stir, taste, and add more if it needs it.

You can use almost any veg in this, I added the last of a tin of sweetcorn from the fridge. You could also any combination of potato, carrot, onion, aubergine, peppers, tomatoes, green beans, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, mushrooms, whatever you have really that would go well together

With the combination in this recipe
Per serving, 400 calories, 22g protien, 14g fat, 56g carbs

 

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Valentine's Day Ideas on a budget
Dieting on a budget using the Meal Plans and other Thrifty Lesley Recipes
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