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Lentil ragu with spaghetti
Sugar Free Chocolate, Cranberry and Walnut Tea Bread

I’ve been enjoying these Couscous snacky lunchbox bites for a couple of weeks now. But I’ve been using a packet mix to make them, with added flavourings. I’ve had some lemon and coriander packet mixes in the cupboard for ages, from an approved foods order. That’s all gone now, so I thought I’d explore making them from scratch. You know me, I don’t use ready made stuff if I can avoid it.

Priced at Asda April 2018

Couscous Snacky Lunchbox Bites

100g couscous, 65p/500g, 13p
150ml boiling water
8 olives, chopped, 59p/310g, 10p
100g cooked brown lentils (33g if uncooked), Natco £1.06/kg, 9p
3 eggs, £1.65/12, 41p
3 tblsps tomato purée, 37p/200g, 8p
1 tblsp soy sauce, 49p/150ml, 5p
1 tblsp fish sauce, £1.68/50ml, 17p
1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper
1 tblsp vinegar, I used some from an empty jar of pickled onions

Total cost £1.03, 8p each (12)
Total nutrition 656 calories, 89g carbs, 21g fat, 33g protein

For each couscous bite (12) 55 calories, 7g carbs, 2g fat, 3g protein
Free on Slimming World, other than 1.5 Syns for the olives spread between the 12 bites

Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl and pour on the 150ml boiling water. Leave to soak for a couple of minutes.

Now simply mix in everything else. Lightly oil some patty tins. If you are following Slimming World, you can use Frylight. Personally, I don’t like the effect that has on my pots and pans, so I use a silicone brush and wipe a very thin layer on using that.

Bake at 180c for about 25 minutes. Once cooled, store in the fridge and use within a week. Or wrap well and freeze.

I’ve been enjoying these Couscous snacky lunchbox bites for a couple of weeks now. I thought I’d explore making them from scratch. You know me, I don’t use ready made stuff if I can avoid it.Click To Tweet

 

Verdict

These are very yummy, and in fact, I think they are better than when I used a packet mix! The tomato and fish sauce in particular contribute to a beautifully savoury flavour, and it is the tomato that is giving these particular bites their lovely deep red colour I was surprised how much the fish sauce costed out to, so miss it out if you need to reduce the cost as much as poss, or if you are vegetarian of course. These little couscous snacky things are great kept in the fridge to have one or two when a hungry moment strikes. Or include them in a lovely salad lunch or dinner. They would be great in a packed lunch too, for both children and adults. The olives are 1.5 slimming world Syns, shared between 12 patties, that’s infinitesimal and I wouldn’t bother to count them. Other than that, the version I’ve made here is Free. It might interest you to know that plain couscous is about 13p per 100g dried weight, whereas own brand flavoured is about 38p per 100g, 3 times as much. And the branded stuff is about 80p per 100g, a whopping 6 times as much as the unflavoured.  

Variations

Once using plain couscous rather then flavoured packets, the flavouring can be varied in many different ways. If you aren’t dieting, you could add coconut milk as the liquid, or a lump of creamed coconut. Lemongrass, galangal or lemon zest would go well with coconut. A lump of butter is gorgeous in couscous, or a good splosh of olive oil Miso paste would give a deeply savoury, and vegan, option. Pair with garlic and fresh ginger and perhaps some chilli Curry powders and pastes would be fab, and you can use pastes here as the bites are cooked in the oven (pastes must be cooked before eating), with or without coconut of some kind Mix in some garlicky roasted veg, chopped small, caramelised onions or semi dried tomatoes Use soy sauce, oyster sauce or sweet chilli sauce, and a reader suggested Marmite, I would love that! When I was making these, I added what I thought would work and tasted a tiny bit ( be careful if you are vulnerable as you will be tasting raw egg). Then I added more flavourings, and three times as much tomato purée as I started off with, so don’t be afraid to taste and adjust   Couscous snacky lunchtime bites - budget meals       Thrifty Lesley has an associated Facebook Group. Do come over and say hello if you haven't already joined. I'd love to see you FaceBook Feed Yourself for £1 a Day   I’m a perpetual dieter, and to help with that endeavour, there is now also a Thrifty Lesley dieting group, a lovely, growing community Facebook Slimming Group  

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Lentil ragu with spaghetti
Sugar Free Chocolate, Cranberry and Walnut Tea Bread
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