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Healthy, tasty & easy recipes on a budget

Ahoy there busy mums! You don't need bags of time, experience & money to make great meals. Check out my easy-to-follow tasty and easy budget recipes. When you feel the pinch look out for 'Credit Munch' recipes. Delicious, nutritious and easy budget recipes below £1.25 per serving!

 

Saturday
Aug302014

10 Healthy Kids Lunchbox Ideas

Here's 10 healthy kids lunchbox ideas to inspire you at the start of this new school year. The recipes are quick, easy, healthy and versatile enough for hopefully every child to enjoy. With just a little time and planning, you can avoid getting into a lunchbox rut and give them an exciting, healthy and tasty lunch that they will look forward to eating every day.

Mini Muffin Pizzas are so quick and easy to make. To make four, split two breakfast muffins in half and toast lightly. Mix together 2 tablespoons tomato puree and 4 tablespoons passata with a pinch of dried Italian seasoning. Spread the tomato mixture over the muffin halves, cut side up, and top with grated cheese along with the toppings of your choice. Pop under a hot grill for a minute to melt the cheese.

To help your child have a balanced diet, choose one protein topping, such as ham, tuna or chicken along with one vegetable topping such as peppers, sweetcorn or pineapple.

Pitta Pockets are just a slight deviation from a sandwich, but they are more fun and travel better as well. Choose wholemeal or seeded pittas for extra fibre, toast lightly, split in half and stuff with your childs favourite fillings. Here's a few ideas:

  • grated cheese and sliced apple
  • tuna and sweetcorn mixed with mayonnaise
  • shredded roast chicken and salad
  • grated carrots mixed with houmous
  • peanut butter and sliced banana.

Mini Quiches with a Ham Crust instead of pastry are one of my favourite packed lunch staples. They are low in fat and high in protein, as well as being a great source or dairy. To make six: grease a six hole muffin tin and line with 6 slices of wafer thin ham. Distribute around 60g finely chopped broccoli florettes into the ham cups. Mix together 2 large eggs, 50g grated mature cheddar cheese and 100ml whole milk. Bake for around 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 5 / 190 C / 170 fan.

For a vegetarian option use a slice of bread with the crusts cut off rolled very flat with a rolling pin. Swap the broccoli for your childs favourite vegetables.

Houmous and Vegetable Sticks make a really fun lunch for a fussy eater. Houmous is packed with protein and your can pick and choose vegetables your child will enjoy. Include a few breadsticks or oatcakes to dunk as well.

Homemade houmous is easy to make and much cheaper and more healthy than shop bought. Blitz up 400g tin chickpeas (drained and rinsed) with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp tahini (or use 1 tbsp peanut butter as a substitute to tahini) and pinch of cumin. Keeps in the fridge for up for five days.

Pasta Salads are fun and very versatile as you can add your childs favourite foods and flavours to entice them. They can be mixed with homemade tomato sauce or mayonnaise or just left dry. Choose your childs favourite pasta shapes or colourful tricolour pasta. Wholewheat pasta is a good choice as it releases energy more slowly.

For three kiddie sized servings of this pasta salad with sweetcorn and ham, cook 75g dried pasta and mix with around 75g chopped ham and 3 tablespoons of sweetcorn. Add some chopped spring onions or olives if desired.

Quesadillas, like pitta pockets, travel much better than sandwiches and are great for smuggling vegetables into fussy eaters. Sprinkle a good handful of grated cheese over one tortilla wrap and sprinkle over fillings of your choice such as ham, tomato, chicken, peppers, sweetcorn, tuna, olives, spinach or cooked mushrooms. Place another tortilla on top and grill on each side for around a minute until the cheese has melted and 'glued' everything together. Choose wholemeal tortillas for extra fibre.

Savoury Muffins are another great way to smuggle vegetables into fussy kids. To make 6 of these courgette and cheese muffins, mix 1 egg with 110ml milk, 50ml sunflower oil, 50g grated cheese and half a small grated courgette. In another bowl, combine 100g self raising flour, 60g wholemeal flour and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together gently and spoon into a six hole muffin tin lined with paper cases. Bake for around 25 minutes in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 6 / 200 C / 180 fan. 

A Sushi-Wich is just a fun way of presenting a wrap. Square wraps, preferably the wholemeal ones, are perfect for this. My kids love these made with ham and soft cheese, houmous mixed with grated carrots or peanut butter. Spread fillings thinly and evenly over the entire wrap before rolling up slowly and slicing into 'sushi' rolls.

Rice Salads, like pasta salads, are easy, healthy and versatile. Use brown rice if your kids like it, or a mixture of brown and white. Add your childs favourite vegetables as well as a serving of protein such as tuna, chickpeas, ham or chicken, and mix with mayonnaise, houmous or tomato sauce, or leave dry.

To make four kiddie sized servings of this delicious rice salad with tuna, red pepper and mayo, cook 150g rice and leave to cool. Mix with a tin of tuna, drained, 1 chopped red pepper and 4 tablespoons mayonnaise. Add a splash of lemon juice to taste.

Potato and Bean Salad makes a great vegetarian packed lunch. Potatoes are a great source of fibre and all the vitamins are just under the skin so roast or boil new potatoes in their skins and leave to cool before mixing with beans and pulses of your choice. Make a tasty dressing with olive oil, lemon juice and chopped parsley if your kids like it. 

Finally, here's a good tip. When putting together a packed lunch, it helps to include something from each of the food groups to ensure you give your child a balanced diet. Try to include one portion of carbohydrate, protein, dairy, fruit and/or vegetables. Avoid high sugar snacks - complex carbohydrates like oats, which release energy slowly are a better choice. Go for wholewheat starches where possible and make everything look appealing.

This post is in association with the Organic No Junk campaign which aims to help families to reclaim healthy eating by pledging their commitment to No Junk and to say ‘yes’ to healthy, natural and simple food for the family. You can get involved to by signing the pledge, checking out their healthy recipe ideas and cooking with your kids.
Thursday
Jul312014

10 Healthy Picnic Ideas for Kids

Ten healthy picnic recipe ideas ideal for kids picnics this summer including healthy cocktail sausages, homemade houmous and easy mini quiches.

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Monday
Jul282014

Three Marinades for Chicken Drumsticks

Chicken Drumsticks are inexpensive, readily available and perfect for BBQ's and picnics. With a few simple ingredients, and very little time, you can transform this humble cut into a feast. Here's three delicious easy marinade ideas for chicken - simple satay, honey & mustard and lemon & thyme.

I much prefer cuts of meat on the bone such as chicken drumsticks and thighs. The meat has more flavour, it's more juicy and it's less likely to dry out on a BBQ. If you are worried about cooking chicken on a BBQ, roast it first in the oven and finish it off over the flames to the that smoky flavour.

To get best results cooking chicken on a BBQ, use a medium to low flame to ensure the chicken cooks thoroughly and evenly. Choose boned cuts instead of the breast and leave the chicken skin on to protect the meat and keep it moist. To check it's cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the meat. When the juices run clear it's cooked. 

Simple Satay Marinade: Enough for around 6 chicken drumsticks

  • 2 tbsp / 30g peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • Pinch chilli powder (optional)
  1. Mix all the ingredients together until smooth. Rub the chicken drumsticks with the marinade, over and under the skin. Leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes but preferably overnight. 
  2. Place in a greased baking tray and roast in a pre-heated oven at 190 C / 170 fan / gas mark 4 for around 30 minutes or until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part. Turn once half way through cooking. Alternatively, grill on a BBQ.

Honey and Mustard Marinade: Enough for around 6 chicken drumsticks

  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp whole grain mustard
  1. Mix the honey and mustard together and rub all over the chicken drumsticks including under the skin. Leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes but preferably overnight. 
  2. Place in a greased baking tray and roast in a pre-heated oven at 190 C / 170 fan / gas mark 4 for around 30 minutes or until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part. Turn once half way through cooking. Alternatively, grill on a BBQ.

Lemon & Thyme Marinade: Enough for around 6 chicken drumsticks

  • Juice & finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tbsp fresh thyme (leaves only)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Mix the ingredients together and rub all over the chicken drumsticks. Push some of the marinade under the skin as well. Leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes but preferably overnight. 
  2. Place in a greased baking tray and roast in a pre-heated oven at 190 C / 170 fan / gas mark 4 for around 30 minutes or until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part. Turn once half way through cooking. Alternatively, grill on a BBQ.

 More easy recipes on a budget

Monday
Jul212014

Easy Carrot and Coriander Soup

Carrot and coriander soup is a great way to use up those little bags of fresh coriander which often end up rotting at the bottom of the fridge. Add a kilo of carrots, which cost less than a pound, and you'll have four servings of delicious, healthy soup which can be frozen for another time.

Easy Carrot and Coriander Soup: Serves 4 adults:

Time:  20 mins hands on time + 40 mins cooking
Cost:  54p per serving
Calories:  208 per serving

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1kg carrots, peeled, topped and tailed, then chopped roughly
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock (plus extra boiling water)
  • Generous handful of fresh coriander chopped roughly, stalks and leaves
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 50ml whole milk or single cream (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions for around 4 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and spices and fry for another 30 seconds until fragrant.
  2. Add the carrots and stock. Add extra boiling water to cover the carrots if necessary. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer, partially covered for around 40 minutes until the carrots are tender.
  3. Add the fresh coriander and paprika and salt to taste. Use a hand blender to blend the soup until completely smooth.
  4. Taste again after blending and add more salt and smoked paprika if you think it needs it. For a thinner consistency, add a little more boiling water or, if you prefer a creamy flavour, add a little whole milk or single cream. Serve immediately.
  5. If you want to freeze your carrot and coriander soup, don't add the cream or milk. Leave until cool and transfer into a freezeable container. Without the cream it will freeze for up to 6 months.

More easy budget recipes

Monday
Jul142014

Easy Cherry and Almond Muffins

If you like cherry bakewell you'll love these cherry and almond muffins which are so easy to make and taste delicious. Fresh or frozen cherries work well.

Time:  15 mins prep + 25 mins baking 
Cost:  19p per serving
Calories:  253 per serving

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul012014

Mini Quiches with a Ham Crust

Easy little quiches you can make in a muffin tin quickly and easily without the fuss and fat content of pastry. Great for a picnic or a speedy summer supper.

Time:  15 mins prep + 15 mins cooking
Cost:  29p per mini quiche
Calories:  96 per mini quiche

Click to read more ...