Cheap Minestrone Soup

This is my “I can’t be arsed going to the shops” recipe. It’s a good way to use up leftover vegetables and pasta too. I always keep frozen vegetables in the house so I can make healthy meals without having to go out and buy fresh stuff first. My kids mostly just pick the pasta out of this, eating around everything that is a vegetable/could be posing as a vegetable – but with their fussiness levels, that is to be expected. You can use any veg you like. It’s good with a mixture of root veg/greens/pulses.

Ingredients

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots
1 potato
2 large mushrooms
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
900ml veg stock
Two handfuls of random pasta shapes
Broccoli/frozen green veg
Large handful of peas/beans
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Generous shake of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Fry garlic, onion, chopped carrots, potatoes, mushrooms (all fresh veg) in oil until onions are clear. Add tin of tomatoes and stock, herbs/seasoning and cook on medium heat for 15 mins. Add pasta and lower heat. Add frozen veg and beans/peas for last few minutes. Allow it to cook until thickened and flavours developed. This is good with homemade bread and cheese sprinkled on top.

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Cinnamon Buns Recipe

This recipe was a bit of an experiment but worked out well. My kids devoured them which is a good sign since they turn their noses up at most homemade treats. I guess the absence of plastic packaging and artificial flavours makes them less appealing. But they were begging me for more of these and they are so easy to make 🙂

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

1 packet of yeast

1/2 cup of milk

1/4 cup of water

2 tbsp butter

Filling:

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Method

Combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl. Heat butter, milk and water in a pan until butter is just melted. Mix with dry ingredients and knead for a few minutes. Cover with a towel and leave to rise for an hour or two.

Roll the dough out as flat and long as you can. Spread butter for the filling all over the dough and then sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top. Roll up like a Swiss roll and then slice into 1 inch pieces. Grease the tray well because the butter melts and then hardens on it. Put into a preheated oven at 180c for 20 minutes.

Easiest White Bread Ever

My daughter loves this bread and she doesn’t eat anything unless it’s coated in chocolate or filled with no nutrients, just sugar. It is so easy to make and is really good toasted too. I find most homemade breads crumble when you cut them. I always revert to plastic bread from the shop due to this, but I haven’t had that problem with this one 🙂 It is also still soft on the second day and toast-able after that 🙂

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp white sugar

1 packet of yeast

1 cup of warm (not hot) water

2 tbsp olive oil

Method:

Combine all dry ingredients with a spoon. Add the cup of warm water – I heat it beyond tepid but not so hot it kills the yeast. Add the oil and mix with a spoon until combined. Knead in the bowl (to make life and the clean up easier for yourself.) You don’t have to knead this bread for long – I find 5 minutes is usually enough. Set in a warm spot covered with a towel until doubled in size. Knock air out of it and put in a loaf tin – cover with towel and leave it to prove. When it has risen again, put in a preheated oven (180c.) Check it after 20 minutes and knock the top – if it sounds hollow it’s ready.

This bread has a brioche-type consistency so it is good with savoury toppings and also with anything you’d put on a croissant 🙂

Cheap Veggie Chilli

This is one of those recipes where I threw random ingredients together, it worked out well and I’ll probably never manage to recreate it again 🙂

I am a happy meat eater, but I enjoyed this dish as much as one loaded with mince. This recipe stemmed from a surprise in defrosting: I defrosted mince and found out once thawed that it was actually beef sausages, so I made the chilli vegetarian 😀

Serves 2 large portions/4 sensible portions (which I don’t eat)

Ingredients

1/2 onion

2 cloves garlic

a handful of mushrooms

half a chilli/1/4 if using chilli sauce in beans

1 tin of kidney beans (in chilli sauce if you like)

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sugar

pinch of black pepper

1 square of milk chocolate (I used Galaxy :))

handful of fresh coriander

Method:

Chop onion, garlic, chilli and mushrooms finely. Fry in some olive oil. Once cooked, add the tin of tomatoes and the tin of kidney beans. This is important and sounds gross, but trust me – if you aren’t using kidney beans in chilli sauce, pour in the tin of beans with 1/2 the brine. It will thicken the sauce and give it better flavour.

Add cumin, salt, sugar, black pepper and garlic powder and turn down the heat. Add the square of chocolate and half the coriander and cook on a low simmer for up to an hour. Add water if the sauce is drying out. The longer you cook it for, the more the flavours will develop.

Serve with rice/tortilla chips and lots of cheese. Garnish with the rest of the coriander.

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Overnight Oats

I like breakfast to be effortless, hence why I set up my coffee maker the night before so all I have to do is wait for the sound of the coffee pot chortle as my alarm call. These are so easy to make and you just stick them in the fridge before you go to bed, meaning no preparation is required when you’re still in semi-slumber mode. I usually don’t serve these up to my kids, at least not without a chorus of “I want something else,” but at least I’ve eliminated the preparation of one breakfast in the morning. These can be eaten cold or shoved in the microwave to heat them up. You can make them look pretty by making them in a mason jar, but I don’t own practical kitchen equipment like that because I’d rather spend my money on candles and dresses, apparently.

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Oats

1 Cup of Milk (any you like)

1 tbsp Jam (strawberry or raspberry)

1 tbsp Peanut butter

Chia Seeds/nuts

Method:

Add one cup of oats to a bowl. Cover with whatever milk you like. I usually just cover them as I don’t like runny porridge, but you can add more if you want a different consistency. Top with one tbsp of peanut butter and one tbsp of jam. Sprinkle some chia seeds on top or some peanuts/cashew nuts/walnuts.

Refrigerate overnight and eat 🙂 You could also eliminate the jam and make a variation using chocolate chips with peanut butter and add cocoa powder to the milk and oats.

Banana & White Chocolate Mini Muffins

This recipe is really cheap and a good way to use up leftover bananas. It is also a good baking activity for child involvement without compromising adult sanity 🙂 I won’t eat bananas once they have the first sign of a freckle, so I might have gone overboard with the number of bananas in the recipe. They were a hit with my kids; they kept trying to sneak their hands into the tub when I wasn’t looking (even though they’d already had three each.)

Ingredients

3 Bananas (I used 4 but mine taste more like banana than muffin now.)

1/4 cup of milk

1/2 cup of oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups of flour

1 heaped tsp of baking powder

1/2 cup of sugar

A handful of white chocolate chips/chunks of white chocolate

 

Method

Mash bananas in a large bowl with a potato masher. Add all wet ingredients and combine with a wooden spoon. Add dry ingredients, mix well, add chocolate and spoon into greased muffin tins/bun cases. Warning: this recipe made 26 mini muffins. That’s a lot of mini muffins, unless you’re me and always have room for snacks. You can improvise with the chocolate. I had no white chocolate so used part of an Easter egg I withheld from my kids and forgot about. They looked a bit annoyed and showed some vague signs of recognition, but they forgave me when I let them lick the bowl. Enjoy 🙂

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe

My kids asked me to make banana bread this week. I’m convinced they only offer to help so they can lick the bowl and wreck the kitchen with my permission. I decided to sneak some chocolate into the recipe to spare my sanity during the flour explosion clear-up afterwards. My kids keep asking for a second slice of this, so I guess it must be alright.

Ingredients

4 bananas (this might sound excessive but they make it extra-moist)

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup veg oil

1tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 3/4 Cups flour

1tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda

Handful of milk chocolate chunks (or in my case, halved chocolate buttons)

Method:

Preheat oven to 160 c

Mash bananas with a potato masher.

Whisk in the oil, milk, vanilla, eggs and sugar. I find whisking by hand works best. Don’t be too thorough – leave some banana chunks if you like.

Mix in flour and baking soda. Add chocolate at the end and stir in so it is dispersed evenly. Put mixture in a greased loaf tin.

Bake for about 40 mins in the middle of the oven. Add a layer of foil halfway through cooking so the outside doesn’t become over-crisp.