Ticking the boxes
My husband (S) and I are embarrassingly into ticking boxes. When he gets a chance to spend time with our girls, he likes to take them supermarket shopping - why? Because it ticks all the right boxes, 1. He gets to spend time with the girls, tick. 2. He gets to buy food, and look out for bargains - his new hobby, tick tick. 3. He gets the girls out of my hair, tick (and tick for me), 4. I don't have to do a big supermarket shop with both girls and then come home and drink half a bottle of vodka, tick tick tick tick.
Almost every meal I prepare needs to tick FOUR boxes:
- It has to be delicious
- It has to be healthy and balanced
- It has to be easy
- It has to be affordable
And so this is what this blog will be about. I'll present you with my favourite meals, and side dishes that can tick these boxes, hopefully helping you to enjoy the process more, be healthier and have a bunch more money in your pocket. We spend very little on our food bill - you can do it too.
We have lots of guests, and they never feel hard done by or have a clue that we make our food on this budget, in fact they really love the food and more often than not, ring me up up a few days later with pen in hand asking for a recipe.
It used to be that people were embarrassed about being frugal. I even remember complimenting someone on their dress – ‘Thanks, its from Primark’ she whispered. (I guess equivalent would be KMart in the states?) The very next year I complimented the same person on a really lovely coat ‘Primark – she beamed proudly, £7.99 – love it there’. Being frugal nowadays doesn’t mean your poor stingy or boring, it means you smart with your money and resourceful. Don’t be afraid of having a food budget, and sticking to it. It’s an achievement, and it will force you to be a better, healthier cook, I promise.
Here is a wonderful and easy meal suggestion to start with - one that many are intimidated by, yet is so easy and impressive. Pretty much this is everyones favourite meal
The Ultimate Fast Food Meal - Roast Chicken, Roast Potato's and Green Beans.
No really, Roast chicken really is the ULTIMATE fast food, and so delicious. I have been making this chicken for years, and while I have enjoyed flirtations with roasting chicken with wine, garlic and lemon, home made BBQ sauce, marmalade and oranges, and even duck and soy sauce, this is what I always come back to. It ticks all of our boxes and is so easy!
Chicken, cut up if available (1 chicken per 4/5 people is a good bet)
Arrange chicken in a roasting pan, sprinkle the above ingredients over chicken, roast at 400° Fahrenheit on the top shelf of the oven until golden brown.
Cover with foil, place on 2nd shelf of oven, roast for another 45 minutes at 350° Fahrenheit.
If you like gravy, pour pan juices into a jug and wait for the fat to rise, skim off, pour gravy back into pan to reheat it. If you don’t like gravy, pour into a jug, pop into the fridge, when solidified take the fat off, put your gravy into a little bag in the freezer and use next time you make a soup – yum.
When done arrange on your platter – or serve straight from the roasting pan. If You have, why not sprinkle with some parsley or cilantro - it's the small things.
Potatoes - 1 large per personSalt
Rosemary (if you have, if not these potato's are still amazing)
Put a roasting dish with a little oil into a hot oven – the chicken should have gone into the oven about 10 minutes before you start this.
Scrub or peal your potatoes, whatever kind you like, you can even do this with sweet potatoes or a combination of both, and cut them into 6 roast potato shapes.
Take your pan out of the oven, put your potatoes in the hot roasting dish and sprinkle over the above ingredients, don’t be shy with the salt.
Place into the oven and they will be done when the chickens ready. When you move the chicken to the 2nd shelf, move your potato's to the top shelf. The potato's should be golden ,crispy, soft in the middle an delicious. You can keep them warm on a hot plate for around two hours, but I wouldn't recommend you reheating them
The Green beansThere is a trend now to serve green beans with lots of oil and brown sugar, to me it's a shame. If cooked correctly, green beans are so good on their own, and served with the chicken, with some of the gravey, mmmm.
1 bag of frozen green beans
Boil water in a medium pot
Take your green beans out of the freezer, place in a strainer and rinse with hot water from the tap.
When the water in the pot has boiled, steam your green beans for about 4 minutes until delicious and crisp. This works with almost any frozen vegetable.
That its – such an amazing meal. Serving the chicken rice makes this even easier. Hands on time is minimal, and if arranged nicely, totally has the wow factor.