Day 2: Roasted Greens, Brown Rice and Feta, with Balsamic Glaze

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

Today’s lunch was tasty, and after a busy morning, I was looking forward to getting a nice helping of carbs- roasted greens, brown rice and feta, with a balsamic glaze. If, once again, you are looking to add meat, or fancy some different ideas, click here… Meal Tips

I chose to eat todays lunch cold, however, it is definitely something you could pop in the microwave at work or uni if you are in need of a warmer option. I drizzled on the balsamic this morning, and this prevented the dish from being dry.

I added a little paprika to my broccoli when roasting, as I described in yesterday’s blog, so if you missed that, make sure to pop back and give it a read!

Broccoli and other greens are really good for your diet, in terms of fibre and nutrients. Broccoli is also full of antioxidants which protects the body from illnesses like colds. Maybe our parents weren’t lying about eating our greens after all!

The veg took around 20-30 minutes to roast, and the rice took 30 minutes on the hob. Prepping this meal is so easy, you can always get on with other jobs too when its cooking!

Greens, brown rice and feta!

Today’s lunches was one of the most simple, but the veggies were flavoursome, the feta added a salty twist, and the balsamic added a sweet taste too.

Meal Tips

  1. As the feta and courgette add Mediterranean flavours to the lunch, a lamb kofte, or spicy meatballs would work well as a meaty accompaniment. (I will soon be uploading a homemade lamb kofte recipe!!!)
  2. Swap out the feta for halloumi if you’re looking for something slightly more filling, it will still provide the same saltiness
  3. Substitute the cheese for hummus, or another vegan dip, if you want to cut out all dairy products
  4. If you want to reduce your carb intake, half the portion of rice and add more greens. E.g. roasted asparagus or green beans would also be great

No Meat Monday-Friday Meal Prep

Fishy Friends, Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

There’s nothing worse than going to school, or uni, or work, and eating the same boring packed meals over and over again. Or, due to saving time, or lack of planning, grabbing something to eat from a cafe or supermarket. On average in Australia, a salad/sandwich meal combo at lunch can cost up to $10, totalling in $50 a working week, and $200 a month.

Meal prepping is a great way to not only save money, but make sure you are getting all the nutrients and daily macros you need. Also, if you are trying to cut back on meat, or are concerned about the meat industry’s impact on the environment, by making delicious veggie lunches, you are one step closer to reducing your consumption. If you are a big meat eater, all of the meals in this blog can easily be adapted to include your fav!

My Ingredients

I started off by planning what I fancied for the week ahead. It is slightly challenging to eat gluten free and vegetarian, and it can mean recycling the same dishes multiple times throughout the week. However, I have tried to vary the choices as much as possible, giving me something to look forward to each day.

I did the majority of my shopping in Aldi, grabbing a couple of bits from Woolies too. All of the items were less than $60, which also includes extra leftovers for dinners as well over the next week or so.

My meal plan is:

Monday: Baked salmon, roasted veggies and brown rice

Tuesday: Brown rice with courgette, broccoli, feta and balsamic vinegar

Wednesday: Baked salmon, salad and boiled potatoes with homemade dressing

Thursday: Roasted mixed veggies with brown rice and sweet chilli sauce

Friday: Salad nicoise- tuna, boiled potatoes, boiled egg, cucumber, spring onions and mixed leaves with homemade dressing

As I said, cutting out gluten also made this challenging, and as I go through the dishes throughout the week, I will add in possible alterations to spice it up a little more!

The meal prep today took a couple of hours, and although you may think “I’ve got better things to do on a Sunday” (I thought that too), it really gives you more freedom during the rest of the week.

Todays preparations included:
– Bake the salmon
– Roast veggies
– Boil potatoes
– Boil eggs
– Boil rice
– Make salad dressing
Simple as that!

During the next 5 days I will be writing a little something on my lunch each day, and hopefully it will spark some inspiration for your work/school lunches in the future too! Check back tomorrow to see how my salmon, rice and veggies came along.

Spring Leek and Pea Veggie Risotto Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

It is quite often that when I write my food blogs, it is actually the first time I have ever cooked the dish. So, I have to admit, this recipe is no different. Prior to making this, I had never made a risotto from scratch on my own before. I have eaten a lot of risottos, just never made one.

I love risottos, they are so versatile and relatively simple to make. The ingredients in a risotto can be very diverse, for example… fish, meat, veggies, plain, spices and herbs, dairy free, gluten free, vegan (the list goes on). But, on this occasion, I opted for a fresh spring veggie risotto both gluten and dairy free, that can be easily made vegan too.

Ingredients

My ingredients were:
– 1 Leek
– 3 Mushrooms
– 1/2 Cup of peas
– 1 Brown onion
– 2 Cups arborio rice
– 2 Glugs of white wine (I chose a cheap Sav Blanc)
– 2 Stock cubes, or homemade stock (I used chicken style, which is completely plant based)
– 1/2 Lemon juiced
– Oil

I began firstly by prepping all the veggies. To a frying pan I added a glug of oil, the diced onion, the roughly chopped leek, and after around 5 minutes the mushrooms. I finely chopped the mushrooms, because I am not a huge fan of their taste, but I know they’re very good for you, so I am trying to force myself to eat more! Once they are small, you can barely notice that they’re there.

After a few more minutes, the leek should have softened and the onion turned a translucent white colour. I transferred the ingredients into a large saucepan, ensuring everything was evenly combined, before adding the arborio rice. Once again, I gave everything a good stir, and added in the peas. I measured these more by eye, so its completely up to you how many you put in- I am guessing it was about a cup.

Now it is time for the wine. Once again, I measured this by eye, and added in two healthy glugs. Remember, you can always more! Wine is great in a risotto as it helps to balance out the richness of the rice and stock, creating a slightly acidic taste. There isn’t a super wine-y taste as the alcohol burns off during the cooking process.

Once the wine has dissolved, it is time to begin adding the stock. As I was using a simple recipe as a guide, I went slightly off piste and added as much stock as I thought right for the texture and consistency of the risotto. It ended up being 3 cups. I began to add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until the liquid was fully absorbed, and then adding another 1/2 cup… etc…

Finally, all the stock will be absorbed into the rice, which should take around 20 minutes. The rice should now be puffy and soft, and the risotto should be an almost thick texture. However, if the rice is a little al dente, you can reduce the heat and continue to stir the risotto until cooked.

Into the pot I then squeezed the juice of 1/2 a lemon, which helps break up the richness like the wine! I also added a little salt and pepper, but I think this is better to add after serving as it should already be very flavoursome.

I also added some dried chilli flakes, which gave it a good kick, and I believe helps break down the creaminess a little.

Risotto

Not only is this a simple recipe, it can also be done at a very low cost. The wine is the most expensive ingredient, but it means you can drink the leftovers so its win:win really. This recipe will produce about 4 large portions, or even more if you serve with a side salad and reduce portion size. All the ingredients cost me less than $10, averaging at $2.50 or less per portion.

Satay Sweet Potato Curry Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

The past few weeks I’ve been trying to eat healthy, exercise regularly and do all my uni work, and I feel like I’ve not taken time to do things I enjoy, including cooking. So, today I took myself off to the shops to fill my fridge with exciting new ingredients for the week ahead.

Pasadena Foodland is the most amazing supermarket that’s only 10 mins from my doorstep. The shelves are stacked with everything you can imagine, it’s even got an oyster bar- does a supermarket need an oyster bar… apparently so.  Anyway, I went around with my strict list and my budget in mind, and tore myself away from the walls of treats and expensive organic produce to get exactly what I needed.

Below is a picture of my food haul- all for $55, which is equivalent to just over £31- not too bad for everything I bought. I was doing some bargain hunting too and managed to save about $10.

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Food Haul!

I have been craving a curry for a while now, however, as much as I’d love to order takeaway, the funds just aren’t there. So, the next best thing (or maybe even better) is homemade. I had a quick look online and came across a veggie curry that sounded amazing. The ingredients are:

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Ingredients

 

  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Small piece of ginger
  • 3 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp Smooth peanut butter
  • 3 Small sweet potatoes
  • 400ml Tin coconut milk
  • 100g Spinach
  • 1 tbsp Lime juice

I started off by ensuring all of my ingredients were prepped and ready, this made it easier and quicker when it came to the actual cooking. There was no rushing around desperately mincing garlic and peeling sweet potatoes.

I started by heating a drizzle of oil in a large pan. The curry serves around 4/5 portions so unless you are going to split the ingredients I would recommend using a big wok or casserole dish. Into the pan I added the chopped onion and cooked this until it had begun to golden.

Once the onion was translucent I added the garlic and ginger. The recipe recommends grating these two ingredients but, sadly I don’t have a grater, so I finely chopped them instead. The smell at this point becomes super fragrant and after a minute I added the Thai red curry paste.

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Paste!

I then added a large spoon of smooth peanut butter. I love peanut butter, so I would happily add another spoon or two, however, I promise once it has all been cooked you can’t actually recognise it, so please don’t let this put you off if you don’t like it on its own.

The nut butter melted into the curry paste, making a lovely sticky mixture. At this point I added the peeled sweet potato that I had chopped into rough chunks. I must admit I only started with 2 sweet potatoes, but I thought the sauce to potato ratio wasn’t quite right, so I added another. The recipe calls for 500g but I don’t have scales, so it was a bit of guess work on my part.

Once the potato was mixed with the curry paste I added the coconut milk and 200ml of water. I used the can to measure the water, ensuring I didn’t waste any of the coconut milk. At this point it was smelling really good, I couldn’t wait to eat it.

Sadly, it needed to cook for another 20 minutes or so, until the sweet potato was soft. I bought the curry to boiling point and then turned the heat down to a gentle simmer.

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Almost ready!

When the curry was ready I stirred in the spinach, lime juice and added salt and pepper. Finally, it was ready to eat. I served the curry with brown rice and a gluten free wrap that I toasted slightly.

 


I managed to purchase everything relatively cheaply, the most expensive ingredients being the Thai red curry paste. However, I only used a few spoons so there’s loads left in the jar for future use. The spicy gift that keeps on giving? The peanut butter is the same too, however you can buy peanut butter pretty cheaply in the UK.

The whole meal cost around $7. I had to guess with the nut butter and curry paste, but it makes it around $1.64 per serving.

Not only delicious but far healthier and cheaper than getting takeaway!

If you want the full recipe check it out below!
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/satay-sweet-potato-curry

Cauliflower and Chickpea Burger/Hash Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

I was unsure about blogging this, mainly because it didn’t turn out at all as I had planned. The original dish was supposed to be a veggie burger, however, I didn’t have some very important utensils, for example a potato masher, and therefore, my burgers didn’t work at all. Instead I was left with something I can only describe as a veggie hash, but it was delicious; so, I wanted to share my experience.

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Ingredients!

My ingredients were:

  • 1 Head cauliflower
  • 1 Can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 White onion
  • 1 Red pepper (or capsicum as the Aussies call them)
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 1tsp Turmeric
  • 1tsp Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper

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Cauliflower

The process was a tiny bit fiddly, but nothing too hard! I started by grating the head of the cauliflower with a box greater, into a bowl, over which I had placed a large tea towel. This tea towel was then used to strain the cauliflower to remove all of the liquid. I added 1tsp of salt to the cauliflower and left it to rest for about 30 minutes before it was ready to strain. The salt draws all of the liquid from the cauliflower.

 

In a separate bowl I mashed the rinsed chickpeas with a fork, this is when I could’ve used a masher! Once again this was a bit fiddly and made my hands hurt even more- poor me! I added the mashed chickpeas to the cauliflower once it had been strained.

I finely chopped the onion and bell pepper and minced the clove of garlic. I added these to the bowl too, along with the spices.

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Veggies

At this point I knew that the likelihood of me forming the mixture into burgers was incredibly slim, so in a bid to salvage everything I added the mixture to a foil-lined roasting tin. I pressed down all of the ingredients and put the tin into the pre-heated oven.

Overall the cooking took around 30 mins, and I added a sheet of foil near the end so that the top didn’t burn.

I was really pleasantly surprised by the outcome, it smelt delicious, and it was a lovely golden colour.

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I had bought some GF buns from Coles, and I was still fancying a burger, so I did my best to pile the hash on top of one half. I added lettuce, avocado, hummus and a touch of mayo to the bun, topped with a squeeze of lime.

Apart from being a bit crumbly it was delicious! The spices were just right, and it didn’t have the classic cauliflower taste that I was a bit nervous about. The recipe claims it makes four burgers, however I had a lot of leftovers, which I was worried about wasting. I didn’t really know what to do with them at all.

The next morning, I had a dash of inspiration, and thought I would try some with sausages and toast, which is where the name breakfast hash came from. I chopped up a GF garlic and herb sausage and mixed it through as I reheated the hash in a saucepan, the juices from the sausages made it even tastier.

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Breakfast hash!

The following evening, I was making a veggie stir fry and instead of rice, once again, I thought this would be a good opportunity to use some more leftovers. It worked as a great carbohydrate replacement.

So, after a bit of experimenting I managed to find a few dishes that worked well with my mystery concoction. It was all delicious, I was really surprised. However, I think if you had a potato masher I’m sure the burgers would have actually been delicious. I will link the proper recipe below!!!

Happy burger (hash) making. x

https://tasty.co/recipe/cauliflower-chickpea-burgers

 

Day 6/7- Rice Noodle Stir-Fry Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

Well, today should’ve been day 7, but, because of quite a hectic day yesterday- and probably one too many ciders- I had to give blogging a miss. So today we have day 6. This also means I have switched up the dinner plan too. Tonight, I made Asian stir fried veg with rice noodles.

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Ingredients!

I have been amazed at how well all of the veg has lasted since I went to the market, and those delicious enoki mushrooms and beansprouts have been catching my eye for the past few days. Finally, it was time to put them to good use. My ingredients for this dish were:

  • Enoki mushrooms (and one random mushroom I found in my fridge)
  • Beansprouts
  • Pak Choi
  • Garlic
  • Chilli
  • Rice noodles
  • Oil

I went to the cinema tonight and needed something quick for dinner. This was perfect.

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Ready to cook!

The veggies and the noodles basically took the same time to cook, around 8 minutes.

Very simply, I firstly chopped ½ clove of garlic, and a small piece of red chilli, and added this to a pan with a drizzle of oil. After about 30 seconds I added the rest of my veggies. The Pak Choi had begun to wilt slightly in the fridge, however, once it hit the pan you would never have known!

 

I stirred the veggies in the pan for around 6/7 minutes until they begun to golden. I added quite a lot as I knew this would be great for leftovers, but also because the mushrooms and Pak Choi shrink down when cooked, and therefore I wanted to make sure there was enough.

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I drained the noodles, which I boiled in salty water (only a little salt!), and everything was ready to plate up. Simple as that!

img_2711.jpgTo serve I added a drizzle of soy sauce too. I had intended to pick up some ginger from the market the other day, but completely forgot, I would’ve loved to have added ginger too. My Mum actually gave me a great tip the other day. If you freeze ginger it is perfect to grate over stir-fries or Asian dishes. I think this really would’ve lifted the dish to another level. However, I made do with what I had, and it was still delicious.

Spicy, tangy and sweet- a tasty dinner that doesn’t break the bank or take hours to make!

Day 5- Burrito Bowl Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

Dinner tonight failed, mainly because I spent the afternoon eating chips and dips… oops. But… my lunch was delicious, and it took a while to cook so it makes up for this evenings laziness!

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Ingredients!!

My lunch today was a veggie burrito bowl and it was actually really tasty, I made myself proud. The components were: brown rice, guacamole, black beans and corn, red onion salsa, lettuce and sour cream.

I made each topping from scratch, minus the sour cream obviously. So, let’s start with the guacamole.

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Avo!

This was very easy, the ingredients were:

  • Avocado
  • Lime juice
  • Seasoning
  • Chilli

Very simply, I mashed a whole avocado with ½ lime and a few finely chopped pieces of chilli- the spice level is obviously up to you. Once It was all combined I added salt and pepper and mixed again. I have quite a bit leftover too which is great news for lunch/dinner tomorrow.

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Guacamole

Secondly, onto the beans. This was the first time I have cooked with black beans myself and it was a bit of a nightmare to start with. I didn’t realise the beans would be in black, oozy jelly and it took me a few minutes of frantic googling and problem solving to work out I had to put them in a sieve and thoroughly rinse them. I am not sure how black beans come in the UK, but if it’s the same make sure you wash them lots. I guess it’s how you have to thoroughly clean chickpeas too.

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Beans and corn!

I simply pan-fried the beans and frozen corn for a few minutes until the corn had a cooked through. I added cayenne pepper and fried again for a couple more minutes. Delicious. Once again, I had leftovers which are waiting patiently in my fridge.

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Onion Salsa

The salsa was another very simple element, the ingredients were:

  • Red onion
  • Spring onion
  • Cucumber
  • Lime
  • Oil

Once again all I did was mix the ingredients. Both types of onion and cucumber was diced into small chunks and the oil acts as a little drizzle to prevent it from going dry. I only added a drop, and a large squeeze of lime.

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Finished!

The lettuce was simply chopped, and the brown rice cooked for the usual 30 mins. Once everything was ready I plated it up, I tried to make it look aesthetic but honestly as soon as I started eating it became a huge mix of Mexican mess- delicious!!!! I finished it wish a last squeeze of lime and a blob of sour cream, I can’t wait to have it again!!!

Please try this at home x

Day 4- Garlic and Broccoli Spaghetti Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

I haven’t exactly tried to hide my love of garlic, but this meal makes it the main attraction.

Following on from my salad at lunch I was craving some carbs, so I am glad that spaghetti was on my meal plan.

My salad was tasty, using my leftover veg and rice from last night to supplement the salad leaves, cucumber, avocado and spring onion. I do like salads but I am getting a bit bored of eating rabbit food, and as I knew I was going to the gym I wanted something substantial to look forward to.

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Salad

All of my recipes are simple but this one is probably the easiest. I remember having this at home in front of the TV after school with Mum too, so it is very comforting. My ingredients were:

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Ingredients!

  • Spaghetti
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Oil
  • Seasoning
  • Lemon (One squeeze)
  • (Plus a tiny bit of cheese to top it off)

The GF spaghetti I got from Aldi was very reasonably priced, and after being impressed with the penne, I was looking forward to cooking something new. Don’t get me wrong, gluten free pasta is nothing like the real thing, but I have to make the most of it. All you lucky gluten-eaters can obviously use the real deal.

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Pasta!

I followed the instructions on the pasta, cooking it for 8 minutes. This was also perfect for the broccoli, so I used the same pan to cook both simultaneously. I do like my broccoli maybe slightly overdone however, so cooking time is completely up to you. I added a drop of oil into the water to prevent the pasta from sticking together.

Once the veg and pasta were drained I heated up ½ minced clove of garlic in some oil and once it was golden, and added the spaghetti and broccoli. I ensured the garlic and drizzle of oil were mixed in with the other ingredients, and simple as that, it was ready to serve.

All in all, from chopping to plate, the meal took about 10 minutes and tasted delicious!

Cheap, easy, and very tasty.

Mexican Bean Chilli Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

It appears I am sticking with the theme of sauces for the moment as today I made spicy Mexican bean chilli to go alongside chicken fajitas. This bean chilli is so easy, needing minimal effort and only a few ingredients. It is great to have with rice or as a meat-substitute for burritos/fajitas or with couscous and in salads. There appears to be loads of Mexican food in Adelaide and its inspired me to try new recipes!

I also must apologise for my lack of pictures, when I started cooking I was planning on blogging, but it was so yummy decided I wanted to share it.

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Ingredients!

This recipe is similar to one I created before (shown in my Big Fat Mexican Meal blog), my ingredients are:

  • 1 Tin mixed beans (I specifically used Mexican beans)
  • 1 Tin diced tomatoes
  • ½ Red onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Oil
  • Salt and pepper

This recipe is so simple like I said, and the first step began by me finely chopping the garlic and red onion. I heated a drizzle of oil in a saucepan and added the onion and garlic. Once the onion started turning golden and softening I added the tin of Mexican beans. You must make sure they are drained and rinsed thoroughly as the juice in the tin can alter the flavour.

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Beans alongside the brown rice and chicken for the fajitas!

After about 5 minutes, when the beans were heated through and mixed with the onion and garlic I added the tin of diced tomatoes. Similarly to the pasta sauce yesterday, I filled ¼ of the empty tin with water, and poured this in too, to use all of the tomato juice.

Now all that was left to do was wait for the sauce to thicken and to add the seasoning. Once everything had combined together I added a dusting of cayenne pepper. This should be to taste; it’s always better to start with small amounts as it can be very spicy! Along with the cayenne pepper I also used salt and pepper, tasting each time as well.

The thickening of the bean chilli took around 20 minutes. You shouldn’t put a lid on the saucepan to ensure the liquid evaporates as it is cooking, allowing the sauce to thicken, giving it a more chilli-like texture. Once it is at the desired consistency your veggie bean chilli is finished!

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GF Fajita Bowl!

Tins of beans and tomatoes can be purchased cheaply and seasoning like cayenne pepper can be bought from all supermarkets, including Aldi/Lidl etc. I bought my garlic today from Adelaide Central Market so I like to think that made it taste even better, however I’m sure it was just the same as the shop bought alternative!

My first Aussie blog- Homemade pasta sauce!

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

Since being in Australia one thing I have found out is that everything is very pricey. Food and drink especially, generally because their wages are far higher than ours in the UK, but this means I am having to be even thriftier. One thing that I always find cheap and easy to make is homemade pasta sauce. By making it at home you are also able to control the amounts of salt and sugar, which so many pre-made pasta sauces are full of.

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Veggies!

My ingredients were:

  • 1 White onion
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • ½ Red chilli
  • 2 Mushrooms
  • ¼ Red pepper (not in pic- I forgot)
  • 400g Diced tomatoes (1 tin)
  • Italian seasoning
  • Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

The steps for this sauce are especially easy. First, I finely chopped the onion, garlic and chilli and diced the pepper and mushroom. I chose to use ¼ red pepper last minute as I had some leftover in my fridge. I drizzled oil into my frying pan and ensured it was piping hot before I added all of the chopped veggies.

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Ready for cooking

On a medium heat I stirred the ingredients until the mushroom softened and the onion became golden. At this point I added the tin of diced tomatoes and an extra 1/2 tin of water to ensure all of the juices were used. Adding water helps to prevent the sauce from becoming too thick as it reduces.

To taste, I added the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. The mixed herbs give the sauce a great Italian smell and add another layer of flavour.

After around 5/10 minutes more, the sauce had thickened and was bubbling away nicely. In the meantime, I cooked my delicious gluten free pasta, which I bought in Aldi (in Aus they have a great GF selection), and once this was finished cooking I began to plate up.

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Veggie Sauce!

I haven’t yet bought any cheese, mainly because it’s a bit above my student budget, but some grated cheese over the top would be perfect. I served the dish with another sprinkle of black pepper.

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Ready to eat- straight from Italy

If you don’t necessarily like the lumps of tomato in the sauce you can choose finely chopped tomatoes. I also noticed that Coles sell cans of tomatoes with Italian herbs which would also be great if you don’t have the seasoning in your cupboard- I’m sure UK supermarkets do too.

All of the ingredients used are low price and if you buy multipacks of tinned tomatoes it means you can save even more. I got mine for around $0.60, which is roughly about 40p, pretty much the same as in UK, if you want you could splash out on more expensive tinned tomatoes too.

For a quick evening meal this is perfect, and after I took my pictures I added ½ tin of tuna to add protein to the dish. This would also work perfectly with mince, like a Bolognese, or with chicken or even more veggies. Enjoy J