Egg, Asparagus, Broccoli & Pepper Couscous (fast, easy, and healthy!)

IMG_20170516_212211_450The past few weeks have been a bit busy for me, what with my final essays for third year being handed in tomorrow, and completing my poetry portfolio to hand in a couple of weeks ago- something I’ve spent nearly a year working on and had to be pried away from me. I know that this time of year us students tend to just pick up food as we go, and though I am always ready to indulge my love of food, it can become a little bit expensive. It can become a LOT expensive. And since I’ve been spending a lot of time in a local cake shop recently, and I would rather spend my money on cake (its really good cake), this was becoming a bit of a problem. This is the kind of lunch that provides a solution: its fast, its pretty no-brain-power-required, it tastes great, and it will make you feel good. You can also then spend more money on cake.

Swap in whatever veggies you want/have. Here I’ve used broccoli (I always have that in), pepper (I was finishing up a three pack), and asparagus (on offer in the market, and coincidentally one of my favourite vegetables, so I was using up a massive bunch of the stuff). The idea is to keep this cheap, so don’t go buy mega-expensive ingredients. Couscous is something I feel like every student should have in, as are eggs. Both are things you can make multiple meals out of, and so are invaluable.

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Mustard- Balsamic Bean & Veggie Couscous (cheap & quick)

wp-1487931517876.jpgThis has been one of my favourite lunches for a while now. Last year my flatmate would make massive couscous, pesto, and veggie salads, and then divide them up, store them in tubs in the fridge- and have lunch ready for a couple of days. With practically no effort. You can see where the inspiration for this meal comes from.

Since I’ve been at uni I’ve gotten into the habit of always having a big bag of couscous in my cupboard- just the plain kind, so that I can add my own flavours. Currently, wholegrain mustard and balsamic vinegar is my go-to combination to flavour my couscous salads. The veg I add changes depending on how well-stocked my shelf in the fridge is, and whether I want to add in Quorn, tuna, tofu, mackerel, or kidney beans for my protein source. That’s the basic formula you want here: couscous + protein source + seasonings + vegetables. And you’re good to go. The great thing about this dish is that you can change up what you put in it according to what’s in the fridge- though the combination I’m showing you today is vegan and veggie suitable.

The ingredients I’ve given below then are just an example; use what you like and let me know what you add down in the comments. You can also easily double this, and then keep a second portion in the fridge for up to two days.

Ingredients

  • 50g dry couscous, left to soak for 5 minutes in 70ml freshly boiled water
  • 1/2-1 can kidney beans (depending how hungry you are), drained, and well rinsed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 handful close cup mushrooms, sliced and then microwaved for 1 minute (or have them raw- they’re equally delicious)
  • Cherry tomatoes, however many you want really, each chopped in half
  • 1/2 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 large handful spinach (again, you can wilt this or leave it raw- completely up to you, and how much time you have)
  • Balsamic vinegar, to taste (I use 1-2tbsp)
  • Wholegrain mustard, to taste (I use 2-3tsp)

 

Method

Whilst the couscous is soaking, simply place all of your veggies and beans into a large mixing bowl. Once the couscous has absorbed all of the water then throw that in too, followed by balsamic vinegar and mustard, to taste. Stir everything up together, and then dig in straight away, or transfer into a tub, allow to cool, and store in the fridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mackerel Power Salad (cheap, quick & easy!)

wp-1479641743207.jpgMackerel is something I love, but most of the time genuinely can’t bring myself to cook in a shared house. Because I value my friendships too much to do that.

But canned mackerel is a different ball game, because the smell doesn’t really linger (well, linger for as long, if you take the bins out regularly). It’s also very cheap, and using a canned product removes a lot of time spent faffing about. This salad took me just 10 minutes to prepare- but was packed with nutritious ingredients, omega-3, and nourishing fats. You can switch up the combination of vegetables used here, depending on what’s left in the fridge. It’s great for using up all of the little leftovers from different meals throughout the week. I have to say though, the combination of ingredients used here works really well. So perhaps plan the rest of your meals around this instead…

Ingredients

Spicy Bonfire Dogs

wp-1478270237736.jpgBack home Bonfire Night means two things: fireworks and food. And let me tell you, the food usually revolves around meat.

Excluding the beauty that is Parkin (super sticky and rich gingerbread specific to Yorkshire), my family’s bonfire food has always been: pie and peas with mint sauce (even when I ate meat I hated pork pies so this was just peas and mint sauce for me), chilli and rice (my mum made it with turkey mince when I stopped eating red meat, but by that time I was at uni and so not home for Bonfire Night anyway), or bratwurst with fried onions and ketchup.

Bonfire food basically has three requirements: meat, mess, and spice.

This recipe is one for all of your veggies out there. It kicks the meat out of the Bonfire food, but retains the joyful messiness of eating it, and the spice. Today I used Quorn sausages- the “Butcher’s Best” ones. However, use whatever sausages you like (if you are a meat eater then you can join in too), or if you’re a vegan then long pieces of roasted tofu would taste amazing as well (season it with turmeric, pepper, chilli powder and a little curry powder).

This recipe is quick, easy, and you’ll be able to get the ingredients at pretty much every supermarket going. It requires minimal effort, and so is definitely one for all of you who don’t have that much experience with cooking. You have caramelised red onions and mushrooms, green pepper to keep it slightly refreshing, and some peppery mustard and spicy chilli to keep you warm when watching fireworks. Let start… Continue reading “Spicy Bonfire Dogs”

Spicy Sweetcorn Fritters (healthy & easy!)

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Recently I have been wanting to switch up my meal accompaniments- because much as I love pasta, rice, bulgur wheat, sweet potato, and bread, its always fun to try something new. Particularly something new and easy. And cheap to make.

This recipe is all of the above, using primarily store-cupboard ingredients, and its also healthy. Because fritters don’t have to be deep fried. Also, although these are “spicy” you can omit the cayenne pepper if you’re a spice-wuss. Or use fresh chilli if you’re feeling extra hot.

You can serve these with anything you want, but I opted for smoked salmon (love it when decent stuff is in the Sunday bargain bin of the supermarket), spinach, and then some frozen peas I boiled and mashed with mustard and a little frommage frais. I took some of the leftovers for lunch the next day with eggs, broccoli, spinach, and pomegranate seeds- and still had three fritters left to freeze (because somehow I ended up with seven instead of eight or six). I feel like you could use these to dip into soup pretty successfully too.

Let’s get started…

 

Ingredients (makes 6-8 fritters, serving 3-4 people)

  • 100g self raising wholemeal flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 240g canned sweetcorn (weight given is the amount once drained- just check the can. If you have leftovers then use them in this simple chopped salad)
  • 1/4-1/2tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt, pepper- to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 100ml almond milk (or whatever you have)
  • cooking spray

Continue reading “Spicy Sweetcorn Fritters (healthy & easy!)”