Saturday, 30 January 2016

Reuse your Food

Now when it comes to eating, small helpings are not something I take notice of. In most cases, when I cook something, even if it seems like I have prepared a lot of food, I will always find myself hungry and able enough to consume the entire saucepans worth...with room for a chocolate something or another for afters, of course. However, since I have started living by myself more and with the mindset of a student but without the loan, I am trying to save more on my food shopping. Trying to be more inventive with my recipes and doing my best to leave leftovers. Yesterday was probably my first successful attempt so I thought I would just pop it here. It's not experimental, not new and creative but whoever said that was part of the judging criteria?

Note: These recipes are based on me cooking for myself and myself only but as I mention above, for some that may mean these feed an army. Feel free to be flexible.

Beef Burgers, Potatoes and Spinach (basically a list of food but simply stating the truth)

Beef Mince (500g)
1 large Onion (any colour, I chose white)
A dash of milk (or some other binding agent e.g. breadcrumbs or flour)
Seasoning: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Granules and Mixed Herbs
Olive Oil (for cooking)
Potatoes (duh!)...I used baby salad potatoes, don't ask why, just get the little ones
Olive Oil
Garlic Granules (yes, I do have a bit of an obsession with garlic, I know)
Mixed herbs (optional)
Garlic Gra...only kidding, I think that's quite enough garlic for one meal

1. To make the burgers, chop up the onion into small cubes/pieces and throw into a bowel with the mince meat
2. Chuck in the seasoning and a dash of milk (other binding agents are available) and then get your hands in there! Squidge it all together, break up the mince and make sure all the seasoning is mixed into every corner (curve? bowls don't have corners...)
3. Tada! You have yourself some lovely flavoursome Mince. Now here is where you transform them into the delicious burgeriness that we want for our dinner. Take a handful (as big as you wish your burger to be) and mold it into a round patty shape.  You can make as many as you like but since my point of this post is to give ideas for leftovers, try and leave a little over)
4. Heat the oil in a frying pan allowing it time to get pretty hot...don't touch it to test..bad plan. Once hot enough, put your burger(s) - I made 2 - into the pan and allow to cook, turning after a 2 minutes or so to stop burning. If you allow both sides to brown and then reduce the heat, you can leave the burgers to slowly cook through to the middle while you prepare the veg.
5. For the potatoes, take 5 or 6 and place them in a pan of cold water, bring them to the boil and allow to cook until poking them with a knife shows that they are softish
6. Once cooked, remove from the heat, drain and rinse with cold water to make them easier to handle without crying. Place them on a chopping surface and halve each small potato.
7. Heat some more olive oil in a frying pan and chuck in the potatoes. You can then add the garlic or herbs or whatever flavouring you wish and some simple salt and pepper. 
8. Meanwhile, steam/cook however you wish, some spinach (other vegetables are available) and season
9. Once the burgers are cooked to your preferred level, you have the option to tip the par-fried potatoes into the frying pan to allow them to absorb some of those yummy burger juices. 
10. Serve neatly and prettily (of course) onto a plate and..breathe!

Ta da!


We ain't done yet! If you followed my little line of instruction, you will have left some of your raw mince mix over for another day, to save on the pennies and all that. 
note: don't leave the mince more than 24 hours otherwise it might not taste very nice and could lead to an unhappy tum

Ellie-May's Pasta Bolognese 

Leftover Mince Meat (already seasoned and all)
Olive Oil
3 Small Tomatoes 
One Oxo Beef cube (or other beef stock)
Mushrooms (optional)
More Seasoning 
Pasta (of your shape choice, I personally chose Fusilli)
Parmesan Cheese


1. Cut a slit in each of the tomatoes and place in a bowl of hot water, from the tap or (if you really wish) from the kettle. Wait a few minutes for the tomatoes to start peeling from the slits. Remove from the bowl and peel each tomato as much as you can (whatever you do DO NOT PANIC if not all of the skin..or any in my case..comes off, some people just like their tomatoes peeled. Chop them into quarters and each quarter into halves and each half into...halves (is that 8ths?...) and leave aside for a minute.
2. Heat some olive oil in a big(ish) pan and wait until hot. Tip the Beef mix into the pan and break up with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula. You can keep mixing as it browns to stop anything from becoming stuck to the bottom of the pan.
3. Meanwhile heat up some water in a saucepan with a dash of salt and, once boiling, add the pasta and reduce the heat.
4. Returning to the Bolognese, now the beef has browned a little, add the chopped tomatoes and give the saucepan a stir. Reduce the heat and allow the tomatoes to soften and the juices to leek into the mix. You can break the pieces up further with the back of a spoon or with a knife if you wish.
5. It is at this point that you can then add some additional ingredients if you wish. I love mushrooms so chopped 3 up small button mushrooms up and threw them in, allowing them to cook through. Other ingredients could be some cubed carrot pieces, some chopped spinach, perhaps some celery slice? Be creative. 
6. Finally, crumble up your beef stock oxo cube into the pan (or pour in your stock) and give it a stir allowing the flavours to be absorbed. Grab a teaspoon and have a taste. If you feel it needs more seasoning, chuck it in! Drain the pasta, pour it into the pan with the mince, toss it around and serve with some Parmesan on top. 


Remember! Cheap Eats = Tasty Treats...or something equally cheesy


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