When looking through ingredients for a recipe, I can be instantly put off by a never ending list of ingredients. Big list = big spending = big effort in my mentality, but this isn’t always the case! So to tackle this psychology, my recipes are sectioned into flavours (herbs and spices), bulk (e.g. carbs, vegs), great with (side recommendations) and jazzy (extra ingredients to jazz-it-up that are not necessary).
The kcals: the calories given are calculated from my account’s recipes on the myfitnesspal app.
I haven’t included any descriptions of how to cut or prepare ingredients. Instead, I’ve taken a photo of my cutting board for you to use as guide because really, how thin does ‘thinly sliced onions’ mean and high school food tech classes don’t teach you how to julienne a carrot!
S/P = salt and pepper to taste
= one happy face for every person this meal will make happy
Flavours = things that make the dish POP e.g. herbs, spices, sauces
Veg dippers = cucumber/carrot/peppers/celery/red onion fingers, mangetout, radish, cherry toms, well this list could go on and on but you get the jist
Eat as you like = you decide how many portions the meal can make. Calories given will be for the whole meal rather than per portion
VE = vegan
Taste test a = try a certain ingredient for texture or taste the food to see if it’s to your preference e.g. vegetable softness, spiciness, sweetness and season etc.
Jazzy = your turn to host a cook night for friends? Got family over you want to show how non-student like you are in the kitchen? Got a date you want to woo? This section is for meals that can become a little jazzier with some extra ingredients. Yes, it may mean you spend a little more, but even without the added jazz, the meal will still be tasty and nutritious.
Essential cooking kit
I think a hand blender is a cook’s power-drill; it just gets the job done quickly. You can pick them up pretty cheap and are much easier to clean than a jug blender.
Measuring jug, cups, tbsps and tsps; again no fancy ones needed here (mine where all a £1).
A scale. Mine was the cheapest one I could find and it’s still alive after 4 years (and a few batteries). It’s no laboratory-grade accuracy but works well enough.
Bag clips. I picked these up for 59p and they help keep herb/spices in bags fresh and stop my peas escaping the pea-pack in the freezer.
Food prep technicalities
How I ‘fry’: I use a non-stick frying pan with a few spritzes of fry light and tend the pan to avoid sticking. Although not anywhere near as good as using oil, it axes those calories off the total. You are welcome to fry however you wish.
Ginger and garlic prep: I use a cheap hand-held grater to grate the ginger. I splashed out on a garlic press because I couldn’t bear the smell of CONSTANT garlic fingers after one week of cooking. If you don’t mind flavoured fingers, then just cut up the garlic or ginger into teeny-tiny pieces.
Cauliflower rice or couscous: Simply cut the cauliflower into smaller pieces or florets and either blend in a jug blender or grate. A 100g portion is about 25 kcal which equals AMAZING!! You can then either 1) microwave it for about 4 minutes, 2) roast it for about 15 minutes or 3) stir-fry it for 4-5 minutes. Just don’t add salt until after it’s cooked because the salt will draw out the water and make it soggy.