Sometimes you fall into a rut of what you want to eat, and you get a gut feeling that your ordinary choice of cheese drenched pasta could be swapped for something a little more ‘exotic.’ This is especially evident when you’re in a relationship and all you fancy getting is a takeout when you can’t be bothered to cook. But who’s to say cooking should be a task and not a fun activity to take part in together? Here are five cheap and easy meals to get your out of your meal rut that are quick, cheap and easy to cook with your SO.
Don’t fancy a measly sandwich for lunch? Try these cheap and easy meals and skip paying for a meal deal in place of making a sausage soup.
Cost per person (2): 80p.
Prep Time: 20 minutes.
1 tablespoon of oil for frying
1 onion, chopped
1 1 ½ mugs of water
1 beef stock cube
¼ mug of a pasta of your choice
200g baked beans
3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
1. Using a saucepan, heat the oil and then add the onion to fry.
2. Once fried, add the water, stock cube and pasta. Bring to boil and simmer gently for around 4-5 minutes.
3. While this simmers, cook the sausages through a method of your choice, frying, grilling etc. When done, cut into bite sized chunks.
4. Add the sausages, beans and Worcestershire sauce. Allow to cook for an additional two minutes. Dish up and season with salt and pepper to finish one of these cheap and easy meals.
Perfect for lunch or dinner, the cheap and easy meals like chicken parmigiana pairs nicely with cooked spaghetti, should the meal itself not be enough to fill the hole. Be careful not to overdo it on the cheese though!
Cost per person (2): £2.50.
Prep Time: 30 minutes.
2 large chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ jar passata
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon oregano
½ x 125g ball of mozzarella
Torn cooked spaghetti
1. Place the chicken breasts between sheets of cling film and beat with a rolling pin until they are the thickness of a £1 coin. Dip in the egg and then cover in breadcrumbs and half of the parmesan. Put in the fridge to rest.
2. In order to make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the garlic for one minute. Tip in the passata, sugar, oregano and season with some salt and pepper. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
3. Set grill to high and cook the chicken for 5 minutes on each side. Pour the tomato sauce into an ovenproof dish and top with the cooked chicken. Scatter the remaining cheese over the dish and grill for a final 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with spaghetti if you wish.
Want something a little more adventurous and impressive to add to your roster? Take a look at this katsu style pork for some cheap and easy meals.
Cost per person (2): £5.50.
Prep Time: 35 minutes.
280g pork (either fillet or steak)
2 servings of basmati rice
50g panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
½ teaspoon of turmeric
½ small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, grated
½ apple (non-cooking), peeled and cored
A pinch of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of tomato puree
1 small garlic clove
½ teaspoon curry powder
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon of cornflower
100ml of chicken stock
½ teaspoon of sesame oil
½ teaspoon of clear honey
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
1. To make the sauce, heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a pan, adding the onion, carrot and apple. Cover and cook on a low heat, stirring for 10 minutes until softened. Uncover, add in the garlic, turn up the heat again and cook for 1 minute.
2. Stir in both the curry powder and ginger, followed by the tomato puree, honey, soy sauce and cornflour. Add the stock and simmer for a total of 5 minutes. Blitz until the mixture is smooth using a hand blender, and season with the sesame oil and both salt and pepper.
3. Place the pork between two sheets of cling film, and bash with a rolling pin until the meat is about 1cm thick. In a bowl, mix together the crumbs, turmeric and oil. Beat the egg white until frothy.
4. Heat the oven to 220C/gas 7. Dip the pork into the egg white, followed by the crumbs and transfer to a sheet. Bake the pork for around 10-15 minutes. Serve with the rice portions and covered in the katsu sauce.
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