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  How to eat well, spend less, keep healthy: week 1

Eat well, spend less, keep healthy

5 weekday meals and 2 treats from an affordable shopping bag. Use meal planning to help keep you organised and healthy.

The shopping bag needs to contain

1 packet of part baked bread rolls, 2-3 smoked mackerel fillets,     1 pkt ready roll of puff pastry,  150g minced beef,  1 hake or haddock or cod portion,  80g portion fresh cooked prawns,  3 pork sausages,  1 tub creme fraiche,  Pkt noodles

Fresh fruits and vegetables: butternut squash, 3 onions, 3 tomatoes, 2 cox apples, small bunch green grapes, pack walnuts. pecans and 1 lemon.
Check your fridge: 3-4 eggs, margarine or butter, cheddar  Store cupboard: couscous, horseradish sauce, worcestershire sauce and sugar.




Day 1: Mackerel pate with hot crusty rolls, pastry twirls and crunchy apple, grape and walnut salad  Prepare smoked mackerel pate by peeling off the skin from the mackerel fillets and mashing the fillets with a fork. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and pile into a serving dish.
Cook the part-baked rolls (or baguette) according to the packet. Open the puff pastry and slice the thinnest slices from  the block, twist them and place on a baking tray. Cook in the same hot oven as the bread rolls for about 7 minutes.








Side salad: Chop apple into quarters and remove the core, dice up the apple portions, add halved grapes and a few crushed walnuts or pecans with about a tablespoon of any salad dressing or mayo that you have.
Day 2: Omeletta with salsa style salad and crusty bread
Use your eggs to make omeletta. You need a good non-stick pan for this if you want to make it on the hob. Crack the eggs (2 or possibly 3 if you are starving hungry!) into a mixing bowl and beat them well, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Grate about half an onion, wrap the remaining half with cling film and store in fridge. Slice some pieces from a red pepper and about half a courgette. Shred some boiled ham, or chorizo slices.
Smear the cooking pan with butter, as butter gives the golden look to the outside of the omeletta, and put the pan on the hob. Tip in the eggs, onion, veg and meat strips. Gently, using a heatproof spatula, draw the egg mix from the sides to the middle of the pan bringing the ‘set’ or cooked egg layer with you. This will form a pile in the middle of the pan from which the still ‘raw’ egg mix will drain onto the hot edges of the pan.
Side salad: Salsa tomato salad. Dice tomatoes the sprinkle with sea salt flakes and a good pinch of sugar. Add cucumber cubes and sliced gherkins. Drizzle with French dressing or separate oil and vinegar.
Day 3: Roasted squash and minced beef hot-pot with crust
Peel a potato and slice into very thin slices. Cut an onion into quarters and place in the bottom of a casserole dish. Pop this into the microwave for 6 minutes. Put minced beef over the onion and potato and scatter with black pepper. Add a layer of chopped butternut squash. You can leave the skin on as it melts away during cooking. Add stock or water with a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce or Marmite stirred in. This will add a darker meaty colour and richer flavour. Put the lid on and leave in the oven for 40 mins at Gas 6 or Electric 200ºC. Roll out a portion of puff pastry block and cover the hot pot dish, trim the edges and brush with milk. Cook on for 15 - 20 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.
Day 4: Coconut, Haddock and Prawn hot tub.   Frozen Hake (Haddock or cod) portions can make a quick affordable meal. If using frozen fish remove the fish from the freezer and place in a frying pan greased with butter. Add 2 slices of fresh lemon, a small diced chilli and the whole can of coconut milk with some sea salt and ground black pepper. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and simmer very gently for 10 – 12 minutes. Rapid cooking will break up the fish so keep it gentle and just poach and steam the fish until it is cooked. Once the fish is tender add the prawns. Quickly shred a whole pak choi very finely and add to the fish pan covering again to create steam to cook the vegetable. Peel a carrot and using a potato peeler shave thin ribbons into the coconut milk. Soak rice noodles in boiling water. Drain and add to the coconut. Serve piping hot.
Day 5: Onion Fondue with sausages and potato topping.  Peel a potato and slice to make really thin slices. Melt a little butter in the microwave and toss the potato slices in this butter with some seasoning. Fry the potato slices very gently turning them several times. Whilst this is cooking, peel and quarter a large onion and cover with boiling water in a pan. Add the sausages and boil for 15 minutes until the onions are soft and drain through a colander. In the saucepan put a glass of white wine and 100g grated Gruyere cheese and 1 clove of garlic. Very gently heat this mixture until it forms a smooth sauce. Stir it constantly and once it is blended add the onions. Serve the sausages and the onion sauce topped with the golden crunchy potato slices.
Treat 1: Noodle soup   Using a pan on the hob. Use up half of the onion, chop it up and fry off in butter until it is softened, add any left-over vegetables cut into small pieces, Tear up a few of the basil leaves, drop in a thin chilli and remove it prior to eating, stir in a stock cube and add water. Add 1 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes and drop in thin rice noodles (and float any remaining mackerel pate to use it up) and heat until piping hot. Serve in a deep bowl.

Treat 2: Apple wrap snack.  Unwrap the ready roll puff pastry. Peel and core a Bramley apple and cut into 4 quarters. Place a piece of apple onto a portion of pastry and add a teaspoon of jam, curd or mincemeat. Wrap the pastry round and seal the edges by pinching the pastry together. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes at 200ºC or Gas Mark 6 until crisp and golden. These are delicious warm but can also be eaten cold.
















































































































































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