Buying your morning cup of coffee. Filling up your car with fuel. Planning your weekly meals. From petrol to milk and bread, everything has gone up in price recently as both globally and locally, economies start to feel the pinch.
Because of this, it’s getting more and more difficult to eat healthily as a family and still remain within budget. With this in mind, the Hippo.co.za team has rounded up some affordable but tasty dinners from some of our favourite foodies, so you can shop smart and still eat well – without breaking the bank.
Golden Puff-Pastry Plait
Sally Emery, editor of Good Housekeeping, has been serving this recipe to her family ever since it was first featured in the magazine over four years ago. “It looks so striking, but is really simple to make – plus the filling is perfect for turning leftovers into a delicious meal,” she says. Puff pastry is also really affordable, so it’s always good to have a couple of rolls in the freezer.
From shredded leftover chicken to a couple of slices of fried bacon and some chopped Peppadews, root around in your fridge and make up your own delicious filling combinations. “At Easter, I even made a sweet version of this for brunch by filling it with marshmallow eggs and sprinkling icing sugar on top,” says Sally.
Sally’s top tips for creating delicious meals on a tight budget include shopping smart and planning ahead. “Find meat producers near you who sell free-range meat at a discount and do online shopping so you can avoid temptation in the aisles,” she advises. She also notes that you can save money by turning yesterday’s leftover dinner into today’s lunch. “If you spend R40 a day on lunch at the office, that means R800 a month,” says Sally. Finally, get expert advice and ideas from websites such as Good Housekeeping, which has more than 600 easy and affordable recipes and inspiring 7-day supper plans.
Beef Bolognese and Tomato Salsa Subs
Anina Meyer from Anina’s Recipes lists this as a really well-balanced meal that’s easy to make and budget friendly because it uses beef mince and brown bread rolls as your main ingredients. The tomato and onion salsa gives it a uniquely fresh taste and lifts it above your typical Bolognese. Top it with cheese and grill it to perfection for a meal that’s so delicious you’ll definitely want to enjoy it more than once a week!
The ingredientsused – such as bread rolls, beef mince, tomato, onion and cheese – couldn’t be easier to source and may even be sitting in your fridge and pantry right now. Anina’s top tip when trying to cook healthy and affordable meals for the family is to keep it simple. “Have one meat option and one starch option and add your favourite combinations to that,” she says. “And don't forget to save those leftovers!”.
The Not-Sweet Bobotie Packed with Veggies
Christine Phillips from the Little Cooks Club loves this recipe because it’s such an affordable option, as all the veggies bulk up the meal and make it go so much further. She suggests serving it with brown rice or a lovely green salad.
Her number one tip for creating healthy meals on a tight budget is planning properly. “If you don’t plan your meals in advance, your meals that week will probably be expensive and not that healthy,” she says. She suggests doing a menu plan for the week and doing your shopping for the week on the Sunday before. Other top tips include always making extras of a certain meal like mince and freezing it for another evening, as well as keeping your veggies in Ziploc bags so that they stay fresher for longer. Her final tip? “Always make sure when planning meals that you have lots of colour on the plate, as this makes meals a more enjoyable experience,” she says.
For the bobotie:
For the custard:
Method for bobotie
Serve with cauliflower rice or a large salad.
Method for custard
Baby Potato & Parmesan Frittata
Kaye Cox from AMC Cookware says that this frittata is ideal if you need to prepare a meal in a hurry. It’s similar to an omelette or crustless quiche, and it uses everyday staples to create a delicious dish.
Although the recipe doesn’t have any meat in it, make this recipe uniquely yours by throwing in any leftovers you find in your fridge, from meats and cheese to veggies. This also means you don’t have to go out and buy expensive ingredients, as you can simply use what you have at home. And, if you want to save even more, substitute the Parmesan with cheddar cheese, which is more affordable. You can also keep any remaining frittata and pack it up the next day in either the kids’ or adults’ lunchboxes.
Kaye’s other tips for cooking within a budget are to always cook with foods that are in season, because these are generally more affordable. Buying tougher cuts of meats is another option (as long as you cook them well), as is using dried beans and pulses as the protein in a meal.
NOMU Hot Chocolate Cake-In-A-Mug
Lee Geldenhuys from NOMU says their Hot Chocolate Cake-In-A-Mug contains minimal ingredients with raw, unrefined sugar, but maximum decadence. Not only is this mini-cake easy to make, it's also fun to bake with the kids and it can fit into any budget.
Serve immediately with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate sauce.
To make the NOMU Hot Chocolate sauce, place the cream and hot chocolate in a small saucepan and gently heat, stirring constantly until smooth and creamy. Alternatively, simply heat the cream in the microwave for 30-60 seconds. While still hot, add the hot chocolate powder and stir until evenly combined.
These tough economic times may be making it difficult to cover all your bills and still afford the basics such as food. Compare quotes on Household Insurance, while you’re planning your budget for groceries and give yourself security in knowing that your kitchen items may be replaced in the unfortunate event of damage or theft.