4 recipes to use what you already have

If those weekly food shop bills at the supermarket have started to make your eyes water, you are not imagining it!. According to the Central Statistics Office, food prices rose by a whopping 5.5 per cent in the year running up to December 2021.

With a price hike in everyday products such as bread, cereals, mineral waters, soft drinks, fruit juices, sugar, jam and honey, inflation is the highest it has been in 20 years.

I asked my social media followers, “What uninspiring items do you have in the back of the freezer or store cupboard that are just screaming to be used up?” Why not put those items on the weekly meal plan first and start cooking what we have before we stock up on even more?

The most common items that came back to me covered with freezer frost and dust were turkey mince, tinned lentils, chicken thighs and tinned butter beans. So, I sprinkled a little culinary magic and created 4 delicious and hearty meals using these very items. With prices set to continue to rise, let’s try and ease the squeeze of the “big food shop” and make the most of what we have already got.

Baked Cajun chicken thighs

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan).
– Trim the excess skin off six chicken thigh, then cut two slits across each thigh (you can completely remove the skin to cut down on the fat content if you wish).
– Arrange the thighs on a large baking sheet.
– Mix 3tbs of rapeseed oil with 1tbs each of dried oregano, Cajun spice, paprika and smoked paprika.
– Brush the mixture over the chicken thighs.
– Bake for 50 minutes until the skin is crispy and the chicken is cooked through.
– Serve with a creamy mash or rice.

Mozzarella-stuffed turkey meatballs

– Into a large mixing bowl put 400g turkey mince, 100g bacon lardons, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1tsp cumin, 1tsp oregano, 1tsp smoked paprika and a pinch of chili powder.
– Get your hands into the bowl and give it a good mix.
– Slice 1 buffalo mozzarella ball into nine cubes.
– From your mince mixture, make nine mini meatballs and push a piece of mozzarella into the centre of each meatball.
– Place your meatballs on to a baking sheet and oven bake at 180 degrees fan for 20 minutes.
– To make your sauce, add a drizzle of oil to a saucepan over a medium heat.
– Fry a diced onion and pour in 400g passata and 100ml chicken stock.
– Add a teaspoon each of chili, paprika and oregano.
– Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar to offset the acidity in the passata.
– When your meatballs are cooked add them to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
– Finish with a dash of cream and chopped fresh parsley.

Spiced lentil crispy tortilla wraps

– Over a medium heat in a little rapeseed oil fry a diced onion and two crushed garlic cloves.
– Add a can of drained and rinsed green lentils and fry for another minute.
– Season with a little salt and pepper then add ½ a diced red pepper and ½ a diced green pepper.
– Sprinkle in 1tbs each of cumin and dried oregano and give a good mix.
– Add 1tsp of smoked paprika and a pinch of chili.
– Dollop in 2tbs of tomato puree and stir.
– Take one large tortilla wrap, add the filling to the centre and sprinkle over a handful of grated cheddar and mozzarella mix.
– Place a smaller wrap on top and brush the edges with egg yolk – this will act as a glue to hold both wraps together.
– Pour a little rapeseed oil on to a clean non-stick frying pan.
– Place the wrap on to the pan egg side down to seal it and cook for about 2 minutes each side until crispy and golden.

Sausage and butter bean pie

– You will need a round nine-inch spring-form cake tin lined with greaseproof paper and a mixing bowl.
– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4).
– Cover the base and sides of the tin with one pack of ready-made shortcrust pastry, leaving a little hanging over the sides.
– Grate an onion and crush two garlic cloves.
– In a mixing bowl combine 400g of sausage meat with the onion, garlic, dried sage and paprika.
– Take the sausage meat and place it into your cake tin, pressing down gently, filling the pie case.
– Top with the butter beans and a little grated smoked cheese.
– You will need a second pack of ready-made short crust pastry for the lid. Place it on top of the pie, pinching all around the edges to seal it.
– Brush with a beaten egg.
– Put on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 50 minutes.






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