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Cooking on a Budget: Recipes for Frugal Hipsters

Published Monday, 14 April, 2014 by James Bailey

Even though reports suggest employment rates are on the rise and the economy is improving, majority of the population are yet to feel the effects of these claims. A personal budget is essential to ensure monthly cash savings are in place, holidays are feasible and healthy day-to-day living is achievable.

Here are our top three delicious, low in fat meals that have super saving potential! Say goodbye to super noodles and saucy pasta and try out these low fat recipes.

Green Detox (V)

Soup is delicious in its simplest form so no need to go wild on ingredients; the best recipes are those that are limited to one or two key elements. Don’t be shy to make more than can be consumed, soup is just has delicious second time round, it just means time is spent in the kitchen.

The Green Detox soup has been chosen specifically for those trying to lose a few pounds. It’s extremely cost effective, makes four servings and has hardly any fat contents.

Ingredients:
One potato chopped in small cubes, 140 g of Watercress, spinach and rocket salad leaves, Vegetable Stock of 700 ml, ½ a bunch of chives, Seasoning Optional, 2 teaspoons of oil

Warm the oil in the pot. Cook the chives for 2 minutes then add the potato cubes for another 2 minutes. Pour in the vegetable stock concoction and simmer for 15 minutes. For seasoning salt and pepper or a bit of chilli powder goes down well, but this is optional. After the potatoes have softening, stir in the salad and then take off the hot plate. Just blend the ingredients together and dinner is ready to be served!

Chicken & Courgette Couscous

Couscous is another money saving ingredient that prevents weight gain. It is filling, produces large portion and can be bought in pack sizes. There are a number of tasty recipes to choose from. This chicken and courgette couscous is quick to make, low in fat and serves four. It is really refreshing and the perfect dish for a mid-summer dinner party.

Ingredients:
200g of couscous, 400 ml of chicken stock, 4 courgettes which needs to be grated , 2 lemons cut into wedges and 2 boneless chicken breasts.

Tip the couscous into the bowl and add the chicken stock mixture. Cover the bowl with cling foil. The couscous should be left for 10 minutes to absorb all the juices. Heat up frying pan and cook the grate courgette until it’s soft and a little bit crispy. Squeeze half of the lemon into the couscous and add the bronzed courgette; stir them all together.

Half each of the chicken breasts and wrap them up in cling film. This is so they can be made thinner by being beaten with a rolling pin or a similar kitchen utensil. Cook the chicken in a heated pan; don’t forget to add a small drop of oil. It should take 2 minutes on either side, but double check it cooks through. Squeeze another half of the lemon to add flavour and its ready to be served. Garnish the meal with a slice of lemon and enjoy!

Mushroom & Thyme Risotto

The final dish is the classic mushroom and thyme risotto. This particular recipe is low in fat and magically filling. Beware, one portion will not be enough – it tastes sublime. The meal is cheap and feeds four, so invite a few friends over and appreciate with a bottle of wine (a low cost Merlot will do).

Ingredients:
350g of sliced chestnut mushrooms, 100g quinoa, 1l of vegetable stock, 175g of risotto rice, handful of thyme leaves and handful of grate parmesan and rocket to serve which is optional.

Sauté the mushrooms in a medium heat pan for a couple of minutes before adding the quinoa. The stock is to be kept on a low heat in another pot, make sure the vegetable cube has been absorbed before adding a ladle to the pan.

Stir until it’s absorbed and then add the rice. Repeat this process until the stock is finished and the rice and quinoa are cooked and ready to eat, this usually takes about 20 minutes. Just mix in the thyme leaves and it’s ready to serve. Dress with a handful of rocket and parmesan cheese for extra flavour.

These dishes come highly recommended for the following reasons:

  • We want cheap food, but we don’t want cheap food with little nourishment
  • All the other ingredients can be bought at the local green grocers
  • All three dishes are 302 calories or less - the soup is only 100 calories per bowl!
  • They are quite delightful!

Whoever said saving at the same time as dieting couldn’t be tasty, hey? And there’s not a salad in sight!

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