I was inspired by my own wee munchkins this morning to write todays post. Hugh seems to be on some kind of mega-growth-spurt at the moment and he has an appetite to match. This morning he ate 3 bananas for morning tea and then backed up less than 2 hours later for lunch!
After posting it on my status on Facebook, a friend who has two hungry older boys of her own, replied with the helpful tip - use the bananas to make banana bread! It'll make the fruit go further and fill the kids up faster... Obvious in hindsight but not something you think about when you look at the fruit bowl (unless the bananas are beyond their best).
With that in mind, I went on a bit of a research mission to find out a few more tips to make the food in the house go further. It's a timely quest I think - everyone is trying to tighten the belt with all the scary economic uncertainty floating around. Now I have to admit I was left fairly unimpressed by a lot of the ideas I found, but even if the idea's themselves weren't tantalising, some of them inspired a few ideas of my own. Here's a little round-up of the ones I want to try...
When cooking with minced meats, pad out the mixture with breadcrumbs. It not only creates a smoother texture in your finished product, it also makes great use of any stale bread you might have around. I often throw stale bread into the blender to crumb it and then freeze it in small portions to use for schnitzel and sausage roll mix...
Personally, not a fan. It reminds me of my least favourite dinners as a kid. However, there's something to be said for this school of thought. The idea is that when you put food into a casserole dish it instantly sees to grow somehow. I recently made an eggplant and potato gratin with mozzerella cheese and a tomato sauce baked in the oven. Similar to a casserole and certainly went further than the two small eggplant and two large potatoes would normally have gone - it lasted for two nights.
3. Leftover savers
I often find at the end of a meal there's a small amount of sauce leftover. Sometimes it's pasta sauce, other times it's a stirfry. A good tip I came across to make use of these was to freeze them in ice cube trays. While there might not be enough to make another meal from, it's certainly worth saving them to add to future meals for extra flavouring.
4. Bulk up
With winter coming on we'll naturally be looking for heavier meal options. Don't let that rule out salads from your meal plans. Salads are a great option for a budget friendly dish and can easily be bulked up by adding carbohydrates or proteins to them. A couple of my favourites are using canellini beans or butter beans with tomatoes and cucumber, adding steamed or grilled vegetables to saffron rice and, my newfound love, adding quinoa to avocado, snow peas, chick peas and rocket.
5. Oh nuts
On the same tangent, I often like to add cashews to stirfry and noodle dishes for an extra shot of protein. I'm fortunate enough to not have to worry about nut allergies in my house, and I find the boys request extra nuts on their plates at these mealtimes. Extra nuts means extra protein and longer sleeps so that's fine by me!!!
This is something that has really piqued my interest. If you like my ideas, let me know. It's something I want to find out more about and I'll be happy to keep sharing ideas as i find them. And if you have any sneaky ways to make the food go further at your place I'd love to hear them!