Here are some ideas for super easy, cheap, and vitamin-rich homemade meals to keep you nourished. Many of the ingredients might be lying around in your cupboard and fridge already!
Tuna & Sundried Tomato Pasta Bake
500g dried rigatoni (or any other short pasta)
2x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
4 thyme sprigs, leaves only
300ml double cream
280g jar sundried tomatoes, drained and quartered
198g can sweetcorn drained
3x 120g cans tuna in spring water, drained
100g cheddar, grated
50g parmesan, grated
STEP 1: Heat the grill to its highest setting and put a large saucepan of salted water on to boil. Tip in the pasta and cook for 1 min less than the pack suggests.
STEP 2: Meanwhile, make the sauce by simmering the tomatoes in a pan with a little seasoning and the thyme for about 5 mins. Pour in the cream, stir and simmer for another 4-5 mins.
STEP 3: Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water, and tip back into the saucepan. Pour over the creamy tomato sauce, the sundried tomatoes, sweetcorn and tuna. Layer into a baking dish (ours was 22 x 29cm), scattering over the grated cheddar between layers. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and put under the grill for 5 mins until bubbling and golden.
Muffin Tin Chilli Pots
400g can kidney beans in spicy sauce
4 medium tortilla wraps
400g can chopped tomatoes with herbs
230g green salad
STEP 1: Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Simmer the beans and tomatoes in a pan for 15 mins, then season.
STEP 2: Meanwhile, grease four holes of a muffin tin with oil. Line each with a tortilla, making a cup, and fill with a ball of foil. Bake for 5 mins until lightly crisped.
STEP 3: Remove the foil, divide the bean mix between the tortilla cups and serve with the green salad.
Chorizo & Pea Risotto
1 tbsp oil
200g chorizo, peeled and chopped
300g arborio risotto rice
2 tbsp vinegar (white wine vinegar if you have it)
1.2l chicken stock, heated until simmering
200g frozen peas
60g parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
STEP 1: Heat the oil in a large frying pan, tip in the chorizo and fry until it is crisp and all the oil has been released. Remove a quarter of the chorizo with a slotted spoon and set aside.
STEP 2: Tip the rice into the pan, stir to coat it in the oil and toast for a min or so, then pour in the vinegar. Once the vinegar has evaporated, add a ladleful of the stock, stir then, once absorbed, add a bit more. Continue doing this for about 20 mins until most of the stock has been absorbed and the rice has swollen but still has a slight bite.
STEP 3: Tip in the peas, parmesan and the remaining stock. Give everything a good stir. Once the cheese has melted, season with black pepper, then divide between bowls, topping each portion with the remaining crisp chorizo and extra grated parmesan.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup
2x red peppers
2x large red onions
2x large sweet potatoes
1 litre veg stock
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
STEP 1: Peel and quarter onions. Leaving skins on peppers, quarter and core. Peel and cube sweet potatoes. Season well with salt and pepper, chilli and paprika. Place on greased, pre heated tray. Bake for 20 – 30 mins or until potato cubes are soft.
STEP 2: Place all ingredients in a large pan and add 250mls stock. Using hand held blender (masher if you don’t mind it thick) and mix well with all the veg. Keep adding stock to desired consistency.
STEP 3: Serve with warm crusty bread.
Saucy Bean Baked Eggs
2x 400g cans cherry/plum tomatoes
400g can mixed bean salad, drained
200g baby spinach
4 medium eggs
50g thinly sliced smoked ham, torn
Wholemeal rye bread, to serve (optional)
STEP 1: Tip the tomatoes and bean salad into an ovenproof frying pan or shallow flameproof casserole dish. Simmer for 10 mins, or until reduced. Stir in the spinach and cook for 5 mins more until wilted.
STEP 2: Heat the grill to medium. Make four indentations in the mixture using the back of a spoon, then crack one egg in each. Nestle the ham in the mixture, then grill for 4-5 mins, or until the whites are set and the yolks runny.
STEP 3: Serve with rye bread, if you like.