4 recipes to use what you already have

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If those weekly grocery bills at the supermarket have started to make your eyes water, don’t imagine it! According to the Central Statistics Office, food prices rose a whopping 5.5 percent in the year to December 2021.

Inflation is at its highest level in 20 years, with the price of everyday necessities such as bread, muesli, mineral water, soft drinks, fruit juice, sugar, jam and honey rising.

I asked my social media followers, “What boring items do you have in the back of the freezer or in the pantry just waiting to be used?” Why not put those items on your weekly menu first and start cooking, what do we have before we stock up on some more?

The most common items that came back to me covered in freeze and dust were ground turkey, canned lentils, chicken thighs and canned butter beans. So I sprinkled some culinary magic and created 4 delicious and hearty meals with those exact ingredients. As prices will continue to rise, we’re trying to take the pressure off of the “big grocery store” and make the most of what we already have.

Baked Cajun Chicken Thighs

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (circulating air).
– Trim off the excess skin from six chicken thighs, then cut two slits in each thigh (you can remove the skin entirely to reduce the fat content if you like).
– Place the drumsticks on a large baking sheet.
– Mix 3 tablespoons canola oil with 1 tablespoon each of dried oregano, cajun seasoning, paprika, and smoked paprika.
– Spread the mixture over the chicken thighs.
– Bake for 50 minutes until skin is crispy and chicken is cooked through.
– Serve with a creamy porridge or rice.

Turkey meatballs stuffed with mozzarella

– In a large mixing bowl, add 400g ground turkey, 100g bacon, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp smoked paprika powder and a pinch of chilli powder.
– Put your hands in the bowl and give it a good mix.
– Cut 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella into nine cubes.
– Form nine mini meatballs from your ground beef mixture and press a piece of mozzarella into the center of each meatball.
– Place your meatballs on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.
– For the sauce, put a drizzle of oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
– Fry a diced onion and pour in 400 g passata and 100 ml chicken stock.
– Add a teaspoon each of chili, paprika and oregano.
– Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar to balance 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 Crispy Lentil Tortilla Wraps

– Fry a diced onion and two crushed garlic cloves in a little rapeseed oil over medium heat.
– Add a can of drained and rinsed green lentils and fry for another minute.
– Season with a little salt and pepper, then add ½ diced red pepper and ½ diced green pepper.
– Sprinkle in 1 tbsp each of cumin and dried oregano and mix well.
– Add 1 tsp smoked paprika powder and a pinch of chili.
– Scoop in 2 tbsp tomato puree and stir.
– Take a large tortilla wrap, place the filling in the center and sprinkle a handful of grated cheddar mozzarella mix on top.
– Place a smaller wrap on top and brush the edges with egg yolk – this will act as the glue holding both wraps together.
– Put some canola oil in a clean non-stick frying pan.
– Place the wrap, egg side down, on the pan to seal and bake for about 2 minutes on each side until crisp and golden brown.

Sausage and butter bean pie

– You will need a 22cm round springform pan lined with parchment paper and a mixing bowl.
– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4).
– Cover the bottom and sides of the mold with one pack of ready-made shortcrust pastry, leaving some overhanging.
– Grate an onion and crush two cloves of garlic.
– Mix 400 g sausage meat with onion, garlic, dried sage and paprika in a mixing bowl.
– Take the sausage meat and place it in your cake tin, pressing lightly and filling the cake base.
– Garnish with the butter beans and some grated smoked cheese.
– For the lid you need a second pack of ready-made shortcrust pastry. Place it on top of the cake and pinch all edges to seal.
– Brush with a beaten egg.
– Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 50 minutes.

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