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BOLOGNESE & CHILLI ; TOMATO & LENTIL SOUP ; CHICKEN STIR-FRY ; FLAPJACK SNACK BARS

Bolognese & Chilli
4 portions of beef chilli and 4 portions of bolognese sauce for less than £1 a portionIngredients for BOTH dishes     
750g Beef mince
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 red pepper
1 large onion
1 courgette
4 mushrooms
1 tbsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. dried Italian herbs
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 jar pasta sauce
1 tin of red kidney beans 
Equipment:  Knife, chopping board, garlic crusher, tin opener, Saucepan, wooden spoon. 
Bolognese Style sauce
·         Wash the vegetables. Finely chop ½ the large onion, the courgette and the mushrooms.
·         Add the oil to a saucepan and heat, crush the garlic clove and heat in the oil. Add the chopped vegetables and soften for 2 minutes. Don’t let it brown.
·         Add half the pack of mince and fry off for 10minutes until it starts to brown.  Add the dried herbs.
·          Mix in the chopped tomatoes and ¾ of the jar of pasta sauce.
·         Leave to simmer for 10 minutes and then leave to sit for 30 minutes before packing up into food boxes and either refrigerating or freezing.
·         Serve on a bed of spaghetti, mix in with cooked pasta and top with cheese for a pasta bake, lasagne or put on jacket potatoes. 
Beef Chilli
·         Finely chop the  other ½ of the onion and the red pepper.
·         Crush the garlic clove and heat in the oil, add the chilli powder and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chopped vegetables and soften for a further 2 minutes.
·         Add the other half the pack of mince and fry off for 10minutes until it starts to brown. 
·         Mix in the chopped tomatoes and the remaining ¼ of the jar of pasta sauce.
·         Leave to simmer for 10 minutes and then leave to sit for 30 minutes before packing up into food boxes and either refrigerating or freezing.
·         Serve with rice, roll up in wraps, top a jacket potato or on a large plate, spread  out some corn tortillas, lay spoonfuls of the chilli on top and top with cheese, grill and serve , a great sharing dish.      

If a vegetarian alternative is required we will either use TVP or A combination of beans such as pinto, flageolet and navy beans.

Tomato & Lentil Soup
Keeping stocked up on these cheap, store cupboard ingredients ensures that you will always have what you need to make this recipe.  Then by adding some other fresh ingredients you can change it flavour and use.  It costs Its less than £1 to make this basic recipe.  
1 small onion - finely diced 
1 garlic clove - crushed
1 tbsp. veg oil
1 tsp. chilli powder (adjust according to how spicy you like it)
1 tsp. Smoked Paprika (optional, but it does add a lovely depth of flavour)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 vegetable stock cube
1 pt. boiling water
100g red lentils
good pinch of salt
  • Heat the oil, gently soften the onion and garlic for a few minutes, add the spices and cook for 30 seconds or so.
  • Add the chopped tomato and the stock cube, boiling water. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add the lentils, stir well, bring to a simmer and leave lid on for 15 - 20 minutes.
  • Add the salt to taste, at the end of cooking as adding too early toughens the lentils and they take much longer to cook.
This is a soup recipe first and foremost, and this is the basic recipe to start with. The lentils continue to absorb the liquid so on day two, the soup becomes very thick, so with a little bit of fried off bacon, it becomes a tasty jacket potato filling or a pasta sauce.  Adding a mix of beans and some fresh basil and you can go down the Tuscan Bean Stew route, or by adding some butter beans and chorizo, it becomes a Spanish stew. Today's lunch went down the Moroccan route with the last ladle full of soup mixed with half a tub of cous cous salad and a few finely chopped apricots, served with warm pitta - delicious.  It’s great to have recipes up your sleeve that can take on different guises depending on what you've got in your fridge or what was cheap at the market or shops.  

Chicken Stir-Fry
The key to a good stir-fry is chopping and slicing the vegetables so that they are a similar thickness, this ensures that they all cook in the same time.  Choose whichever vegetables you like or have aroundor left over.   You don’t need to add a packet sauce, using a few key ingredients, you can create your own.   

Vegetable options:    1-2 Spring onions½ onion4 Mushrooms½ Pepper½ CarrotHandful of Beansprouts6 Baby cornFresh chilli (optional) 1 sheet of dried Noodles½ large chicken breast1 clove of garlicGrating of Fresh Ginger1 tbsp. Sesame oil1 tsp Chinese five spice2 tsp. Soya sauce½ Lime 2 tsp. honey

 Equipment:    Wok (if not large saucepan or frying pan), wooden spoon, knife, chopping board, garlic crusher, saucepan . 
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the noodles for 3 minutes. 
  • Drain.Chop/slice the vegetables carefully. 
  • On a separate board, slice the chicken breast in to strips.  Put the board and knife to one side. 
  • Heat the sesame oil in the pan/wok and when hot, add the crushed garlic the chicken and the spices and ginger.
  • Cook the chicken thoroughly. When the temperature is back up to hot, add the vegetables to the pan and stir round to get them coated in the spices and garlic.  Stir-fry for 2 minutes.  
  • Add the soya sauce, honey and lime juice and taste. Add more if required.
  • Bring the pan up to hot again and add the noodles, tossing them in the sauce and the rest of the ingredients.
  • Serve immediately. Stir-fry does not really keep very well as the vegetables tend to go soggy and oily.        

Flapjack Snack Bars
This recipe will take whatever your favourite fruit is or whatever chocolate you like, just keep to the quantities and it will work.  Adding the breakfast cereal opens up the texture so it’s not quite so heavy and also will add vitamins and minerals.  Don’t forget, dried fruit counts as one of your five-a-day too. Ingredients2 tbsp. Golden Syrup2 tbsp./100g spread/butter2 tbsp./50g  sugar1 ½ cups / 175g porridge oats1 cup / 50g breakfast cereal2 tbsp. /75g dried fruit of choice – chopped into small pieces1 tbsp. choc chipsVeg oil for greasing. Helpful hint:  Use a measuring jug to measure the cups if you don’t have scales, if you don’t have a tablespoon, remember 4 teaspoons is the equivalent measure per tablespoon.   Equipment;   Medium sized saucepan, tablespoon,  knife, chopping  board, baking tray, foil,
  •  Pre-heat the oven to 180oC and line the baking tray with foil, lightly grease the tray.
  •  Melt the butter in the pan, add the syrup and sugar and mix well until all dissolved.
  •  Add the oats, cereal and dried fruit to the pan and mix well.
  •  Pour the mix into the baking tray and smooth out to a 2cm depth. 
  • Press down to compact the mix.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and plce in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. 
  • Remove from the oven and score into squares. Leave to cool completely before taking out of the tray.

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