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Changing habits

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I am trying to get all of us (me, the wife and the 2 kids) to start eating better quality foods, I have started with spaghetti bolognese, I have that down to a fine art, it's cheap to make, it's tasty, it's quick and also it fills the belly. My wife is the fussy one, she doesn't like currys, chilis or anything too spicy. I made a cod dish which she enjoyed.
Now is there any stunning recipes out there that are not too spicy, remember they must be quick, cheapish and most important taste wonderful.
post #2 of 8
The best way to start eating better quality food is to buy better quality ingredients for the dishes you normally make. I find that organic produce does indeed taste better than conventional, and fresher local produce, however it is grown, is better than produce that has traveled and been stored for days or weeks. Real cheese (for example, Cabot's, which is in many, many supermarkets) is better than processed. Good quality chocolate is much more satisfying than cheap, overly sweet, waxy stuff. Fresh fish is better than frozen. Almost any variety of apple has more flavor than a Red Delicious.

Better ingredients can seem more expensive -- but when you realize that because they have more flavor, a little goes farther to satisfy you (like good olive oil or chocolate or Parmesan cheese).
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
better ingredients do cost more but if I looked in my trolley, Id probably have about $100 worth of junk per week, hence me posting on here for recipes. I can't cut the junk food totally out, but I would like to decrease it by alot. Olive oil you mention, I notice they have light, medium, extra virgin and so on, which is the one to look out for, especially when cooking?
post #4 of 8
One word: BULK. Remeber that.

Steam some broccoli and other veggies, cook some linguine, chop up some parsley, sun dried tomatoes and mix it all together with plenty of olive oil and minced garlic. So simple, healthy and TASTY.

Expiriment with pestos and different versions. Use cheaper nuts like walnuts instead of pine nuts, and toast them first. Use parsley, sun dried tomatoes, or olives.

Beans are cheap and extremely nutritious. Buy some dried beans and soak them (the quick soak method) or buy some of that bulk bean mix that doesn't have to soak and cook them broth/water and mirapoux. Add herbs and make some easy biscuits. Biscuits are cheap and good.

Fresh mexican food is cheap and quick. If you can find a mexican market, it is almost guaranteed to be cheap, especially the produce. Chili Relleno casserole is great and you get that flavor without having to stuff the peppers. The canned rellenos are good, but I don't think that fresh anaheim peppers are expensive. Roast them yourself in no time.

Try a colcannon. Talk about inexpensive. It's nutritious because of the cabbage and the turnips/parsnips/potatoes. It is a one pot deal and very quick.

Avoid processed, boxed, grocery baked goods. Start shopping at a farmers market or something local, stay out of those stupid grocery stores as much as possible. Natural stores have lots of bulk items.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
post #5 of 8
Okay, olive oil: a lot of recipes call for extra virgin (the most flavorful type) for EVERYTHING. :eek: That is expensive, and a waste. The best oils should be used sparingly, as a condiment -- drizzle a little over grilled fish just before serving, or over your pasta (such as the dish Harpua suggests), or blended with other oil in a salad dressing. For everyday cooking (frying or sauteeing), it is much less expensive and just as healthy to use light olive oil or "pure" olive oil.

Tell us: what are some of your family's favorite dishes? We'll see how we can help you make them "better." Okay?
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #6 of 8

Buying Food on a Budget

Here are two tips that we use to keep costs in control for us fixed income foodies.

1. This may seem obvious, but if your supermarket builds its business around loss leaders (as opposed to the growing "everyday low prices" philosophy), plan your weekly menu around them. When fresh salmon is $4.99 a pound, we have salmon that week. Eventually most things you're interested in cycle through the sales.

2. Buy in bulk non-perishables that you know your family really likes. You don't have to be Warren Buffet to invest profitably in the futures market. When canned tuna is 3 for $1, buy a case. Your savings over the course of six months (less the time value of money) is probably better than you're getting in your mutual fund, and--guess what!--it's tax-free.

3. If you have a farmers' market in your area, take the time to go on a weekly basis (but keep those supermarket sale prices in the back of your mind). When romaine is running $1.68 a head at the supermarket, we buy it two for $1 at the farmers' market.

4. Try an ethnic store for special ingredients that you can buy and store in bulk. We use a lot of extra virgin olive and buy it by the gallon at the Italian food stores for $15 to $18 (dang--that rising Euro!) and re-bottle it in wine bottles. Kalamata olives, which cost $5.99 a pound in the olive bar at our megamart are $2.99 a pound at the Greek or Italian market.

5. Look for a restaurant supply house open to the public or a store that caters to LDS church members for things like spices, flours (other than simple all-purpose), nuts, grains, etc., but be careful to buy only what you can use.

6. If you have a low-priced, limited-selection supermarket, like Aldi's, around, keep a separate shopping list for stuff you can buy there at much lower prices.

7. Check for a day old bakery store in your area if you buy those kinds of products. Half-price is usually the rule.

At first glance this kind of shopping sounds like it will run you into the ground (and drain your gas tank). But you don't have to visit each place every week if you organize your shopping lists and find your own rhythm.

And don't forget to treat yourself and your family. This maybe a shopping lifestyle, but it should not dictate your life.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for replying

Steam vegetables with linguine sounds lovely, do i fry the sun dried tomatoes, parsley and garlic, then add the linguine, would that be the best way?
Colcannon is very nice, infact I had some tonight, never again will I ever have plain mash :)
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Ok I will look out for pure olive oil, like you said some of the oils are expensive and should be used sparingly. Perhaps Ill buy a bottle of extra virgin oil just for the finishing touches, Im trying to lose weight :crazy:

My kids like curry, although my wife doesn't, I wouldn't mind making a thai chicken/prawn curry, something for the kids and not to hot. Something simple too and not needing hundreds of ingredients.
Cod in parsley sauce sounds lovely, have you a nice recipe for parsly sauce, mmmm served with colcannon.
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