Healthy home cookin' in Hobart

Healthy home cookin' in Hobart

Our recent Astor Grill post provoked an interesting reaction from one reader. They were worried about our health, and our budget:
'I wonder if you ever considered being a tad bit more political about food production and have a bit more on healthy food, and cooking not just on how much you spend out eating and drinking- just a thought bless xxx'

Eating out is one thing the Two Girls unashamedly love about living in Hobart and we love cooking at home too. So here's a couple of cheap and healthy meals one Girl whipped up on the weekend. There's a meat option and a vego recipe too.

This post is dedicated to our anonymous reader. It might even be the start of a new theme. Thanks Anon!

One Girl's Spag Bog

Spaghetti Bolognaise is a great winter dinner which you can make cheaply and healthily.
This is the way I cooked it this weekend. This Girl generally does a big cook up and freezes portions for later. It's a an efficient use of resources. This Spag Bog made enough to share with a friend who needed a hand up this week and made around 7-8 serves. 

I chose a combination of beef and lamb mince. The best Bolognaise uses fatty meat, lamb, pork and veal. That's not how I'd normally cook it. A high proportion of low fat meat is a good idea with a little bit of lamb for flavour. Use whatever vegetables you like, in whatever proportions you like and you can afford. This version was cooked in a slow cooker to enhance the flavours. 

1 kilo of lean beef mince
300 grams of lamb mince
Dash of red wine that was opened and sitting on the shelf
2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
400 grams-ish of tomato passata - mine was home made with onion, garlic and basil, thanks to the Lovely Deputy's tomato glut, it's been sitting waiting in the freezer for such a use
1 red pepper diced
2 stalks of celery thinly sliced
1 large carrot diced
400 grams of mushrooms sliced

Heat a scant tablespoon of olive oil and brown the meat.
Add the passata, tomato paste, wine if using and pepper to taste. I used white pepper.
Once heated through, put the mixture into the slow cooker.
Wipe the saucepan out, add a wee bit more oil or water. Add your vegetables and cook on a low to medium heat.
When just cooked through, add to the meat and tomato mix and cook in the slow cooker a few hours.
Serve with pasta or rice or bread or green salad.
Top with nothing or a few shards of Parmesan or marinated crumbled feta.

There's lots of great Spaghetti Bolognaise recipes. For some Spag Bog tips click here

It's not just about meat, Smooth Smokey Vegetable Soup

I think this recipe came from the back of a chipotle chilli packet or maybe a Hill Street Grocer recipe. You can see for yourself the veggies I used: potatoes, sweet potato, eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, carrot, tomato and parsnip. To increase the flavours, I chose to roast the vegetables first because it is all the better for the caramelised flavour. Heat through your roasted vegetables with a stock of your choice, vegetable or chicken, and let simmer a while to enhance the flavour. Taste it. Season it. And process until smooth.
The chipotle is a smoked habanero. I cook the soup with two chillies but I only processed one of chillies into the soup because they are HOT! This quantity made about six decent serves. One chilli gave the soup a fair decent bite. If I'd had yoghurt in the fridge I would have put a dollop in. 
This is a great healthy and tasty soup. It's yum. Just beware the chipotle. Having now had a serve, I think next time I won't process any chillies into the soup. I used canned chipotles this time because friends visiting from Mexico brought some me some, but I often use dried chipotles and you can get them from Spice World. If you use dried chillies, rehydrate them by soaking them in boiling water for 15 minutes or so first. Use can use this water as part of your stock if you dare.

What's your favourite cheap healthy home eats?