Its dark outside, there’s a chill in the air, its been a long day, you’re tired, you’re hungry… You want Comfort Food and you want lots of it.
But what do you choose? I’m here to help by offering my top 3 cheap, healthy and tasty meals that tick all the boxes for the winter months.
1.) Jacket Potato & Beans
Probably the easiest of all comfort food to make. There’s only one way to cook your jacket pot and thats long and slow in the oven. This ensures a delicious crispy skin and soft fluffy centre.
Use a drizzle of olive oil or lemon juice instead of butter inside the potato, it help to make the inner flesh creamy and is obviously lower in saturated fat and calories than butter. Don’t neglect the skin! The skin is packed with vitamins and minerals and is rich in fibre- one of your allies in maintaining a healthy weight.
For the beans I’d recommend a combination of pulses, a tin of mixed pulses in water is ideal. Although baked beans in tomato sauce aren’t the worse option, they tend to contain high levels of sugar/ salt somewhat negating the goodness of the beans within.
- Pierce the potato skin a few times with a fork or knife. Rub olive oil and a little salt into the skin. Place in a preheated oven, approx.160°C, for 90-120minutes.
- Drain the pulses and add them to some chopped tomatoes, a dash of tabasco sauce, a dash of worcester sauce and a teaspoon of tomato puree and let them simmer on a low heat for 15-20mins.
- Cut open the potato and add your lemon juice. Use a fork to break up and mash the centre of the potato. Spoon on the bean mixture to suit. Sprinkle with a little bit of grated mature cheddar.
This classic hearty comfort food can be made with vegetables or meat. I like to use turkey mince when I’m cutting down on the fat content.
Follow the recipe on my up and coming website Six Pack Supermarket. Replace the cheese with a dollop of low-fat sour cream and add Brown Rice to the mix to make it a bit more filling (it is ‘bulk season’ after all).
Soup is a great weekend option as you can use up any left over veg from the week. Not only is it warming and tasty its also packed with goodness.
- Chop any veg up and boil for 5-10mins to soften it.
- Drain off the water into another saucepan (this will be used for your stock).
- Place the veg into a blender until it is a smooth paste.
- Add a stock cube (vegetable, chicken or beef depending on preference) to the leftover water and bring to a simmer*.
- Mix in the veg paste and sprinkle in some black pepper. Add more water or reduce down to suit.
*I recommend adding chopped garlic and onion to the soup at this stage but that is totally up to you.