Bacon and Broccoli Chilli Pasta – Budget Meals
Bacon and Broccoli Chilli Pasta – Budget Meals for Woolworths MasterChef SA Week 10
Budget isn’t the most exciting word. In fact it can be quite depressing and brings to mind all kinds of limits. And Angela Merkel. Yes, far from exciting. However, all of us have to reign in the spending and the world is experiencing one of the most severe economic crises of our time. I am currently in Europe and having just spoken to a range of people in Athens, it brings home more than ever, the severity of the situation felt by people all over.
When Woolworths gave me the challenge of preparing a meal for four for R150, a “budget” meal, I knew three things should into play so that the eater (and the cook) would not feel deprived in any way:
1. Flavour. For the main meal I used pasta which is usually a cupboard staple and bacon which affords lots of flavour even if you use a little of it. Onions are browned to add depth and chilli gives you a satisfying spice-injection. Broccoli isn’t just nutritious, it also adds some crunchy texture.
2. Easily available ingredients. Everything for this meal should be available at your local supermarket. The worst thing when considering the pennies is to have to go from shop to market to deli to find the ingredients for supper. The instinct then is to opt for cheap, non- nutritious take outs. Leave the leisurely food shopping for when the wallet and the clock allows. I assumed that the cook in this instance is preparing a meal on a busy week day, so I created a quick, easy but nutritious meal.
3. A treat. Even though you’ve had to carefully consider the spend, you can still serve a refreshing drink (home made iced tea in this case) as well as dessert. What’s not to love about that?
I have assumed that reader would have salt, sugar and vegetable stock liquid or cubes in the grocery cupboard as well as a lemon and an egg in the fridge.
If you prefer, substitute the bacon with a chicken breast or piece of steak pan fried and cut into very thin strips.
If you prefer a vegetarian option, use one large aubergine, cut into slices and pan griddled instead of the bacon.
On a day that you have more time, buy one pack of beef or ostrich mince instead of bacon (relatively same price as the dry cured bacon I purchased) and brown with the onions and slow cook with the tomato, adding water as needed for a bolognaise sauce. Leave out the broccoli or add a can of barlotti or red kidney beans towards the end of cooking to bulk the dish up.