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Cheap recipes that just about anyone can make
Stay home and raid the back of the cupboard to make these simple eats
Lockdown has South Africans cooking and baking up a storm, which is a great way to spend time with your lockdown buddies. And social media has been inundated with endless recipes and cooking demos. We love learning new kitchen tricks, but they're not always entirely practical, especially when we’re only popping out for essentials every now and then. Let’s be realistic: what we need right now are simple budget-friendly meals that won’t use all your supplies in one go.
We’ve rounded up seven recipes that are simple, cheap, and ration-friendly. Turn your overripe bananas into banana bread (everyone’s doing it), find a use for the stale ends of your loaf of bread, and make “ice-cream” with just one ingredient.
A WINTER WARMER MADE FROM WHATEVER YOU WANT
Whatever You Want Soup is a simple and versatile recipe that embraces anything that’s in your pantry. As long as you have the base of onions, garlic, seasoning and your choice of stock or water, you can mix and match whatever main ingredients to suit you. Grab that slightly wilty spinach from the bottom of the fridge, the sad sweet potato from the cupboard, the wrinkled tomatoes: this recipe doesn’t judge. It’s easy, cheap, and a perfect warm nourishing meal for these chilly evenings. You can follow the full recipe from the New York Times Cooking website.
PASTA MADE WITH PANTRY STAPLES
This simple pasta only needs five ingredients, most of which you'll probably have in your cupboard and fridge. The ingredients are pasta (any kind you have), butter, garlic, some stale bread, and one can of peeled tomatoes. The butter gives the sauce a bit of body and helps to compliment the sweetness of the tomatoes. Top it off with a sprinkle of toasted breadcrumbs and enjoy. You can follow the full recipe with step-by-step photos from the Budget Bytes website.
ITALIAN COMFORT FOOD IN UNDER 20 MINUTES
Cacio e pepe literally translates to “cheese and pepper”: This is one dish that does not ask for a lot. The hard cheese you’ll need isn’t exactly cheap, but this recipe is a lifesaver if you happen to have a knob of hard Italian-style cheese somewhere in the corner of your fridge. You’ll need spaghetti, salt and pepper, butter, and hard cheese - pecorino and parmesan is recommended but anything you have will do. This is proper Italian comfort food: simple, flavourful, and warm. You can follow the full recipe online.
THE ULTIMATE SOUTH AFRICAN COMFORT FOOD
Mielie pap is a pantry staple most South Africans probably have in their kitchen cupboards. These mini pap pies are chef Zola Nene’s ultimate comfort food. The recipe calls for mince, a carrot, an onion, peas and mielie pap, and makes 4 delicious mini pies. You can follow the full recipe from Zola Nene’s website.
AN UPGRADE OF OUMA’S CLASSIC
Suzelle DIY's Papterts make the perfect vehicle for whatever ingredients you have. Chop up the bottom-of-the-fridge veggies, fry up some mince, grate some cheese: anything goes once you've got the mielie pap base. In this recipe, Suzelle uses cherry tomatoes, onion, thyme, feta and sugar for the filling, but you can easily adapt it to your supplies.
ALL ABOARD THE BANANA BREAD TRAIN
Did you really live through lockdown 2020 if you didn’t make banana bread? It is an easy recipe that needs minimal ingredients, the most important of which is overripe bananas. Most recipes call for eggs, nuts, butter, and various other ingredients you may not have. Not this one: all you need is one tin of condensed milk, five overripe bananas and two and a half cups of self-raising flour. One hour later it’ll be ready for lashings of butter (if you have - it’s just as good without).rYou can watch the full recipe below or follow it on the Foodies SA website.
A SWEET TREAT FOR WHEN YOU ONLY HAVE ONE INGREDIENT
This one-ingredient banana “ice cream” is a winner for when you’re having a craving for something sweet (plus, as a bonus, it’s healthy). All you'll need are a couple of bananas: freeze them overnight and then chuck them in the blender with either water or milk and blend until smooth. You can put it back into the freezer to firm up even more if you like. Bananas make for a deliciously creamy “nice cream”but you can try it with whatever fruit you have to make a simple sorbet. You can watch the YouTube video below or follow the recipe online.
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