Thinking of what to cook and what to buy is always one of my biggest problem while planning our weekly menu. Despite of all the tones of recipes, fresh ingredients and etc that can be easily access sometime I am still stuck with all these meal planning. And also due to the rise of food pricing it is very important to have a proper planning and try to utilise as much as possible on the specified budget to minimise wastage of food. In this post I will be sharing on how to plan a western set meal including soup of the day plus a quick and easy dessert to serve 2 - 3 with a total spending of S$14.25 (about US$11.50).
Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Pumpkin and Clam Chowder. So for this set meal I take up the courage to try making this short-cut version of Leek and Potato Soup(without cream).
Ingredients: (serves 2 - 3)2 Stalks of Baby Leeks, thinly sliced
3 Cloves of Garlics, peeled and roughly chopped
10 - 15g Unsalted Butter
400ml Instant Chicken Stock
150ml Hot Water
250g Potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Thank God that I tried making this or else I won't know that this Leek and Potato Soup can be so tasty and creamy even without adding any cream in it. And moreover it is so simple and easy to prepare with just a few basic ingredients.
Method:-1. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add leeks and garlic, cook over low heat till soft and fragrance (about 5 minutes) before stirring it the potato chunks and cook for another 1 minute.
2. Pour in stock and hot water, bring the mixture to boil, reduce heat and simmer gently until potatoes are soft and tender.
3. Turn off heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature before transferring it in the food blender. Or you can use a potato masher to mash up everything directly in the pot. (you can reserved a few potato chunks as garnish too)
4. If using food blender, pour the puree back into the same saucepan. Dilute the mixture with extra chicken stock or hot water accordingly to get the consistency that you preferred. Warm Through.
5. Ladle soup into serving bowls, season with freshly ground pepper and serve.
Total cost for this dish is about S$3.00 with breakdown shown below:-
Cost of Ingredients:
~ Leek and Potato = S$2.00
~ Instant Chicken Stock = S$1.00
Garden Salad is always one of the best choice to pair with either grilled or deep-fried dish. Here while choosing between either salad or boiled vegetables such as broccoli, carrot and etc. I finally decided to choose our favourite Garden Salad with some extra granny smith wedges to pair with the grilled chicken cutlet.
Ingredients: (serves 2 - 3)
1 Packet of Ready-To-Eat Garden Salad with Sauce
1 Green Apple, cored and cut into thin wedges
1/4 Cup Sultanas
Method:-1. Wash apple with salt water, halved and cored before cutting it into thin wedges. (soak the apple wedges in salt water for about 15 seconds to retain it's colour)
2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, toss well and divide it onto serving plates.
3. Drizzle salad dressing only before serving.
Total cost for this dish is about S$4.40 with breakdown shown below:-
Cost of Ingredients:
~ 1 Packet of Baby Honey Salad from Cold Storage = S$3.60
~ 1 Green Apple = S$0.50
~ Sultanas = S$0.30
This Grilled Chicken Cutlet was rather something very quick and easy to prepare which requires minimum seasonings and cooking time. For this dish I did not prepare any drizzling sauce or gravy as I just want to keep everything simple and with it's original taste.
Ingredients: (serves 2)
2 Chicken Drumstick with thigh, bone removed
1 Teaspoon of Sesame Oil
1 Teaspoon of Cooking Wine
1/2 Tablespoon of Light Soy Sauce
1/2 Tablespoon of Cornflour
Dash of Ground Pepper
Method:-1. Trim and remove excess fat from the chicken and marinate it with seasonings for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. (remove it from the fridge at least 5 minutes before cooking time thawed)
2. Preheat grilled pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, fry the chicken skin side down on medium heat for about 8 minutes till golden brown before turning to another side. (you can sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper on the chicken while grilling for extra taste and fragrance)
3. Continue to grill for another 8 - 10 minutes till chicken is cooked through.
Total cost for this dish is about S$3.80 with breakdown shown below:-
Cost of Ingredients:
~ 2 Chicken Drumstick with Thigh = S$3.80
If you prefer Western Food over Asia Dishes, I hope this 2 Dishes 1 Soup idea on our western set meal do give you some ideas on how to prepare your own budget food at home with a good and healthy planning. For example you can have a bowl of yummy homecook Leek and Potato soup for just a dollar each bowl and you are sure that all the ingredients used are freshly bought and prepared.
With this quick and easy set meal shown above, you will be surprised that it only cost a total of S$11.20 which even allows me to whip out another dessert with the balance amount left.
Ginkgo Barley with Beancurd Sheet (白果薏米腐竹糖水)
Since I only spent around S$11.00 for the above set meal with soup and main course, I decide to whip up a simple dessert which I saw from "Miss Tam Chiak" blog that she published recently (click HERE). This is a very easy to prepare dessert that cost approximately about S$3.00 which is great for cooling the body during this hot weather season.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
¼ Cup or 4 Tablespoons Of Pearl Barley(洋薏米)
1 Packet Of Ginkgo Nut(白果)
½ Packet Of Dessert Bean Curd Sheet(腐竹)
Cane/Rock Sugar To Taste
1.8 Litres Of Water
Few Pieces Of Pandan Leaves, wash and tied into knot
1 Egg, lightly beaten
And for this dessert, the key factor lies on the beancurd sheet which you must get the correct type for cooking desserts so that it does not required long hours of cooking time. These dessert beancurd sheet cooked in less than 15 minutes and the texture is rather smooth and silky compared to those used for making stew and soup.
Method:-1. Rinse barley in several changes of water until water runs clear. Set aside.
2. Bring about 1.8 litres of water to boil, low the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes together with the prepared barley and pandan leaves.
3. Meanwhile rinse the ginkgo nuts, drain well and using a toothpick to gently remove the germ out of the nuts which are bitter to taste.
4. Next marinated the ginkgo nuts with 1/2 tablespoon of castor sugar and set aside for later use.
5. Prepare some water in a big mixing bowl or pot, add in the lightly crashed beancurd sheet and soak it in water for about 10 minutes to remove the oil and discard those thick strips which does not soften as it will affect the texture of the dessert. Drained well and set aside.
6. When the barley begins to soften and the water turns cloudy in colour, removed pandan leaves and add in the bean curd sheet and ginkgo nuts. Continue to simmer on low heat for another 15 minutes.
7. Lastly add in the sugar to taste according to your preference.
8. Turn off the heat and quickly stir-in beaten egg till well combined. Serve either warm or cold.
Total cost for this dish is about S$3.05 with breakdown shown below:-
Cost of Ingredients:
~ 1/2 Packet of Beancurd Sheet = S$1.10
~ 1 Packet of Gingko Nut = S$0.95
~ Barley = S$0.30
~ Pandan Leaves = S$0.20
~ Cane Sugar = S$0.30
~ Egg = S$0.20
Remember to join us on our [S$20 Budget Meal] Event, detail at HERE. Closing date, this Sunday, 27 March 2011 at 2359 Hours.