Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Last night, Good Food saved my life...

A bumper issue - you'll see why!

Well, actually, most nights for the last couple of weeks, Good Food has been my saviour. That and jacket potatoes. I have been busy, busy, busy doing lots of things. The day job, the children (book day costumes, times tables etc), and also, quite exciting, some other bits and pieces . It's all been a bit of a roller coaster and I'm loving it, but it's meant that I haven't spent as much time and effort on what we're going to eat.

You see, one of the things that motivates me to cook different things is the boredom that crashes around me when I make the same things week in and week out. Meal planning helps me with this, but recently, when I've been tired and thinking about other things then tried to work out what we're going to eat I have found my mind is a blank, apart from a little voice screaming "No! Not Cottage pie AGAIN!".  

I have a large, and ever expanding collection of recipe books, and with more time on my hands, I'd happily spend hours flicking through, deciding what we're going to eat, but this hasn't been an option recently. That's where Good Food has come into it's own. I blow hot and cold about any magazine. I find that if you get more than a few issues, you start noticing things coming back round again. I've had a subscription to Good Food on and off for the last 10 years at least, but I'll have it and then leave it for a year or so. Some months are good, some are not so good. Every couple of years, I have a clear out an only keep those issues with recipes that I know I've cooked and will cook again. I'm pleased to say that I'm in a subscription year (a Christmas present) because the March issue has really saved me - it's certainly on that'll survive the next cull.

The first article that caught my eye was dedicated to 5 meals for under £25 - a working week's worth of main meals with no thought (and very little effort) required. What I really liked was that the meals involved cooking from scratch, but were quick and easy. This was going to be a post about cooking those meals specifically and whether or not it did cost me less than £25. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions and all that.  I didn't cook them in the order they specified. I made my own garlic bread, too (rather than using a dough mix), for the tomato soup with tear & share cheesy bread, and I didn't keep track of the cost. And anyway, my reliance the March Good Food mag has gone way beyond that one article and so this blog post has become my way of passing on all these brilliant meals to you. 

And don't worry that it's too late and the April edition is on the shelves already. (I know - it's ridiculous, isn't it, that we're less than 2 weeks into March, but I've had my gripe about that before, so I won't repeat that here) All these recipes are online so I've added in the links. Don't say I never do anything for you.

We loved Pasta with ham and Minty Pea Pesto - a kind of jazzed up macaroni peas.

very green - and very delicious

Piri Piri chicken with spicy rice (well, it turned into Reggae Reggae chicken because I had a half used bottle of Reggae reggae sauce in the fridge) was very popular, 

Loads of veg in that rice

and the Creamy Fish Curry was the perfect thing to finish up some disappointing white fish fillets lurking in the freezer. 

The only recipe that didn't work so well as far as I'm concerned was the Black bean beef meatballs with stir fried noodles 

but then I hadn't clocked that the recipe only required 300g mince, and I kind of fiddled around and added in too many breadcrumbs so the end result was all a little dry.

Tomato & harissa stew with cheddar dumplings   

was also a great success - particularly the dumplings, which were pleasingly cheesy but not at all heavy and appeased the courgette haters amongst us... 

Yes, yes, spot the out of season courgette. So shoot me
The Beef & Bacon meatloaf - sneaky secret ingredient half a box of stuffing mix - was a huge hit too, destined to be a regular 'quick fix' on our menu, I think (in so far as anything turns up regularly)

Meatloaf worthy of a packed lunch

Blue forewent roast for school dinner the next day JUST so he could have meatloaf sandwiches with the left overs - praise indeed. The sausage & fennel meatballs with lentils made a delicious Saturday supper, and sausage & stuffing toad in the hole with onion gravy, using up the other half of the pack of stuffing from the meatloaf, was just the ticket on a wet and rainy Friday night.

So there you have it - these were all pretty quick to knock up and very easy. Apart from the Chinese meatballs, I would make everything again. I commend each and every one of these recipes to you, and say thank you, Good Food!


  1. Fabulous! All your meals look delicious - so much more lovely than anything we're eating at the moment! Definitely try the meatloaf next week.

    1. Ah but you're doing it all in a good cause. If you want inspiration when you're back on an unrestricted diet, some of these are great easy meals!

  2. Whoo hoo! Nice one, well done you. I will read these later. I didn't know you were a wine buff RJ!

    1. :-) I'm not - but I'm learning - they provide the knowledge and the wine and I 'jazz it up' ...

  3. They really should start paying you for promoting their magazine, don't you think? And me! Great post, and rings so true for me as well.
    Annie x

  4. Sounds like a great week to me. That pea and ham pasta looks great! Can I come next week please?

    1. :-) the ham and pea pasta is particularly good - we're having it again this evening!

  5. HaHa love how we had the same week! http://riversidebaking.com/2013/02/18/meal-planning-monday-18th-february-2013/ I thought it was great too. My meatballs came out dry as well, but I'm not a big meat lover so it was fine for me. I hope the do a week plan again, it took all the effort out of cooking ;)

    1. It was great wasn't it - butit's really a bumper issue that march 2013 one - think I'll be keeping it around!

  6. Everything looks delicious! I feel that way about Cooking Light.

  7. I appear to have been eating chilli non stop for the last 3 weeks at least, might have to buy that magazine too!


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