The great little cookbook (PDF 1.06MB)

The great little cookbook (PDF 1.06MB)
It was Work and Income frontline staff who first suggested that families
would benefit from a down-to-earth book that showed simple ways to
choose, prepare and serve food that was healthy and inexpensive. It
is the partnership of the Nelson Marlborough and West Coast District
Health Boards with Work and Income’s Regional Office in Nelson that
has brought this suggestion to fruition.
Written by Sally Mackay
Editing/Design by Jill Harris
Printed by PrintHouse, Nelson
© Ministry of Social Development 2006
Eating for health, taste and Budget............................. 5
Staying healthy. ..........................................................6 - 10
Make a plan.........................................................................11
Menus for a week.................................................... 12 - 15
The art of shopping......................................................... 16
Keeping the cupboard stocked................................... 17
Kitchen equipment........................................................... 18
Recipe substitutes. .......................................................... 19
Food safety tips. ............................................................... 20
Reading food labels........................................................ 21
Breakfast recipes. ................................................... 22 - 26
School lunches......................................................... 27 - 31
Snacks......................................................................... 32 - 35
Home baking and treats....................................... 36 - 40
Hints for healthy meals......................................... 41 - 46
Meat meal recipes. ................................................. 47 - 57
Fish recipes............................................................... 58 - 61
Beans and Lentils. .................................................. 62 - 66
Vegetable hints & recipes.................................... 67 - 72
Light Meals. ............................................................... 73 - 76
Soups........................................................................... 77 - 79
Takeaways................................................................. 80 - 81
Desserts...................................................................... 82 - 86
Food for babies........................................................ 87 - 91
Other hints for households.................................. 92 - 94
Kym Stilwell and her children
Tyler, Connor, Flynn, Ronan and
Roisin have tested the recipes in
this book.
“The recipes were easy to
prepare and easy to follow and
the meals are hearty and
nutritious. I liked the way some
recipes used only one pan for
cooking and the addition of
useful hints,” she said.
Serving healthy food to your family is challenging, especially when you are on a low budget.
The huge selection of foods in supermarkets and constant advertising makes it difficult to
know how to get the best deal for your food dollar.
Many people think healthy food costs a lot; with wise shopping and buying food in season,
it doesn’t have to.
This book has lots of ideas and recipes. They are all healthy eating ideas (except for a few
treats) and they are all cheap to prepare. Change the recipes to suit your family’s tastes
and the ingredients you have.
Most of the recipes in this book serve four people.
Have plenty of fruit
and vegetables
Eat wholegrain bread
and cereals
For good health - eat 5+ a day.
One serving fits into the palm of your
A mandarin is a serve for a pre-schooler,
an orange is a serve for an adult.
Choose wholegrain and wholemeal
breads and cereals.
Adults - eat at least 6 serves a day.
Children - eat 4-6 serves a day.
1 Serve =
Colour = variety
Colourful fruit and vegetables have
many vitamins, minerals and other
compounds that protect against
The colour groups are:
red (plum)
orange/yellow (carrot)
brown/white (potato)
green (peas)
blue/purple (grapes)
Eat lean meat, poultry
seafood,nuts or eggs
Choose at least
one serve a day
of one of the following:
1 roll
1 muffin
1 medium slice of bread
1 cup cornflakes
1 cup cooked pasta
1 cup cooked rice
6 servings may seem a lot, but a meal will
often have 2 or more serves. For example, a bowl of porridge = 2 serves
2 slices cooked meat
¾ cup mince or casserole
1 medium fillet fish (100g)
1 chicken leg,
¾ cup dried cooked beans
1 egg
Eating for health, taste and budget
Which milk to use
Milk helps build strong bones in
children and adults because it is high
in calcium and other minerals. But
some milks are high in saturated fat.
You don’t need to buy expensive
milk - it is all a good source of
calcium and protein.
How much is enough?
Adults: 2 serves a day
Children: At least 2 - 3 serves a
One serve =
1 glass milk
1 pottle yoghurt
2 slices cheese
2 scoops ice-cream
Adults, children 5+
Trim milk (green top) is the best
choice. It is very low in fat and higher
in calcium. If you can’t get your family
to use trim milk, try reduced-fat milk
(light blue).
Cream and sour cream are high
in fat. Sometimes you can use
yoghurt instead.
Making the changes from 500ml
standard milk to 500ml of trim milk a
day will reduce fat intake by 16 grams
(1 tablespoon of fat).
For children who don’t like milk
on its own, try yoghurt, custard,
smoothies, dairy food or cereals
with milk.
Toddlers - one and two year olds
- need full-fat milk (homogenised, dark
Three - four year olds - can have a
reduced-fat milk (light blue)
Staying healthy
What is good fat?
Sugar is not that
There are 3 different types of fat.
Saturated fat increases blood cholestrol, which
can lead to heart disease. Monounsaturated and
polyunsaturated fats are healthy fats.
Most high sugar foods
are low in other nutrients.
If people fill up on
sugary foods, they won’t eat
other nutritious foods.
Sugary and sticky foods
can cause tooth decay.
Saturated Fat:
Is solid at room temperature. It is found mainly
in animal products like butter, dairy products,
lard, dripping and fatty meat.
Monounsaturated Fat:
May be in animal or plant products like olive oil,
canola oil, peanuts, avocados and meat.
Polyunsaturated Fat:
Is liquid at room temperature and mainly
found in products like nuts, sunflower oil,
soybean oil and safflower oil.
Staying healthy
Generally New Zealanders still eat too much salt. Most
of it comes from the processed food and takeaways we
eat.Too much salt can cause high blood pressure.
It also stops your body absorbing as much calcium.
Read the labels on food packets. Products with the
‘Heart Tick’ are lower in salt.
paring with salt
But don’t miss out on iodine
Iodine keeps our thyroid gland going and prevents
goitre. New Zealand soils are low in iodine so it is
added to the salt we use in the home.
Not all salt is iodised and most salt added to
processed foods and bread is not iodised.
When you buy salt, make sure it is iodised.
Other ways to get iodine are through milk, fish,
seaweed (e.g. sushi) and eggs.
Staying healthy
plenty of water
You need 6 - 8 cups of water
or other drinks each day.
Water is the best drink.
Tea and coffee can be
included but go easy on
cordial, energy and soft drinks
and fruit juice.
Need special foods?
Lactose intolerant?
There are alternatives
Lactose intolerance is more common
than milk allergies, especially among
Maori, Pacific Islanders and Asians.
Symptoms include wind or stomach pain.
Most people can tolerate small
amounts of milk,
but yoghurt and cheese are better
because the lactose has already been
broken down.
If you can’t drink cow’s milk you need
other sources of calcium. This could
be soy milk, canned fish with bones
(salmon, tuna), green vegetables or dried
There may be help to cover
the extra costs
Work and Income’s Disability Allowance
may cover the extra cost of
special foods if you or your family member
has a disability.
To qualify...
The special food has to be more than most
people’s everyday needs.
It needs to cost more than usual food.
It must be part of a diet supervised by a registered
(Special foods can include soy milk
or food supplements)
To find out how to apply - Phone 0800 559 009
Staying healthy
Pick the Tick
The Heart Foundation
Pick the Tick symbol
shows that the product is
a healthier choice in that
product range.
Do you need them?
Eating a wide variety of foods usually
gives you all the vitamins and
minerals you need.
Supplements are expensive.
Before you buy any, take a look at what
your family is eating. Choose breakfast
cereals and other foods with added vitamins, iron or calcium. It may be better
to spend the money on an extra bag of
fruit each week.
However, some people do need
supplements like iron
on the advice of their doctor.
Sugar and dental decay
Staying active
doesn’t have to be
hard work!
Staying active is not a biggie.
Ten minutes several times
a day counts. Try walking the
kids to school,
parking further away from
work or shopping
so that you walk at least 5
playing soccer with the kids or
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the
mouth. The bacteria use sugars from
foods to produce acids. The acids
attack the teeth. Eating and drinking
often during the day means there is
food in the mouth a lot of the time for
bacteria to use.
•Brush teeth twice a day.
•Good snacks are cheese, fruit, plain crackers, toast, plain popcorn.
•Sugary snacks include biscuits, sticky snack
bars, lollies.
•Water and plain milk are the best drinks.
•Cordial, fruit juice and fizzy drinks can cause
food decay. These are for treats.
•Never dip a dummy in something sweet.
•Never put sugary drinks in an infant’s bottle
or a child’s water bottle. They suck on these
throughout the day.
•Never put an infant or toddler to bed sucking
on a bottle.
Staying healthy
Planning tips on eating well for less
Being organised is the key to cooking good food
on a low budget.
If you have a freezer, try to cook in bulk and
freeze meals and baking for busy times.
Buying specials wisely
and buying seasonal food helps.
Preparing food yourself is usually
cheaper than buying pre-prepared meals, but
sometimes you don’t have the time or energy
to prepare a meal.
Check out the Takeway Section (Page 81) for
ideas about cheaper takeaways and supermarket ‘fast foods.’
Have a shopping list ‘on the go.’ Write down an item
when you run out of it.
After shopping think about how long each item will
last - and use the most perishable food first.
When you are having a quieter day, try to prepare
parts of a meal for the next day. For example, a
tomato-mince sauce can be served with pasta on
Monday and as a Shepherd’s Pie on Tuesday.
Plan the evening meals for the next week and
check the ingredients you need.
Include some ingredients to make school
lunches and breakfasts.
Spare time during the day can also be a time to
partly prepare the evening meal e.g. mince dishes,
casseroles, quiches. Planning can help.
Include older children in menu planning,
perhaps giving them one night a week where
they choose the meal and prepare it.
Leftover meat from roast chicken can be used
in a stir-fry next day, or in school lunches.
Make a Plan
for a week
Cereal, milk and fruit
Weekend treat - pancakes
(with home-made syrup)
grated carrot, crunchy peanut butter
Thursday - fresh fruit and yoghurt
Friday - fresh fruit and yoghurt
Saturday - ice-cream in a cone
egg filled rolls
cheese and ham toasties
scrambled eggs on toast
cheese & pineapple sandwiches
(use left-over crushed pineapple from
Saturday’s pizza)
Sunday - apple crumble
Monday - custard
Tuesday - canned fruit
Wednesday - Weetbix square
tuna & celery sandwiches
marmite and cheese sandwiches
Suggested menu plan for a week
Fish pie and coleslaw (cook extra eggs
to use for Friday lunch).
chicken stir-fry with rice,
cabbage, carrots, cauliflower.
Supermarket fast food - bread wraps,
beans, grated carrot, chopped celery.
Spaghetti Bolognaise with pasta
(make extra mince sauce for
Wednesday night), frozen veges.
Hawaiian Pizza - scone dough, ham,
crushed pineapple, onion (save
leftover pineapple for Monday lunch).
Shepherd’s Pie bolognaise sauce, can of beans,
frozen veges, mashed potato. (Make
the Weetbix Square in the hot oven
for dessert and snacks.)
Sunday - roast chicken, baked kumara,
baked potatoes, cauliflower (save some
chicken for Monday night).
Suggested menu plan for a week
The Shopping List
(the ingredients you will need to
buy to make the week’s recipes)
• Fresh fish (choose the cheapest)
• Ham
• Frozen whole chicken
• Mince
• Eggs
• Cheese
• Cottage cheese
• Bread wraps
• Canned kidney beans
• Baked beans
• Tin crushed pineapple
• Weetbix
• Pasta
• Pasta sauce
• Bread
Check your cupboards
to make sure you have:
• Rolls
• Carrots
• Onions
• Celery
• Cabbage
• Cauliflower
• Potatoes
• Kumara
• Fruit
• Weetbix
• Fruit
• Small tin of Tuna
• Yoghurt (large pottle)
• Milk
• Frozen vegetables
Menus for a week
• Peanut butter
• Marmite or vegemite
• Rolled oats
• Flour
• Custard powder
• Sugar
• Rice
• Dried fruit
• Ice cream cones
• Ice cream
• Margarine
Supermarkets have a huge range of food, but check out
other shops for bargains too. There are often good meat
specials from butchers, cheaper bread from bakeries,
cheap sauces, spices and noodles from Asian food shops
and cheaper specials from retailers who sell in bulk.
Surviving the aisles with littlies
• Having a friend look after the children while you shop may
make shopping less stressful
• When taking the children, feed them first and don’t go when
they are tired
Shopping Tips
• Involve the children when doing the shopping list.
Give them options, e.g. a choice of 3 cereals
• Use foods before their ‘use-by’ date
• Check newspapers and flyers for specials
• Talk about a special food you will buy at the
supermarket. This does not have to be unhealthy or
expensive, e.g a fruit bun or a pottle of dairy food for
dessert. Make it clear there won’t be any other treats
• Buy in bulk if you have storage space
• Buy supermarket brands (house brands)
as they are often cheaper
• Let them help choose the food you need, not the
food they want
• Only buy specials that you need
• Stick to your shopping list
• Always start with the basics before buying
• Don’t give into their demands, otherwise they will
expect a treat each time
• Take a small toy a child can play with
• Buy the amount you need. Pre-packed meat,
fruit and vegetables may mean you buy more
than you need
• Avoid the sweets aisle
• Let them help put the groceries onto the counter
• Look out for end-of-the day bargains but make
sure you can use them while they are still okay
• Keep calm – most people who have shopped
with children understand the difficulties
The art of shopping
Most of the non-perishable (long lasting) ingredients in the recipes found in this booklet
are in the list on this page. Try to stock up on a few items each time you shop.
Sauces, spices and herbs are great to add flavour. Store these in air-tight labelled containers,
like recycled jam jars or ice cream containers.
In the Pantry
•Flour *
•Rolled oats
•Baking powder
•Baking soda
•Salt - iodised
•Custard powder
•Vanilla essence
•Spices: cinnamon, mixed
spice, ginger, curry powder,
paprika, chilli powder,
black pepper
In the Fridge
•Herbs: mixed herbs
•Soy Sauce
•Tomato Sauce
•Worcestershire sauce
•Cooking oil
•Tinned food: fish, baked
beans, pasta sauce,
tomatoes, corn, soup
•Milk powder
•Sultanas or raisins
* When using flour
Try to use a mixture of white flour
and wholemeal flour. Some recipes
use self-raising flour because it helps
products to rise. Instead you can use
2 teaspoons of baking powder for
every 1 cup of flour in the recipe.
Keeping the cupboard stocked
Must haves and maybes
A few kitchen items are used all the time - while others are useful but not essential.
Sharp knives
(1 small, 1 large, 1 bread knife (serrated edge)
Chopping board
Pots with lids - 1 small, 1 large
Frypan or wok
Vegetable peeler
Sieve or colander
Fish slice, wooden spoon, spatula (rubber
Mixing bowls - 1 small, 1 large
(a saucepan can be used as a mixing bowl)
Cake tin
Oven tray
Roasting dish
Oven-proof dish with a lid (e.g. Pyrex dish)
Food processor
Egg beater/whisk
Muffin tray
Rolling pin (a tall jar or milk bottle can
be used)
Potato masher (a fork can be used)
Lemon squeezer (or squeeze through a
Yoghurt-maker (after making 10 yoghurt
sachets you will save money)
Cheese-toastie machine for quick meals
Measuring cups and spoons
Kitchen equipment
If a recipe asks for:
Beef stock
Use this instead:
Instant coffee
Baking powder (1 teaspoon) ¼ teaspoon baking soda +
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Margarine or oil
Chocolate finely grated
3 tablespoons cocoa + 1
tablespoon margarine
Cornflour (1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons flour
Reduced-fat cream,
evaporated skim milk,
natural yoghurt
Fresh breadcrumbs
Dried breadcrumbs
Fresh tomatoes
Canned Tomatoes
Jam, sugar or golden syrup
Natural yoghurt
Milk powder and water
Olive oil
Any other vegetable oil, e.g.
soy, salad oil, canola oil
Self-raising flour
1 cup flour + 2 teaspoons
baking powder
Stock cube
Vegetable cooking water,
Tomato puree or paste
Tomato sauce
Recipe substitutes
Food poisoning is caused by bacteria. They like moist, warm conditions.
•Reheat food only once and until it is piping hot
right through to the middle.
•Wash hands well and dry them before
handling food, and between preparing
raw and cooked foods.
•Defrost foods in the fridge, not on the bench-top.
•Keep raw and cooked foods separate in the fridge.
•Store raw meat in the bottom of the fridge wellwrapped.
•Clean knives and chopping boards in
hot, soapy water after preparing meat,
fish or chicken.
•When shopping, put chilled products in a chilly bin
if you are not going straight home.
•Cook minced meat, sausages and
poultry until juices run clear, not pink.
•Clean dishcloths and tea towels regularly.
•Do not put cooked meat back on the
same plate that held the raw meat.
•Remember to use frozen food. Label with the
•Cover and cool leftover foods as quickly
as possible. Only store cooked food for
two days before reheating.
•Don’t leave any food in the freezer for more than
one year. Use meat sooner.
Food safety tips
Check out the nutrition information on packaged food.
EXAMPLE:Apricot Muesli Bar
Servings per package: 8
Servings per size: 32.5g
Cereal (rolled oats, oat
bran), glucose, fruit
(Apricot), puffed rice,
vegetable oil, white sugar,
brown sugar, honey,
flavouring (apricot), salt.
May contain traces of
peanuts or other nuts.
Quantity per 32g
Quantity per
Nutrition Information
Use the 10/10/6 rule shown
below to make a healthier
110 Cal
330 Cal
Fat - total
Fat - Saturated
(Saturated Fat
is unhealthy)
Best choices per
100g are:
• Less than 10 grams fat
• Less than 10-15 grams
• More than 6 grams fibre
(Salt contains
Reading food labels
Eating breakfast gives you energy for the day. It helps children learn and adults work better. People who don’t eat
breakfast often get the mid-morning munchies – usually choosing less healthy foods to fill up on.
Cereal is the best breakfast. Cereals fortified with iron are good. The milk on the cereal provides calcium.
Including fruit helps absorb the iron in the cereal.
Choose a cereal high in fibre. Fibre is found only in
plant foods. Fibre is good for preventing
constipation. It is good for heart health,
diabetes and some cancers. Cereals higher in
fibre will fill you up for longer.
Pre-schoolers don’t need a very high fibre cereal.
Serving Size
(big eaters will eat 2
Some cereals are very high in sugar,
expensive and not very filling. Save
these for an occasional treat.
Weetbix is the best everyday choice
for all the family. Look for cereals
with added iron.
Amount of fibre
per serve
Amount of sugar
per serve
2 biscuits
3.3 grams
0.8 grams
1/2 cup rolled oats
3.6 grams
0.4 grams
30 grams (1 cup)
0.3 grams
2 grams
30 grams (1 cup)
0.5 grams
2.6 grams
Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
30 grams (1 cup)
0.3 grams
9.6 grams
30 grams (1 cup)
0.8 grams
9.6 grams
Microwave Porridge
Stove-top Porridge
Serves 2
Serves 2
1 cup rolled oats
2 ½ cups hot water or milk
Iodised salt (optional)
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup cold water or milk
2 cups boiling water
Iodised salt (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (to
prevent it spilling over while cooking).
Cook uncovered on medium power for 1½ minutes.
Stir and return for 1 minute.
Mix rolled oats with cold water or milk in
a saucepan. Stir in boiling water and salt
if used. Bring to the boil and cook for 1
minute, stirring occasionally.
Instead of sugar try wheat-germ, chopped
fresh or canned fruit, sultanas, chopped dates
or yoghurt.
Mix ingredients together the night before and
leave to stand (use cold water or milk). This saves
time in the morning and improves the porridge.
For a creamier porridge, use more milk and less water.
Home-made Muesli
Most of these ingredients are in the bakery section
of the supermarket or can be bought in the bulk
bins. Experiment with other grains, nuts and dried
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup rice flakes
1 cup wheatgerm
1 cup bran
1 cup seeds/nuts (try sunflower seeds, pumpkin
seeds, chopped peanuts)
1 cup dried fruit (try sultanas, chopped dried
apricots, chopped dates)
Mix first five ingredients in a roasting dish.
Toast in the oven for 10 – 20 minutes.
When cool add dried fruit.
Store in an airtight container.
Weekend Treats
1 cup self-raising flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup trim milk
Sift flour and salt into a bowl.
Add egg and mix to combine
Gradually beat in milk, mixing
to a smooth batter. For lighter
pancakes, chill for 1 hour.
Heat a lightly greased frypan
using oil, or margarine.
When the pancake begins to
bubble, flip it over and cook the
other side till golden.
Maple Syrup
French Toast
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Simmer sugar and water in a
saucepan until sugar
Add vanilla essence and
This is a good way to use up stale bread.
2 eggs
300 ml trim milk
thick sliced bread
Whisk together the eggs and milk.
Melt margarine, or oil in a frypan.
Place each piece of bread in the egg mix
and soak each side.
Carefully lift out and fry each side until
Toast Toppings
Poached eggs
Baked beans’
Mashed banana
Creamed corn
Serve with honey, jam, golden
syrup. For a healthier
topping squeeze a lemon over,
or chopped fruit and yoghurt.
Or see pancake recipe for topping ideas.
School lunches
School lunches can feel like a chore but they are
important. Lunch provides about one-third of the nutrients a child needs. Making lunch is a lot cheaper than
buying it. Try to save bought lunches for treats or very
busy days.
Encourage your child to eat their lunch by making it
easy to eat, keeping it fresh and getting them involved.
Variety is good, but don’t worry if they want the same
thing every day – as long as it is healthy.
The Lunch Box
Lunch boxes have a hard life – the journey to school,
then sitting around for hours in a bag or a locker.
Choose a sturdy lunchbox. In the summer keep the
lunchbox cool by using frozen bread, adding an icepack (make your own ice and put in a leak-proof plastic
bag) or having a frozen drink bottle in the lunchbox.
Package food in bread bags and plastic or
washable pottles.
School lunches
The Fillings
Sandwich Ideas
A good lunch should have a
bread base (or rice or pasta),
some protein and fruit or vegetables.
Bread provides fibre, B vitamins
and some minerals. Choose
whole-grain or wholemeal breads
for everyone in the family except
infants and toddlers.
•Marmite, vegemite, peanut butter
•Ham, left-over cold meats, tinned
fish, salami, luncheon sausage,
cheese, egg, hummus
•Lettuce, beansprouts, cucumber,
•Add flavour with relish, tomato
sauce, mustard or mayonnaise
•Limit high sugar fillings like honey,
jam, nutella to twice a week
•Grated cheese, crushed pineapple
•Cottage cheese, chopped nuts,
pinch of curry powder, sprouts
•Grated carrot, crunchy peanut butter
•Creamed corn, chopped celery
•Mashed egg with a little yoghurt
•Cottage cheese, finely chopped
•Mashed banana with a squeeze of
lemon juice
•Peanut butter with honey
•Sardines with spring onions
•Salmon with low-fat mayonnaise
Try sandwiches without margarine or butter. There is no need
if you have a soft spread like
peanut butter, cottage cheese or
honey or avocado, and it saves
If you do need a spread, any
margarine is a better choice than
butter. Butter is high in
saturated fat, which is a risk for
heart disease. Margarine is high
in the good fats (monounsaturated
and polyunsaturated).
The Base
Fill water bottles the night before
and keep in the fridge or freezer.
Discourage juice or cordial.
Water is free and best for
their teeth.
Sliced sandwich bread is the
cheapest option. Try different brands
for variety, or cutting the sandwich in
different ways (triangle, squares, long
& thin), or roll-ups.
School lunches
Not sandwiches
Some children don’t like sandwiches
or want lunchbox variety. Try:
•Left-over dinner
(remember a fork or spoon)
•Rice, pasta or cold potatoes
(cut in cubes) mixed with grated
cheese, ham or salad
•Scones, pikelets
•Crackers and cheese
•Cheese toasties, cheese roll-ups
Extras need to be as healthy as the
rest of the lunch.
•Cheese slices, boiled egg, meat slice,
•Popcorn, nuts (school-age children)
•Dried fruit (not every day as it sticks
to children’s teeth)
•Fruit bread or buns
•Rice crackers and cheese
•Yoghurt, dairy food
•Muffins, home-made baking.
Packaged Food
There is a huge range of snack
food in packages but they
can be expensive.
Have a range of pottles or bags
at home to fill yourself and save
Encourage the children to bring the
empty containers home to re-use.
Add a small piece of fruit or cut into
bite-sized pieces. Cut fruit like
oranges almost into quarters
so it is whole, but easy to eat.
Clever advertisers target children.
They know constant nagging for
something usually makes the
parent give in.
Be strong. Save treat foods for
special occasions. If there are
chips and muesli bars every day,
they are no longer special.
School lunches
Sliced carrot sticks, cucumber,
celery sticks are also great for
school lunches.
Give older children
responsibility for choosing
when they have packaged
foods. For example buy one
box of meusli bars per
week and divide between
the children. Let them decide
when they have their ration.
Don’t buy anymore till the
following week.
Dairy food or Yoghurt?
Dairy food and yoghurt are both
great choices. They are both
low in fat and a good source of
Dairy food is made from milk
thickened with starch and
vegetable gums.
Yoghurt is made from milk
thickened by a yoghurt culture.
Flavoured yoghurt and dairy food
have added sugar.
Natural yoghurt (plain) has no
added sugar.
Many snack bars are
high in sticky sugars that
can cause tooth decay.
Roll-ups and fruit
leathers are made of real
fruit that is dried
and is very sticky.
Eat with plenty of water
or milk, or clean
teeth afterwards.
Packaging your own
It is cheaper to buy food in bulk
than lots of small
packages – you pay more for
the packaging.
Often young children throw
away half-full yoghurt pottles
or half a meusli bar, so
packaging your
own means you control
the amount.
School lunches
Home-made lunches
can be really cheap
• Egg (half a mashed egg)
and sprout sandwich = 50c
• Home-made fruit muffin = 25c
• Yoghurt – buy 1kg and put
in small pottles = 60c
• Orange – in season = 30c
Ideas for
after-school snacks
•Toast, sandwiches, fruit bread
•Popcorn (see quick snacks)
•Pikelets, muffins, scones
(see Home Baking, page 36)
•Cereal and milk
•Weetbix with spread
•Cheese and crackers
•The food not eaten in the lunch-box
(if it looks ok to eat)
Treat foods and snack foods are
not the same. Foods that are
high in fat, salt and sugar are
best left for occasional treats
- including meusli bars, sweets,
fruit leathers, roll-ups, potato
chips, chocolates, sweet biscuits, fast-foods and fizzy drinks.
Treats like strawberries (in
season), a fresh pineapple or a
Boston bun can be cheaper than
a fizzy drink or iceblock for each
Some little children are very tired
by the family meal-time so
an afternoon snack may be
more like dinner.
There is nothing wrong with
scrambled egg, baked beans
or a cheese toastie at 3.30pm.
Instant Noodles
Going Out
Portion Sizes
Take 5 minutes to gather
Portion sizes have got much
bigger. We can buy ‘bumper’
packs or ‘up-size’ for little extra
cost. This makes us eat larger
portions. The ‘normal’ serving is
often bigger too.
snacks before going out with
children. Even if they have
just eaten it doesn’t take long
for them to get their appetites
back. Being caught with hungry
children and no food can result
in everyone getting grumpy or
buying expensive food. Grab
some fruit, a packet of crackers, the raisin container, a loaf
of bread, a knife and the peanut butter. Take water bottles
with water (not sweet drinks).
If they are thirsty enough they
will drink the water.
For example:
•1 large chocolate chip cookie =
8 standard biscuits
•1 large serve French Fries =
3 small servings
•1 café style muffin =
2 ½ standard muffins
Some quick-to-cook
noodles are not as healthy
as other noodles and pasta.
They are sometimes very
high in salt (especially the
flavour sachet).
They are often fried in oil
before being
packaged. Each noodle
cake can have
around 3 teaspoons of fat
and they are low in
nutrients. Keep them as an
occasional snack. Make
them healthier by adding
frozen vegies.
Other dried noodles are
as quick and easy to cook.
Check the ingredient list, if
vegetable oil is not listed it
will be a better choice.
Snacking Survival
Try rewards that don’t involve
food. Younger children need a
small reward often, like a special
sticker, listening to a CD of their
choice, or an extra story before
sleep. Older children may like to
work towards a larger reward like
a special outing, special time with
a parent (without sisters or
brothers), a sleep-over, or a
special toy.
Parenting can be hard work.
Remember – you decide
what’s on the menu and your
children decide how much they
want to eat. Don’t get caught
in the trap of offering lots of
different foods when the first
choice is refused. Giving in to
constant nagging may seem
like the easy way out.
Be in control of food choices.
If you have lots of tempting
snacks in the cupboard,
children will keep nagging.
Have firm rules, keep treat
foods up high (usually
tempting for parents too), to
avoid children sneaking food
or battles. Have some food
that they can help themselves
to without
asking, for example fruit,
raisins or bread.
Encourage other people who look
after your children to follow your
messages. Parents, an afterschool care centre, grandparents
and other care-givers need to give
the same messages. A treat once
a week at grandparents is okay,
but if they care for your children
most days they need to serve
healthy snacks too.
Home baking & treats
Scones are versatile. They can be served
for morning tea, with soup as a meal, or in
place of bread at lunchtime.
3 cups self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon iodised salt
75g (5 tablespoons) margarine
13⁄4 cups milk
Sift flour and salt into a bowl.
Rub margarine into the flour till it looks
like fine breadcrumbs.
Add milk and quickly mix with a knife
to a soft dough. Add a little more milk
if too dry.
Knead a few times. Roll or pat the
dough to 2cm thick on a floured bench.
Cut into 14-16 squares. Place on a
floured oven tray.
Bake at 200ºC in the middle of the
oven for about ten minutes
or until brown.
Add ½ cup grated cheese, ½ cup
sultanas or ½ cup chopped dates.
Once every house always had fresh baking in the tins.
Times have changed because biscuits and other baked goods are
cheap to buy now. But baking at home is fun and you can involve
the children. It can be healthier and cheaper and everyone
loves the aroma of goodies fresh out of the oven.
1 cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
½ cup low-fat milk
Sift flour stir in sugar.
Beat the egg, add the milk. Stir into
the flour mixture. Add more milk if the
mixture is too stiff, or more flour if it is
too thin.
Heat the frying pan with a little
margarine or oil. Drop some mixture off
the tip of a spoon. When the top starts
to bubble, turn it over with a fish slice.
Cook until both sides are golden brown.
Add ½ a mashed banana or some
grated apple.
Home baking
ANZAC Biscuits
Weetbix Slice
¼ cup margarine
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup coconut
2 crushed Weetbix
½ cup raw sugar (or brown)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup dried fruit, e.g. raisins, roughly
chopped apricots
1 cup seeds or chopped nuts,
e.g. pumpkin, sunflower, walnuts
Melt margarine and golden syrup.
Mix all ingredients together.
Roll spoonfuls of the mixture
into balls and place on a lightly
greased oven tray. Flatten.
Bake at 180ºC for 15-20 minutes
or until golden brown. Makes 2
For a healthier version, replace
coconut with sultanas.
Mix all the ingredients together.
Press into a lightly greased 18x28cm
sponge roll tin.
Bake at 180ºC for 25-30 minutes or
until firm to touch.
Cut when cold. Makes 24 pieces.
For a treat, replace 1/3 cup of nuts
with chocolate chips.
Home baking
Sultana Loaf
1 cup hot water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup sultanas
25g margarine or oil
1 ½ cups flour (wholemeal
and/or white)
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon iodised salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup bran or wheat-germ
1 teaspoon spice
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried fruit, nuts or seeds
1/4 cup oil (optional)
1 egg, roughly beaten
1/2 cup – 1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup grated or finely chopped
fruit or vegetable
Carrot: grated carrot, walnuts,
nutmeg and add 1 tablespoon
golden syrup
Place water, sugar, sultanas, mixed fruit
and margarine or oil in a medium-sized
Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally,
then cook on a low heat (uncovered)
for 5 minutes.
Take off the stove and allow to cool.
Sift remaining ingredients into cooled
fruit mixture. Stir only enough to blend
ingredients, as over-mixing causes
toughening. Put into a cake or loaf tin.
Bake at 180ºC for 45-60 minutes.
Sift flour and mix in other dry ingredients.
Carefully mix in grated fruit, oil, egg,
and milk as required. Avoid overmixing.
Spoon into muffin trays.
Bake at 180°C for about 20 minutes.
Pear: pear, dates (soak in a
little boiling water), ginger
Courgette: courgette, add
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Green coconut: courgette
and long-thread coconut
Apple: finely chopped apple,
1/3 cup chocolate chips
Bananas: used mashed
over-ripe bananas
Home baking
Smoothies & Iceblocks
Water is the best drink
Smoothies are a snack on
their own. They are also
good for non-breakfast
It helps if you have a food
processor or milkshake
Water is free, always available and healthy. Make it
more exciting by adding icecubes, a lemon slice or mint.
Milk is a good choice. Serve
after or between meals.
If children only like flavoured
milk, use half flavoured and
half plain milk. Make flavoured milk at home with milo
or quik. Get children used to
1 teaspoon per glass (saves
money and less sugar).
Keep juice, cordial and fizzy
drinks for weekend or birthday treats. Add water to juice
and cordial.
Tea and coffee have tannin
which stops children getting
iron from food.
‘Smart drinks’ like Red Bull
are high in sugar and caffeine
– and very expensive.
Fruit Smoothie
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons milk powder
1 piece soft fruit e.g.
banana, apricot, kiwifruit,
3-4 cubes ice
Blend everything until
and frothy.
•Add ¼ cup yoghurt for a
thick smoothie.
•Add ½ cup fruit juice
Chocolate Milk
Make your own ice-blocks at
home. Plastic ice-block moulds
with sticks are cheap to buy.
The ice-blocks are quite small
– usually 1 ½ cups liquid is
enough to fill the tray.
Fill with:
•Flavoured milk
•A couple of teaspoons of milo
mixed into milk
•Fruit juice
•Water with a squeeze of lemon
juice and a teaspoon of sugar.
•Mix together equal amounts of
orange juice and milk
for healthy meals
Enjoying Mealtimes
Base main meals around...
Protein food
e.g. meat, fish, chicken, beans, nuts
and seeds. The meat should cover no
more than one-third of your plate.
to fill up hungry tummies, e.g. potato,
kumara, pumpkin, rice, pasta
•Get into a routine with mealtimes.
•Offer small servings of familiar food
and gradually introduce new foods.
•If a child refuses a new food, offer
it a few more times. Children can be
very cautious.
•Let your child decide when they are
full. They are the best judge.
•Encourage children to feed
themselves. Finger foods help.
•Time meals so your child is not
too tired. Young children need
an early dinner, or serve their
main meal earlier in the day.
•Mealtimes are social times too.
When you can, eat the evening
meal together.
Turn off the television – hear
your family news instead.
•Don’t offer lots of snack foods
between meals or after meals.
•Drinking lots of juice or milk
between meals can make a
child too full for dinner.
Dinner Tips
Flavouring Food
Fantastic Apples
Which oil to use
A little flavour can go a long
way. Try a little bit first, too
much can overpower the food.
Apples are plentiful and often very
cheap. They can be added into all
sorts of dishes:
Mustard and apple coleslaw
Apple Salad
Instead of carrot in cake
Pork and Granny Smith casserole
Kumara, apple and chicken
Sausage and baked bean hash
Apple crumble
Stewed apples for breakfast
There is a huge range of oils on the
market. They are high in
monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat.
These are the good fats for your heart.
• Try soybean, sunflower, canola,
• Olive oil is a good choice but
expensive. If a recipe has olive oil,
another oil can be used.
• Butter, lard, dripping and animal fats
are high in saturated fat.
These are not good for your heart and
should be used as little as possible.
• Spices:
cheap to buy, store in an
air-tight packet in the cupboard.
• Fresh herbs:
many people are happy to give
away fresh herbs.
• Lemon peel (zest) and
lemon juice
• Sauces
• Vegemite and marmite
adds flavour to stocks,
casseroles and sauces.
Dinner Tips
Cooking Pasta
Cooking Rice
Pasta is a favourite food among
families. It is quick and easy to cook.
Any shape or type of pasta is a good
choice. Packets are usually 375g or
500g. A large family will
probably need a 500g packet of pasta.
A smaller family will need half of the
There are lots of different types of
rice, suitable for different types of
rice dishes. Generally any rice will
be fine. If you’re serving rice with a
meal long-grain is best. If you are
making a risotto, medium-grain is
Pasta and rice are cheap, high in
carbohydrates and low in fat.
They have B vitamins and some
minerals. Serve generous
amounts to fill hungry tummies.
For a small family, use 1 cup uncooked rice. A large family will need
2 cups. There are different ways
of cooking rice. Rinse the rice in
cold water first. Brown rice will take
longer to cook.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil.
Adding 1 tablespoon oil helps the
pasta stop sticking together, but is not
Slowly add the pasta to the boiling
Do not cover the saucepan.
Cook for about 10-12 minutes with the
water still boiling.
Stir occasionally to stop sticking.
Drain well.
Pasta and Rice
There’s more than one way
to cook up rice!
Using leftover pasta or rice
Absorption Method
Store cooked rice tightly covered in
the fridge for up to two days. Leftover
pasta or rice can be used in lots of
different ways:
Bring 1 cup rice and 2 cups water
to the boil. Keep the lid on. Turn
the element off and leave for 20
minutes. The rice will cook by
itself. Serve.
• Heat with a little grated cheese.
• Make a salad with salad vegetables
and a dressing.
• Put in a lunch box with grated
cheese, sliced tomato and chopped
• Add to a soup.
• Cook extra rice and use for dinner
the next night in fried rice or
Rapid Boil
Bring 6 cups of water to the boil.
Stir in one cup of rice. Boil rapidly,
uncovered for 15 minutes. Drain.
Put 1 cup of rice in a dish with 2
¼ cups of boiling water. Cover
and cook on medium power for
6 minutes. Take out, stir then put
back in for another 6 minutes.
Watch it doesn’t boil over. Stand
for 5 minutes before serving.
Pasta and Rice
Red meat is the best source of iron. Other good sources are chicken, fish and mussels.
Iron found in plant foods and eggs is not absorbed by the body as well. Good sources include
breakfast cereals with added iron, dark-green vegetables, wholemeal bread, dried fruit,
baked beans, dried beans, tofu.
• Choose lean meat, or trim extra fat off.
• Allow about 120g uncooked meat
per person, or 100g cooked meat.
(This may not seem a lot, but it is all
that is needed for most people).
• Watch out for fatty cuts of meat.
By the time you’ve trimmed off the
fat, you could have lost any savings
you might have made.
• Place meat on a rack when
roasting, so that fat can drain away.
• Remove the skin from chicken
before cooking to avoid added fat.
• Scoop the fat off the top of
casseroles or mince. This is
easier to do when cool.
• Heat canned corned beef and
pour off the fat.
• Meats that are high in fat
include sausages, luncheon,
salami, saveloys, pate, rolled roast,
brisket, pork bones, fatty mince,
streaky bacon, meat gravy,
forequarter cuts, canned corned
beef, povi masima.
• Store meat well-covered near the
bottom of the fridge. Keep raw
meat and cooked meat separate.
• Grill, stew, bake or roast on a rack.
So what’s the big deal
about iron?
Iron is essential for brain growth,
and to fight infection.
Iron deficiency is very common,
especially in toddlers and women.
If you or your child feels tired, is
sick a lot, has a poor appetite or
problems concentrating, ask your
doctor to test iron levels.
Foods high in vitamin C help your
body absorb iron. Most green,
yellow, orange, red or purple fruits
and vegetables are high in vitamin C.
Meat:Getting the most for your money
Meat Meals
Spaghetti Bolognaise
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion
500g lean beef mince
¼ cup tomato paste + 400g canned
tomatoes (or 1 can/jar pasta sauce)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1 ½ cups water
black pepper
1 packet of dried spaghetti (or other
shapes of pasta)
* Heat oil in a large frying pan or
saucepan. Chop the onion.
Cook for 5 minutes until soft.
* Stir in the mince and brown
* Add tomato paste and tomatoes
in juice, breaking up the
tomatoes. Stir in herbs or water.
* Bring to the boil, reduce heat and
simmer for half an hour or until
like a thick sauce.
* Cook spaghetti using the
instructions on the packet.
Drain. Serve and top with mince
Top with fresh parsley, add chopped
carrots or mushrooms.
Meat meals
Two meals out of one!
Make extra bolognaise sauce, top
with mashed potato and bake in the
oven for half an hour for dinner the
following night.
Meal in a Dish
Meat Loaf
Adding grated vegetables to
meat dishes is a good way to get
fussy eaters to eat vegetables.
500g lean mince
3 slices of bread to crumble
(or 1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs
or ½ cup rolled oats)
¼ cup tomato sauce
1 egg (not essential)
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs or
1 tablespoon fresh herbs
1 cup grated carrot
Add other grated or finely chopped
vegetables. For extra flavour add 1
teaspoon dry mustard and 2 gloves
finely chopped garlic.
Make a large meat loaf and save
some slices for school lunches.
2 tablespoons oil
400g lean mince
2 cups chopped vegetables, e.g.
onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms,
frozen vegetables, pumpkin
½ teaspoon mixed herbs
¼ cup tomato paste
1 ½ cups water
2 medium potatoes, sliced
* Heat the oil in a saucepan. Brown
the mince, stirring to break up, add
the chopped onions.
* Add the tomato paste, herbs, water
and vegetables. Pour into an oven
* Peel and slice the potatoes and
cover over the meat.
* Bake for 45 minutes or until
potatoes on top are soft and brown.
* Mix all ingredients together.
* Press mixture into a loaf tin, or
oven-proof dish.
* Cook at 180ºC for 40-45 minutes,
or until juices run clear.
Meat meals
Eggy Fried Rice
Boil Up
• Choose low-fat meat.
Trim off fat.
• Boil meat, cool and scrape off
fat that sets, or pour off boiling
• Refill the pot and heat to boil
• Add onions, garlic or herbs for
flavour instead of salt.
• Add potatoes and kumara.
• Add puha, watercress,
silverbeet, cabbage.
A great way of using up left-overs, or
a quick meal for fussy eaters.
3 cups cooked rice (1 cup uncooked
rice + 2 cups water)
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion chopped
3 rashers bacon chopped (optional)
1 cup frozen peas (or other favourite
2-4 eggs beaten
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry bacon
and onion. Add peas and rice.
Cook for 2 minutes.
Add soy sauce and mix through.
Pour eggs onto mixture and stir
through until just cooked.
Use ham, chopped sausages or
salami instead of bacon.
Meat meals
Stir-fries are a great way to make a little meat or chicken go a long way.
The meat needs to be very thinly-sliced and quickly cooked so it isn’t tough.
Beef schnitzel, diced chicken, pork pieces, and left-over roast meat can all be
used. A wok or a large frying-pan can be used.
Beef Stir Fry
300g beef schnitzel, flank skirt, chuck
or blade steak
2 tablespoons oil
1 clove garlic
1 onion
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups finely chopped/sliced
vegetables e.g. carrots, cauliflower,
broccoli, cabbage, bean sprouts,
peppers, leeks, mushrooms, celery,
Noodles or rice
Finely chop garlic, chop onion. Heat
1 tablespoon of oil in the pan, add
garlic and onions. Cook for a couple
of minutes then add the other
vegetables and soy sauce. Add a
little water if the vegetables stick.
When the vegetables are cooked
and slightly crisp return the meat to
the pan and heat through.
Serve with noodles or cooked rice.
Cut the schnitzel into thin strips.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan
and quickly cook the meat on both
sides until just brown. Remove the
meat from the pan.
Meat meals
Here’s a Hint
Tofu is a cheap, easy protein
ingredient in a stir-fry.
It is made of soya-beans.
Keep it in a fridge in water and use
within a few days.
It doesn’t need to be cooked – only
heated, so add at the end of cooking.
Try other Asian sauces like Black
Bean, Fish Sauce, Oyster Sauce,
Sweet Chilli Sauce. Add some fresh
To improve the flavour of tofu, or the
tenderness of the meat, soak
(marinate) in a bit of soy sauce for an
hour before cooking.
If using left-over meat or tofu, add
towards the end of the cooking. Heat
left-over meat till very hot.
Casseroles are a great way of
using cheaper cuts of meat. They
can be made during the day and
put in the oven mid-afternoon to
save cooking during the busy afterschool time. A casserole needs a
long, slow cooking time. Don’t turn
the oven up to hurry it up. If you
can, make extra and freeze for
another meal.
Try blade, chuck or skirt steak.
Also topside, fresh silverside,
shank/shin, brisket, spare ribs,
oxtail. Good lamb cuts include
neck or shoulder chops, leg
chops or shanks. Gravy beef
needs more trimming and shin
beef needs a long cooking time
To bring out the flavour of the
meat, chop into cubes and quickly
brown in a frying pan or saucepan.
Beef and Vegetable Stew
500g beef steak
1 ½ cup water
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped into cubes
½ cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Cut meat into cubes. Brown briefly on
both sides in a saucepan or frying pan.
Put in a casserole dish. Add water to
almost cover. Add the
vegetables. Cover and cook at
160°C for 1 ½ to 3 hours till the meat
is tender. If you like, thicken with cornflour or flour mixed to a paste with cold
water, in the last half hour of cooking,
and season to taste.
Stove-top stew:
Brown meat as above in a heavybased pan, then add vegetables and
liquid. Cover tightly and cook on stove
top on a very low heat until tender.
Stir occasionally, adding extra liquid if
Meat meals
• Pork and Apple: Use a similar
cut of pork and add chopped apple
(Granny Smith is best).
• Mushroom: Add sliced
mushrooms instead of carrots.
• Tomato: Add a can of tomatoes.
• Kumara: Add kumara cut into
Braised Lamb Chops
with Apples
8 lamb shoulder chops, well trimmed
2 onions, peeled and quartered
1 leek, trimmed, washed and sliced
2 apples, cored and sliced thickly
2 carrots, sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
(or 2 tablespoons fresh oregano)
2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 tablespoon golden syrup
Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan and
brown the lamb chops well. Transfer
to an oven-proof dish.
Add a dash more oil to the pan
and brown the onions, leek and
apple slices. Scatter the carrots and
oregano over the lamb chops.
Pour the stock or water over.
Cover and cook at 160°C for 1¼ - 1½
hours or until the lamb chops and
vegetables are tender.
Carefully pour the cooking juices into
a saucepan, leaving the chops and
vegetables in the dish.
Mix the cornflour with enough water
to make a smooth paste. Stir into the
cooking juices. Cook, stirring over a
moderate heat until thickened.
Add the golden syrup and pour back
over the chops and vegetables in the
dish. Mix well.
Serve with plenty of mashed
•Use neck, leg chops or shanks.
Meat meals
These are a favourite with children.
Home-made hamburgers are cheaper
and healthier than takeaway shops.
Choose your pattie, cook and put in the
bread. Choose a spread and add some
Pattie options:
Meat pattie
Fish pattie
Grilled bacon
Cooked chicken
Lentil pattie (see page 65)
Meat Patties
Have about 100g mince for each burger.
Roll mince into a ball with wet hands.
Heat oil in a pan. Put pattie in and
flatten with a fish slice.
Cook on high heat until brown on both
sides and in the middle. This should
take about 2 minutes each side.
Bread options:
Choose one:
Hamburger roll
Sliced toast bread
French Bread
Focaccia bread
Spread options:
Tomato sauce
Meat meals
“Chickeny” Hints
• A whole chicken is usually cheaper
to buy. Chicken pieces do save time.
Boneless chicken is expensive but
you’re not paying for bones.
• Chicken needs to be properly
cooked. To test, prick with a
fork. If the juices run clear, not
pink, the chicken is cooked.
• Servings of chicken don’t have to
be large. Make sure there is plenty
of potatoes, rice or pasta.
• Boiling fowls or roasting fowls
are cheaper. They need to be
cooked for a long time so they
are not tough. Simmer fowl in
a large pot, covered in water for
about 3 hours.
• Most of the fat is in the skin.
If possible, remove skin before
cooking in a casserole, or remove
after cooking when roasting or
grilling. It is not worth trying to take
the skin off chicken wings!
• Save chicken bones to make
stock. (see soup page 77)
Meat meals
Chicken is often a family
favourite. Look for frozen
chickens on special and stock up.
Left-over chicken can be used
in school lunches, on pizzas, in
quiche, hamburgers, fried rice and
in many other ways.
Chicken Casserole
4 large or 8 small chicken pieces
4 potatoes
2 onions
4 carrots
chopped celery
1 ½ cups water
2 teaspoons instant chicken stock
1 teaspoon mixed herbs (or 1 tablespoon fresh herbs)
1-2 tablespoons cornflour to thicken
Take the skin off the chicken pieces.
Cut the potatoes into large pieces.
Slice the carrots into rounds. Cut the
onions into chunks.
Put the vegetables and chicken
pieces into a casserole dish.
If using stock, dissolve in the water.
Pour the water over.
Sprinkle over the herbs. Cover.
Bake at 180°C for 1 ½ hours until
chicken is cooked.
Thicken the casserole by mixing the
cornflour in a cup with ¼ cup cold
water. Add this to the casserole near
the end of cooking.
Chicken makes great ‘leftovers’ food
for the next day:
• Stir-fry. Tear cooked chicken into
pieces and add to a stir-fry near the
end of cooking but make sure the
chicken is heated well.
Kumara and apple casserole:
Use kumara instead of potatoes. Use
chopped apple instead of
Rosemary and garlic casserole:
Use fresh rosemary instead of mixed
herbs. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves.
Apricot casserole: Add dried
apricots with other ingredients.
Meat meals
• Sandwiches for lunches
• Pasta sauce. Add cooked chicken
to a pasta sauce. Serve with pasta.
Roast Chicken
Roast chicken is popular for special
occasions. Make the chicken go
further with stuffing and lots of baked
potatoes, kumara or pumpkin. Follow
the directions on the packet.
A small chicken will only need about
1 ½ hours in an oven at 180°C
while a large chicken will need
up to 2 ½ hours.
A chicken will cook quicker
if it is covered.
Allow extra time for a stuffed
chicken. Double the recipe for
a large chicken
¼ cup margarine
1 tablespoon finely, chopped onion
2 cups soft breadcrumbs
fresh pepper
1 apple, cut into small pieces
fresh or dried herbs, e.g. parsley,
thyme, sage, mixed herbs
Melt margarine in a fry pan,
saucepan or in the microwave.
Cook onion for a few minutes in
the margarine.
Add the other ingredients and
mix well.
Stuff into the middle of the chicken.
Add celery, or mushrooms.
Remove the skin from the chicken
pieces. Combine the other ingredients.
Place the marinade and chicken in an
oven-proof dish. Marinate for 2 or more
hours, or overnight.
Bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes or until
tender. Or, microwave on high for 12-15
Spoon the juices over the chicken a few
times during cooking.
Marinated Chicken Pieces
Marinades add flavour to chicken and
other meats.
4 large or 8 small chicken pieces
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey (or brown sugar)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground ginger
(or 1 tablespoon freshly
grated ginger)
Meat meals
Other ingredients that could be used in
the marinade:
• 1 tablespoon oil (sesame oil is best)
• 2 tablespoons orange juice
• 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine
Home-made Fish & Chips
500g fish fillets
½ teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup Weetbix crushed, or breadcrumbs
1 egg
Pat fish fillets dry with paper towels so the
crumbs will stick.
Beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water in a shallow
Put crushed Weetbix or breadcrumbs in a
shallow plate.
Dip fish in egg, and then in cereal.
Coat both sides.
Bake 10 minutes at 230°C. Thicker fillets
may need longer.
Serve with wedges (see vegetable section).
Add 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds and
1 teaspoon ground ginger to the Weetbix.
Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce to the
egg mixture.
Canned fish is
a cheap way to buy fish.
Buy tins of fish in water rather
than oil with no added salt. Look
for the Heart Tick sign.
Not all fresh fish is expensive.
Try the cheaper cuts
of fish. The person selling
the fish should have
some ideas of how to cook it.
Lemon and parsley
are great to add flavour to
fish and often free.
Buy about 100-150g
per person.
Try to use fish or seafood
on the day you
buy it.
Fish is healthy and tasty. Try
to eat it at least once a week.
The oils in fish (omega 3) are
thought to be good for ‘mental
health’, arthritis and preventing
heart disease.
Fish is high in protein and low
in saturated fat. Fish provides
minerals that are low in other
foods, e.g. iodine, selenium,
phosphorous, vitamin B12.
Fish Pie
1 kg potatoes
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup low-fat milk
450g tin fish (smoked is nice)
2 eggs, hard boiled
parsley (if you have it)
Cook the potatoes and mash.
Melt margarine in a small
saucepan, add flour and cook
for one minute.
Take off the stove and gradually
stir in the milk. Put back on the
stove, stir, and cook until thick
- about five minutes.
Lightly break up the fish.
Add to the sauce. Add sliced
hard-boiled eggs and parsley.
Pile into a large oven dish
and cover with the mashed
Cook in a 180°C oven for
about 20 minutes or until
heated through.
• Add other vegetables like
frozen peas.
• Use fresh fish. Pie pieces
are often very cheap.
Fish Cakes
1 small can smoked fish or tuna
3 medium potatoes, cooked and
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg
1 tablespoon oil
Mix all ingredients except oil.
Spread a little flour on a board, tip
mixture out, shape into a rectangle
and cut into eight pieces. Shape into
round, flat patties.
Heat the oil in a pan. Put four cakes
into the pan. Brown on both sides.
Add flavour with black pepper,
chilli sauce, chopped parsley.
Dip each patty in beaten egg
and breadcrumbs before frying.
Quick cooking ideas
1 can tuna or smoked fish
2 cups cooked rice
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs, hard boiled
• Brush fillets with oil. Grill for about
5 minutes on each side. Serve with
a squirt of lemon juice and fresh
Break up fish.
Slice eggs.
Heat oil in a pot or frying pan,
brown the onion.
Add the rice, fish, and egg.
Heat and serve.
• Cover with orange juice and bake in
the oven at 180°C for about ½ hour.
A little bit of garlic or ginger adds
Use fresh smoked fish,
or cooked white fish.
• Microwave with a covering of
reduced-fat coconut cream on high.
Fish cooks very quickly in the
Fish & Mussels
Mussels are a
reasonable price,
or free if you know where
to collect them.
They are also very high in
iron and other minerals.
Put the mussels in
a large pot with just
enough water to cover
the bottom.
Add chopped herbs,
lemon slices or garlic
if you wish.
Put the lid on and
steam the mussels
until the shells open easily.
Lift out with tongs.
The liquid makes great
Beans and lentils
Quick beany pasta
1 packet of pasta
1 440g can of cooked dried beans
(not baked beans)
1 440g jar of pasta sauce
1 finely chopped onion
1 carrot chopped into cubes
Drain the beans. Add all ingredients
except pasta.
Heat gently in a saucepan until the
vegetables are cooked.
Meanwhile cook the pasta. Drain.
Serve pasta with sauce on top.
Baked beans are a great
way of introducing beans.
Try canned chilli beans
for more oomph.
You don’t have to serve meat, fish
or chicken at every main meal. Try
another ‘protein food’ once a week.
This could be eggs, dried, cooked
beans (baked beans, chilli beans,
kidney beans, chickpeas), lentils,
tofu, nuts or seeds.
• For meat fans, add a little chopped
sausage, ham or cooked bacon
• For a tomato-lentil sauce cook ½
cup lentils in 1 ½ cups water
• When almost cooked add pasta
sauce and vegetables. The lentils
replace the beans
• Add other vegetables of your choice
• Top with fresh herbs like parsley,
thyme or oregano.
Beans & lentils
Handy tips for cooking
If you only have a little bit of
meat, add some beans to make
the meat go further.
Add lentils to a casserole, red
kidney beans to mince, or split
peas to soup.
Vegetarians don’t eat meat,
fish or poultry. Some have
milk, eggs and milk products.
It is very important that
vegetarians eat a ‘protein food’
every day. They need more
than extra vegetables or a slice
of cheese.
Vegetarians who don’t eat/drink
milk products need to have
soy-milk or rice milk with added
Rinse dried beans and lentils with a sieve.
1 cup of uncooked beans makes about 3
cups cooked beans.
Put beans in a saucepan and cover with lots
of water.
Leave to soak for at least 8 hours then
drain the soaking water.
(Note: Lentils don’t need soaking).
Cover with fresh water, bring to the boil and
simmer until very soft. The larger the bean
the longer the cooking time.
Lentils only need about half an hour to cook
while kidney beans need over an hour. Once
cooked, drain the cooking water.
Beans & lentils
Dried beans and lentils
are very cheap.
Canned, cooked beans are
more expensive but still much
cheaper than meat.
Try canned borlotti beans, cannelini
beans, red-kidney beans,
bean mix or chickpeas.
Lentils don’t need soaking
and are quicker to cook than beans.
Lentil patties
Chilli beans
Add as much or as little chilli as your
family’s taste buds allow.
1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely
1 cup seasonal vegetables finely
e.g. carrot, pepper, pumpkin, cabbage,
silverbeet, zucchini
½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon chilli
or 1 teaspoon chilli sauce
400g tin tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
(or tomato sauce)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, wok
or frying pan and cook the onion and
garlic for a few minutes.
Add the vegetables, beans and chilli
powder. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and the juice and
tomato puree.
Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Stir occasionally. OR cook in the
microwave for 10-15 minutes on high
Serve with:
• Rice
• Nacho chips and grated cheese
• Burritos
For meat-lovers, brown 200g mince
with the onion.
Lentil patties are not just for hippies!
They are easy to make and very cheap.
Serve in burgers, on their own with a
tasty sauce or in pita bread.
½ cups dried lentils
8 slices bread
1 carrot
1 onion
1 large potato, cooked
1 egg
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
black pepper
3 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
Cooks lentils until soft. Drain well.
In a food processor, blend all ingredients briefly,
adding the lentils and sesame seeds last.
With wet hands, form into patties.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Cook on both
sides until heated through.
Beans & lentils
Sausage and Baked Bean
A good way to introduce beans to
the family. For a spicier meal, use a
can of chilli beans instead of baked
8 sausages, boiled and sliced
2 apples, cut into cubes
2 onions, sliced
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1 can tomatoes
1 can baked beans
chilli sauce to taste (optional)
Brown the sliced sausages in a little
oil in a frying pan for 5 minutes. Set
Fry the apples, onions, and mixed
herbs in a little oil for 5 minutes.
Return the sausages to the pan. Stir
in the tomatoes and baked beans.
Simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes.
Add chilli sauce to taste.
Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.
Place the sausage mixture in a
casserole dish and cover with thinly
sliced kumara or potato. Brush with
a little oil and brown in an oven at
200°C for 15 minutes.
Beans are high in protein.
They keep you full for longer
as they are high in fibre and
carbohydrates. Beans are
low in fat and a good
source of B vitamins,
iron, calcium and zinc.
Beans & lentils
Vegetable hints & recipes
Vegetables are versatile, delicious, and of course, nutritious. Make the most of vegetables by buying when in season, storing carefully and varying the way they are served.
Vege Hints
Vegetables don’t have to be expensive.
Frozen and canned vegetables are
as good as fresh vegetables. Choose
canned vegetables canned in water
without salt. If a recipe has an
expensive vegetable, look for an
alternative, or try a different recipe.
Expensive vegetables are usually
out-of-season and don’t taste as good.
Children often turn their noses up at
vegetables. Their taste buds are
different to adults, so some vegetables
do taste very strong. They also know
that adults want them to eat vegetables.
Try not to get into battles about
vegetables. Find out which
varieties your child likes and
serve these.
Many young children prefer to munch
on raw vegetables like carrot and celery. If your child likes fruit, don’t worry
about the vegetables – their 5 serves
can be mostly fruit (remember half an
apple or half a banana is one serve
for a child). Add vegetables to main
meals instead of serving them by
themselves. Try quick quiche, meat
loaf, pasta sauces and even muffins
(carrot or courgette muffins).
Storing Vegetables
Tips for Cooking Healthy Vegetables
Peel the skin lightly or leave on.
Lots of nutrients and fibre are in
the skin.
Vegetables are very low in fat. Keep
them this way by not adding butter or
cooking in fat.
Cook as soon as possible after
preparing vegetables.
Do not soak.
Mash potatoes with low-fat milk
instead of butter.
Cook for a short time.
Salt is not needed. If you do
use salt, make sure it is iodised.
Microwave by using a small
amount of water. Cook on high
in a covered dish.
Remember that microwaved
vegetables usually keep
cooking for a few minutes
Serve baked potatoes with plain
yoghurt instead of sour cream.
Starchy vegetables taste delicious
baked, e.g. potatoes, pumpkin, yams,
kumara. Scrub, rather than peel the
Brush the pan with oil. Bake at
Vegetables are still alive after
harvest. Handle vegetables gently.
Use the vegetables that don’t last so
long first. (Green vegetables don’t
last as long as carrots, potatoes, etc).
Store most green vegetables, cauliflower, carrots and parsnips in plastic
bags in the fridge. Use first.
Store peppers (capsicums) and cucumbers unwrapped in the fridge.
Store potatoes, kumara, uncut
pumpkin and onions in a cool, dark,
dry place. Don’t store in plastic bags.
Wrap cut pumpkin in plastic-film and
store in the fridge.
Store mushrooms in a paper bag in
the fridge.
Steamer pots save electricity.
Cook one vegetable, or rice, in a
saucepan underneath and steam
vegetables in the steamer pot on top.
Store tomatoes at room
temperature, not in the fridge.
Some vegetables become very cheap when in season. It can be hard thinking of different ways of cooking the same vegetable everyday.
Shred cabbage finely. Cook lightly as
overcooking ruins the flavour. Use it in:
• Coleslaws (see salad ideas)
• Stir-fry – Add near the end of cooking
• Cook in a frying pan with crushed
pineapple, raisins and the pineapple juice
If cooking Chinese cabbage – put a little oil
with finely, chopped onion in a frying pan
and add soy sauce
Cauliflowers are often large and can last for
lots of meals. Cook lightly as overcooking
ruins the flavour. Broccoli can be used in the
same way.
•Stir-fry: Add to a stir-fry in the middle of cooking
•Raw or lightly cooked with a dip: Cut into small florets
•Add to casseroles or macaroni cheese.
•Top with grated cheese.
•Chop finely and add to a pasta sauce or mince.
These veges are versatile for
savoury dishes and in baking.
• Stir-fry – add near the end of cooking
• Microwave - Cut into rings, cook till
• Use in a quick quiche
• Meatloaf or meat-balls - grate
• Muffins and cakes – grate, use in
muffins or in place of carrots
in carrot cake
• Pasta sauce – chop finely and
add to pasta sauce or mince
Silverbeet is easy to grow in the
garden. Gardeners often give it away.
Silverbeet has a strong flavour but is
great mixed with other ingredients.
Wash well and chop finely.
• Pasta sauce – chop finely and add to
pasta sauce
• Quick quiche
• Stir-fry – add near the end of cooking
• Savoury muffins – lightly cook, and
add to cheesy muffins
• Casserole – add in the last hour of
• Soup – chop finely and add to a
vegetable soup
• Meat-loaf or meat-balls,
chop very finely
Pumpkins are often cheap in season and
store well. Use them in both savoury
and sweet dishes, including:
• Baked pumpkin
• Pumpkin soup (see recipe page 79)
• Casserole – cube and add at the
beginning of cooking.
• Boil and mash with potatoes.
• Muffins or scones – add about 1 cup
mashed pumpkin
Making Beans Sprout
Bean sprouts are easy to make, and
very cheap. Children enjoy watching
them grow. Making your own means
you always have a fresh vegetable.
Try mung beans, brown lentils, alfalfa
seeds or chickpeas.
Rinse 2 tablespoons of beans with
Place in a wide jar and cover with
Leave to soak for 8 hours or
Drain the water and rinse the beans.
Leave the jar in a sunny place.
Every morning and night rinse and
drain the beans.
After about three days the bean
sprouts will be ready.
Store in the fridge.
Baked Potatoes
Potato Wedges
Baked potatoes can be a meal by
themselves. Potatoes are very filling.
Also try kumara.
* Scrub potatoes.
* Cook in the microwave until soft
or in the oven.
* Cut a cross in the top and split open.
* Heat the toppings of your choice and
add to the baked potato.
Wedges are a great alternative to
* Cut potatoes or kumara into
* Brush with oil and cook in a baking
tray till soft at 200°C.
• Spaghetti
• Baked beans
• Creamed Corn
• Pasta sauce
• Cooked onion
• Sliced mushrooms
• Chopped pepper
• Sliced tomatoes
• Grilled bacon
• Chopped ham
• Tinned tuna or salmon
• Grated cheese
Spicy Wedges
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice (optional)
Mix in a plastic bag. Add wedges and
coat well.
Garlic Wedges
4 cloves of garlic
3-4 fresh rosemary sprigs
Put in a baking tray with crushed
garlic and rosemary sprigs.
A salad does not need to have
lettuce. Choose a salad and mix
a salad dressing with it.
Make your own variations.
Apple Salad
Mix apples cut into cubes, chopped
celery and chopped dates.
Carrot Salad
Mix grated carrots, bean sprouts and
raisins (or sultanas).
Carrot and Kiwifruit Salad
Mix grated carrot, sliced kiwifruit and
sliced spring onions.
Cauliflower and Broccoli Salad
Cut into bite-size pieces, lightly cook,
cool and add a dressing.
Celery and Banana Salad
Mix sliced celery, finely chopped
carrots and sliced banana.
Citrus Coleslaw
Mix shredded cabbage, orange
segments and spring onions.
Red Coleslaw
Mix shredded red cabbage, crushed
pineapple, sliced celery and raisins.
Mustard and Apple coleslaw
Shredded cabbage, unpeeled apple
cut into chunks, bean sprouts. Make
a dressing of 1 tablespoon prepared
mustard, ¼ cup plain yoghurt.
Pasta Salad
Salad Topppings
Lemon Dressing
Mix ¼ cup lemon juice and
¼ cup oil with black pepper.
Yoghurt Dressing
Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice
(or orange juice) with ¼ cup
yoghurt. Add finely chopped
fresh herbs.
Mix ¼ cup vinegar and ¼ cup oil.
Mix cooked pasta (not noodles),
cooked mixed vegetables, chopped
cucumber and sunflower seeds.
Make mayonnaise go further by
mixing with plain yoghurt.
Potato Salad
Add 1 teaspoon curry powder to
yoghurt or mayonnaise.
Cut cooked potato into chunks.
Add bean sprouts, finely chopped
carrot and spring onions. Try a curry
Curry dressing
When adding apples to a salad,
put them in just before serving.
Light meals
Home-made pizza is quick and easy.
Young children love rolling the dough
and putting on the toppings.
Choose 1 base, 1 spread and a
variety of toppings.
Spread tomato spread (from the
options below) on the dough.
Sprinkle with some toppings.
Finish with the cheese.
Topping options
• Grated cheese
• Drained, crushed pineapple
• Chopped onion
• Sliced mushroom
• Sliced peppers
• Finely diced bacon, ham or salami
• Tinned tuna or salmon
• Sliced tomato
Home-made pizza base
1 tablespoon dry yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
3 cups flour (not self-raising)
1 tablespoon oil
Mix the yeast, sugar and water.
Leave for five minutes. It should start
to froth.
Put flour and oil In a large bowl.
Add the yeast mixture. Mix well.
Add more flour or water if the dough
is too sticky or too dry.
Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes or until
golden brown.
Base options
• Home-made pizza dough
• Ready-made pizza base
• Pita bread
• Scone dough (make a plain dough)
Tip mixture onto the bench. Knead
and shape into a ball.
Put in the bowl, cover and leave in a
warm place for half an hour.
Tomato spread options
• Tomato paste
• Tomato sauce
• Pasta sauce
• Tin of spaghetti
Punch dough down. Roll out quite
thin to fit on an oven tray.
Sprinkle flour on the oven tray and
lay the rolled dough on the tray.
Light meals
Quick Quiche
Add some extra ingredients or
leftovers to turn an omelette into a meal.
A great way to use leftovers.
3 eggs
1 cup low-fat milk
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup onion
1 cup grated cheese
1 x 180g tin salmon/tuna
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, e.g. parsley, chives,
6 eggs
Beat eggs in a large bowl.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Add potatoes and cook
for 5-7 minutes until just cooked. Add a tablespoon of water if the potato sticks.
Add garlic and cook another minute.
Pour over egg mixture.
To cook the top, either cover with a lid, or put
the frying pan under the grill for a few minutes.
Mix eggs and milk in a bowl.
Add rest of ingredients and mix.
Place into a greased quiche dish or
ovenproof dish.
Cook for 30-40 minutes at 200°C or
until the liquid stops running.
• Cooked potatoes,
sliced or cubed pumpkin or kumara
• 5 grated zucchini
• Finely chopped silver-beet
• 1 can corn, drained
•Add grated cheese, smoked fish, sliced zucchini, mushrooms, corn kernels, silverbeet,
ham, leftover sausage.
Light meals
Toasted Sandwiches
Macaroni Cheese
1 ½ cups dried macaroni
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dried mustard (optional)
1 ½ cups low-fat milk
1 cup grated cheese
breadcrumbs (fresh or dried)
Cook the macaroni. Drain.
Melt margarine in a small saucepan.
On medium heat, stir in the flour and
mustard. Cook for 1 minute.
Slowly stir in the milk. Stir until the
sauce thickens.
Take off the element. Stir in the grated
Put macaroni and cheese sauce in an
ovenproof dish. Top with breadcrumbs.
Bake at 180°C until golden brown.
• Add a finely chopped onion or finely
chopped bacon to the melted margarine.
• Add cooked cauliflower, broccoli or celery.
Vegetable Fritters
2 eggs
½ cup self-raising flour
¼ cup to ½ cup low-fat milk
2 cups grated zucchini (see variations)
oil for frying
Beat the eggs and half of the milk.
Stir in the flour and zucchini. Add
more milk if you need to make a
soft batter. If the mixture is too
runny, add a little flour.
Heat some oil to cover the bottom
of a frying pan.
Place a spoonful of mixture in the
frying pan for each fritter. When the
mixture bubbles on top, turn over
with a fish slice or tongs. Cook on
the other side until golden brown.
• 2 cups grated potato or kumara
• 1 425g can of whole kernel corn,
Light meals
Toasted sandwiches are an ideal snack or quick
meal on the run. Some fillings work well cold in
the lunchbox. Grated cheese goes further than
sliced cheese.
Spread on the outside with a thin spread of
•Wholemeal sliced bread
•Hamburger buns
•Sliced French bread
Grated cheese +
•Baked Beans
•Creamed corn
•Crushed pineapple, well drained
•Sliced onion or tomato
•Lean bacon, ham or salami
•Pickle or relish
•Tinned fish
To Cook
•Use a toasted sandwich maker.
•Cook under the grill using one slice of bread with a topping.
•Heat a frying pan and cook both sides until golden brown.
For a sweet filling try:
Fruit bread filled with mashed banana and
Vegetable Soup
Use stock, vegetables and other
ingredients of your choice.
6 cups stock (add water if you need
3 cups finely chopped vegetables
½ cup barley, rice, lentils, dried peas
or soup mix
herbs and pepper to taste
Bring the stock to the boil. Add other
Simmer for 1-2 hours until everything
is cooked.
Flavour with herbs and pepper.
Soups are great comfort meals in the
winter. Serve with scones, with toast
or with fresh, crusty bread. Garnish
soup with fresh herbs, grated cheese,
or natural yoghurt. Make croutons
by brushing toast bread with oil. Cut
into cubes and grill or bake for five
Stock adds flavour to soup.
Commercial stocks and tinned
soups are usually very high in salt.
Reduce salt by using less stock, a
home-made stock or adding other
ingredients to a tin of soup.
Chicken Stock
Chicken bones or leftover roast
chicken carcass
2 stalks celery, including leaves
2 carrots
2 unpeeled onions
3 bay leaves
6 cups water
Roughly chop the vegetables.
Put everything in a large saucepan.
Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour.
Cool and strain the stock through a
Leave in any chicken meat but throw
away the bones and vegetables.
Chill the stock overnight. Skim the fat
off the top.
Stock can be frozen until needed.
Mussel stock
Save the water used from steaming
mussels. Stock can be frozen until
Quick minestrone
Pumpkin Soup
1 can tomato soup
2 cans water
2 potatoes
2 carrots
2 onions
200g pasta (or leftover cooked
fresh parsley
1 onion, chopped
1kg pumpkin
(about ½ large pumpkin)
4 cups water or stock
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon curry powder
Finely chop the potatoes, carrots
and onions. Roughly chop the
Place the soup, tomatoes, juice
from tomatoes, water and
vegetables in a saucepan.
Bring to the boil.
Add pasta and simmer until pasta
is cooked. Add more water if
needed. Sprinkle on fresh parsley.
Add cooked dried beans.
Fish Chowder
Peel and chop the pumpkin into large pieces.
Roughly chop the onion.
Cover the vegetables with water in a large
saucepan. Bring to the boil.
Simmer for about 20 minutes or until pumpkin
is very soft. Puree in a food processor or
mash with a potato masher.
• Spicy soup:
Replace spices with 1 teaspoon ground ginger,
1 teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon coriander.
• Carrot and pumpkin: Use less pumpkin and
add a few carrots.
• Pumpkin and potato: Add a potato for a
thicker soup.
• Creamy soup: Add 1 cup of low-fat milk
at the end. Heat through but don’t boil.
2 tablespoons margarine
1 onion, finely chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 carrot, peeled and cut into cubes
2 cups water or stock
2 cups low-fat milk
black pepper
300g white fresh fish
2 tablespoons cornflour or flour
fresh parsley
Melt margarine in a large pot. Lightly cook
onions. Add potatoes, carrots and water
or stock. Simmer for 10 minutes or until
potato is almost cooked.
Cut fish into cubes. Add to soup.
Bring to the boil.
Turn down the heat and add the milk.
Do not boil again or the milk will curdle.
Mix the cornflour to a paste with a little bit
of cold milk. Stir through the soup until it
thickens. Do not overcook.
Mussel chowder
Steam the mussels open in water (see fish
page). Save the water and use as stock in
the recipe. When cooled enough, remove
the mussels from their shells. Chop into
small pieces. Add instead of fish.
Takeaways are great for
special occasions, on
holidays or when we are too
busy or tired to cook but they
can be hard on the budget and
because they are often high in
fat and salt, hard on our bodies
as well.
There are a huge variety of
takeaway choices – it’s not just
the shop down the road.
Think of the supermarket as a
place for takeaways too.
Grabbing a pre-prepared meal
that only needs re-heating
is just as quick as going to a
takeaway shop.
Healthier Supermarket
Takeaways - examples:
Rotisserie chicken with fresh bread and
pre-prepared salad.
Fresh stuffed pasta (tortellini, ravioli) with
grated cheese.
Put baked beans or chilli beans with
grated cheese and grated carrot into
bread wraps.
Pre-prepared pizza.
Many takeaway chains offer
‘healthier choices’. Some can be
more expensive. Go easy on the
added dressings on salads and rolls
as these can add a lot of fat.
Limit add-ons and choose smaller portions. Drinks add a lot of extra
cost – water is free. Takeaways are
already a treat, save fizzy drinks
as a treat for another day.
Takeaway options
• Some takeaways offer food with less fat.
• Chinese meals with rice.
• Kebabs, falafels and other Turkish/Middle
Eastern takeaways.
• Baked potatoes – go easy on the sour
• Meat pies – potato-topped pies are lower
in fat.
• Chips – thick-cut chips have less fat than
• Burgers – choose vegetables as extras.
Additional meat and cheese add fat.
• Buy less fried chicken and add potato and
gravy and coleslaw instead of fried chips
• Choose pizza without extra cheese.
• Buy part takeaways and part food prepared
at home. For example, buy hot chips and
crumb your own fish at home. Or buy the
battered fish and make wedges in the oven.
• Make the takeaways go further by adding
some bread or coleslaw at home.
Desserts & Parties
Store bananas and citrus fruits in fruit
bowls. Store apples and other pip fruit
in the fridge.
Take advantage of apples, plums and
other seasonal fruit. Slice and cook in
a little water or in a saucepan till soft.
Most fruits don’t need added sugar
or peeling. Freeze extra.
Fruit Kebabs
Bamboo skewers – 1 for each person
Selection of raw fruit
Marshmallows (optional)
Cut fruit into bite-sized pieces.
Thread onto the skewer.
We don’t have desserts every
night anymore. Now a home-made
dessert is a special treat.
Many people still like something sweet
after dinner or before
bed. Everyday desserts
can be as simple as fresh fruit,
or flavoured yoghurt.
Ice-cream is popular and cheap, but
try to limit it to once or
twice a week.
Milk powder is cheaper than milk.
In desserts and baking, use milk powder
and water according to the instructions
on the packet.
Fruit with yoghurt dip
Toothpicks – 1 for each person
Selection of raw fruit
Flavoured yoghurt
Put the fruit on a plate. Pick up with a
toothpick and dip into the yoghurt.
Make custard using custard
powder, reading the directions on
the packet. For extra flavour add
sliced banana, 1 tablespoon of
honey or 1 tablespoon of golden
syrup, and chopped dates.
Make a chocolate pudding by
adding 1 tablespoon cocoa to the
custard powder before making the
custard - if you add it last it’ll turn
Instant Pudding
Add a tin of fruit salad or sliced
banana. Set in little pottles or
dishes for a change.
Chocolate Fudge Pudding
This self-saucing pudding is a
favourite with children. Even though
it has a lot of sugar, it is very low
in fat.
1 cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (optional)
1/2 cup low-fat milk
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 - 2 cups boiling water
Apple Crumble
Measure the flour,
2 tablespoons cocoa and ¾
cup sugar into a large ovenproof (or microwave-proof)
dish. Stir well. Add milk, vanilla
essence and margarine. Stir
until well mixed.
Mix ¾ cup brown sugar and
¼ cup cocoa together and
sprinkle on top.
Carefully pour over the boiling
Cooking options
Microwave on high for 8-12
minutes or until centre feels
warm. Make sure the sauce
does not boil over. Or bake at
180°C for 35-45 minutes until
firm in the centre.
Apple crumble is a
favourite pudding,
delicious served with
custard. Try other
seasonal fruit, or
canned fruit.
3 cups sliced apples
1/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
(not self-raising)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Microwave version
Microwave apples on
high for four minutes.
Add topping and cook
for 2 minutes.
For a golden top, grill
for 3 – 5 minutes
before serving.
• Use other seasonal
Layer the apples in the
fruit like pears, kiwifruit,
bottom of a micro-wave
proof or oven-proof dish.
Mix the rest of the
• Use less rolled oats
ingredients together to
and flour. Add sesame
a crumbly mixture.
seeds, coconut,
Sprinkle over the top.
wheatgerm or bran.
Bake at 180°C for half
an hour or until
Carrot Cake
Bread and Butter Pudding
2 eggs
½ cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups grated carrot
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
This is a good way of using stale
3 slices bread or buns
2 cups low-fat milk
2 eggs
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sultanas
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Beat the eggs, oil and brown
sugar until thick and smooth.
Add the cinnamon, lemon rind
and grated carrot. Mix well.
Add the sifted flour, baking powder
and baking soda. Stir until just
Rub the bottom of a cake tin with
margarine or oil. Pour mixture into
the cake tin.
Bake at 180°C for 45 minutes, or
until the centre is firm or a fork
comes out clean.
Leave to stand for 5 minutes in the
tin. Cool on a cake rack. Sprinkle
with icing sugar.
Spread the bread with margarine.
Cut into small squares and put in an
ovenproof dish.
Beat eggs and milk together. Add
sugar, cinnamon and sultanas and
pour mixture over bread.
Bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes until
The pudding will cook more evenly
if you place the ovenproof dish in a
roasting pan, which is half-filled with
boiling water.
Birthday Parties
Favourite Foods
Birthday parties don’t have to be expensive.
They are times for treats. Choose a few
special party foods the children will love.
You don’t need to serve lots of different foods.
The excitement of the party and a few treat
foods is usually enough.
•Cheerios with tomato sauce
Party tips:
• Fairy bread – spread bread lightly with
margarine, lightly sprinkle on 100s +
• Jelly – make jelly in yoghurt pottles,
add a fruit surprise like a grape
• Instant pudding – especially chocolate
• Lollies appear everywhere at
birthday parties – prizes, party bags,
cake decorations, etc. You probably
don’t need a bowl of lollies as well.
• Chips
• Popcorn
• Serve fruit juice with lots of ice cubes or
flavoured milk rather than fizzy drink.
• Party bags add expense to a party.
Instead let children take home a piece
of cake, their party hat and a balloon.
• Gingerbread men – let them decorate
their own with icing, raisins and small
• Fruit kebabs
•Birthday cake: buy an unfilled sponge
cake, ice and decorate
• Make sure every child wins a prize.
It doesn’t have to be lollies.
Try stickers, balloons, coloured pencils,
bouncy balls, etc.
It’s party time!
healthy babies
For the first 6 months of life, babies only
need breast milk or formula. They don’t
usually need extra fluids. On a very hot day
a formula-fed baby may need some cooled,
boiled water.
Breast Milk is Best
Breast milk is specially made for your baby:
• It changes with your baby’s needs
• It helps protect your baby against infections
• It lowers the risk of allergies
• It is cheap, safe and ready to use
Feed young babies often on demand.
Baby’s appetite, happiness, weight gain
and lots of wet nappies tell you how much
milk your baby needs. If baby is still hungry
after feeding from one breast, offer the next
Expressing breast milk
• Expressing milk is useful if you
need to be away from your baby.
Not all babies will take milk from a
bottle. Try in advance if you know
you will need to express.
• Express the milk with a breast
pump. You can do it by hand
(clean hands) if you only need a
• Store in the fridge for up to 5
days or freeze for 3-4 months.
• Store in a sterile container.
• Warm or defrost the milk in a jug
of hot water. Don’t microwave or
• Thawed breastmilk should be
used within 12 hours.
Babies:Giving them a healthy start
Formula Feeding
For many reasons, some parents
use an infant formula. There are a
lot of brands to choose from. Once
you have found a formula that
suits your baby it is best to keep to
the same one.
• Make up the formula using the
instructions on the can. Do not
dilute. Use cooled, boiled water.
• Do not add anything else to the
• All equipment needs to be very
clean, including hands and
the bench.
• Heat formula by placing the
bottle in a container of hot water.
Be very careful if heating using
a microwave oven. Stir well.
The milk heats unevenly in the
bottle making ‘hot-spots’ in the
Sterilising containers
and bottles
• Wash your hands.
• Rub teats with dry salt, inside and
out, thoroughly.
• Rinse bottles and teats under cold
running water.
• Wash with hot water, detergent and a
bottle brush.
• Rinse again.
• Boil bottles, teats and equipment for
five minutes.
• Or use an anti-bacterial solution.
• Always check the temperature of the
formula. Put some on the inside of
your wrist. It should just feel warm.
• If baby is hungry and demands more,
give more formula at each feed or add
an extra feed. Do not make the
formula stronger.
• Throw away any formula left in the
bottle after feeding, as bacteria
from the baby’s saliva can grow
• You can make up formula for the
next 24 hours and store in a
covered, sterilised jug or in bottles
in the refrigerator.
• For babies under one year, only
give breast milk or formula. Do not
give cow’s milk, goat’s milk or
soy milk.
• Babies should not be left with a
bottle to suck on for a long time.
This damages new teeth.
Babies:Giving them a healthy start
New-to-food tips
Babies are ready to have solids by
four to six months. Waiting till six
months is good. It takes time for a
baby’s digestive system to be ready
for solids. In the past, solids used to
be introduced a lot earlier.
Introducing solids later can protect
against food allergies. Babies and
toddlers need small meals and snacks
often. They have small stomachs and
use a lot of energy.
• Puree food in a blender or push food
through a fine sieve.
• Try one new food every 4-5 days.
• Babies can choke easily. Make sure
they are sitting when eating. Don’t give
small, hard foods like whole nuts until
five years old.
• Milk or water is the best drink.
• Don’t offer sweet drinks or tea.
• Do not add salt or sugar to baby
• Make extra food and freeze in ice
cube trays.
• Each baby is different, and learns to
chew, swallow and eat at
different rates.
• Only put small amounts of food in
the baby’s bowl. Throw out any
food left in the bowl.
• White bread is best. Fine, soft
wholemeal breads can be introduced
at 15 months.
•Canned baby foods are good to use,
but more expensive.
Babies:Giving them a healthy start
•Baby rice, infant cereal
•Pureed apple, pear, apricot, peach,
mashed ripe banana
•Pureed pumpkin, potato,
kumara, carrot, marrow, avocado
4-6 months
Offer solids after
a milk feed.
Soft, smooth, bland
7 months
Baby can sit and is interested
in finger foods.
Offer solids after a milk feed.
Add iron-containing
•Finely minced meat, chicken
•Liver, kidney
•Cooked egg yolk
•Yams, taro, puha, courgettes, cauliflower,
8-9 months
Baby has good chewing and
biting skills.
Offer solids before milk feeds
Mash or finely-chop
food instead of pureed.
•Finely chopped lean meat
•Boneless fish, tofu
•Silverbeet, spinach, mashed peas,
beans, tomatoes, cabbage, creamed corn
•Fine porridge, Weetbix
•Yoghurt, custard, grated cheese
•White bread or toast, plain crackers
•Orange segments, sliced kiwifruit
1 year
Offer small amounts of the
food your family eats
•Chopped lean meat, chicken, seafood,
whole egg, dried beans and lentils
•Whole milk – ‘blue-top’
Babies:What to feed when
Other hints
for households
money savers
• The easiest things to grow in the
garden are silverbeet, lettuce and
parsley. Grow in pots or in a sunny
spot in the garden.
• Cloth nappies save money. Use
when you can, or have some
as spares when you run out of
• Make your own bean-sprouts. (refer
page 71)
• Only use the car when you need to.
Walk or bike when possible. Children
may be able to join a walking school
bus to school.
• Children often get tired of toys
quickly. Save on the spending by
joining a toy library.
Cheap Cleaners
Saving Power
Use cheap, natural cleaners. Baking
soda, salt, lemon juice and vinegar are all
effective cleaners.
Have quick showers. Use the
kitchen timer for teenagers.
• Baking soda can replace bought cream
cleaners to use on benches, ovens, baths
and sinks. Mix baking soda to a paste
with water.
• Put 2 tablespoons baking soda in an
open container in the fridge to get rid of
• Use salt for cleaning stains off carpets
and babies teats.
• Refresh the fridge and rubbish bins with
lemon juice and water.
•A strong solution of vinegar is a good
toilet cleaner.
•All purpose cleaning liquid: 4 litres hot
water, ¼ cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon baking
Never use the oven as a heater.
Draught-proof doors and
windows. Use curtains and
Use the clothes line, rather than
a dryer.
Use the washing machine only
when you have a full load.
A cold water wash is easier on
the power.
If you are able to buy a ‘clothes
horse”, it is amazing how much
you can fit on one and it saves
using the dryer on wet days.
Other ideas to save money
3 cups white flour
1 ½ cups salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
3 tablespoons cooking oil
3 cups boiling water
Food colouring
2 cups cornflour
1 cup cold water
food colouring (optional)
Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar
and cooking oil together in a
large bowl.
Add the boiling water and food
Stir well until the mixture
leaves the side of the bowl.
Add more flour if the mixture
seems too sticky. Turn out of
the bowl and knead.
Store in a container in the
fridge. It will last a long time.
Power Saving Tips when cooking
Pour cornflour into a bowl. Add
water slowly, stirring constantly
and stop when water stops being absorbed by the cornflour.
If using food colouring, add
with the water.
The gloop can be scooped
up with the fingers, squished,
squashed, or played with using
kitchen utensils.
• Use pot lids that fit
• Use a small pot on a small element,
and a large pot on a large element
• Cook food on the elements instead of
in the oven
• Use a steamer
• Microwaves cook food faster
• Make sure fridge and freezer doors
are properly closed
• Don’t overload the fridge or freezer
• Cool foods down quickly before
putting in the fridge or freezer
• When the oven is on, cook several
items. For example, a casserole,
muffins, home-made muesli and baked
• Electric frying pans can be used for all
sorts of cooking.They are cheaper to run
than the oven
Other ideas to save money
Family Start
Te Korowai Trust
Budget Advice Nelson
Work and Income - Lynne Williams & Jill Harris
West Coast Intersectoral Forum
Public Health - promotions team
Talking Heads Top of the South Cross Sector Forum
(Supporting Healthy Communities)
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