Budget Recipes #6: Lentils

Coconut lentil curry, lentil wraps, and mushroom lentil stew

Coconut Lentil Curry

Photo and original recipe from The Endless Meal, ingredients have been altered for budget and simplicity purposes.

Ingredients for 3 servings:

  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • 3 tablespoons curry powder

  • few garlic cloves

  • 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes

  • 1 cup dry lentils

  •  1.5 cups of water

  • 7-ounce can coconut milk

  1. Heat oil in a large pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Add curry powder and mix until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the whole or chopped garlic to the pot and let it brown, about 2 minutes.

  2. Add crushed tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add lentils and the water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Stir the pot a few times to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom. If the curry starts to look dry, add an extra 1/4 - 1/2 cup of water.

  3. Once the lentils are soft and the curry is thick, add the coconut milk and bring the pot back to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from heat.

  4. Eat as-is or with rice.

Lentil Wraps

Photo and original recipe from Beauty Bites, ingredients have been altered for budget and simplicity purposes.

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 1 cup lentils

  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 cucumber

  • 1 tomato

  • 1 cup lettuce

  • pita bread or tortilla wrap

  1. Cook lentils in a large pan at medium-high temperature, with water and a few pinches of salt, covered with a lid. The lentils should just be covered with water, around 1:2 ratio, make sure to add water if needed while cooking or drain the lentils if there's too much excess water, once your lentils are cooked.

  2. While the lentils are cooking, chop the vegetables for the salad and put them in a bowl with salt and olive oil.

  3. Once lentils are done mix in taco seasoning.

  4. Assemble the wrap and enjoy!

Mushroom Lentil Stew

Photo and original recipe from Minimalist Baker, ingredients have been altered for budget and simplicity purposes.

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 1/2 tablespoon water

  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots

  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms

  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme

  • 1/3 cup dry lentils

  • 1-1.5 cups vegetable broth

  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add water and shallots and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

  3. Add thyme, lentils, and 1 cup vegetable broth. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook on low for about 20 minutes, adding more broth as needed if the mixture looks dry.

  4. Once lentils are tender, taste and adjust flavor as needed.

  5. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

Hi! Here's a personal update about what I'm thinking about adding to the newsletter -- open to suggestions!

Hey everyone, Dianna here! The girl behind the newsletter :)

Since it's a new year, I wanted to really take some time and think about how I can be better and improve what I share each week. If you've been around for a while, you know I often reflect on this a lot. There's currently 3,500 people signed up to receive weekly recipes -- so I just want to make sure I'm on top of everyone's expectations!

Here's some things I want to try and implement, will try to be consistent with, but I can't make any promises as this is still just a project I do in my free time on top of work and life. Gotta cut a girl some slack here and there haha, I hope you all understand.

  • Adding photos to recipes of what the completed meal looks like

  • Breaking down the cost of each meal

  • Printable grocery lists (I do this already, but since the holidays rolled around, it was hard finding the time to make the graphics -- will definitely get back on top of this since life has become a bit more routine again)

I'm open to any more suggestions you may have, after all, we're all a community here and I'm just trying to help :) Leave a comment below.

I will say, because I know this has been requested before, I won’t be adding nutritional information. I’ve tried and it is honestly extremely time consuming…

One thing I want to know, in order to make things more simple and easy to read, how much of a demand is there for the metric conversions? Let me know if you use the metric conversions and how much you would hate me if I removed them haha :(

Happy new year again, and I hope everyone is staying on track of their goals <3

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Meal Plan #5: Japanese

A FULL WEEK meal plan focused on Japanese-inspired recipes, with a complete grocery list!

(Apologies if you’ve received this email twice!)

This week includes a bit of a bonus, from 5 days to a full 7! Lots of options of what to cook and prepare for the week, enjoy :) If you enjoy these meal plans, make sure you’re subscribed to the monthly plan to receive them every week.

BREAKFAST, DAYS 1-4 | EGG MUFFINS

For 4 meals:

• 8 eggs

• 4 bacon strips

• 2 handfuls spinach

Preheat oven to 375F (190C) and cook bacon in a pan as normal, then set aside to cool. Once cooled, chop into small pieces.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, spinach, and chopped bacon. Add to a muffin pan, should make 8 regular-sized muffins.

Bake in the oven for about 15-18 minutes, until the eggs have cooked through.

Allow them to cool and store in the freezer. Each morning, warm 2 up in the microwave for about 2 minutes.

Fun fact, you can make these in mugs in the microwave if you don’t have access to an oven. A bit more time consuming if you want to make all 8 muffins at once, but it works. Microwave the mixture on high for about 3 minutes.

BREAKFAST, DAYS 5-7 | FRUIT PARFAIT

For 3 meals:

• 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt / 3.5dl

• 1 1/2 cups frozen berries / 3.5dl

• handful of granola

You can make these ahead of time, just grab 3 jars and fill them with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup frozen berries, and top it with a sprinkle of granola. The berries will defrost overnight and these will last in the fridge for 3 days.

LUNCH, DAYS 1-3 | BEEF SOBORO

For 3 meals:

• 1 lb. ground beef / 500g

• 4 tbsp. soy sauce / 60ml

• 3 tbsp. sugar / 45ml

• 1 tbsp. grated ginger / 18ml

• 1 1/2 cups dry rice / 3.5dl

Vegetarian substitution: tofu

Start by cooking rice according to package instructions.

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar, and ginger. In a pan over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef. Breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Once the meat is nearly cooked through, add the soy sauce mixture and cook until the beef as absorbed it all. The pan should be almost dry.

Serve 1/3 of the beef over 1 cup cooked rice. Divide the remaining beef and rice and store in the fridge to easily grab for lunch the next 2 days.

LUNCH, DAYS 4-7 | RAMEN

For 4 meals:

• 4 cups vegetable stock

• 1/2 lb. mushrooms / 250g

• 2 cloves garlic

• 1/2 yellow onion

• 1 tsp. grated ginger / 6ml

• 2 tbsp. soy sauce / 35ml

• 1 tbsp. olive oil / 18ml

• 1/2 lb. ramen noodles / 250g

• 4 hard-boiled eggs

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil and diced onions. Cook until they become translucent. About 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Stir in sliced mushrooms and cook until they start to brown. Add ginger and cook for about a minute. Then add vegetable stock and soy sauce, stir to combine, then lower the heat and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes.

This is your ramen soup base, divide this into 4 to eat during the rest of the week.

When ready to eat, add desired amount of ramen noodles to soup and warm up in the microwave until noodles has softened. Top with 1 boiled egg split in half.

This soup is definitely customizable, if you want, you can add matchstick-cut carrots, bok choy, or any other vegetables you’d like.

DINNER, DAYS 1 AND 2 | CHICKEN KATSU

For 2 meals:

• 2 chicken breasts

• 1 egg

• 1 cup breadcrumbs / 2.4dl

• vegetable oil

• 1 cup dry rice / 2.4dl

• 2 cups broccoli / 4.7dl

Vegetarian substitution: tofu

Cook rice according to package instructions.

Start by slicing the chicken breasts in half, so you get 4 thin slices. Season each with salt and black pepper. Then, using a rolling pin, meat mallet, or something heavy to flatten the chicken with, begin beating the chicken. It doesn’t need to be super thin, just beat it until it stretches out a bit.

On a plate, lay out the breadcrumbs, and in a bowl, lightly beat an egg. Dip the chicken into the egg, allow excess to drip off, then lay the chicken in the breadcrumbs and coat both sides.

In a pan, pour enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat this over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken pieces and fry until both sides turn golden brown.

Cut the chicken into strips, then serve alongside 1 cup of rice and 1 cup steamed broccoli.

To be authentic, there typically is a sauce that’s served with this, but I find that this may push it above budget. If interested, you can look for ‘Japanese Curry Roux’ in any Asian/International supermarket. You may even find it in the ethnic aisle at your local supermarket.

Here is a photo of what it may look like.

DINNER, DAYS 3-5 | CHICKEN TERIYAKI

For 3 meals:

• 3 chicken breasts

• 1 garlic clove

• 2 tbsp. brown sugar / 30ml

• 1/4 cup soy sauce / 60ml

• 1 1/2 cups dry rice / 3.5dl

• 3 cups broccoli / 7dl

• flour

• vegetable oil

Vegetarian substitution: cauliflower (cook similar to the boneless buffalo style, but coat in teriyaki sauce instead)

Start by cooking rice according to package instructions. Then, in a small bowl, combine minced garlic, brown sugar, and soy sauce.

Cut chicken breasts into cubes, and lightly coat them with flour. In a pan, add just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom, then over medium-high heat begin frying the chicken pieces.

Once all pieces are cooked, add the soy sauce mixture to the pan. Let it come to a boil, then put the heat on low.

Serve 1/3 of the chicken with 1 cup of rice and 1 cup steamed broccoli.

DINNER, DAYS 6 AND 7 | JAPANESE-STYLE BEEF STEW

For 2 meals:

• 1/2 lb. boneless beef chuck / 250g

• 1 cup vegetable stock / 2.4dl

• 2 tbsp. soy sauce / 35ml

• 2 tbsp. sugar / 35ml

• remaining ginger, cut into coin-sized slices

• 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes / 250g

• 1/2 yellow onion

Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

Begin by cutting beef into chunks. In a pan over medium-high heat, sear chunks until nicely browned on one side, then transfer to casserole dish or baking pan.

To the pan the meat was cooked in, added vegetable stock and scrape up the browned bits that are left from the meat. Once all the pieces have been removed, add this mixture to the casserole dish.

To this, add soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and black pepper. Add chunks of sweet potatoes and large slices of yellow onion, and cook in the oven until the meat is cooked through and the potatoes are tender.

Eat half today, half tomorrow. You can serve or rice, or simply add more roasting vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, etc.

You can also cook this over the stove, if you don’t have access to an oven.

Follow the same steps, but transfer the ingredients to a pot. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat so the liquid begins to simmer. Cover and cook until meat is cooked and potatoes are tender.

SHOPPING LIST:

Thank you all for your continuous support of Budget Meal Planner and what I do, it really means a lot. I read all of your messages and although I may not always respond, I do see them and appreciate the kind words more than you know! You definitely help to keep this project alive.

Budget Recipes #5: Japanese

Beef soboro, Japanese style beef stew, and chicken teriyaki

Beef Soboro

Ingredients for 3 servings: 1 lb. (500g) ground beef, 4 tbsp. (60ml) soy sauce, 3 tbsp. (45ml) sugar, 1 tbsp. (15ml) grated ginger, 1 1/2 cups (3.5dl) dry rice

Vegetarian substitution: crumbled tofu

Start by cooking rice according to package instructions.

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar, and ginger. In a pan over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef. Breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Once the meat is nearly cooked through, add the soy sauce mixture and cook until the beef as absorbed it all. The pan should be almost dry.

Serve 1/3 of the beef over 1 cup cooked rice. Divide the remaining beef and rice and store in the fridge to easily grab for lunch the next 2 days.

Japanese Style Beef Stew

Ingredients for 2 servings: 1/2 lb. (250g) boneless beef chuck, 1 cup (2.4dl) vegetable stock, 2 tbsp. (35ml) soy sauce, 2 tbsp. (35ml) sugar, 3 thin ginger slices about the size of a coin, 1/2 lb. (250g) sweet potatoes, 1/2 yellow onion

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). See below for on the stove instructions.

Begin by cutting beef into chunks. In a pan over medium-high heat, sear chunks until nicely browned on one side, then transfer to casserole dish or baking pan.

To the pan the meat was cooked in, added vegetable stock and scrape up the browned bits that are left from the meat. Once all the pieces have been removed, add this mixture to the casserole dish.

To this, add soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and black pepper. Add chunks of sweet potatoes and large slices of yellow onion, and cook in the oven until the meat is cooked through and the potatoes are tender.

Eat half today, half tomorrow. You can serve or rice, or simply add more roasting vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, etc.

You can also cook this over the stove, if you don’t have access to an oven.

Follow the same steps, but transfer the ingredients to a pot. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat so the liquid begins to simmer. Cover and cook until meat is cooked and potatoes are tender.

Chicken Teriyaki

Ingredients for 3 servings: 3 chicken breasts, 1 garlic clove, 2 tbsp. (30ml) brown sugar, 1/4 cup (60ml) soy sauce, 1 1/2 cups (3.5dl) dry rice, 3 cups (7dl) broccoli, flour, vegetable oil

Vegetarian substitution: cauliflower (cook similar to the boneless buffalo style, but coat in teriyaki sauce instead)

Start by cooking rice according to package instructions. Then, in a small bowl, combine minced garlic, brown sugar, and soy sauce.

Cut chicken breasts into cubes, and lightly coat them with flour. In a pan, add just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom, then over medium-high heat begin frying the chicken pieces.

Once all pieces are cooked, add the soy sauce mixture to the pan. Let it come to a boil, then put the heat on low.

Serve 1/3 of the chicken with 1 cup of rice and 1 cup steamed broccoli.

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