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My Favorite Budget-Friendly Food Recipes

In this "mini cookbook" Yasmina Kouweik shares her favorite meals to cook.

My Favorite Budget-Friendly Food Recipes

https://www.uncommongoods.com/product/my-family-cookbook

Being a student means that you have to balance a lot of duties at the same time. The time we put on university, homework, chores and hobbies often leads us to just eat something quick and cheap. But it does not have to be that way. I truly believe that no matter how busy someone might be, it is highly important to sit down and enjoy a good fulfilling meal. If that is not possible everyday, then at least on the weekends.

I come from a multicultural background so I got introduced to food from different cultures very early on. My mom is a great home cook and already as a child, I became interested to go in the same footsteps and become a great one too. When I moved out to pursue my studies in Russia, I stopped being able to cook the same food I cooked at home; partly because of my grocery limitations and the narrow choice of utensils I had in my humble dorm kitchen. Nevertheless, this is how students live, and I had to make the best of the situation, so I decided to recreate the food I enjoyed back home and create my own simplified recipes. In this “mini cookbook”, I will give you a few of my tried and tested (delicious) food recipes to enjoy yourself or with your friends. 

The following recipes are going to be measured based on approximately 2-3 people servings because I usually make a big batch so I could save myself some time the next day and eat the leftovers for lunch or dinner. 

The first recipe I am sharing is inspired by the indian kitchen and is very easy to make. It is wonderfully delicious and saturating. Serve it with rice, pasta, bread or a simple salad of your liking.

Chicken Curry Pot

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts 
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 big onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter/cooking oil
  • 200 gram sour cream (Smetana/ сметaна) 
  • 250 gram cooking cream (Slivki/сливки) 
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (can be excluded) 
  • 3 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika powder 
  • Salt and pepper to your liking 

Instructions: 

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into pieces.
  2. Rinse and cut the bell pepper into pieces. Peel and cut the onion into wedges.
  3. Brown the chicken in butter/cooking oil in a cooking pan/pot over medium heat. Add peppers, onions, curry and paprika powder and sauté.
  4. Add cream, crème fraiche, soy and pepper. Let simmer for 10-15 min, season with salt and pepper.

My next dish is really creamy and delicious pasta, one of my all time favorites, and whenever I have friends over, I get requested to cook it. Nobody leaves the table without a food coma. Lovely pasta sauce that you can easily vary according to your taste. You can replace or add vegetables that you like. I boil penne pasta to blend the sauce with, but you can add any pasta kind of course.

Pasta pesto with vegetables

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • About 200 grams of mushrooms
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 250 g/ 1 pack cocktail tomatoes (can be excluded)
  • 150 g pesto paste (barilla is available at most stores)
  • 200 grams of sour cream/ (Smetana/ сметaна) 
  • 1 handful of fresh basil (can be excluded)
  • Salt & pepper according to taste 
  • Cooking Oil/butter
  • Italian herbs according to taste 

Instructions:

  1. Rinse and chop all vegetables into pieces, finely chop the garlic.
  2.  Heat oil and start by frying the mushrooms on high heat for about 3 minutes. Lower the heat a little, turn in the garlic and bell pepper, fry for a few more minutes. Turn in zucchini, fry a little more. Now the vegetables have a little frying surface, softened a little but still have chewing resistance.
  3.  Turn in the tomatoes, fry for a second. Pour over pesto and mix everything. Then add the sour cream/ сметана basil, chili sauce and mix. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, season with salt, pepper and simmer under a lid for about 10  minutes. 

Boil the pasta while your pot is simmering, and then add it in. You can also add a little bit of pasta water into the sauce to make it taste better and change to a lighter consistency. 

Sausage stroganoff with sausages is a favorite of many in Sweden. Here is a recipe of my own variant of sausage Stroganoff. I can not help but give you this recipe which is a classic in Swedish cuisine and is inspired by the Russian stroganoff. My variant includes more vegetables than usual but is so good, you will not regret trying it. The classic recipe is always served with rice but I like to switch up sometimes and enjoy it with pasta.

Swedish korvstroganoff (sausage stroganoff)

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pack of sausages of your own choice that you can fry
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 tablespoon of butter/ cooking oil
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 250 gram cooking cream (Slivki/сливки)
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 small pack of corn
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 100 grams of water for thinner consistency
  • Pepper and salt to your taste

Instructions: 

  1. Rinse and chop the red bell pepper and onion
  2. Cut the sausage into long strips or round pieces. 
  3. Heat the butter or the cooking oil in a frying pan or a pot. Fry the onion soft first and then add the sausages. Fry while stirring until colored. Add the red bell pepper and let soften a bit. 
  4. Add the tomato paste and blend well. Add the salt and pepper to your liking. 
  5. Add the cooking cream/сливки and some additional water if the consistency is too thick. 
  6. Add the corn.
  7. Let simmer for about 10 min. Serve with rice, potatoes or pasta. 

A really good and healthy minced meat sauce with that little extra. Juicy and tasty and can be cooked over a long time if you don’t have the time to stay beside the pot and look over it. You can cook it in 20 min but you can also leave it to simmer for a good 2 hours if you are busy doing something else. Feel free to double the amount when you are still running, the sauce is all the better the next day and works great to freeze. 

Minced meat sauce for spaghetti (bolognese)

Cooking time: 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on what you prefer  

Ingredients: 

  • 400 grams/1 pack of  minced meat of any kind 
  • 1 grated carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 fresh mushrooms, finely chopped (can be excluded)
  • 1 can of crushed tomato of good quality
  • 3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 dl boiled water

Spices: 

  • Salt and pepper according to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian herbs 
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (you can add a 1 piece of dark chocolate if you do not have balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder 

Instructions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan/pot, add the carrot, onion, mushrooms and fry until softened. 

  1. Add and stir in the minced meat, italian herbs and crushed/grated garlic, fry while stirring until the meat is well cooked.
  2.  Add in the balsamic vinegar, salt, paprika powder, black pepper, tomato paste and let them fry with the meat for 1 minute.
  3. Boil water, pour into the pot together with crushed tomato, stir well and simmer for at least 15 min, preferably about 1.5 hours for better taste (you can do something else while the sauce is cooking) . Taste and possibly season more. Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions and serve with the minced meat sauce.

This Chili con carne is inspired by the mexican cuisine and is  a rich and hot stew with minced meat, chili, white beans and tomatoes. This classic Mexican recipe is both easy to make and appreciated by your diners. I serve it with rice and some tortilla chips as well as a dollop of sour cream/сметана on top. Simply delicious! 

Chilli con carne

Cooking time: 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on what you prefer

Ingredients: 

  • 400 gram ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1 can Heinz baked beans in tomato sauce
  • 1 jar crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste 

Spices: 

  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper according to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes if you like hot food (can be excluded)

Instructions: 

  1. Peel and chop the onions. Brown the minced meat in the oil in a pot or a saucepan until it has a nice color. Add the onion and let it fry for a while. Mix in all the spices and the tomato paste. Stir and let cook for 5 min.
  2. Pour the hot water, crushed tomatoes, Heinz baked beans in tomato sauce. Mix well and let come to a boil.
  3. When the pot has come to boil, lower the heat and let simmer from 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on what you prefer. 

I hope you can try at least one of these recipes whenever you want to treat yourself. Since all of them are enough for 2-3 people, you can always freeze or refrigerate the leftovers.

You will not regret trying them out and Bon Appetit in advance! 

Text by
Yasmina Kouweik