Many South Africans are finding it hard to make ends meet these days, and with food prices on the increase, families are tightening their belts and trying hard to find creative ways to feed their families. As a mom of four, trying to come up with wholesome food choices is not always easy, but a little creative thinking goes a long way.
During meal planning, I try to include pasta, rice and potatoes as a base for my meals, and since these ingredients are rather versatile, I can mix and match to churn out mouth-watering meals. Pasta, I find is a hit with all kids of all ages, and in many cases, meat need not be added to the pasta dish. If you enjoy cooking, why not try and make your own pasta sauce, by taking ripe tomatoes, adding spices, such as basil, salt, pepper and garlic and cooking the tomatoes until they have made a rich, thick tomato sauce. There are many good quality and affordable, ready made pasta sauces on the market, which need only be warmed up and to add extra taste to the pasta sauce, I usually find that adding fried mushrooms as well as bacon does the trick.
Rice is yet another affordable meal choice and like pasta, rice can form the base for meats, and sauces. I find that a quick and easy way to prepare tasty rice is to par boil the rice, and fry the rice in a drop of oil. I add eggs, mushrooms, onions and cubed tomatoes, which gives somewhat boring rice a completely different taste. When it comes to planning wholesome and tasty meals, for kids - I always think of quantity and make certain that I have more than enough to offer seconds!
Potatoes are wholesome and healthy and like rice and pasta, potatoes are just as versatile. When working on a tight food budget, mix and match and come up with a winning formula to feed and nourish growing bodies and give food a total different taste by adding new ingredients. Rather than spending thousands of Rands on not-so-healthy take outs, busy moms would benefit from planning the week's meals. Another great time saving tip, would be to prepare pasta sauces, mince dishes ahead of time, and freezing them. There are many great internet websites which offer easy and quick recipe ideas.
A fun meal which is also affordable is to treat the family to a pizza night, again there are ready made pizza bases available, or you can decide to make your own. Toppings can be added according to personal taste and these great tasting, home made pizzas are far less expensive than the take out variety.