A world beyond spag bol

Sponsored by Nuffnang

Welcome to my third in a series of posts on the concept of value, written to mark the release of Kia’s new Cerrato Hatch. Ahh, for a life when a hatch would be feasible.

Previously on allconsuming we’ve read my awesome insights into tightening the family’s budgetary belt or how to add value to your own life without spending any money. I know, I’m like the Who Weekly of self-help.

So this week we’re looking at ways to feed the family for less while not sacrificing on nutrition. Yes yes, it could all be about the pasta and 100 ways with mince but I think we all know how quickly we tire of spag bol.

I’m hear to tell you that value does not just come from buying cheap cuts of meat or buying in bulk or buying when on sale. Sure those are components to me finding value in meals but it goes much further than that.

Herbs and spices.

No really.

Last night I made meatloaf with 500g beef mince and 500g turkey mince. There were four slices of bread in there, one egg, one onion, one carrot, salt, pepper, two tablespoons of tomato paste and 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard. What lifted this from the humdrum of meatloaf to a dinner devoured by all? About 10 sage leaves, several sprigs of  flat-leafed parsley and the same again of basil all from the garden. Dinner sang and all for the princely sum of around $14. It fed seven people with leftovers.


If mince is one of your five food groups as it is ours, what about a Morrocan spiced mince served over couscous instead of spag bol? Start off the same way (by sauteeing some onion, carrot, garlic and celery if you have it) but then add some ground cumin and coriander, a whiff of cinnamon, fresh coriander and a can of chickpeas.

How about sang chow bow – it’s one way of getting your kids to eat lettuce at least. Throw in some five spice, some ginger, chopped water chestnuts, finely julienned carrot and a splash of sesame oil and away you go.

You could almost follow the meatloaf recipe above and instead of bolognaise make Italian meatballs (throw in a handful or two of parmesan if you like). Just roll into balls sized just how you like, dust in a little flour, pan fry in a smidge of oil, pour over a jar of sugo or a pureed tin of tomatoes and some stock if needed, simmer away and voila, meatballs you can serve with pasta or veggies.

Or look, go completely retro and make some old-fashioned rissoles. Bigger versions of the meatballs but flatten them slightly. Again, pan fry in a little oil until nicely browned on both sides. Remove from the frypan and add a splash more oil if needed. Add a finely sliced onion and brown in the juices of the rissoles. Stir in a nice big heaped tablespoon or two of flour and cook for a minute or two. Then stir in some stock – make sure you get all the bits stuck to the base of the frypan off and smoosh it all together, getting rid of any lumps in the flour as you go. Add enough stock to make a decent gravy then return the rissoles to the pan and cook in the simmering gravy until cooked through. Seriously, so so good.

Value can equal variety.

This post was sponsored by KIA. To celebrate the great value of new KIA Cerato Hatch, a website has been launched so you and your family can get some great value offers and deals. Check out one of this week’s awesome deals: Buy a Xmas hamper from Hampers Only valued at $95+ and receive a FREE bottle of Hanwood 10 Year Old Tawny Port at www.getmorevalue.com.au.

Spice-rubbed roast chicken and tabouli

So this might not look the best, but the flavour was sensational. Because we’re I’m currently in the midst of Project Boombalardy, I took most of the skin off as the WW recipe that inspired this said to do, but if you’re just a sane rational person with no emotional issues regarding food, just rub it over the chicken. Maybe rub some up under the skin as well just for even more flavour. That said, taking the skin off the chicken I mean, I was amazed at how much fat still came off the bird (I didn’t bother taking the underside skin off.

Spice-rubbed roast chicken

  • 1 chicken, cut down the backbone and pressed flat
  • 1 tbs sumac
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 lemon – finely grated zest and the juice
  • 1/4 cup plain yoghurt
  1. Combine all the spices with the lemon zest, juice and the youghurt
  2. Rub into the chicken
  3. Marinade for as long as you’ve got (I did it for a couple of hours, I reckon overnight would be sensational)
  4. Preheat oven to 200C
  5. Place the chicken breast down in a baking dish and roast for 20 minutes
  6. Turn and roast for a further 25 minutes

Great with tabouli
Low-fat high-flavour tabouli

  • 1/2 cup cracked wheat
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes, finely sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 cups flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon
  1. Soak the cracked wheat and sun-dried tomatoes in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes then drain well
  2. Combine with grated zest of the lemon and juice of half the lemon