Food Cents

Reporter: Andrea Burns

In case your groaning credit card statement wasn't reminder enough, experts agree the price of living in Perth has gone up - petrol's sky high, food seems to be getting pricier week by week. But nutritionist Jenny Atkins says there are still simple ways to serve up healthy meals, without breaking the bank. Jenny is taking mum Bronwyn Linke and her sons Brodie, Jarred and Calen on a Food Cents tour of her local supermarket. Taking a different perspective on what makes it into the trolley. "A kilo of carrots costs a dollar 45 here but when you look at the smaller bags at 500 grams, it works out to be 95 c a bag so when you double that it's about 2 dollars a kilo, so it's a bit more than it costs here for a kilo bag of carrots" And that price per kilo point is the key.

Under the programme, run jointly by the Cancer Council and Diabetes WA, shoppers are encouraged to choose - and spend - according to the healthy food pyramid. For every hundred dollars spent, sixty should go on the "eat most" category of breads and cereals, thirty dollars on meat and dairy and ten dollars on the eat least" group - fats and treats. And to prove healthy, cheap eating can also taste good, Jenny's even helping Bronwyn prepare it for her family.

To make healthy hamburgers, Jenny's bought a small packet of mince, bread, rolls, salad and spices - total cost - eleven dollars 10c. "Something like a hamburger patty's a really great way to get more veges into the kids' diet - you can put carrots in there, zucchini - with zucchini have to remember to squeeze out the water otherwise it gets too wet" Cheap AND healthy.. Four burgers for around two dollars ninety apiece - enough to feed three hungry blokes, with one left over for whoever finishes first. And the taste verdict? "Yeah, they're decent, I think they're delicious"

FOODcents recipes

6 th May 2008

Nibble mix

Ingredients

¼ cup popping corn

¾ cup dried fruit e.g. sultanas, chopped dates, apricots

cup nuts, e.g. walnuts or unsalted peanuts

Method

Pop the corn, either in a saucepan on the stove (using a little oil), or in the microwave oven, using a covered dish or a closed paper bag. Combine the popped corn with the other ingredients.

Variation

Use puffed wheat or rice of the popped corn.

Apple pikelets

(Makes approximately 20)

Ingredients

¾ cup wholemeal self-raising flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

1 cup low-fat milk

2 apples, peeled and grated

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

Method

Mix flour and cinnamon. Combine egg and milk and gradually add to flour. Mix to a pourable batter. Add apples and sugar. Heat a non-stick pan or brush a hot frying pan with oil, and drop tablespoonfuls of mixture onto the pan. Cook over medium heat until bubbles rise to the surface and the base of the pikelet is browned. Turn and brown the other side.

Macaroni cheese

Ingredients

1 cups uncooked macaroni

1 tablespoons margarine

3 tablespoons plain white flour

2 cups low-fat milk

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

Pepper

1 cups reduced-fat cheese, grated

¼ cup dried breadcrumbs

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Cook macaroni according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside. Melt margarine in a saucepan, add flour and stir to form a smooth paste. Slowly add milk while stirring to form a smooth, thick sauce. Add mustard, pepper and grated cheese. Stir and cook over a low heat until cheese is melted. Blend in cooked macaroni and pour into a lightly greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake in oven for 15-20minutes.

Microwave sauce

Melt margarine in a microwave dish. Stir in flour to form a smooth paste and then add milk. Heat on HIGH for 3 to 5 minutes, stopping to stir a couple of times. Remove and mix in mustard, pepper and cheese.

Variation

Dress up with chopped cold meat, cubed ham and/or chopped capsicum. If adding capsicum, microwave or stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes first. Then add to macaroni before baking.

Teriyaki chicken

Ingredients

8 chicken thighs, fat and skin removed

2cm piece green ginger, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

Method

Place chicken in a large, flat dish. Combine green ginger, garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and mustard. Pour over chicken. Grill, barbecue or bake at 180°C for 20 minutes. Turn frequently and baste with remaining marinade. Cook slowly enough to allow pieces to cook through without burning on the outside.

Handy hint

Leaving to marinate, covered, for 4-6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator, turning occasionally, will improve the flavour.

Beef stroganoff

Ingredients

500g topside steak, lean

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

10 medium mushrooms with stalks, sliced

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons cornflour

1 beef stock cube

1 tablespoon tomato paste

teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

¾ cup water

Pepper

cup natural low-fat yoghurt

Method

Cut steak into thin strips across the grain. Heat oil in saucepan and brown meat. Remove meat from saucepan. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms to saucepan with water and cook until soft and brown. Mix cornflour with ¼ cup water to form a smooth paste. Blend the stockcube, tomato paste, nutmeg and remaining water in saucepan and bring to boil. Slowly add cornflour mixture and stir until thick and smooth. Add pepper. Add meat and vegetables to saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Just before serving blend in yoghurt.

Handy hint

This recipe is suitable to make in advance. Add yoghurt just before serving as excessive heat will cause yoghurt to curdle.

Fish parcels

Ingredients

4 white flesh fish

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 tomatoes, sliced

1 medium onion, sliced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons white plain flour

Pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut fish into serving size pieces. Place on large piece of foil on a basking tray. Brush with oil. Arrange fish in middle with tomato and onion slices on top. Sprinkle with lemon juice and then flour and pepper. Make into a parcel, tuck in ends to retain moisture. Bake in oven for 20minutes.

Handy hint

Sprinkling with flour helps to take up some of the moisture.

Carrot and sultana salad

Ingredients

2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

¼ cup sultanas

Dressing

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons vinegar

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

Method

Mix carrot and sultanas. Mix together remaining ingredients. Toss through salad.

Handy hints

Prepare extra carrot and mix with sultanas as a sandwich filling. Refrigerate for a few minutes to allow flavour to develop.