The Njaanuary Series: Figuring Out Meals
You made it through the first week of January! Well done. But no doubt you’ve started looking at your bank balance with one eye open and quickly declining the option to print the receipt. Hang in there. You’re doing great so far! You’re probably back at work by now which means it’s time to talk about some meal options that aren’t going to diminish whatever you have in your account. We typically make meals that can last into the next day for lunch. So we really only make one big meal a day. This is how I think through planning meals for our three (and a half) person household.
Find value in the ‘odd’ section of the butchery
I love matumbo (tripe) so it’s not even a budget buy for me. It just happens to be a bargain for something I love! If you’re wondering where to get it, Tuskys usually sell it and it’s surprisingly clean. Although, I would recommend giving it the once over when you get home just to make sure it’s really clean. Cut it up and pack it into the amounts you’ll be cooking at any one time to make it easier when it’s time to cook. Matumbo serves well with ugali (Yasss!) or chapos.
Go for the ‘one-pot’ meals
One pot meals basically means things that you can cook comfortably in one pot (less dishes!). They’re great because they save time and usually mean you can go easy on the meat. Meat is a luxury item so your goal this month (and generally) is to make it a supporting actor rather than the main star of your dishes. Great one-pot options include pilau, stir fry, fried rice (with leftovers and some kind of meat – chicken, sausage bits).
Unfriend your butcher
Okay. You made friends with him for the off cuts and the matumbo possibly even some kienyeji kuku. But, you need to say adios to him once a week and opt for a meatless meal. Legumes are awesome and if you don’t think so, you’re cooking them wrong. Coconut milk, curry powder (simba mbili), oregano are all great ingredients to make your beans truly pop! You don’t even have to go to the market. Just grab a 1KG bag of rosecoco beans from the supermarket (Blue Label has a bag), soak overnight and boil the next day until soft. You can do this easily over the weekend when you’re doing your favourite TV show binge (It’s January – I know you’ll be indoors).
Buy whatever is in season
You might be excited about trying your hand at new recipes but where fruit and veg is concerned, you definitely want to take advantage of what is in season. Check out what’s in season and use that to plan your meals. For instance, mangoes are in right now so buy some bananas and make a smoothie in the morning for a quick breakfast.
Any tips you have on making food go further for less? Drop a line for the TVM community to share!