Shockingly, 13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK. Food banks offer a minimum of 3 days emergency food to help an individual or family in need. As you can imagine, the service is incredibly stretched supporting hundreds of families who need assistance.
I asked my local food bank if they provided recipe cards to their clients and upon hearing that they didn’t, I offered to put some together for them.
The food bank provided me with the following list of food items that they provide in a food parcel for a single person.
Tomatoes/Pasta Sauce 2
Vegetables (tinned) 2
Meat (tinned) 2
Fish (tinned) 1
Fruit (tinned) 2
Rice pudding/custard 1
Biscuits 1 packet
Tea or coffee 40
Juice 1 carton
Milk 1 carton
Extras: Whatever we have in stock we will give 2 or 3 eg Jam, packet pasta ‘n’ sauce cup a soup, salt, sauces
Between myself and some friends we put together the following list of recipes:
Fish pasta bake (enough to feed 3 people or 1 person for 3 meals)
1 tin of fish (tuna/salmon)
1 tin of peas
1 tin of sweetcorn
4 handfuls of pasta
1 tin of condensed mushroom soup
Heat oven to 190 degrees. Empty the tins of fish, sweetcorn, peas and soup into an oven proof dish. Boil water in a pan and add the pasta. Once cooked, drain the pasta and add to the oven proof dish. Stir it all together. If you need a bit more sauce to cover the pasta (depending on the size of the soup tin) you can add a bit of milk or water to reach the desired consistency.
Heat in the oven for 30 mins or until the top is golden/lightly crisped.
You can mix some parsley (fresh or dried) into the mixture, crack some pepper and top with gated cheese.
This recipe is flexible and you can use any other meat that you have instead of fish. You can also use any veg and any soup that you like too.
To make this dish for a larger family just add 3 more handfuls of pasta, 1 extra tin of fish and add some milk or water to make the soup go further if you need to. You may also need to add more veg depending on the size of the tins.
Take a tablespoon and add equal amounts of porridge oats to milk eg 4 tablespoons of porridge to 4 tablespoons of milk (should make enough for one child for breakfast). Add a couple of table spoons of chopped tinned fruit or dried fruit such as raisins.
Flatten it all down and put in the microwave for 2 mins. When cooked the porridge fingers should be the consistency of flapjack and you should be able to cut them into squares. If it seems a bit squishy, let it sit for a couple of mins and if it’s still not set then put it into the microwave for a further 1 minute.
If your tinned fruit is in juice (rather than syrup), keep the juice, dilute it with water and drink it.
If you want to make a sweet option add chocolate chips or chocolate chopped into little pieces instead of fruit.
Tomato sauce for pasta, pizza or anything really!
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
dried herbs (optional)
If using all of the above ingredients – crush the garlic and heat it in a pan with a little oil until softened. Add the tin of tomatoes and bring to the boil. Add a teaspoon of herbs. Allow to simmer for approx 30 mins until the sauce has reduced (thickened) or until you have reached the desired consistency.
If just using the tinned tomatoes then just add straight to the pan and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer as above.
You can then use the sauce with pasta or as a sauce base for a pizza.
A tin of tomatoes
Tin of veg (mixed veg or carrots are a good option)
Tinned pork or ham
Tin of new potatoes
Add all ingredients to a pan/slow cooker/casserole dish. Cook slowly for 1-2 hours on a low heat. If you have some bread, it makes an excellent mopper upper for the sauce.
Oven baked risotto – excellent if you have fresh veg that needs eating
Tinned meat (optional)
Any other veg that you have (including tinned)
Parmesan or cheese
800 ml of chicken or vegetable stock or water if you don’t have a stock cube
300g rice (any type is fine)
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Cook onion in butter until softened in a casserole dish/oven proof dish with a lid. Add any other veg that you have and meat. Stir in the rice until coated. Add stock and stir well. Secure the lid. Put in the oven for 18 mins.
If you have cheese or parmesan sprinkle this on top and serve.
My local food bank has asked if they can now add these recipes to their food parcels to help their clients make the most of the food that they have.
This is just a start and I would be grateful of any further recipes you may have. I am looking for recipes that incorporate the above ingredients and also frugal recipes that will allow their clients to reduce their food costs, while still eating healthily going forward.
Please try and provide recipes for meals that people could make using the ingredients in their food parcel and add them to the linky below. You can also add other balanced meal ideas that use cheap ingredients. Recipes can be added using the link below, emailed to me firstname.lastname@example.org
or posted in the comment box below the post.
If you would like to donate to your local food bank just click on the following link:
Thank you in advance!