President of the Chestermere Food Bank, Laurie Dunn showcased two healthy budget-friendly meals for Chestermere residents to incorporate into their weekly menus during the Feb. 25 Seniors Teleconference.
“I fell into food when I first got married 35 years ago. I knew the basics that my mother had taught me, and my husband said he liked split pea soup. I went to the store and bought a bag of the green split peas, threw them in a pot, put some water on top, and boiled them until they were a thick disgusting mess, thinking I had made split pea soup,” Dunn said.
She added, “Thankfully he ate it, and said it was delicious.”
Dunn now calls herself the Reluctant Caterer, as she fell into cooking roles as the Calgary Yacht Club Manager, cooking their Thursday night dinners, and in the past catering community events such as the Butterfly Gala.
“It just snowballed from there,” Dunn said.
During the Seniors Teleconference, Dunn demonstrated how to make a sausage Bolognese sauce which made two different meals.
Dunn topped a pasta dish with a sausage Bolognese sauce and then cooked four eggs in the left-over sauce making a variant of Shakshuka.
“Shakshuka, which is normally a vegetarian dish, is a rich tomato sauce that you break eggs into. The eggs are cooked in the tomato sauce, and can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, it’s a very versatile dish,” Dunn said.
Dunn encourages residents who make the featured recipes to use the recipes as guidelines and make the dishes their own by using different meat, meat substitutes, or different seasoning.
“Recipes really are just guidelines, if you wanted to add more vegetables, you don’t have to follow the recipe exactly. Tomato sauce is always a good place to hide vegetables especially for children,” Dunn said.
“The amount of spice level is completely up to you, can use chili flakes, cayenne pepper, chili powder, or hot sauce,” she added. “Start small though, you can’t take it away once you put it in.”
All of the ingredients Dunn purchased to make the two meals was less than $20 and features many pantry staples including pasta, and tomato paste.
“It’s a very quick meal, but like any good sauce you could simmer it for hours and it would still be delicious,” Dunn said.
“If that’s the route you’re going to go, I always recommend adding fresh parmesan rind, keeping it in the middle of the dish, it adds that much more flavour to your dish. It’s a delicious way to add extra flavour, especially to anything tomato-based,” she said.
Dunn also recommends making a large portion of the Bolognese sauce, portioning it out, and freezing it for easy future meals.
“You can cut down the recipe, it’s a great idea to make a whole pot of sauce, portion it out and find different uses for the sauce, Dunn said.
The Sausage Bolognese sauce recipe available on the Chestermere Food Bank at, http://chestermerefoodbank.ca/2020/03/whats-for-dinner/#wprm-recipe-container-1057.