Living on Less

How To Turn A Bland Processed Meal Into A Feast!

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If you are living on a pension, you have to be fairly selective about your food choices.  Of course fresh is best, but sometimes when there is a special offer on a group of processed food, from your favorite food store, it doesn’t hurt to buy, when you know you can turn them into something more healthy just by adding a few bits and bobs lurking in your fridge.

Marks and Sparks usually have an offer of 3 Pasta based ready meals for £7.00. That’s just over £2.33 each  They are 400g sizes of Spag Bol, Beef Lasagne, and Carbonara.   Personally, I think the Spag Bol and the Lasagne are tasty and are fine as they are with a jacket potato or Salad. BUT, the Carbonara is pale and really unappetising to look at. And if I’m honest, it’s also bland and a bit tasteless too.  BUT the faff of creating the sauce is kind of done for you, and therefore gives you a head start and something you can build on.  Obviously, all the major supermarkets do a Spaghetti Carbonara ready meal, it doesn’t have to be a Marks and Sparks one.


Here’s how to boff it up and make it more colourful and well…enjoyable, very cheaply.

Raid your fridge for bits of fresh vegetables that might be lurking there.  Anything will do.  I always have bits of broccoli and the remains of stir fry type veg.  There’s often a few peas in the freezer, too many to throw away, but not enough to make a good portion size.  Honestly, any vegetables will do. I also add mushrooms, great these days for boosting Vitamin D levels once the sunny days of summer have passed.


Simmer the vegetables until tender, heat the carbonara through in a saucepan, then combine the two in a good-sized pan.  Top with a big handful of grated cheese stir.


You’ve added flavour to an otherwise bland ready meal, as well as texture, colour, and goodness.   Personally, I find the 400g portion size of this ready meal on its own to be really meager even for one person, so this is a cheap, easy way to bulk it out and make it more filling.  All in 3 easy steps and at very little cost.   Add a drizzle of balsamic glaze to your dish for a bit of a kick and it’s all done.

Oh, and pour a glass of red. Obviously!






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