Fora
Lifestyle
August 25, 2017

FORA BITES: Budget Bangers

When it comes to meals, the word “budget” often brings up visions of microwaveable noodle cups and Jiffypop. As a student,  it’s always good to save your coin, especially with all the new things dropping this Fall. So check out these yummy budget friendly recipes to keep you (and your bank account) full.

TACO LASAGNA

This Taco Lasagna recipe is so easy and freezes well. When Mexican food meets Italian you get layers of pasta, salsa, seasoned taco meat and lots and lots of cheese. Only 7 ingredients in this cheesy Mexican dinner!

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 12 oven ready lasagna noodles (see note)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (1-oz.) package Old El Paso taco seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (15-oz.) carton ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups (1 lb.) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 (24-oz.) jar chunky salsa
  • Optional toppings: sour cream , green onions, diced tomatoes

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, brown beef until no longer pink. Drain meat and add the taco seasoning. Stir until combined and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, add the egg and ricotta and stir until combined.
  4. In a 9×13 baking dish, start by layering 4 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Next, layer 1/3 of the ricotta, 1/3 of the beef mixture, 1/3 of the salsa, and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat the layers 2 more times.
  5. Bake covered for 30-40 minutes or until the casserole has heated through and is bubbly. Let casserole stand 10 minutes before cutting. Top with sour cream, sliced green onions, and diced tomatoes if desired.

This lentil soup is super hearty, healthy, and tasty. Oh, and CHEAP.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, plus more if desired
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 10 oz. lentils
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 4 c. vegetable broth
  • 4 c. baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook until beginning to soften, 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, then season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add tomatoes, lentils, thyme, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover partially, and simmer until lentils are tender and soup has thickened, 20 minutes. (If most of liquid has been absorbed, add in ½ to 1 cup more water.)
  3. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until wilted, 2 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

 

STRAWBERRY, MOZZARELLA, AND BALSAMIC PASTA SALAD

The tangy-sweet glaze is everything. Also, who knew that the only thing your pasta was missing was juicy strawberries.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 1 lb. farfalle
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. Feta, crumbled
  • 2 c. strawberries, quartered
  • 1/2 c. baby spinach
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. almond slivers, toasted, for garnish

HOW TO DO IT

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook farfalle according to package directions until al dente. Drain, then transfer to a large serving bowl.
  2. Make balsamic glaze: In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  3. To bowl, add feta, strawberries and spinach. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and garnish with almonds.

 

ROASTED SWEET POTATOES WITH QUINOA, KALE, DRIED CRANBERRIES, AND FETA

Feta and dried cranberries take healthy ingredients like quinoa and kale from ho-hum to hell yeah.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. dried quinoa, rinsed under cold water
  • 1/2 bunch Tuscan kale, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta

HOW TO DO IT

  1. Preheat oven to 425° and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange sweet potatoes on the baking sheet, then drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and roast until golden and tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine quinoa and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, 5 minutes more. Scoop quinoa onto a paper towel-lined baking sheet to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, sweet potatoes, kale, and cranberries. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad, tossing gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper and stir in feta just before serving.
Posted by Maha Hassan in Lifestyle
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