Organic, Naturally Different campaign: a meal plan

In the past week I received a hamper full of fresh organic food from “Organic UK”  a no-profit organization aimed at raising awareness about organic food. This is part of the “Organic. Naturally different campaign”.

As I have mentioned many times before I am a keen supporter of organic food and my shopping basket always has many organic ingredients.  The reason is not only ethical but also has lots to do with taste as well.

You can tell the difference between beef that’s been eating grass other than silos or a chicken that’s been allowed to roam freely the opposite to a battery farmed one. Of course as we all know you need to pay more for better quality food and many people simply cannot afford the extra costs especially during these difficult times of recession. What is really curious is that in Italy for instance the sales of organic food have gone up during the recession.

Italians are a kind of food- obsessed nation and when times are harsh people go back and prioritize what’s essential and basic in life and food certainly is; everything you put inside your body will make you what you are and your health, strength, mood and general well being will be affected too therefore investing in what you eat it is certainly worthwhile.

Surely though, unless you are really wealthy, it will be impossible to fill your shopping basket with 100% organic food! The best way is to buy some organic items like chicken and eggs and some vegetables which can make a difference to the final taste of your meals.

I find a big difference in carrots for instance. Organic carrots taste sweeter and just better than ordinary ones; eggs have more taste too and milk has more of a “milky taste”. By carefully planning your meals, you will be able to use your organic ingredients to last for a few meals. The challenge here was to make as many meals as possible using the given ingredients as basis.

With an organic chicken I made a tasty chicken casserole, I kept the juices of the chicken to add flavour to a cous cous dish and I kept the chicken wings to make a broth soup.

To feed a family of four, I used 1 Kg of carrots to make a soup, a cous-cous dish,  a frittata and I cooked the leftover ones to enjoy with the chicken casserole. A bag of 2.5kg of organic potatoes has been used to make the soup, the chicken casserole, the frittata and there were more left over to use for more meals.

Organic butternut squash and carrot creamy soup

butternut squash soup

Ingredients:

  • 400 gr butternut squash
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 organic vegetable stock cube (optional)
  • parsley
  • Parmesan

Peel the squash, onion, carrots and potatoes and chop them into pieces. Put the vegetables in a saucepan and cover them with water. Add the stock cube, salt and pepper and cook for 40 minutes with the top on.

When cooked use an electric whizzer to reduce the vegetables into a puree. Add two tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle some chopped parsley on top.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and rustic bread.

 

Organic potatoes, carrots and cheddar frittata

Cheddar frittata

potatoes and carrots frittata

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 500 g potatoes
  • 200 g carrots
  • 100 g cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a small bunch of parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion

Peel and chop the potatoes and the carrots and cook them for 35 minutes. Drain and mash them with a fork.

Chop the onion finely and stir fry it with the olive oil in a large non-stick pan.

Whisk the eggs with the salt. Add the mashed potatoes and carrots and the chopped cheese, stir all the ingredients well and spread well around the pan. Cook with the top on for about 8 minutes turning it on both sides.

Serve warm.

Organic chicken casserole in tomato sauce

Organic chicken casserole
Ingredients:

 

  • 1 organic chicken
  • 1 Kg of potatoes
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • a small bunch of parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves

Peel the potatoes and chop them into quarters.

Cut the chicken into pieces and keep the wings aside to use for another dish (optional).

Rub the chicken with salt and pepper.

Chop the onions and the garlic and stir fry them in a large non-stick pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil.

Add the chicken and seal over a high heat for a few minutes until it turns a nice golden colour. Add the potatoes, the chopped tomatoes and cook with the top on for 25 minutes then take the top off and cook for the remaining 15-20 minutes until the chicken and the potatoes have cooked. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serve with salad or cooked vegetables.

 

 Chicken broth soup

Chicken broth soup
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2 wings of chicken or any parts of the chicken you like
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 potato
  • 1 onion
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan
  • 2 Liters of water
  • 230 g of small shaped pasta

 

Wash the carrot, the peeled potato, the onion, the celery and the chicken under cold water.

Put the vegetables and the chicken in a pot and cover with cold water (about 2 Litres); add salt and pepper to taste and bring to the boil.

Cook for 45 minutes then take the vegetables and the chicken out of the pot.

Bring the broth to the boil and then add the pasta. Cook according to packet instructions whilst stirring all the time.

When the pasta has cooked switch the heat off,  add a grind of pepper and 2 tbsp of grated Parmesan.

 

Cous – cous with leftover chicken juices and vegetables

cous cous with chicken and vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 200 g butternut squash
  • 180 g cous-cous
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 courgette
  • 250 g mushrooms
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

 

Chop the carrots, the butternut quash, courgette and mushrooms into small cubes.

Chop the onion finely and stir fry it in a pan with the olive oil. Add the vegetables, the cumin, salt and pepper and stir fry them for 10 minutes stirring all the time. Put the top on and cook for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add some hot water if it gets too dry.

Prepare the cous-cous according to packet instructions then add it to the pan with the vegetables and 2 tbsp of olive oil stirring well. Warm up the juices of the chicken and pour them over the cous cous.

 

Organic creamy fusilli with sausages and saffron

fusilli with sausage

Ingredients:

  • 400 g  fusilli pasta
  • 400 g  pork sausages
  • 200 ml fresh double cream
  • a few stems of saffron
  • Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a drop of white wine

 

Chop the onion and the garlic finely and stir fry them in a pan with the olive oil.

Chop the sausages and add them to the pan stirring until they turn nice and brown in colour. Add the wine and cook them for a few minutes. Then add the cream and the saffron, salt and pepper and cook for a further 8-10 minutes.

Cook the pasta in salty water al dente, drain in a colander and add it to the sauce. Stir for a few minutes with the heat on so that the pasta will absorb the sauce.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

 

 Organic apple and plum crumble

apple pie
 
Ingredients:
  • 300 g flour
  • 200 g butter
  • 170 g brown sugar

For the filling:

  • 400 g apples
  • 4 plums
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour

 

Peel the apples, wash the plums and cut them into small cubes.

Put the flour and the sugar in a bowl. Rub the butter with the the flour and the sugar in your hands until it looks like breadcrumbs. In a bowl mix the fruit with the flour and the brown sugar.

Butter a round baking dish; spoon the fruit onto the bottom and put the flour and butter mixture over it.

Bake for for 45 minutes at 180C.

So planning meals carefully and making them from scratch can make your organic ingredients last a long while and it can be much cheaper than buying non-organic ready meals!
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4 Responses to Organic, Naturally Different campaign: a meal plan

  1. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    Everything looks so autumny and delicious! I love particularly that butternut squash soup.

  2. Ozlem's Turkish Table

    Vow, such wonderful flavours and goodness here; indeed it pays back using organic produce and wonderful ideas here to make the most of them, great spread Alida!

  3. la cucina di Molly

    Ciao Alida, rieccomi dopo una prolungata vacanza. Vedo che hai pubblicato delle deliziose ricette, complimenti! Ottima carrellata di pietanze per un menù del tutto biologico, in effetti mangiare bio è tutto un’altra cosa… Un bacione grande!

  4. Pingback: Organic. Naturally Different - Blogger Challenge | Foodies 100

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