If you’re looking for ways to make the most of the ingredients you have at home, we’re here to help. Try our simple and flavour-packed recipes and tips from chef Chris Baber, and discover clever hacks to make your food go further
“This ‘mince dinner’ is an absolute classic that my nana and grandad used to make for me. It’s a great example of making the most of freezer and storecupboard ingredients. Mince is a great thing to have on hand in the freezer, as it defrosts and reheats really well.”
500g beef mince
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 tsp dried herbs
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 beef stock cubes
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the mince, season and cook for a few minutes until browned and then remove from the pan.
Into the same pan, add the onion and carrots, season and reduce to a medium heat. Cook for around 5 minutes until soft.
Add the mince back to the pan with the dried herbs, tomato ketchup, stock cubes and water. Stir well, and then add the Worcestershire sauce.
Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Serve with peas, potatoes and a dollop of mint sauce.
Top tips: Make a double batch, top with mashed potato and bake for the perfect cottage pie. You could also add extra veg to the mince (or make some swaps) – celery, swede and leeks work well.
Or taco any day of the week you fancy! Pack in some extra veggies and make use of the tins in your storecupboard with our delicious recipe for vegetable black bean tacos.
Olive oil for cooking
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 red peppers, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1 pack fajita seasoning
1 tbsp chipotle chilli paste
Tin of black beans
Tin of refried beans
Tin of plum tomatoes
Tin of sweetcorn
½ red chilli, finely chopped
Handful of fresh coriander
8 radishes, finely sliced
¼ red cabbage, finely chopped
½ red onion, finely sliced
1 head of little gem lettuce, sliced
Rice or tacos, to serve
Soften the onions, peppers and garlic in a large pan with a little olive oil over a medium heat.
Add the fajita seasoning and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the chipotle paste, black beans, refried beans and tomatoes. Simmer for around 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the drained sweetcorn. Cook without stirring, tossing now and again, until the sweetcorn pops and goes golden brown. Add to a bowl and dress with the juice of a lime, the fresh red chilli and some coriander.
To make the slaw, toss the radish, cabbage and onion with 1 teaspoon of salt and the juice of a lime. Set aside.
When you’re ready to serve, spoon the chilli into bowls then serve with the slaw, sliced avocado, little gem lettuce and an extra squeeze of lime, with coriander and tacos or brown rice.
Top tip: swap fresh chilli for dried, or leave out all together for the kids. Make a simple slaw with grated carrots and cabbage to serve alongside.
Get creative and make your meals go further with these handy tips.
Embrace batch cooking
Make one-pot dishes go further by making extra to pop in the freezer or transform into different dishes. Think adding a tin of kidney beans to a batch of bolognese sauce to make chilli con carne, or using leftover roast chicken for soups and stir fries.
Get the fridge organised
Storing food properly will help it last longer. Wrap fresh herbs in a piece of damp kitchen paper, wash greens and store in a plastic container, and store veg separately from fruit to prevent them ripening too fast.
Got surplus veggies? Make pickles by simmering vinegar with sugar and whole spices (nigella or mustard seeds work) then adding to a sterilised jar with carrot, cauliflower, cucumber or onions. Salad leaves and fresh herbs can be blitzed into a pesto.
If you’ve got bread that’s going stale, blitz up then store in the freezer to use as a breadcrumb topping for pasta bake, or bake in the oven with a little olive oil then serve with fresh tomatoes and basil. Baguettes and baked loaves can be ‘refreshed’ by splashing with a little water then baking in the oven.
Looking for recipe inspiration? Try chef Chris Baber’s latest Cook with M&S recipes
Looking for ways to improve your health and wellbeing? Discover our handy tips and tricks
Meet our latest arrivals, plus plenty of hints and tips from our food editors