Mango Swirl Pavlova

Over the years I have written many recipes.  Some of these recipes have been featured on my blog, others in magazines and on other blogs and for the first time I have a recipe being featured in an e- cookbook.  How exciting!!!!!!  Various bloggers were approached and asked to write a budget recipe and I decided to rise to the challenge with my Mango Swirl Pavlova.  This is not only super simple to make but also tastes great and costs just 27p per serving!

The pavlova is large enough for 6 portions, unless you are my friend Jane and then probably enough for 3 or less.  She does love my pavlova and was kind enough to help me with the tasting and has helped with tastings of numerous others over the years.  Why does she love my pavlova?  Take a look below:

This has the most gorgeous light fluffy centre with a perfectly crisp shell.  I normally love to combine my pavlovas with vanilla cream and fresh cut strawberries but I thought I’d be adventurous and had wanted to try and be a bit different.  With my Mango Swirl Pavlova I actual swirled in some freshly made mango coulis into the pavlova base prior to baking so it’s actually cooked into the pavlova.  After this I added my toppings as seen in the picture above and voila you have an amazing dessert that is inexpensive and delicious!

Fancy trying to make it yourself?  Pop over and check out my budget pavlova recipe as well as some other great budget recipes here:


Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs are one of those dishes that can be made and eaten at home with salad or for those wanting to bulk it up more a side of homemade chips, yum!


They are super easy to make and you can be flexible with the meat used.  You can try them with turkey, chicken, pork, lamb or beef or by cutting out the meat completely and using other protein rich ingredients such as chick peas, quinoa etc.  See, I told you they are flexible although technically by this stage they are no longer ‘meat’balls.  Meatballs are fabulously simple to make and this can be made even easier by using a few gadgets.  To mix mine I use my Russell Hobbs mixer and to make my bread into breadcrumbs my nutribullet.  This was the first time I had made bread crumbs with my nutribullet and I was curious how long it would take.  The answer seconds – don’t blink, you’ll miss it.  These meatballs are also great as an on the move snack or addition to a picnic.  Just to note for anyone curious that the rests are best when these are shallow fried baking does not compare

My recipe uses lean mince turkey.  For a change I bought ready minced turkey as I wasn’t feeling too great and wanted to speed up the process of making the meal.  Turkey is great for you as it has a low GI (glycaemic index) which means it raises blood sugar levels slowly so good for those with Type 2 diabetes.  Turkey of course is a great source of protein and has less fat than other meats.  It contains various nutrients including zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorus, Vitamin B6 and niacin.  Combining this with ingredients such as brown seeded bread, coriander and onion helps to increase the fibre and nutrient content of the dish.


Make approximately 35 balls depending on sizing.

1 medium white onion

2.5 to 3 tbs chopped coriander

4 slices of brown seeded bread

800g lean turkey mince

392g potato

2 medium eggs

freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste

Sunflower oil to shallow fry the turkey balls


Place one slice of bread which has been pulled apart into the nutribullet and blitz briefly we don’t want the breadcrumbs too fine.   Repeat with the rest.

Grate the potato with the skin on.

Chop the onion and coriander.

Place the turkey mince into the mixing bowl and using the dough hook attachment give it a quick mix.

Throw in all the other ingredients and mix well.

With a tablespoon scoop out some of the mixture with a tablespoon and squish (a nice technical foodie word) the mixture into balls approximately 3cm in diameter.  I prepare enough to cover my chopping board and then heat up the oil until I get a gently bubbling when a ball is added (see photo below).  I normally test the first ball by cooking it and then tasting it to make sure it has been seasoned enough.  Cook the balls in batches so that they are easy to turn half way through.  If you cook to many at the same time they can get broken easily.


Allow the balls to cook for a few minutes on each side.  Remove them from the oil and place on a plate covered with kitchen towel.  Leave them to drain off whilst you do the next batch.  I normally allow the excess oil to drain off, add the cooked ball to a plate / bowl and change the paper to help remove as much oil as possible from them.  I am always careful to use just a little salt when making these as the children eat them too.  Should you require a little more then just sprinkle it over after.


Once all the balls have been shaped, cooked and had any excess oil removed serve whilst still hot.


Tangy Ginger Breeze Cocktail Recipe

As many of you know I enjoy getting creative in the kitchen.  I create all manner of foods both savoury and sweet and love to have time to just play and experiment with flavours.  Being a busy mum of three no make that four (forgot to include the hubby) I don’t get much time to do that but I squeeze it in once in a while.  Over Christmas I managed to get a few minutes of kitchen play time and decided to experiment making a new cocktail which features a product that I only recently got to try Spiced Ginger Beer from Fentimans.  This is just as lovely as their original ginger beer but with a more exotic flavour.

The ginger flavour was not as strong as in some ginger beers and I wanted to give it an added kick and also add a splash of lemon and lime as these flavours work well together.  With this in my mind I began experimenting and from there my Tangy Ginger Breeze was born.

fentimans3This recipe is so easy to make that anyone can do it and it features just three main ingredients which adds to the simplicity.

Serves 1


20-25ml Kings ginger liqueur

165ml Fentimans spiced ginger beer (half a bottle)

100ml 7up or sprite

Ice cube if required

A slice of lemon or lime to garnish


Pour the ginger liqueur into a tall glass.  Slowly add in the ginger beer and then the 7up / sprite so it does do not end up with a large head of foam.  If it isn’t cold enough add some ice cubes, garnish with a slice of lemon or lime and serve.


You might want to repeat the above as it’s super yummy , enjoy round 2!

Liked this recipe then take a look at my Ginger Beer, Vanilla and Cinnamon Jellies recipe.

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Love Ginger Beer? Here’s Your Chance to Win a Case of Fentimans New Spiced Ginger Beer!

I do love ginger beer as I love the taste of the ginger combined with the bubbles that make a gorgeously refreshing and thirst quenching drink.  Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to get the chance to try the Original Ginger Beer from Fentimans which was yummy so of course I was very excited when I heard they had a Spiced Ginger Beer!  The spiced ginger beer is infused with Eastern spices to create a delicious warming drink for the winter and a tasty and refreshing drink for the summer.

I was curious to see how much spice Fentimans had included but it isn’t too strong for the British palette to handle.  Great chilled, this delicious drink is gluten free and not too heavy on the alcohol at 4%.  Although great on it’s own this ginger beer is also great combined with other flavours.  I decided to have a little play with creating a recipe using ginger beer that used the flavour as it’s core instead of masking it and one that was easy make too.


 These jellies are simple to make and are a fabulous light adult dessert that isn’t too calorific and perfect for anyone that loves ginger beer.  My recipe uses alcoholic ginger beer but Fentimans also has a non alcoholic ginger beer (traditional) should you prefer or in case you are making this for children.

Not so keen on cinnamon no problem don’t add it in, recipes are not set in stone so get creative and adjust them to your taste.

This particular recipe can be made with or without the creamy vanilla and cinnamon topping.  The creamy topping can be kept runny or you can add gelatin to make it thicker, again you choose.

I made these in disposable plastic cups as it was much easier and help reduce washing after but you can use pretty glasses if you have any.

Ginger Beer, Vanilla and Cinnamon Jellies


Serves 8


For the Ginger Beer Jellies

1 330ml bottle of Fentimans Spiced Ginger Beer

150ml water

Water for soaking the gelatin

4.5 gelatin leaves

For the Topping

180ml double cream

a pinch of cinnamon powder

1tsp vanilla essence (preferably a good quality one with seeds)

1 gelatin leaf

Water for soaking the gelatin


For the Ginger Beer Jellies

Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for about 10 minutes.

While the gelatin is soaking gently pour the ginger beer into a jug as we don’t want this frothing.

Warm the water and once it starts to bubble a little remove it from the heat and set aside for two minutes.

Squeeze the water out of the gelatin and add this to the heated water and stir in, it takes seconds to dissolve.

Add the water to the jug of ginger beer, stir gently then pour evenly into your glasses / cups.

Place in the fridge for about 5-6 hours to set. I left mine overnight to be sure.

You need this part to set before starting the next.

For the Topping

Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for about 10 minutes.

Warm the cream and once it starts to bubble a little remove it from the heat add in the vanilla essence and cinnamon, stir and set aside for two minutes.

Squeeze the water out of the gelatin and add this to the heated cream and stir.

Pour this over the set ginger beer jellies and place in the fridge to set.  The amount is far less than with the ginger beer so it won’t take as long to set.

Place in the fridge for about 3 hours to set.

When this has set you can grate over a little chocolate and add any garnishes before serving.

What a slightly different version?

You don’t need to set the cream, instead you can skip the heating and the gelatin, add in the vanilla and cinnamon and pour over the top of the jellies.

Again add on any garnishes and serve.

Just a note, not all gelatin is animal based so you can still make this whether you are vegetarian or vegan, obviously minus the cream.


We all love a great giveaway so here is my first of the year.

One lucky winner will win a case of the Spiced Ginger Beer which you can either keep all to yourself or enjoy with friends.  Drink it straight up or try one of my ginger beer recipes the choice is yours.  Just a little heads up I have a Ginger Beer Cocktail Recipe coming up soon and it’s loooooovely!

Entry is super easy just enter via the rafflecopter form.

Instructions if needed can be found here:

Not all of the entry options are compulsory but the more you do the more entries you will gain.

Look out for the daily entry options for extra entries.

Likes on Facebook are NOT compulsory but are very much appreciated plus it will ensure you don’t miss great posts, freebies and competitions.

Want to receive Melanie’s Fab Finds posts once they are live?  Why not subscribe to get all first access to all my recipes,reviews, competitions etc.   I write about a range of topics and also host competitions so please do subscribe to have them delivered straight to your inbox.  Don’t worry I won’t spam you.

Enter here:

Win a Case of Fentimans Spiced Ginger Beer

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck.

Contains Pr samples

Black Forest Fruits Eaton Mess

It’s the time of year when we are making or buying loads of foods and desserts to enjoy with friends and family.  I like homemade desserts rather than shop bought they taste so much better in most instances.  The stores are full of ready made desserts and in many instances you buy them super excited as they look amazing and then when you try them you are disappointing as they are not as great as you had expected.  Unfortunately, I am a victim of my own success in a way as I enjoy eating the desserts that I make as 99% of the time they taste great even if they don’t look perfect in my eyes.

For Christmas day I wanted to make something different so I made a Black Forest Fruits Eaton Mess which is was not only simple to make it also tasted delicious.  This Eaton Mess was combined with frozen fruits that you can easily find in supermarkets and are packed full of antioxidants and vitamin C (helps fight colds and free radicals).


The pavlova base is best made the night before.

Serves approximately 8-10 depending on serving size.


For the pavlova base

5 egg whites

250g caster sugar

1tsp white wine vinegar

2 level tsp corn flour

For the cream

approximately 250ml double cream

1tsp vanilla essence

For the black forest fruits topping

500g frozen black forest fruits

3 tbs of sugar, you can add this gradually to get the sweetness you like (add more if required)


Pavlova base

Place the egg whites, corn flour, sugar and vinegar in a bowl and whisk until it forms thick stiff peaks and doesn’t move much when you tip the bowl.

Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and make a round with the mixture about 8 inches in diameter.

Place this in the oven for 1 hour at 140 degrees then turn the oven off and leave over night to cool.

The cream

Combine the cream and the vanilla and whisk until thick taking care not to over whisk this.

For the black forest topping

Throw the contents of the black forest fruits container into a pan and gently heat.  Add in 1 spoon of sugar at a time and gently stir in.  Try not to mix this too much as the fruit breaks down.  Add more sugar if you require.  Allow this to warm through so it isn’t frozen then cool before putting the dessert together.

To assemble grab a serving bowl.  Break up some of the pavlova and cover the base of the bowl.  Pour a little cream and then the fruits of the forest over this then repeat a further 2 times so you have 3 layers.


If you like you can add on some chocolate shavings (whichever chocolate you prefer) as this looks pretty and also tastes great.


Simple Tuna Fish Cakes

I don’t eat anywhere as much fish as I should but I find that if I make recipes using it that are full of flavour than it is more likely to entice me to do so.  One such recipe includes tuna.  Tuna is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which reduces cholesterol levels in arteries and blood vessels.  Two portions a week can help reduce LDL (low density lipoproteins) thus reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.  Tuna also contains selenium which is an antioxidant and helps fight off free radicals thus reducing the risk of illness.  This is just the tip of the iceberg as tuna has many more benefits.  Tuna cakes are a great way to increase your fish intake and these are packed with all sorts of nutrients too.  In addition the tuna recipe also contains anchovies and these too contain omega 3.  Combined with the immune boosting properties that the garlic and onion bring with them this is not just a tasty and healthy food it is great to help ward off illness and to fight it.

So without further ado I give you my recipe for:

Tuna Fish Cakes


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For the fish cakes:

2 120g tins tuna steaks

1 slice of brown bread

1 tin of anchovies

2 small onions

2 tbs chopped coriander

2 medium eggs

3tbs Worcestershire sauce

oil for shallow frying

For the garlic and lime mayonnaise:

1 small clove of garlic grated

3tbs mayonnaise

black pepper to taste

3tbs lime juice

grated lime rind optional, it adds more flavour and also adds a touch of colour


For the mayo:

Spoon the mayo into a small bowl then add in all the prepared ingredients.

Cover with cling film and place n the fridge for the flavours to infuse.

For the fish cakes:

Break up the bread into crumbs either by hand or in a food processor.

Break up the chinks of tuna.

Chop the anchovies.

Chop the onions.

Give the eggs a quick light whisk.

Combine all the fish cake ingredients in a bowl.

Mould the mix into small burger shapes or balls (the number you make will vary depending on their size).

Place them n hot oil cooking for approx. 5 minutes each side.  You will need to do this in batches.  Cooking times will vary according to the heat of the oil and the thickness of the fish cakes.  Once they are a dark golden colour they are ready.

Place the fish cakes on some kitchen towel and allow the oil to be soaked up.  Repeat with fresh towel on the other side of the fish cakes but be quick as they are best served hot / warm.

Take out the mayonnaise from the fridge, spoon some into a pretty serving dish and place that with the fish cakes.

This can be served with salad or vegetables for a yummy and healthy meal.


Greek Yoghurt with Banana, Manuka Honey and Sunflower Seeds

breakfast1I love to get creative and eat tasty meals whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Something I grew up eating was yoghurt with honey, it’s very popular with those of Mediterranean origins as it’s tangy yet also sweet and many of us have a sweet tooth.  If you have tried the Greek desserts with nuts, filo and syrup you will understand what I mean.  Yoghurt is nice and refreshing especially Greek yoghurt with its tangy flavour.  The contrast between the yoghurt and honey works well and although you can use any honey to make this dish I would suggest using Manuka so you make use of its immune boosting properties.  The yoghurt brings with it calcium which we of course we need for healthy bones and the pumpkin seeds bring with them vitamin E in different forms (gamma-tocopherol, alpha-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alpha-tocomonoenol, and gamma-tocomonoenol).  Vitamin E is an antioxidant that has preventative effects against heart disease, Alzheimers, cataracts and cancer.  They also contain various other nutrients that are extremely beneficial.

I believe that if we start looking at foods in a slightly different light we can not only shed a few pounds but we can also eat more nutritious and tasty foods that we can use to help heal out body of various ailments or at least improve the effects of them.  Now as I made this dish for breakfast I also needed something to give me a bit of a boost hence the banana.  Bananas contain soluble fibre, prebiotics which help promote healthy gut flora and carbohydrates.  If you want the energy from the banana to be released quickly then make sure it is very ripe, alternatively eat one that is’t too dark skinned (more yellow than black) to allow for a slower release as the polysaccharide chains (sugar chains) take longer to break down than those in very ripe bananas.  Does this sound like something you would like to try?  It’s very easy to make and full of flavour too simply follow my recipe it takes just a few minutes to make and you can always change ingredients to change the flavour and have a different breakfast each day.

Greek Yoghurt with Banana, Manuka Honey and Sunflower Seeds


4 heaped  tbs Greek Yoghurt

1 medium banana

1-1.5tsp sunflower seeds

1 heaped tsp Manuka honey


Spoon the yoghurt into bowl.  Slice the banana and place, throw over the top.  I of course tried to make it look pretty for the photo but you arrange it your way.  Drizzle over the honey and sprinkle the nuts and serve.


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Courgetti with Tomato, Chorizo and Olives

As some of you may be aware I have been playing with a new spiraliser from UK Juicers.  This is a great gadget for making vegetable pasta and ribbons.  Using vegetables in place of pasta is a great way to not only cut your calorie intake but also to increase your fibre intake and nutrient intake.  With the new year and the time of new years resolutions approaching many of us are looking for inspiration for low calorie meals that do not compromise on flavour.  This dish does just that, my latest recipe comprising of courgetti, garlic, tinned tomatoes chorizo and more not only gives a pasta style dish with lower calories it also provides antibiotic qualities – garlic, anti-ageing effects – tomatoes and iron from the chorizo as well as a wealth of other vitamins and minerals.

Courgetti with Tomato, Chorizo and Olives


Serves 2


4 courgettes

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

100g cooking chorizo

400g tinned tomatoes, chopped

16 pitted kalamata olives (66g) sliced into 3 or 4 pieces

150-200ml water

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.


Spiralise the courgette and set aside.

Slice the chorizo into bite sized pieces and pan fry without out as it will release oil as it cooks.

Remove the chorizo from the pan.  Soak up some of the oil with a kitchen towel.  Leave a little of the oil and throw in the red onion and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes then add in the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

Add in the tinned tomatoes, salt, pepper and water then throw the chorizo back in and cook for a few minutes for the flavours to infuse.

Add the courgetti and stir in well to thoroughly coat it.


Cook for a few minutes and serve hot.

Enjoy x

Macabella Cupcakes Recipe & A Fab Giveaway!

I wanted to introduce you all to a super scrumpy chocolate spread with macadamia nuts called Macabella.  Macabella is fairly new to the UK but is set to do well having already been voted product of the year in the Consumer survey of Product Innovation by Australian consumers.  There are two varieties of Macabella to choose from Velvet and Crunch which are self explanatory.  These spreads are made with a divine creamy Belgian cocoa blend with a higher percentage of nuts compared to other spreads.  The texture is lovely and thick and the flavour is rich and delicious.


These are great for spreading on toast for breakfast, adding to sandwiches, spreading on pancakes and can even be used to make cupcakes!


 Yes it’s true and these cupcakes are amazing!!!!  I of course should know because I have created them.  My Macabella cupcakes use not one but both forms of Macabella.  The velvet version works well within the actual cupcake sponge and the crunch in the smooth rich and luxurious ganache that tops these super indulgent cupcakes.

Before I give you the recipe I just wanted to tell you why including Macadamia nuts in your diet is a good.  Here’s the health part!  Aside from their great buttery flavour Macadamia nuts are full of all sorts of nutrients including antioxidants like polyphenols, Amino acids, flavones, and selenium.  These antioxidants help protect us from external toxins and cell damage.  They are also full of monounsaturated fats which help to lower LDL (bad fats) and can help promote weight loss as they are rich in palmitoleic acid, and omega 7 fatty oil.  these provide building blocks for the enzymes and control the burning of fat and help to reduce the appetite.  Palmitoleic acid increases fat metabolism (yaaaaaaayyyyy) and reduces fat storage within the body. The fatty acid content of Macadamia nuts makes them an extremely satisfying food and you generally need just a handful to feel content.  Palmitoleic fatty acids have a positive effect on the skin as it delays the process of cell and skin ageing. As we age palmitoleic acid levels drop and this is why macadamia nut oil is a key ingredient in many anti-ageing products.

So now you have a small insight into how fabulous Macadamia nuts really are why not take a look at a simple and tasty recipe where you can use both the spreads that I mentioned.

I got to use my super shiny, new Russell Hobbs Mixer which I shall tell you all about at a later date.

Macabella Cupcakes

Makes 12-15 depending on how large you want them.


For the Cupcakes

200g caster sugar

3 medium eggs

1.5tbs heaped Macabella Velvet

120g butter

120g milk

240g plain flour

3tsp baking powder

For the Ganache

700ml double cream

2 heaped tbs Macabella Crunchy


For the Sponge

You need 1-2 muffin trays and muffin cupcake cases.  Place these in the tray(s) before starting.

Place the milk and butter in a pan and heat lightly until the butter melts.  This can be done whilst you are doing the next step to save time.  Once it has melted set aside.

Measure out the sugar into the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla essence.  Mix well.  You need to get as much air into this.  You know it’s ready when it becomes a lighter colour and looks thick and creamy.

Add in the Macabella Velvet and mix.

Pour in the butter and milk mixture and stir well.

Combine the flour and baking powder and sift into the mixing bowl. Gently fold in using a spatula with a figure of eight motion.

Try not to over fold or the cake will lose it’s fluffy texture and become dense.

Once combined pour into the muffin cases and cook at 180 degrees for approximately 16-18 minutes depending on your oven.

Now the hard part, wait for the cakes to cool.

For the Ganache

Whisk the Macabella gently into the cream taking care not to over whisk as the nut pieces will get broken down and the cream will lose its shine.

mac2I know that you are all super jealous as the spread and cupcakes look amazing and as I am one for spreading the love and even the chocolate (It’s hard but I like to be fair) I am pleased to announce that 4 readers will get the chance to win a Jar of Macabella Velvet and a Jar of Macabella Crunchy.

That’s 4 winners with 1 jar of each!!!

Instructions if needed can be found here:

Not all of the entry options are compulsory but the more you do the more entries you will gain.

Look out for the daily entry options for extra entries.

Likes on Facebook are NOT compulsory but are very much appreciated plus it will ensure you don’t miss great posts, freebies and competitions.

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck x

6 Ways To Eat Healthily Without Breaking The Bank


I recently published a piece on how to save money and get freebies.  To follow on from this, I thought it would be nice to share with you some ways on how you can save money by eating healthily too.

One of the most budget friendly types of food is Asian cuisine, especially Chinese and Thai which is evident when you look on Hungry House.  Excellent examples on just how inexpensive it is can be easily spotted and you can also see it is completely possible to eat delicious, filling and healthy Chinese and Asian cuisine for as little as £25 a month.

Part of the reason that Chinese cuisine is so inexpensive to prepare at home is to do with its tradition and philosophy.  Traditionally, Asian cultures have a no-waste approach to food.  Meat is used sparingly (the typical Chinese recipe calls for about 140 grams of meat) and in season vegetables are a staple.

Here are some examples for you to try out:

Green Bean Stir Fry

Green Bean Stir Fry is a Chinese staple and usually contains a bit of meat or tofu.  When green beans are in season, the dish is inexpensive.  You can also prepare this dish with any vegetables you like even ones which you find for a bargain or reduced price.

Pocket Eggs with Soy-Sesame Sauce

During the Chinese Cultural Revolution food was often scarce and rationed.  Pocket eggs, which are served over noodles or rice, became a staple in many areas.

Fried Rice 


The multiple methods of preparing fried rice means that you have lots of options.  Fried rice is actually at its best when made with leftovers.  (The secret to good fried rice is to use day-old rice.)  You can make a more than ample serving of fried rice for about £1.50.

Beef with Rice Noodles

You can make this dish with either fresh or frozen veggies, which makes it easy to take advantage of whichever is the best bargain at the market.  This meal also typically cost about £1.50 per serving.

Stir-Fry Beef with Gravy

This dish, which comes from The Chinese Cookbook uses green pepper, mushrooms, sprouts, and peas and costs about 41p a serving.

Marinated Broccoli Stems

This recipe makes a nice side dish, using what is typically the worst part of fresh broccoli and costs about 6p a serving.

These recipes serve as just a few examples of just how inexpensive Chinese food can be when you prepare it at home.  There are a number of excellent Chinese cookbooks out there, but of course you can easily find the recipes online.

In addition to helping your budget, Chinese and Asian food in general is incredibly healthy as the dishes contain lean meats, a very small amount of healthy oils and lots of healthy vegetables.  Considering this, Chinese food is likely to remain a part of your regular diet even when you’re not trying to save those pennies.

What do you think of my recipe ideas?  Would you try any of these recipes at home?