Until a few years ago my food belief systems were stuck in the late 1960’s, where as a pre-schooler I shopped at the small country grocery store with my mother. There were only a few varieties of breakfast cereal. My grandparents provided us with milk and eggs. Fresh bread was delivered via a horse and cart. The modest amounts of cordial, ice-cream, packaged products bought were made by local companies not global conglomerates.

Baked Snow Gem potatoes
Baked Snow Gem potatoes

It became apparent things had changed. Food didn’t taste the way I remembered, and I’d begun experiencing health issues related to sugars, refined carbohydrates and additives. I considered what I was spending, and the value I was getting. I compared the taste of corporate-industrial products to quality fresh produce; and health, ethical and environmental costs vs. benefits.

Extracting myself from today’s food complex was daunting. I made the change gradually, exchanging bad for good; fresh white bread is still a treat, from a bakery not a supermarket. I found better options… I can take or leave supermarket potatoes but I love potatoes from the farmers market which when baked go crisp & caramelised, and taste so much better. Before I discovered farmers market potatoes I just thought I was terrible at baking potatoes.

And it seems I’ve come back to where I was in the late 1960’s. I manage by sticking to favourite products, buying in season, a stocked pantry, smaller portions of better quality, planning meals, cooking food at home rather than dining out or buying takeaway, taking homemade lunches to work, making meals from leftovers and putting them in the freezer… using every last skerrick.

Leftovers/freezer meals have increasingly become our equivalent of takeaway; quick & easy. Home cooked dinner made from good farmers market produce is better than a lot of restaurant offerings I’ve encountered… and I’m a simple everyday cook!

While we live in a small city apartment I’m unable to grow food but I am growing awareness. Akin to my passion for family history research I read books and blogs on food topics, Google search and follow a treasure map of links. It takes time and thought but it’s nothing compared with what consumers are against when it comes to marketing efforts by Big Food.

To give you an idea the top 3 companies of 2013 Food Sales from Food Processing’s Top 100 – 2014 are:

  1. Pepsico Inc.
  2. Tyson Foods Inc.
  3. Nestle

The world’s largest snack-food maker [Pepsico] may boost the advertising and marketing budget for its namesake cola and other drinks by as much as $600 million, or 50 percent, to $1.7 billion when it announces the results of a year-long business review Feb. 9, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg”

In 2012, Tyson Foods’ ad spend amounted to approximately 496 million U.S. dollars. Tyson Foods is a manufacturer of food products, mostly chicken, beef, and pork products.”

In 2013, Nestle spent 30.6 million U.S. dollars on internet advertising in the U.S.”

“I meant no harm I most truly did not, but I had to grow bigger so bigger I got.
I biggered my factory, I biggered my roads, I biggered the wagons,
I biggered the loads, of the Thneeds I shipped out
I was shipping them forth from the South, to the East, to the West.
To the North, I went right on biggering selling more thneeds.
And I biggered my money which everyone needs.”
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Note: Every day I eat. Every now and then I blog about food: I thought it only fair on occasion to share what passes as a recipe for something I’ve made. We’re a 2 person household. All quantities and times are approximate. Additions and substitutions may be made according to preference, taste and availability. Where possible I use pastured/free range/organic produce and improvise using ingredients I have on hand.

Easy weeknight food: Enchiladas made from freezer, pantry and fridge contents.

Combine in saucepan and heat through 1 medium size container of defrosted savoury ground beef mince* with 2 cans of drained & rinsed red kidney beans and a sachet of tomato paste (approx. 2 tablespoons).

Defrost small tub of chopped sautéed tomatoes and add approx. 3 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce.

Spray or brush a large shallow ovenproof dish with canola oil.

Spoon a line of the mince-bean mixture along the centre of 6 tortillas, folding and placing each in ovenproof dish.

Spoon tomato-sweet chilli sauce mix over the top.

Top with grated cheese.

Beef and Bean Enchiladas with Corn Salsa and Spiced Persian Yoghurt
Beef and Bean Enchiladas with Corn Salsa and Spiced Persian Yoghurt

Cover with foil and bake in pre-heated 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6 oven for 20 to 30 minutes, removing foil for last 5 to 10 minutes.

To make salsa combine 1 cup sweet corn kernels with 2 chopped tomatoes, a small red onion chopped, chopped red bull pepper, a handful of fresh basil, a drizzle each of olive oil and sweet chilli sauce.

Serve warm enchiladas with corn salsa and Spiced Persian Yoghurt -yoghurt, feta and fresh herbs, Greek yoghurt/crème fraiche/sour cream.

This is the first time I’ve made enchiladas but it won’t be the last. The G.O. said they were better than lasagne… but I’m not sure I agree but they’re as good as.

It made 2 night’s dinners and leftovers the G.O. took to work for lunch.

When I began incorporating beans into the savoury ground beef mince the G.O. wasn’t too keen but he’s become accustomed (it’s change he doesn’t like, I think) and enjoyed lasagne I made with beef & beans and layers of veges.

*There are always a few containers of savoury beef mince in our freezer. We eat it on toast, with mashed potato and veges, in spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne, nachos…

To make 4 containers of savoury beef mince for the freezer, in a large frypan saute 4 large chopped onions in canola oil with a sprinkle of white pepper. When translucent, add 1 kg ground beef mince stirring & breaking up until browned. Add a cup of beef stock, 2 tins chopped tomatoes, 1 sachet of tomato paste (approx. 2 tablespoons), a pinch each of dried rosemary & nutmeg and a squeeze of lemon juice. Simmer for approx. 15 minutes. Add 2 cups of fresh breadcrumbs and simmer for approx. 15 minutes. Can also be slow cooked in the oven in a heavy based casserole dish or using an electric slow cooker.

30 thoughts on “biggered

  1. Yummy! Like you, I’m a huge fan of leftovers. In this household, it’s called ‘cooking the fridge’ and involves diving in and pulling out packages, containers, vegies and herbs and spices. The challenge is to make something tasty from what you have, and making what you have stretch as far as possible. This evening, we’ve just had the third meal from one roast chicken, and there’s another couple to go. And I can’t remember the last time we had takeaway… Of course, the quality of what you have is of major importance, but if it’s good, it’s eaten all up, and almost nothing gets thrown out. Well done on promoting the leftovers culture!


    1. Thank you. The merits of leftovers are under promoted relative to creation of the sexy meals of TV cooking shows… I live for the day My Kitchen Rules or Masterchef has a leftovers challenge!


  2. I am enjoying reading about your research into these big companies and the trend away from these international food giants wit their sugar and preservative laced food marketing. I agree about potatoes – the ones I buy directly from the grower not only taste much better, but seem to last much longer too.


    1. That’s it for now with the research… I was astounded at the marketing-advertising spend, and appalled that year after year after year the budget increases in the quest for ever increasing shareholder dividends. I’m enjoying the pressure on Big Food for better products, less sugar, healthier offerings etc but I realize whatever fulfillment is simply another strategy to maintain market share, not a victory for truly good food.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re speaking my language, EllaD! Both in terms of food preparation and the discovery of Mexican dishes. We’ve recently started making chicken quesadillas [sp?] using left over roast chicken. Quick, easy and now no-waste! Your recipe is next on my list. 🙂


    1. Yes, quesadillas are now a favourite with us too. Tortillas are the newest food sensation in our kitchen. Even just sprinkled with cheese, rolled and microwaved, with soup or alone as a snack, or filled with microwave poached eggs for a quick brekkie. Or if more time available same but in sandwich toaster or frypan!


        1. Tortillas are the soft round flatbreads. I roll & bake them with filling to make enchiladas, or toast them in a frypan/sandwich maker with cheese & a simple filler to make a type of toasted sandwich. Or they can be layered with filling & cheese and baked like lasagne. Or the G.O. just likes them fresh to mop up a bit of sauce.


  4. Mmm. Feeling hungry and not for anything conglomerately produced! Being married to a Texan we have always had lots of home-made Tex-Mex food but I always found the red beans hard on my digestive system and tend to use Pinto or Borlotti beans instead – they seem to be kinder to me! When avocadoes are ripe/in season Tex makes very simple guacamole to go with our tacos/nachos etc by chopping up some onion very finely,chopping some tomatoes small, mashing the avo and adding them then seasoning with a little lemon juice, a little salt and a little (because of me not much!) hot pepper sauce. It makes the food richer if you feel like a splurge! We never, ever, have sour cream as per almost every UK purveyor of ‘Mexican’ food. But it’s fish and chips for us tonight – been a very long time and a very long week and a treat is in order. The only takeaway we get.


    1. Kidney beans we eat in moderation, and only organic for the same reason. But I’ll look for Borlotti or Pinto. I love avocados and guacamole but the G.O. doesn’t, hence the other suggestions. We rarely have sour cream, preferring crème tranche or labne. I could make the equivalent of Spiced Persian Yoghurt but it was a mid week on the way home grocery shop impulse buy! We still get occasional takeaway but local options not franchise, and we’re very picky. We love good fish & chips, not always easy to come by.


  5. Great post. Those of us in the resistance movement have to just keep spreading the message. They have billion dollar advertising budgets. We have our blogs. 🙂


  6. I SO wish I didn’t have to depend on the big conglomerates for groceries. No farmers market, and the Health food store has very tired looking veggies, which sadly, can’t possibly be any better for us than the fresher looking organic ones in the big stores, and cost half again as much. I do try to buy organic from the big groceries, but I’ve never seen organic potatoes. I have left my fancy cooking days behind me and have settled into simpler types of meals (much like the 50’s–I think processed foods became popular in the 60’s in the US) Like you I source the best quality possible and use almost no processed foods. And we love leftovers!! They are faster than take away in many cases. Very nice post Dale!


  7. Even with access to farmers markets I don’t always get there. I’m afraid as a society we’re stuck with supermarkets. We can influence what they stock. It’s awareness I’m after, that advertising isn’t educational (thanks Bill & Sara) and marketing is smoke & mirrors.
    Our local Woolies, both at Tempe in the city and at Macksville have organic potatoes, so it might be worth asking.
    I know with many people who read my blog, like you, I’m preaching to the converted but it helps me know what I know, and maybe just maybe someone else will read and make even a slight change, begin the journey.
    Last night we ordered Friday night takeaway pizza. A local Sydney small chain, Rocketboy (they were featured on Matthew Evans seafood series) use ethical ingredients… but 2 and a half hours later due to computer issues we finally got dinner… I could have cooked a feast in the time. But they were very polite and didn’t charge us, so we’ll be staying on as customers.


    1. Yes, I like your point, advertising isn’t educational, though they very much want you to think it is! Ohhh, we got caught one night with a computer glitch and ordering pizza, many years ago now, when I could still eat pizza!! At least they didn’t charge you, very good of them, I would stay on too. xx


  8. EllaDee, I’m impressed, you are becoming quite the cook, those enchiladas look very good.
    What those big companies are doing is adding artificial flavores to all their food. That’s because of mass production the nutritional value and the flavor of the food has been lost.


    1. Thank you. I’ve always cooked but my repertoire gets a bit overused from time to time; I don’t see the potential of new, and favorites get dusty… sometimes I surprise myself because I’ll dig up something and realize it’s more than a decade since I cooked it. In the last week I’ve made golden syrup dumplings and tuna mornay that fall into the latter category!
      It annoys me what the big companies get away with, passing off product as food. There’s been debate this late week over the use of the word “natural” in labelling because it seems it’s generally allowed if the ingredients are derived even remotely from natural origins.


  9. I like your savoury mince idea for the freezer. Breadcrumbs is an unusual addition…and the nutmeg makes it Greek? I like leftovers too…a delicious spinach pie did us for three days if lunches this week :). I guess there isn’t much option here for eating out – and the older I get the fussier I get :). Those top three ‘food’ companies are reprehensible.


    1. It’s rare we don’t have savoury mince in the freezer, and just last night it made a quick dinner on toast with an egg after a busy day out. There’s only one tub left so I need to make another batch soon. That recipe is loosely based on an Italian meat sauce. It’s a nanna version, the breadcrumbs thicken it up and make it go further. The full version contains finely chopped carrot & celery. Anything you want can be added. Over ANZAC weekend I made a plain old fashioned version with the onion, carrot & celery plus finely chopped potatoes and less tomato for the in-laws’ freezer. Sometimes I add bay leaves (although the G.O. hates them) or paprika instead of the nutmeg. Depends on what’s to hand, how I feel, what I’m planning to do with it.
      There aren’t many options for eating out around TA, although we now occasionally treat ourselves to dinner at the pub. And when we go to town we mostly try to get home for lunch as the offerings don’t inspire us taste or cost wise. But even in Sydney we don’t eat out or takeaway so much. We enjoy leftovers & simple food. Spinach pie is great, even the G.O. who doesn’t like spinach will sometimes eat it if it comes in cheese and pastry!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yup, apparently he can tell when I slip bay leaves and other stuff he’s not a fan of in… but I’m grateful that he now eats more veges than he ever did.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. That enchilada looks delicious. You reminded me of a conversation I recently had with my grandmother. She was telling me to drink my tea and then use the teabag on my eyes. I explained how that would get very messy since I drink loose leaf tea. She was shocked that anyone would opt to drink loose leaf tea because it’s harder to make. Her mother made tea that way, but she was happy when tea bags were invented. Sometimes the easy way isn’t the tastiest or the best. That is my long winded way of saying that I love that you’ve found ways to create quick meals with wholesome farm fresh products.


    1. The consumer world got sold on convenience, and stopped thinking for ourselves about the other important things. Similar here, my MiL loves anything ‘convenient’ and thinks I’m being posh because I use a teapot & leaves but it’s how we prefer it. Ditto for coffee… I can’t drink instant.


  11. A lot of people are feeling back to the ’60’s. Back to farm fresh and unprocessed foods. We make burritos/enchiladas a lot – easy to do and easy to use what you have on hand. Haven’t tried putting corn in the salsa yet, but keep seeing it done, so will have to try that.
    You don’t squeeze lime in salsa or enchiladas? Adobe seasoning? We also can’t live without various peppers – ghost peppers are a bit too hot, but the chilpotlle peppers in adobo sauce works well along with the chili powder you are using. And jalepenos. Cilantro is in everything unless we have people coming that hate it. We use a combo of cheeses Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Habanero Jack – whatever we have on hand. The spiced Persian yogurt/feta sounds tasty. Would have never thought to try that.
    (Tyson. Really dislike them. Been past a couple of their giant factory chicken farms. Grim.)


    1. I use whatever is to hand, which mid-week nights tends to be limited. But yes, we do use fresh limes, red peppers and cilantro (or as we call it -coriander), the trouble is I don’t have always spontaneous access to fresh, having no garden -our balcony doesn’t sustain edibles even in pots and the apartment herb plot is basic at best. Shop bought bunches of coriander cost a bomb, and I don’t buy limes unless they are in season.
      I just checked out Abobe or Adobo seasoning, and often the combined spices I use could qualify!


Comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.