Stuck for something nice to cook? Elaine Lavery enlightens us all with some recipes that are both easy and value for money.

I am a huge advocate of the ‘you are what you eat’ phrase. I can testify that the only way to maintain your health and control your weight is to make time for satisfying meals that fill you up and keep you going for hours.

The following two recipes are simply prepared one-pot wonders. No fancy equipment or even an oven required. Best of all, both dishes freeze exceptionally well. So if you are cash-poor and time-poorer, double the quantities and freeze the excess in individual or double portions. Vary the accompaniments to keep the dishes exciting.  If you are a tentative cook, follow the recipes to the letter and you can’t go wrong.

Beef and Guinness Casserole

This is definitely one to be prepared on a lazy Sunday, as the meat needs 3 hours to braise and become meltingly tender. It’s worth the wait because you can get away with the cheapest cut of meat. Preparation is minimal, so you can study your heart out (keeping a lazy eye on the pot) while the dish cooks itself!

Serves 4-6

Olive oil

3 bay leaves

2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped

2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

500g diced stewing beef

1 tbsp plain flour

500m Guinness

1 tin chopped tomatoes

Salt and pepper

Put a casserole pot on a medium heat. Put the bay leaves and all the vegetables into the pot with 2 glugs of olive oil and fry for 10 minutes. Add the meat and flour, followed by the Guinness and tomatoes. Stir well and season with a teaspoon of salt and a sprinkle of pepper. Bring to the boil, put on the lid on and simmer slowly on the hob for 3 hours. Remove the lid for the final half hour of simmering.

Thai Red Vegetable Curry

This is a quicker alternative to the above recipe and just as tasty.

Serves 4-6

2 tbsp sunflower oil

5 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

3 tbsp red curry paste

400g tin coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp fish sauce

200ml water

1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed

100g green beans, halved

100g baby sweet corn, halved lengthways

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

Heat sunflower oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add curry paste and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce and water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

Stir in squash and simmer for 6 minutes. Add green beans, sweet corn and red pepper. Return to simmer for another 3-5 minutes.