Avoid the temptation to grab a takeaway on the way home with this week's meal plan, which features five delicious, easy-to-make meals, including one you can make in just 10 minutes. That's 100% quicker than dialing up a pizza from Deliveroo guys...
6.chicken thighs (fillets fine, on the bone better)
- haddock fillet (diced is fine)
400.500ml chicken stock
- lean steak mince
- gruyere or cheddar
150.l double cream
Large bunch basil
Small bunch thyme
1.Thai red chilli
1.pack ready rolled puff pastry
Dark soy sauce
Your choice of large pasta shape (I used giant rigatoni)
Monday – Creamy mushroom pie & champ mash, 45 mins
Veggie comfort food for a dreary Monday night
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Chop three spring onions finely, discarding only the very ends and put in a saucepan with 100ml or so of milk. Quickly bring to the boil then turn off the pan and leave the onions to flavour the milk. Peel and boil three potatoes until soft, drain then mash together with the milk and onions, season and set aside.
Make the pie filling by halving or quartering the mushrooms and dry frying on high in a very large, shallow pan – you do not want the mushrooms to be overcrowded. When the mushrooms start emitting liquid, turn the heat down to medium, add a knob of butter, a few crushed garlic cloves and about half the thyme leaves and stir until the garlic is cooked and smelling delicious. Pour in the cream, stir in a teaspoon or so of Dijon mustard to taste, season really well then simmer until thickened. Put the mushroom mixture into an overproof dish, cover with the pastry (if you have extra pastry left over you can freeze it), brush with milk and bake for 20 minutes until golden. Serve with the champ mash.
Tuesday – Herby chicken bruschetta bake, 30 mins
All the flavours of classic tomato bruschetta in an easy chicken bake
Preheat the oven to 200C. Roughly chop the red onion and place on a baking tray with the chicken thighs, a few chopped garlic cloves and most of the rest of the thyme. Drizzle generously with olive oil then roast for 20 minutes. Tear up the ciabatta and add to the roasting tray, giving it all a bit of a mix around and a shake so that the oils and juices coat some of the bread. Pop it back in the oven for another five minutes. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and half of the basil. Take the chicken out of the oven and reserve one or two pieces for Thursday’s recipe. Serve by covering the remaining chicken, bread and onions with the tomatoes and basil. If there are any chicken juices on the tray, pop them in a little pot and refrigerate.
Wednesday – Thai beef, broccoli and zoodles, 10 minutes
High protein, low carb, no fuss
Prep the zoodles by using a julienne peeler or spiraliser to create noodles with the courgettes. Once you get close to the central seeded part this won’t work, so keep those bits for tomorrow.
Chop two spring onions, half the broccoli and fry in a teaspoon of oil for a minute or two. Now add a crushed garlic clove, the chopped chilli and the beef and stir fry on a high heat until the beef is browned off. Squeeze in a tablespoon of lemongrass puree, a tablespoon of soy sauce and fish sauce and a pinch or two of sugar. Taste and adjust seasoning to your own preferences, then throw in the rest of the basil and the zoodles to heat briefly and serve with half a lime each for squeezing.
NOTE: Of course, you can use normal noodles if you prefer! Swap the beef for pork or meat-free mince alternatives. Top with a fried egg for an extra protein boost.
Thursday – Chicken and parmesan pasta soup, 30 mins
This steamy, moreish brothy pasta is our new go-to for leftover roast chicken
Roughly chop the carrot, courgette middles and a few garlic cloves then gently saute in a saucepan with a tablespoon of olive oil for five minutes. Add the chicken stock and any leftover chicken juices from Tuesday, bring to the boil then simmer rapidly for ten minutes. Add a few handfuls of your chosen pasta to the pan, plus the leftover chicken from Tuesday, shredded off the bone. When the pasta is cooked, grate in a tablespoon or two of parmesan and serve.
Friday – Haddock and broccoli cheesy gratin, 40 mins
Fish pie, but quicker and with broccoli for extra veg power
Cut the rest of the broccoli into small florets (if you have any stalk, you can cut this finely and use it too except for the very bottom) and boil quickly for three minutes. Drain and place in a large oven proof dish. Now make a very quick cheese sauce by mixing two tablespoons of flour with about 25g of butter in a pan and whisking for a minute. When it starts to bubble, add 200ml of milk and whisk again until smooth. Grate in 100g of cheese and combine until melted then pour it over the broccoli. Cut the haddock into large chunks and add to the dish and give it a quick mix around. Season.
Cut the last potato into the finest slices you can manage (a mandolin is great for this), then arrange over the top of the mixture. Bake at 180C for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the sauce is bubbling.