5 Meals, 5 Nights, No Waste: Winter Is Coming But That's Fine Because These Cold-Weather Meals Are Amazing
By Joanne Gould Posted on 7 Nov 2018
Suddenly, it’s dark all the time. You’ve heard a rumour that there were a couple of hours of daylight whilst you were stuck in a meeting last Thursday, but this can’t be verified. And it’s freezing - your winer coat definitely felt warmer last year (which is probably the perfect excuse to buy a new one - non?). Fortunately, we’ve got the perfect Monday-Friday meal plan lined up for you, full of delicious tray backs, warming soups and an incredible paella. You can buy everything you need for the week in one go, and none of these meals takes more than 30 minutes to make. Total genius, right?
200g white fish fillet (I used pollock)
300g lamb leg steaks or rump
150-200g mixed seafood
400ml chicken stock
400ml veg stock
200g kale / cavolo nero or greens of your choice
2 shallots or onions
1 red chilli
2-4 crusty rolls
Pasta of your choice (I used Tripoline)
1 tin butterbeans
1 tin tomatoes
White wine / sherry (optional)
Monday – Very green pasta, 20 mins
This recipe is essentially the Super Green Spaghetti from Jamie Oliver’s brilliant 5 Ingredients book, but with more ricotta and no parmesan to fit our ingredients and is one of the simplest most delicious pasta recipes ever
Boil your pasta according to packet instructions. In a separate pan, blanche 100g or so of kale with a whole peeled garlic clove for a minute or two before draining. Put it in a food processor (I actually use my Nutribullet) with a tablespoon of nice olive oil and half the ricotta. Blend until smooth – should take 2-3 minutes (it might look like it’s not going to do it but trust that it will). Season it well with salt and pepper then stir it into the cooked pasta, reserving some of the pasta water to add in until you get the consistency you like. Dollop a bit more ricotta over it all if you like.
NOTE: In my experience, kids love this even if they’ve previously refused all kale or spinach based foods. This recipe is very malleable, so if you have any herbs like basil, some rocket, lemons or even cooked veg like peas to use up, pop them in the blender with the kale. Make it vegan by swapping the ricotta for avocado.
Tuesday – Tomato, chorizo and red pepper soup with ricotta toast, 25 mins
A spicy, warming recipe that amps up a standard tomato soup to make it a real hug in a bowl. Make more and freeze it to keep you cosy all winter.
Roughly chop one shallot and saute it off in a pan with a small splash of olive oil and pinch of salt taking care not to burn it. After five minutes, add a third of the chorizo, thickly sliced and the tomatoes, halved. Cook over a high heat until the chorizo starts to let out some of its delicious oils and the tomatoes are soft, then add half a tin of tomatoes, a teaspoon of smoked paprika and 400ml of veg stock. Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer. While this is going on, destalk and roughly chop a pepper (no need to take out the seeds and pith) then grill under the hottest setting until it starts to blacken (around 5 mins). Add it in to the tomato mixture. Blend it all together until almost smooth. Taste and season (you may like a teaspoon of maple syrup or sugar if the tomatoes aren’t at their best). Serve with a toasted roll spread with the remaining ricotta.
NOTE: Vegetarians leave out the chorizo, double the paprika and add in a garlic clove or three with the shallot.
Wednesday – Smoky kale, chorizo and butterbean fish traybake, 30 mins
A nutritious, tasty and satisfying fish dinner that involves minimal prep and only one dish to wash up.
Put the remaining 100g or so of kale in an oven proof dish and drizzle it with a generous tablespoon or so of olive oil, a twist of good sea salt and a tablespoon of sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar. Massage the kale vigorously for a good few minutes to help the fibres break down (then you don’t need to throw out the stalks). Add in three crushed garlic cloves, the tin of butterbeans, a third of the chorizo sliced into chunks and stir together. You could add a splash or white wine or sherry too, if you have it. Now lay the fish on top of it all, brush over a small amount of olive oil and bake for 25 minutes at 180C, turning the fish halfway and jiggling the kale around if it looks to be catching. Season and serve with a scattering of parsley, mint and a crusty roll if you’re extra hungry.
NOTE: Pescatarians swap the chorizo for cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of paprika and help yourself to a larger fish fillet (adjust cooking time accordingly)
Thursday – Lamb with zingy peas and beans
A variation on another Jamie Olive side dish that takes peas to the next level with the tiniest bit of effort, served with gently spiced pink lamb for a protein hit
Take your lamb out of the fridge to get to temperature while you deal with the peas and beans. Chop 2/3 of a packet of green beans into 2cm slices and crush a garlic clove or two. Put into a saucepan along with 200g of peas and enough water to just cover it all (if you have any kale left then whack it in too). Bring to the boil and let the water evaporate while you start the lamb. Sprinkle a teaspoon of ground cumin over the lamb and season well with salt and pepper. Fry in a teaspoon of olive oil over a high heat for about 2 minutes each side then take it out and rest on a covered plate for a few more minutes. Finish the peas and beans by stirring in two tablespoons of olive oil, the juice and zest of a lemon, most of a bunch of mint and a chopped red chilli (I used a scotch bonnet). Slice the lamb and serve on top of the peas.
NOTE: Not a lamb fan? Serve with cumin spiced chicken breast, white fish or halloumi. Add new potatoes or orzo to the peas if you’re after some carbs.
Friday – Paella Mixta, 25 mins
No it’s not traditional, but we’ve got some chorizo left over so we’re putting it in, ok? A paella style dish like this may sound tricky, but it’s not. No skill and not much chopping required makes this a Friday night win.
Roughly chop the shallot or onion and pepper along with two garlic cloves and fry in a large frying pan using a good slug of olive oil and salt (this speeds up the onion softening). Once the onion is soft, add in 150g of paella rice, a sliced pepper, pinch of saffron and paprika, sliced chorizo, the other half of the tinned tomatoes and trimmed green beans. Stir to combine and make sure the rice is coated in the oil. Add 400ml hot chicken stock then simmer and don’t touch it for 15 minutes. Add the seafood for the last few minutes of cooking then scatter over parsley and serve with wedges of lemon.
NOTE: Vegetarians leave the chorizo out, swap the chicken stock for veg, double the paprika and add in more veg (peas, olives, cherry tomatoes and red onion all good). Not a seafood fan? Chicken pieces or pork also work but cook them separately first.
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