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5 Nights, 5 Meals, No Waste: This Week We Venture Into Crab Pasta And Jewelled Squash

And as a mega bonus, they all take 40 minutes or less...

This week, we continue our mission to live a #wastefree life with five new, delicious meals. From a quick and easy spanish omlette on Thursday night to jumping entirely out of our comfort zone with jewelled squash and halloumi couscous on Monday, this week of meals is a perfect mix of delicious and daring...

Shopping list

1 pot of crab meat (white and brown ideally)

Halloumi

2 skinless chicken breast fillets

250g lean steak mince

1 small pack Serrano ham or similar

6 eggs

200g Gruyere

2 lemons

1 pack pomegranate seeds

1 bunch spring onions

1 large punnet cherry tomatoes

Rocket

3 peppers

Coriander

1 medium white onion

1-2 large chillies

Garlic

Frozen butternut squash chunks

Small pack of couscous

Pasta of your choice (macaroni, spirali or penne are good)

1 pack of small tortilla wraps

1 tin tomatoes

Tomato puree

Breadcrumbs / 1 slice of leftover stale bread

Paprika

Cumin

Dried oregano

Olive oil

Monday – Jewelled Squash & Halloumi Couscous, 30 mins

A vegetarian flavour party that’s filling, nutritious and cheap to prepare that makes a good alternative to salads.

Roughly chop and deseed a pepper and spread onto a baking tray with two good handfuls of butternut squash. Keeping them separate from the squash and peppers, tip all of the tomatoes onto the tray too and drizzle it all with oil. The tomatoes are for another day. Roast in a hot oven for 25 minutes, adding sliced halloumi to the tray for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.

Prepare the couscous by pouring 100g of dry couscous into a bowl then add 120ml boiling water. Cover (use cling film or a plate) and let steam for 15 minutes. Meanwhile chop one spring onion and half a bunch of coriander. When the couscous is ready, stir in one teaspoon of paprika and the juice of one lemon. Mix in the chopped veg, a bit of rocket, the pepper, squash and halloumi then drizzle it all with olive oil, scatter the pomegranate seeds and season well.

NOTE: Also great with feta instead of halloumi, especially if you’re making extra for lunch the next day cold. Vegans can still enjoy with Violife versions of both cheeses.

Tuesday – Chicken Milanese, 20 mins

Surely one of the tastiest ways to eat a chicken breast, and far easier to make than you might think; prepare to make this a weeknight staple

Flatten the chicken breasts by pounding them with a wooden mallet or heavy rolling pin. Now take three medium sized bowls; half fill one with flour, one with milk and one with breadcrumbs (readymade or make your own by whizzing up a slice of bread in a food processor or similar). You can also add some finely grated Gruyere to the breadcrumbs if you like. Now coat each chicken fillet in flour, then milk, then dip in breadcrumbs until well covered. If the breadcrumbs are not sticking well, double dip back into the milk and then the breadcrumbs again.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the chicken over a low-medium heat for four or five minutes each side until cooked through. In a separate, smaller pan, quickly heat up half of the tomatoes you roasted yesterday. Plate it all up with lots of rocket and a wedge of lemon.

Wednesday – Crab, Tomato & Fennel Pasta, 25 mins

© Joanne Gould

A deliciously simple crab pasta dish that’s creamy and comforting but still packs a protein and veggie punch

Finely slice a small bulb of fennel and sauté gently in olive oil and a pinch of salt until softened. At the same time boil some pasta of your choice according to packet instructions. When it’s almost cooked, drain off the water and over a low heat stir in the fennel, a pot of crabmeat, the rest of the roasted tomatoes, 150ml of double cream and 50g of grated Gruyere. Stir to combine. Once the cheese starts to melt, transfer it all to a serving dish and place under a medium-hot grill with an extra sprinkling of cheese across the top. Once it’s browned and bubbling it’s ready to serve.

NOTE: The fennel and crab flavours in this bake are very gentle, so kids often love this too.

Thursday – Spanish Omelette, 25-30 mins

A meatier take on the traditional tortilla and so much more than just an omelette

Finely slice an onion and a pepper and fry in plenty of olive oil and salt in a medium non-stick frying pan taking care not to colour the onion. Once translucent, crack six eggs into a jug, whisk and add to the pan with a pack of roughly torn Serrano ham. Stir briefly then turn the heat right down and let it cook slowly. Once the top is almost set, remove from the heat and turn the omelette out carefully onto a board. Serve with the remaining rocket.

NOTE: Vegetarians can leave the ham out or swap with sliced cooked potatoes as is traditional. Just as good cold over the next few days for breakfast, lunch or snacking.

Friday – Beef Enchiladas, 40 mins

The Tex-Mex favourite is perfect for a relaxed Friday night in front of the TV. Just add Coronas.

Chop the rest of the spring onions and the last pepper and fry over a high heat for a few minutes. Add the steak mince, three crushed garlic cloves, one or two chopped chillies (personal taste) a tablespoon each of paprika and oregano and brown off for about five minutes. Now add the tinned tomatoes, two tablespoons of tomato puree, salt and pepper and let simmer for another five minutes. Roughly chop the rest of the coriander and add to the pot. Taste for seasoning; sometimes a teaspoon of sugar is just what it needs depending on the tomatoes.

Assemble the enchiladas by spooning a few tablespoons of the mince mixture onto a tortilla, rolling up and placing into an ovenproof dish. Do this for all six wraps (if you have any mince mixture left, pour over the wraps or pop in the freezer for a quick chilli another day) then grate 100g of Gruyere over it all and place in the oven at 180C until melted and bubbling.

NOTE: Vegetarians swap beef mince for Quorn but be aware you may need to adjust the herbs and spices. Bulk it out for extra people with a tin of kidney or pinto beans and keep the chilli separate if kids are digging in too. Make the chilli in advance for an even speedier Friday night supper.