This week, we're all about the quick and easy meal plan. Save Friday when we indulge in herby lamb chops and sautéed potatoes, the rest of the week is all about minimal prep, maximum impact...
2 large sea bass fillets
4-6 chicken drumsticks / chicken pieces
4-6 lamb chops
Small pack salami
Large ball mozzarella
2 red chillies
1 pack Tenderstem broccoli (if you don’t like broccoli then swap for chard or spinach)
2-3 large potatoes
Tiny piece of ginger
1-2 garlic flatbreads (depending on size)
Straight to wok noodles
Small tin chickpeas
Brown miso paste (Asian supermarkets, Waitrose or large Tescos)
Sesame seeds (optional)
Coconut Oil (optional)
Monday – Miso Glazed Aubergine, 35 mins
Surely one of the most delicious things to do with aubergine – and tastes so meaty you might not notice it’s vegetarian
Take your aubergines and slice them lengthways, now make criss-cross cuts all across the flesh. Place them flesh side down in a large non-stick frying pan and cook over a medium high heat for about five minutes. Meanwhile, mix together a heaped tablespoon of miso paste, one crushed garlic clove, a tablespoon of sesame oil, teaspoon of soy sauce and a thumb sized amount of grated ginger in a small bowl. Put the slighty charred aubergines flesh side up on a baking tray and brush the mixture generously all over the four halves. Roast in the oven at 200C for 25 mins.
While the aubergine is cooking, thinly slice half the pack of radishes and all of the cucumber half and set aside. Slice a few spring onions into thin matchsticks. Cook some rice of your choice according to pack instructions.
Drizzle a teaspoon of honey over each aubergine half and cook for a further five minutes. Serve with the rice and cucumber radish salad, sprinkling the sesame seeds over the aubergines if you have them and finish with the spring onions.
NOTE: Brown miso tends to be the most commonly available variety, but white or red will also do. Make this vegan by leaving out the honey or swapping for a tiny amount of maple syrup.
Tuesday – Quick DIY Bianca Pizzas, 15 mins
A cheat dinner if ever there was one, but a very tasty one nonetheless.
Heat your oven as hot as it goes and put a baking tray on the top shelf. Take your flatbread(s) and tear the mozzarella evenly all over. Take a few stems of broccoli and add some of the smaller florets to the pizza along with the pack of salami slices and a finely sliced chilli. Pop it in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is really bubbling. Finish with fresh basil and black pepper.
NOTE: Of course, you can top your flatbreads with whatever you like but take care not to overload them or the breads won’t cook before your topping burns.
Wednesday – Thai Sea Bass & Veggie Noodles, 25 mins
A light, nutritious and zingy fish supper with plenty of fresh flavours
Prep your veggies first by peeling a carrot and a courgette with a Julienne peeler if you have one. If not, a normal vegetable peeler will produce nice ribbons, or use a Spiraliser or similar. Set aside. Roughly chop most of a bunch of coriander, with your remaining spring onions, a clove or two of garlic and a chilli then mix it all together. Set aside.
Fry the sea bass fillets skin side down in a non-stick pan for about four minutes. You shouldn’t need any extra oil as some will come out of the skin and do the job. Once they’re white all over instead of translucent, they’re done. Put on a small plate and cover with foil to rest.
In the same pan, fry the veg ribbons for about two minutes then add the noodles (1 or two packs depending on how hungry you are) and a dash of fish sauce. Put on the plates for serving and very quickly fry off the garlic, coriander and spring onion mixture in a teaspoon of coconut oil (if you don’t have coconut oil then anything flavourless will do).
Place the sea bass on the noodles, then the spring onion mix all over the fish. Serve with a wedge of lime.
NOTE: If sea bass isn’t available then bream is also fine, or you could swap for flattened chicken breasts.
Thursday – Harissa Chicken & Chickpea Traybake, 30 mins
Barely any prep, barely any washing up: a healthy, tasty winner of a chicken dinner
Preheat your oven to 180C. Take a large oven proof dish and throw in the chicken legs, the rest of the radishes, halved, the rest of the broccoli, tin of chickpeas, a few whole cloves of garlic and a tablespoon or two of harissa paste. Mix it together so things are evenly coated then bake for 25 mins. Drizzle with a few teaspoons of tahini, a squeeze of lemon and some finely chopped parsley, mint and/or coriander to serve.
NOTE: Chicken can be swapped with a meaty fish like cod, haddock or monkfish if you like. If the harissa is spicier than you’d like, tone it down by stirring in yoghurt to serve (don’t heat the yoghurt, it will split)
Friday – Herby Lamb Chops & Sauteed Potatoes, 45 mins
A good date night dinner; impressive but fairly quick and simple to prepare
We’ll make the sauce first: take any soft herbs you have left – hopefully most of a bunch of basil, plenty of mint and some bits of parsley and coriander – and pummel them in a pestle and mortar with a garlic clove and rock salt. Once well-mushed, stir in the juice of a lemon, a teaspoon of olive oil and add water dash by dash until you achieve a consistency you like. Season to taste and set aside.
To deal with the potatoes don’t bother peeling them, but dice into roughly 2cm squares and cook in boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain.
Season and grill the lamb chops under a very hot grill for about 4 minutes each side, until the fat is crisped. Put on a plate and cover with foil then leave to rest in a warmish place while you finish the dish.
Heat 2-3cm of olive oil in a large pan and add the potatoes on a medium heat with a clove of unpeeled garlic. Leave to cook for about 10 minutes until golden and crispy.
Slice your last courgette as thinly as possible (or use the veg peeler again) and dry fry in a pan until just-charred before finishing with a few drops of olive oil. Serve it all up, pouring any of the juices that have come out of the lamb back over the meat.
NOTE: If you don’t eat lamb, then pork chops or steak would also be delicious.