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5 day week quick and easy meal plan

5-Day Week Quick and Easy Meal Plan

Healthy, good value and tasty – this five-day meal plan ticks all the boxes. The quantities can all be adapted to the number of mouths you’re feeding, and if you make a little extra that will be lunches sorted, too.

Meat-free monday: 15-minute dahl

Lentils are a veggie staple – and with good reason. Packed with protein, fibre, and iron, they’re also low in calories.

Dahl has a reputation for taking ages to cook, and if you use dried lentils that’s certainly true.

So, skip the soaking and speed up the process by using tinned lentils. They also hold their shape a bit better so you avoid lentil mush!

For this simple dahl, you’ll need an onion, four garlic cloves, ginger, garam masala, coconut milk and a tin of chopped tomatoes, as well as some spinach.

Start by dicing the onion and add it to a deep saucepan. Finely chop the garlic and a thumb-sized piece of grated ginger then add them to the pan.

This is the perfect time to get your rice on. To shave off a few extra minutes, use microwave rice pouches.

Garam masala is a blend of spices including coriander seeds, cumin, cinnamon and cardamom, so it’s a great way of adding flavour without needing a huge spice rack.

Sprinkle two tablespoons of garam masala over the onion mix and cook for a minute. Add the lentils, coconut milk and chopped tomatoes, then let the mixture cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in some spinach leaves and your easy-peasy spinach-and-coconut dahl is ready to go.

Tuesday: slow-cooked Sriracha chicken

A slow cooker takes the effort out of this dish, but if you don’t have one it can also be made on the hob by frying the chicken.

This recipe is for four chicken breasts, but scale up or down as needed. Allow some spare – you’re going to need it for tomorrow night’s recipe.

You’ll also need an onion, Sriracha sauce, honey, soy sauce, and a lime. If you’re feeling fancy, a handful of coriander really makes it sing.

Sear the chicken breasts with the chopped onion then add them to the slow cooker.

Add six tablespoons of Sriracha, two tablespoons of honey, and just a sprinkle of soy sauce. Cut the lime in half and squeeze it to get all of the juice.

Give it a good stir, pop the lid on, then cook on slow for 6-8 hours.

Hump-day comfort food: pasta bake

Instead of a creamy white sauce, this is a Mexican-inspired pasta bake with a kick. To save time, it uses several tinned ingredients.

You’ll need some leftover Sriracha chicken from yesterday, a red pepper, an onion, a tin of kidney beans, a tin of sweetcorn, a tin of chopped tomatoes, and half a block of cheese – Red Leicester works best.

You’ll also need chilli powder and paprika, or a store-bought chilli packet mix.

Cook the pasta while you dice the red pepper and onion. Rinse the kidney beans and grate the cheese while you’re waiting.

In a small pan, fry the pepper and onion to soften them.

Once the pasta’s done, mix the ingredients, saving one handful of cheese for the topping. Pour into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle evenly with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes and your warming, cheesy bake is ready to eat.


Thursday: carb-free wraps

Quick, carb free and ridiculously tasty, this is one of those meals you’ll keep coming back to.

You’ll need turkey mince, two chillis (adjust according to your spice tolerance!), honey, spring onions, a carrot and a jar of teriyaki sauce.

For the wraps, you’ll need an Iceberg lettuce. Gently take off the leaves, trying to keep them whole whenever possible. Rinse and set aside.

Finely chop the chillis and spring onions and grate the carrot.

Fry the mince and when it starts to brown, add the chillis, spring onions, and carrot. Cook for two more minutes.

Finally, add the teriyaki sauce and a tablespoon of honey and cook for another three minutes.

Serve in a big dish in the centre of the table so people can help themselves. Take a lettuce leaf, add a big spoonful of the meat mixture, and wrap up — like you would with duck and pancakes!

Friday: modern fish and chips

Skip the takeaway for this new twist on a traditional Friday favourite: pesto cod and sweet-potato fries with roast broccoli.

Start by getting your chips in the oven. The McCain Shake Shake Sweet Potato Fries are perfect for this. They come with a sea salt and three-pepper flavour sachet that you shake over the chips before cooking.

Once your chips are in, it’s time to upgrade those mushy peas. Cut a head of broccoli into small florets. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and sprinkle with a few chilli flakes.

Add the broccoli to the oven to roast — it’s so much better than boiled, and also tastes great cold in a salad.

Mix two tablespoons of breadcrumbs with a spoonful of crème fraîche and two tablespoons of pesto – any kind works, but red pesto is ideal.

Put the cod fillets into a baking dish, then cover with the pesto mixture and bake for 15 minutes, depending on the size of the fillets.

The perfect Friday evening supper.

How You Can Reduce Food Wastage

Food wastage is perhaps one of the most overlooked crimes in society. With millions of people suffering around the world and in our own country – there should be no reason for food wastage.

There are many economic and environmentally-friendly ways of storing and then using old food for your own uses and purpose. If you are trying to reduce food wastage in your home or in your community then in this list we have taken the liberty to compile a list of four ways in which you can start the reduction of food wastage.

# 1 – Food Storage and Planning

When cooking too much food and not having a bit left over instead of throwing it away place it is a container and keep it for leftovers or use the leftovers in a new recipe. Leftover oven-heated pizza may not be as good as the freshly and pizza, but it is still delicious all the same.

# 2 – Compose For Garden

This is a great way to throw away your leftovers. Well not so much throw away the leftover but use the leftover food or food that is getting bit old and rotten for proper use. Let your garden absorb that nutrients for its own use.

# 3 – Shop With A Grocery List

This may sound like a no-brainer but like the old saying goes “never go shopping when you are hungry.” When you go shopping it would be a good idea to create a grocery list to make sure you aren’t getting food that you won’t be eating anytime soon.

Not only is this method a good way of keeping you from getting food that you won’t be eating but you will also be saving a bit more on the money. Reducing food wastage has many benefits.

# 4 – Know Your “Use By” Date

Taking the “Use By” date into consideration, you can get food that you know you will have a specific timeframe for. Scheduling your meals around this is a great way not to have any food becoming spoiled or rotten.

Reduce Food Waste

It is very possible to reduce food wastage in your home as well as your community. With this different ways, it is straightforward to stop food wastage. The less food we throw away, the better our community and the better we will feel about how we deal with the environment.

There is not a package of food but just a massive wastage of food.

Five Bright, Fresh Cocktails for Springtime

When springtime is upon us, the attention of adults oftentimes turns to bright, refreshing cocktails. As the world starts coming alive through the warmth of the spring, people from all walks of life look to tasty eats and drinks to celebrate the season. There are five perfect springtime cocktails that you should try this season. Keep in mind that these suggested libations for the springtime are perfect the year around.

Strawberry Basil Margaritas

This recipe for a lively take on beloved Margaritas fills a pitcher. It is a perfect choice for gatherings with friends and families. The recipe is easy.

Here’s what you need for Strawberry Basil Margaritas:

One 12-ounce can of frozen limeade concentrate

10 to 12 strawberries (before too long you will be able to get these from your own backyard of the local farmer’s market)

Eight fresh basil leaves

2 to 2 1/2 cups tequila (you can use gold or silver, depending on your preference)

And here’s how you make a delicious pitcher of these springtime Margaritas:

Empty limeade concentrate into the pitcher. Add 2 1/2 cans of water. Add 1 1/2 (18 ounces) of tequila (you can cut back the tequila if you want your drinks to be not quite as strong.

Hull the strawberries and then cut lengthwise slices. Add the fresh berries to the pitcher.

Crumple the basil moderately in your hands. The process of crumpling the leaves helps to release the basil flavor into the drink. Drop the leaves into the pitcher.

Cover the pitcher and place it into the refrigerator. It is best to place it in the fridge overnight, however four hours will suffice in a pinch.

When you take the pitcher out of the fridge, your Margaritas will have an attractive pale pink hue. The libation is ready to serve.

Pimm’s Cup

This recipe for Pimm’s Cup makes one cocktail. If you’ve spent any time in England, you know Pimm’s Cup is a favorite.

The ingredients you need for this tasty beverage are:

1 1/2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 Cup

lemonade (in the alternative, depending on your preference, you can also use ginger ale, or lemon-lime soda)

lemon slices

cucumber slices

You can vary the theme of your Pimm’s Cup and consider: orange slice, fresh borage, mint leaves, apple slices, or a strawberry.

As any British pub owner or inn keeper will tell you, the Pimm’s Cup is easy to make:

Fill a Collins glass halfway with ice and two or three slices of cucumber. Add borage leaves or other garnishes as you desire.

Add one measure of Pimm’s.

Top glass with lemonade, ginger ale, or lemon-lime soda.

Stir gently. If necessary, you can add additional ice.

Finally, garnish with slices of lemon and cucumber.

A note: No, Pimm’s Cup is not a “lady’s drink.” The gender barriers associated with adult libations truly are a thing of the past.

Lady Mary

Lady Mary is a homage to Downton Abbey, this recipe making one cocktail. The drink is inspired by the character on the hit British television show that viewers love to hate.

The ingredients for this springtime drink are:

1.5 oz of Lillet Blanc

.75 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice

4 to 5 basil leaves

Champagne, chilled (if your not interested in complete authenticity, sparkling California wine works just as well)

Add lemon juice and basil leaves to a shaker and muddle.

Add Lillet Blanc and ice.

Shake, and then strain into a flute.

Top with Champagne or sparkling wine.

Watermelon & Cucumber Refresher

Watermelon and cucumber really are the combination coming to the forefront for the springtime. Tis recipe makes a single cocktail. The ingredients for this delectable libation are:

3 parts vodka 1 1/2 ounces and tequila is a great recipe variation, if that is your preference]

1 part (1/2 ounce) triple sec

1 part (1/2 ounce) watermelon-cucumber-mint juice

1 part (1/2 ounce) fresh lime juice

This refreshing selection is easy to blend:

Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and then strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with a watermelon or cucumber slice, or a sprig of mint.

The Original Hurricane

The Original Hurricane is not just for Bourbon Street, not just for Mardi Gras. You can make this iconic libation with the following ingredients to make one cocktail:

2 ounces dark rum

1 ounce passion fruit syrup

1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice

With these ingredients, prepare your cocktail:

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice.

Shake and strain into an ice-filled glass. The traditional recipe does recommend crushed ice.

Bring it home with an orange slice and cherry garnish.

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Jessica Kane writes for TIPS Alcohol Training, offering TIPS responsible alcohol service training online for both on and off premise needs.