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.