Weekly Meal Plan #1: Easy Healthy Eating
I own hundreds of cookbooks, I have tonnes of food magazines stacked up everywhere and I have god knows how many recipe blogs bookmarked, but I still find it a struggle deciding what to eat each week when it comes to my weekly food shop. So, new for 2018 I’m going to be posting meal plans of the sort of things I think you’d like to eat through the year to solve your weeknight dilemmas. In each one I’ll be including five recipes, one for each night of the week, and sometimes a few bonus treats at the end for the weekend if there is a special event, holiday or occasion coming up that you may want to cook for (or sometimes just because!)
It is unavoidable that every January everyone goes on a healthy eating kick, but actually after all of the indulgence in December it is what I’m craving. However, after week one I find myself starting to lag and getting a bit short on ideas. I’ve filled my fridge up with bright, fresh produce, but now I’m left with all the odds and ends you need to figure out what to do with. As well as making sure all of the recipes in this meal plan are healthy, I’ve also taken care that they’re either warming and comforting, or full of freshness and zing. It is still January, after all and I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the warmer months ahead.
A recipe I adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Superfood my Baked Eggs with Chickpeas, Tomatoes & Basil make for the perfect, filling, nutritious Meat Free Monday dish, packed with protein. If you don’t have chickpeas to hand you can use any other type of white bean you can get your hands on, and basil leftover from the packet will make a delicious alternative to the parsley I have used in tomorrow’s dish.
This is probably my favourite light and healthy fish dish. The tomato and saffron relish makes things just that little bit more interesting (I know saffron is pricy but you only use a little here, and it goes a long way – if you’re looking to do something with the rest of your jar, Nigella also does a wonderful sausage, tomato and saffron pasta sauce in At My Table) and the fluffy cauliflower rice, studded with seasonal pomegranate and spring onions really absorbs all of the delicious juices. If you’re unsure about cauliflower rice, don’t be. I’m not one for carb substitutes, and I ordinarily loathe cauliflower, but in this form it is a star in its own right.
This super healthy soup is like a hug in a bowl, and as you start by simmering pearl barley in stock before adding everything else there is no frying of anything in any fat or oil. Once you’ve made this packed with winter root veggies, sweet swede, creamy potatoes and curly kale (or anything else you may have to throw in) you won’t believe it is just vegetables and grains simmered in stock, it is just that comforting (and filling!)
From River Cottage Light & Easy, this simple one pot is a family favourite, we’ve made it so many times. Basically, you cook down the onions, stir in lentils and stock (with a generous few sprigs of rosemary for added omph) and roast the chicken thighs on top, lid off in the oven for crispy skins. The chicken becomes impossibly tender, and all the cooking juices are absorbed into the lentils that become the most amazing mash to have instead of mashed potatoes. Serve with blanched greens, and bonus points if you get some delicious, crispy lentil bits at the bottom. If you used parsley on your cod, you can use the leftovers on this before serving.
Friday: Easy Coconut Kedgeree
I suggest fish on Friday for all the traditionalists out there, though there is nothing traditional about this coconutty kedgeree I’ve adapted from one of my favourite healthy eating cookbooks (seriously, get a copy to cook from this January) Chef on a Diet. I’m not big on smoked fish, so instead of the traditional smoked haddock we’re using unsmoked salmon here instead (though you could use any cooked flaked fish you like – we’re breaking the rules here anyway, serving breakfast for dinner!), and everything has been cooked in coconut oil, even the poached eggs simmered in coconut vinegar. You could always switch back to traditional oil/ white wine vinegar, if that is simply what you have on hand.
Looking forward to the weekend, still sticking on the theme of healthy eating, but a little more celebratory as it is for everyone to share, why not make my Homemade Chicken Fajitas? If you want something slowly bubbling away for dinner that will yield portions for the fridge throughout the week or the freezer, meat eaters try my Simple & Delicious Bolognese Sauce, and for those of you looking for something with a little less meat/ dairy try my Freeze Ahead Red Lentil Ragu. Finally, if you’re looking for a little healthy breakfast help throughout the week, here are two delicious smoothie ideas from the Conscious Cleanse, and my template to make any green smoothie.