Weekly Meal Plan #2: Lunchtime Leftovers
I’m so glad that you all enjoyed my first Weekly Meal Plan! This week I’ve decided to focus on weeknight dishes that yield helpful leftovers either to make whole lunches the next day, or which will provide something helpful like cooked chicken, that you can mix with whatever salad items you have available, or make into wraps, pitta pockets or sandwiches. Remember, you can find all my Weekly Meal Plans here (sidebar link coming soon!)
Roast chicken thighs may not be the most obvious thing to yield leftovers, but hear me out. Are not the best bits of leftover cold chicken the scraggly bits from around the wings, not the breast meat? And what exactly is a juicy, well cooked chicken thigh made up of? Exactly. Typically these come in packs of six, so rather than separating them out and freezing them in two-per-person pairs (because I know families of three like ours who eat a whole pack in a meal are rare) cook them all, and then after dinner shred them with a fork (if you keep the skins or not is up to personal preference, I love the crispy skins shredded in sandwiches) then you have a good amount of delicious, gently spiced meat for salads and sandwiches throughout the week.
I’ve made a lot of carrot soup over the past few years, but this one adapted from Gizzi Erskine’s Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts is my favourite not because of the delicious, warming, gently spiced and red lentil enriched soup, but because of the punchy and addictive toppings. How, I hear you ask, do you get to build a soup bowl that fancy and beautiful at your desk? My kitchen cupboards are home to an army of little reusable pots and dressing bottles, perfect to carry such items to drizzle in at the last minute. I promise you you’ll enjoy your lunch more if it comes with a little ceremony! (I have these ones and these ones)
Wednesday: Korean Prawn Rice Bowl with Sesame Pak Choi
My Korean Prawn Rice Bowl with Sesame Pak Choi is one of those dishes that tastes just as delicious cold as it does hot. My recipe makes two portions, so either make it just for you and double up, and as you’re building the bowls also build the same in your lunch box for the next day or so. Cold rice sometimes is not as light and easy to eat as freshly cooked, so I like to decant a little soy sauce in a dressing pot, save soy sauce sachets from sushi I have not eaten, or take a little of my favourite Asian Dressing from Student Eats to loosen things up a little as I eat. When I order Asian food in it usually comes with wooden disposable chopsticks, and as I have my own re-usable ones at home I usually save these to pack with a lunch like this (don’t forget some napkins!) Again, it is all about making your lunch just that little bit more special!
Thursday: Sausage Meatball & White Bean Stew
Not only is this an excellent, cheap and comforting one pot stew, but the leftovers reheat/ microwave perfectly. This is one of my favourite things to have as a leftover, and if anything gets better the next day once all of the flavours have had a chance to seep into the pasta and the beans. I like this in a warm bowlful, but you can make it go a bit further by serving it with a nice green side salad.
Friday: Homemade Chicken Fajitas
So, you don’t necessarily need to make something that yields leftovers on a Friday night, so I think you should make Homemade Chicken Fajitas. They’re a fun end-of-the-week treat, and if you do have any leftovers, there are a couple of fun things you can do with them. I’ve got a recipe for a Fajita Salad Bowl if you have any leftover chicken/ peppers/ onions in Student Eats, and if you’ve got any leftover tortillas/ salsa/ guacamole leftover, your weekend brunch is sorted by way of my Hangover Cure Chilaquiles.
In the spirit of making things ahead/ if you have leftovers over the weekend you should make my Forced Rhubarb & Cardamom Breakfast Compote to breakfast on over the week (the forced rhubarb is excellent right now) and if you do a roast chicken, this is how to use the carcass to make some homemade chicken stock to stash in the freezer for stews and soup making. Sticking to what fruits are in season at the moment, by way of a weekend treat do make the most of the passion fruit season by whipping up my Chocolate Cake with Fresh Passion Fruit Buttercream.