Even though I can be pretty disorganised in some areas of my life (never arrange to meet me before 9am), I’m rather efficient when it comes to meal planning. I’ve already mentioned a love of batch cooking in my money-saving video but one thing I’ve always struggled with is knowing what to make for lunch. My housemates probably think I have some kind of omelette addiction and I hate feeling hungry a few hours later because I haven’t thought things through. I’m also trying to use my coworking space more, so popping to the fridge every 30 mins and whipping up random meals is out of the question.
I’ve done a bit of research and thought I’d share a few meals that I like to prep at the weekend and actually look forward to eating. I know all those Pret expeditions and cheeky snacks can add up (and I bet the let’s-save-our-pocket-money-for-a-house brigade would have something to say about that)…
Cheap & Cheerful
What’s the recipe? Paprika, Lentil & Tomato Soup
Is it straightforward? I do love a one pot dish. This one is a Hemsley & Hemsley recipe and uses so many store cupboard ingredients like dried herbs, lentils and tinned tomatoes. It makes a decent amount, so I always half the recipe (though you can pop some in the freezer if you want to be super efficient) and add a little more chilli for a nice kick. I like it as it’s a little more substantial than lentil dhal and it can also be vegan, so handy if you ever have any plant-based guests.
How many random items do I need? None. I’m not really fussed about bone broth so I just use a vegetable stock cube instead.
Use Up Any Leftovers
What’s the recipe? Bulgur Wheat Pilaf
Is it straightforward? Everyone needs a bit of pilaf in their lives. Stock is basically the answer to everything and I wont cook any of those trendy grains unless I know the result will be nice and flavoursome. This standard recipe is meant to be a side dish, but I sometimes bulk it up with mushrooms and chorizo to make things more substantial. You can also add in any logical leftovers that may be on their last legs, so this is where those mammoth bags of kale come in handy (throw some in when it’s almost done). Halloumi always makes things better, so I grill a few chunks and mix in once everything’s ready.
How many random items do I need? The world (well bowl) is really your oyster. You can make it vegan by changing the stock, ditching the butter and swapping out the halloumi.
For Reformed Itsu Addicts
What’s the recipe? Salmon Sushi Bowl
Is it straightforward? Did anyone else ever buy loads of sushi stuff that they never ended up using? Ever since I saw this recipe on Gem’s feed, I knew I had to try it since I’m fond of pre-packaged sushi but not necessarily looking at my bank balance afterwards (I forget that Apple Pay is real money). This took a little more coordination but was super simple to throw together. The most important thing to remember is that the salmon needs to have been frozen so that the bacteria is killed and Gem recommends checking with your fishmonger. Some may say that you need sashimi grade salmon, I bought a bag from Lidl and was fine but if you’re concerned, I would double check when you buy it. The best thing is to defrost the fillet the day before you’d need it and I’m sure you could do something similar with prawns.
How many random items do I need? There’s a few bits to buy but if you shop around, it probably costs the same as one Itsu lunch to make 3-4 portions. You’ll need mirin and rice wine vinegar but they should keep in the fridge for 6 months and you can also buy frozen edamame beans. I also used tabasco sauce instead of Sriracha (I wasn’t ready to commit to a 1 litre bottle). Next time I may even splash out on some pickled ginger.
Let me know if you’re a batch cooking pro! Also if you enjoyed this, then please like this post on Bloglovin!