A little meal planning in advance is so worthy to your health, and your family’s health. Meal planning and getting organised is the key to eating well, and taking the stress out of ‘what’s for dinner tonight?’. Find some favourite recipes and 1 pot wonders that are satisfying to eat, and quick to prepare. You don’t have to be a chef to produce real food, the more times you cook, the quicker you will become.
5 Tips & Tricks for Efficient Meal Planning
- Compile your list of recipes you plan on making that week, and write a shopping list. Buy food specifically for those meals. Just start with a list for Monday to Friday, weekends can be more leisurely shopping at farmer’s markets. This will save you pennies!
- Cook once and eat twice, so cook enough dinner for lunch the next day, box it up ready to go, to grab on your way out the door. Saves time with cleaning, saves money buying dodgy takeaway! Cuts down on wastage.
- Prep breakfast at the same time as cooking dinner. This can be as quick as boiling ½ dozen eggs to last 3 days, or soaking oats in a jar with chia seeds & yoghurt, add nuts and its done.
- Keep some staple foods in your cupboard, fridge and freezer. Go for tuna in olive oil, brown rice, quinoa, tinned tomatoes, tinned beans of every variety. These are the go to for last minute meals. Make a salad of kidney beans, tuna, fresh tomato & rocket. Eggs are awesome for last minute meals, leftover vegie frittata, omelettes, scrambled eggs in butter eggs, yum!
- Batch bulk cooking & freeze into portions of 2. Take 2 hours on the weekend to prepare 2-3 meals to freeze for later. Or during the week triple cook and freeze. Choose foods that freeze well like soups, stews, spaghetti bol sauce, curries, chili beef & beans, hummus, sweet potato bread & bone broths. On those days you know you are time poor exhausted or just over it, grab a portion from the freezer, pop in the fridge to defrost slowly, reheat when hungry, serve with a handful of baby spinach leaves & avocado or nuts what ever you have fresh.
Try this quick and simple recipe for –
ROASTED CARROT & CHICKPEA SOUP WITH CASHEW & PARSLEY SALSA
- 8 carrots, diced and roasted
- 1 tin organic chickpeas rinsed
- 1 large onion
- 1 bunch rosemary
- 1 head of garlic, roasted
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 100g butter & splash olive oil
- 1Litre-1.2 Litres vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
- 300ml cream
- Salt & pepper, to taste
Method – Soup
- Preheat oven to 185 degrees. Place baking paper onto a roasting tray. Place chopped carrots and garlic drizzled with olive oil salt & pepper. Roast until soft and coloured approx. 15 minutes.
- Heat a wide bottomed pot over medium heat and melt the butter.
- Add olive oil and onion, cook till softened and coloured slightly (approximately 10 minutes).
- Add remainder of ingredients except for stock and cream, and sauté for 5 minutes till aromatic.
- Add stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes with lid on.
- Add cream and check the seasoning. If too thick add more stock or water.
- Remove from heat & blend until smooth in a food processor or stick blender till smooth (be careful as it’s hot!).
- ½ bunch parsley washed, remove most of stems
- 1-2 cloves garlic crushed
- ½ cup raw cashews (you can soak in water for a creamier texture, or roast in the oven for a toasted flavour)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Zest & juice of ½ lemon
- 150ml extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
Method – Salsa
Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until paste-like consistency. Or finely chop & mix in a bowl. Check for seasoning. Serve over hot soup and eat immediately!