DIY convenience food

 

kelly

 

How do you manage to eat well without cooking for hours every single day? Make one wholesome meal at the beginning of the week and make enough to feed yourself for a few days. You might argue that it is better to eat different foods every day, but if you turn to other convenience food anyway, you are already compromising. If you make the dishes yourself, at least you know that you are eating well and then you can vary the ingredients you use each week in order to get all the nutrients you need. These are recipes for easy, balanced main meals that contain lean protein, lots of vegetables and whole grains. All will keep for a few days if you want to make more than 1 portion. The idea is to do your cooking once a week and eat the same meal a few times. Depending on your needs, these might last you 3-4 days, which leaves room for the occasional meal out, or a change on some days.

1) Honey Mustard Chicken with Brown Rice & Veg

Coat 4 chicken breasts (or the equivalent in strips in equal parts honey and whole grain mustard – approximately 2 Tablespoons each.

Add the following to your cooked brown rice (1 cup cooked per serving):

Spring onion

Chopped red pepper

Chopped parsley

Chilli flakes (about ¼ tsp per serving)

1 tablespoon olive oil per serving

Salt & lemon juice to taste

Add 1/2 -1 cup cooked green veg e.g. broccoli, green beans, asparagus, mange tout, baby marrows, spinach PLUS a handful of something fresh and raw e.g. rocket, watercress or sprouts.

 

 

Hake & Spinach Pie

For 4 days:

1 kg sweet potatoes, boiled in skins, then chopped (with skins on) and mashed with:

1 tbsp whole grain mustard

2 tbsp coconut oil (or olive, if you prefer) or ¼ cup coconut milk if you have it

salt to taste

 

In a bowl, combine:

1 box hake medallions, poached gently in stock and cut into cubes

2 packets spinach, washed, steamed, squeezed out and chopped

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp curry powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup of the mashed sweet potato

Put the hake and spinach mix into a baking dish, top with mashed sweet potato, 2 rounds of feta, crumbled and lots of paprika.

Bake at 180 degress for about half an hour until the top starts to look lightly browned.

 

 

Pork Fillet Stir Fry

You’ll need about 2 whole pork fillets to get you through 3-4 days.

Roast the pork fillets dry, then cut up and coat in a glaze of ½ tsp each chopped garlic and ginger, 2Tbsp soy (or tamari) and 2 Tbsp honey, just warmed and melted together in a pan on the stove.

Use 1 cup cooked whole wheat pasta or wholegrain King Soba noodles per serving.

Make plenty of stir fried vegetables, seasoned with rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, tamari, chilli and sesame oil.

For some freshness, add chopped fresh mint and coriander to each serving.

 

 

Mexican Chicken & Rice Salad

Instead of all rice as the carbohydrate source, use 1 tin of kidney beans and mix with 2 cups cooked rice to make 4 servings. The kidney beans are a great, low GI source of carbohydrate and extra fibre.

Add 4 chicken breasts, coated in the following spice rub and baked at 200 degrees for approximately 15 minutes, then sliced.

Spice rub:

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp organum

½ tsp salt

chilli flakes (optional)

Combine rice, beans and chicken with fresh coriander, lots of salad ingredients of your choice, fresh lemon (or lime if you can find it), measured olive oil (2 tsp per serving), or some avocado or a combination – if you use avo, cut it fresh each day or it’ll go brown.

Breakfast Ideas:

 

Super Bircher Muesli

This is a standard recipe that you can alter to suit your preferences. The basic ingredients are oats and some liquid to soak them in overnight. The liquid can be milk, water, apple juice or any other fruit juice you like – fresh orange or berry juices work nicely. When I make this for myself I use fresh blueberries (in season) or dried goji berries for their antioxidant properties and chia or ground flax seeds to provide some essential omega 3 fatty acids. Chia seeds have a more neutral flavor than flax, although they are more expensive because they are imported.

Basic mix to make the night before (can be stored for up to a week in the fridge)

40g (about half a cup) rolled oats per serving (3 cups for a large bowl)

2/3 cup liquid per serving – I usually use half milk and half apple juice, or all milk, in which case I’d add some honey or stevia for sweetness (for a large bowl try 1 cup apple juice and top up with milk to cover, otherwise it can get too sweet). You might have to adjust the consistency by adding more liquid in the morning, but rather go too dry than too wet the night before.

1 tablespoon dried fruit per serving – always use some raisins or unsulphured chopped apricots for sweetness, then if there are no seasonal berries add dried goji berries to soak overnight (use about ½ cup dried fruit for a large bowl)

If you choose to add chia or ground flax seeds they can be added to this basic mix to soak (use about 3 heaped tablespoons for a large bowl or 1 tbsp per serving for smaller portions). Keep other nuts and seeds to add just before serving.
In the morning:

1) Check consistency and stir in some more milk if necessary – it should be like thick porridge – not runny, but not crumbly or stiff either.

2) Add grated apple (about ½ apple per serving or 2 for a large bowl) – you can also add berries or other fruit (1 cup for a large bowl).

3) Optional extras: Cinnamon, honey or other flavours e.g. vanilla extract if you like.

4) Add a spoon of plain yoghurt to each serving or as a layer on top of a large bowl.

5) Garnish with toasted seeds or chopped nuts – I prefer to add these just before eating, so they stay crunchy.

This recipe can be made with soy, almond or rice milk for those who are lactose intolerant or prefer to avoid dairy, in which case leave out the yoghurt as well.

 

 

American Buckwheat Pancakes

Ingredients:

2 eggs, separated

2 tablespoons sugar or honey

2 tablespoons oil or melted butter

1 cup milk

1 cup whole meal flour

¼ cup buckwheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Whisk all wet ingredients together (not including oil/butter).
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  3. Whisk egg whites to soft peaks in another bowl.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry in 2 parts to avoid lumps.
  5. Fold in egg whites.
  6. Use oil or butter to grease a pan.
  7. Ladle batter into hot pan and while the first side cooks you can add slices of banana or fresh blueberries to the top side of the pancake.
  8. When you see bubbles, flip over with a spatula and cook the other side.
  9. Serve with maple syrup.

You can make smaller flapjacks with this mixture as well.

 

 

Whole Wheat Scones

Makes 12

Ingredients

4 cups stone ground whole meal or brown bread flour

1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons salt

100g butter, chopped into pea-sized pieces

1 tablespoon sugar or honey

2 eggs (beat with a tablespoon of milk and save some back for brushing tops of scones)

Milk – start with 1 cup and then add slowly until the scone dough comes together

Directions

1) Mix dry ingredients

2) Rub in butter with finger tips – keep it flaky, rather than working it to small crumbs

3) Add beaten egg (remember to keep some back for brushing on top)

4) Add milk until the mixture comes together into a soft dough

5) Turn out onto a floured surface, separate into 2 balls and bring each one together gently by shaping, flattening and folding over 4 or 5 times – do not knead the dough, just fold and flatten.

6) Cut each round piece of dough into triangles*, brush with remaining egg and bake at 180 degrees for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.

*You can keep dough together and flatten to about 1 ½ inches then use a floured cookie cutter to make round or heart-shaped scones if you prefer.

 

 

Maple Granola

Serves 12 (1/4 cup each)

Ingredients

2 cups rolled oats

¼ cup wheat germ

¼ cup flaked almonds

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

¼ cup dried coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

200-250ml apple juice (I use a small juice box and add water if it needs it)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 T Maple syrup (I use honey or agave if I don’t have maple syrup)

½ cup dried fruit e.g. raisins, goji berries, cranberries etc

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients (except the dried fruit).
  3. Add apple juice, vanilla and syrup (or honey) and water if it looks too dry still – there should be some small “clumps” forming, which you want in granola, but they are delicate when the mix is still raw, so try not to break them – work carefully to protect these clumps when you spread and turn the mix on the baking tray during cooking.
  4. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes, checking regularly and turning about 3 times during the cooking process. Be careful about leaving “gaps” because the exposed parts go brown first. Try to move the part on the edges into the middle and vice versa.
  5. Add the dried fruit after baking, otherwise it gets hard.

 

 

French 3 Bean Salad

Ingredients:

500g green beans, topped and tailed and cut into 3 pieces

1 tin kidney beans

1 tin other beans e.g. haricot, butter, or 1 cup cooked broad beans (from the garden – they should boil in about 8 minutes when they are fresh)

Juice of ½ lemon

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 whole spring onion, finely sliced – green and white parts

Salt and black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Cook the beans in salted boiling water until just tender. Refresh in iced water to preserve colour.
  2. Drain the canned beans and rinse away the starchy water. Allow them to dry off in a colander.
  3. Mix the dressing ingredients together and toss with all the beans and the spring onion.
  4. Season to taste.
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