This week's meals - week starting 25 August

So this week’s Meal Prep essentially happened standing in the supermarket. I’d raced in to buy something else and realised the mature thing was to take a few extra minutes to stop the cycle of skipping meals & takeaway and buy some food for the week!

So begrudging being in the supermarket, uninspired by what to eat and with no menu plan to hand, I looked around for what was on special and thought about how to make my week easy.

What I came up with was pasta!

I normally don’t eat much pasta, but it seemed a quick, easy & cheap fix and way better than anything I had eaten the previous few weeks. Mushrooms were on special as was broccoli and both looked amazing.

So essentially my ‘menu plan’ as it was revolved around pasta, mushrooms & broccoli. I also bought a few tins of tinned salmon and tuna. Tinned fish is cheap, nutritious and wouldn’t go off if inspiration deserted me and I couldn’t be bothered cooking. And on the upside if I did get inspired there are so many good things that can be made with a simple tin of tuna or salmon.

So as you will see this week’s meals were mainly pasta-based as I was looking quick, easy & filling. Plus it’s still winter so comfort food was a high priority. You will also see that I had a major slip up on night!

Unfortunately this also featured as a ‘meal’ one night!

This week’s stats

  • Number of serves of vegetables: 17, which for 5 days is 68% of my target. (Target being 5 serves of vegetables a day)

  • $ spent on food: $120. I wasn’t that organised or motivated so bought quite a few breakfasts & lunches which really upped my food bill.

$ value of food wasted: $19.00 This week I made an extra effort not to waste food, so although this is still too much it is better than it has been of late.

Wins for the week

Topping up the freezer with some cooked pasta with peas, corn and broccoli added to it. I can use these as a base for adding a tomato sauce or re-creating one of the meals from this week, e.g. add tuna or add roasted vegetables. It means I can make a meal quickly with less washing up.

What to be better at next week

So this week was sooooo much better than previous weeks. But as you can see from above there were some major trip-ups!

Things I’m doing to avoid this next week are:

  1. Batch cooking on the weekend. This is so I have some actual meals in the freezer vs ‘separates’.

    Even though I’m a big fan of what I like to term ‘separates’ as a great way to meal-prep, sometimes it is good to know that you can take just one item from the fridge or freezer and it is a full meal.

  2. Buy some ready-made pasta to keep in the freezer. The thing that led to bad food choices this week and in other weeks, is that because I cook most things from scratch, everything in my cupboard needs preparation before it becomes a meal or snack. This is not good if you are extremely hungry of very lazy! So best thing to do is recognise this and have some ready meals on hand. This could be frozen meals. My preference is for pre-made pasta that I can drizzle with olive oil. Not that nutritious, but quick and filling. And sometimes that’s what’s about.

  3. Being realistic about what I will feel like eating and Including some comfort good items in my batch cooking.

Normally I batch cook when I’m motivated about being healthy and my freezer is full of healthy soups and meals. I generally avoid pasta and high carb meals. However I know that next week is going to be a busy and challenging week at work and despite it being the first day of spring tomorrow there are some wintery and frosty days ahead.

This means I’m likely to be wanting easy, filling, comfort-style meals. So it’s best to be realistic and plan for this, vs just meal prep super healthy meals, only to find them lacking in appeal, thus opting for take away. A very bad option that leads to a lot of food waste and unnecessary expenditure.


Meals for one: How I made this …

The purpose of this section is to spark inspiration and show ways of creating a meal without having to follow a specific recipe. Sometimes I do follow a recipe, other times, like all this week my my main goal is to create something that could pass as dinner, but wasn’t too complicated, but was nutritious and enjoyable.

Monday: Pasta with peas, corn & broccoli topped with avocado




IMG_2071.jpg

Instructions for making this meal

  1. Boil water and start cooking pasta then prep broccoli

  2. When the pasta is 5 minutes from being cooked add corn & broccoli to the pasta. (The corn & broccoli can be cooked separately. I do it this way to save another saucepan needing to be washed up! Of course, very easy to pop in the microwave if you have one)

  3. Drain cooked pasta and vegetables and put in a mixing bowl.

  4. Add tinned tuna to the cooked pasta and vegetables and mix through. Add pepper & salt to taste.

  5. Add serving of the pasta and tuna to a bowl and then top with avocado. A squeeze of lemon and another sprinkle of ground black pepper.

Ways to make this dish tastier

Parmesan cheese would be great to grate over the top. If you don’t have broccoli or or corn, frozen peas would be good, as would asparagus.

Make sure to cook an extra batch of the pasta & vegetables so that you can freeze them as a base for future dinners.

Step by step pictures

IMG_2075.jpg

Tuesday: Pasta with creamy mushroom & thyme sauce topped with avocado

This was one of my favourite dishes of the week. It felt slightly decadent but was so easy to make. Also mushrooms with thyme is one of my favourite flavour combinations.

IMG_2100.jpg

Instructions for making this meal

  1. In the ideal world I would have had pasta left over from last night. However I didn’t, so the first step is boil water to cook the pasta.

  2. Melt butter in pan and gently cook garlic then add chopped thyme.

  3. Add chopped mushrooms to pan and toss through to coat with butter, thyme & garlic and then cook until mushrooms softened.

  4. Then turn your attention to the pasta. When it is 5 minutes from being cooked (according to instructions on the packet) add broccoli & peas. (These can be cooked in a separate pan or microwaved. I do it this wave to save on pans needing washing up)

  5. When pasta & vegetables are cooked, drain then add to pan with mushroom mixture and stir to combine.

  6. Add dollop of cream to sauce and gently cook to heat through.

  7. Serve. Adding avocado to the top if desired.

Ways to make this dish tastier

Parmesan cheese would be great to grate over the top. If you don’t have broccoli asparagus would work well. Cooking the mushrooms in white wine and chicken stock would also be a great way of adding flavour and making the dish more sauce-y.

I used thick cream because that is what was in the fridge, but I think it would have worked better with running cream.

Step by step pictures



Wednesday: Brown rice topped with medley of roasted vegetables and avocado

You will see from the photo of ingredients that I originally intended cooking and using barley as the base. However I was too lazy to cook it! And when I remembered I had packets of cooked brown rice in the freezer I did a jig and immediately gave up on the barley. #beautyofseparates This meal probably needed some sort of dressing or sauce to bind it altogether. It was good but not great. But way better / cheaper than takeaway and allowed me to use up some vegetables that were in danger of going to waste.

Also meant I had leftover roast vegetables to snack on and use as the base for another meal.

IMG_2115.jpg

Instructions for making this meal

  1. Boil water and start cooking your base of choice, e.g. rice, barley or pasta. Or if like me you had done meal prep and had bases in the freezer, remove your base of choice so it can start defrosting.

  2. Preheat oven (250 c) and then peel and dice vegetables and then toss in olive oil before putting into roasting dish.

  3. Roast until nearly cooked. Remove from oven and add broccoli to cook for last 15 minutes.

  4. Heat base (pasta, rice or barley) and then mix through roasted vegetables.

  5. Serve then add avocado if desired.

  6. Add hollandaise if desired. Whilst originally thinking it would be a great accompanient, I changed my mind and decided the avocado & sweet potato were enough to bind the dish together.

Ways to make this dish tastier

There are so many things you could add to this dish. Options include rocket for greens; poached chicken for protein or chickpeas for texture & protein. Like the other dishes I cooked this week grated parmesan or cheddar cheese would also be a tasty addition.

Step by step pictures

IMG_2141.jpg

Pasta with peas, corn, broccoli & roasted vegetables

Surprisingly this turned out to be one of my favourite meals of the week. As the ingredients were also pre-cooked or leftovers it was also the quickest and easiest to cook - so a win all around!

IMG_2167.jpg
IMG_2162.jpg

Instructions for making this meal

  1. No instruction necessary! Heat, combine then serve!

Ways to make this dish tastier

This meal was suprisingly tasty. For some reason all the ingredients worked together to make a great meal. Shredded poached chicken or tinned tuna could have been added for protein. And like most dishes shredded or grated cheese mixed through or tossed over the top would have made a tasty addition. I also wished I had some avocado leftover as I think that would have worked well.

All in all thought, it was a super quick, highly satisfying dinner.