SHARE
ADVICE

Cook once, meals for a week

Cook once, meals for a week

Set aside three hours on a Sunday and do some pre-cooking for a week of easy dinners.

All it takes is one Sunday afternoon cooking session to have dinner sorted for the week ahead! With our three-part process, simply prepare the base mix recipes, store them in the fridge/freezer, and then it just takes some hands-on time to assemble your weeknight dinners.

Before you start, make sure you have…

For cooking

  • All ingredients from shopping list (see below)
  • Large roasting pan
  • Grater
  • Blender or food processor
  • Medium-sized saucepan
  • Sharp knives

For storage and labelling

  • Containers and freezer bags
  • Labels and marker pen

Food prep

  • Begin with preparing the Basic chargrilled vegetable salad (see Part 2: Base mix recipes below). Cook the first six listed ingredients in a large baking dish with the dressing for 20 minutes.
  • Start Basic lentil mix (see Part 2: Base mix recipes below).
  • Add sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms to chargrilled vegetables after 20 minutes. Spray with oil. Cook for 30 more minutes.
  • Cook Roasted garlic bulbs (see Part 2: Base mix recipes below), alongside the vegetables, for 30 minutes.
  • Make up Basic herby chicken mix (see Part 2: Base mix recipes below). Cover and chill then divide into 2 equal portions and label: ‘Chicken stir-fry with noodles’ and ‘Chicken rice salad’.
  • Make up Basic spicy lamb mix (see Part 2: Base mix recipes below) then divide into 2 equal portions and label ‘Lamb tacos’ and ‘Lamb lentil salad’.
  • Finish Basic lentil mix and once cooled, divide into 2 equal portions and label ‘Lamb lentil salad’ and ‘Lamb tacos’.
  • Remove chargrilled vegetables from oven and once cooled divide Basic chargrilled vegetable salad mix into four equal portions and label ‘Chicken stir-fry’, ‘Lamb tacos’, ‘Summer vege pasta with tuna’ and ‘Lamb lentil salad’.
  • Remove garlic from oven and once cooled pack roasted garlic bulbs in a sealed container and refrigerate.
  • Make up Basic coleslaw mix (see Part 2: Base mix recipes below). For a very fine coleslaw, place the ingredients in a food processor. For a more chunky result, grate and chop by hand.
  • Divide coleslaw into 2 equal portions and label ‘Chicken stir-fry with noodles’ and ‘Chicken rice salad’.

After this cooking session you will have:

In the fridge

  • 1 portion of Basic herby chicken for Chicken rice salad (Monday)
  • 2 portions of Basic coleslaw for Chicken rice salad (Monday) and Chicken stir-fry with noodles (Thursday)
  • 3 portions of Chargrilled vegetable salad for Lamb tacos (Tuesday), Summer vege pasta with tuna (Wednesday) and Chicken stir-fry with noodles (Thursday)
  • 1 portion of Basic spicy lamb for Lamb tacos (Tuesday)
  • 2 portions of Basic lentil mix for Lamb tacos (Tuesday) and Summer vege pasta with tuna (Wednesday)
  • Roasted garlic bulbs for Chicken rice salad (Monday) and Lamb lentil salad (Friday)

In the freezer

  • 1 portion of Basic herby chicken for Chicken stir-fry with noodles (Thursday)
  • 1 portion of Chargrilled vegetable salad for Lamb lentil salad (Friday)
  • 1 portion of Basic spicy lamb for Lamb lentil salad (Friday)
  • 1 portion Basic lentil mix for Lamb lentil salad (Friday)

Top tips for successful freezing

  • Foods to be frozen should be as fresh as possible.
  • Cool foods completely before freezing. Freezing food when hot will increase the temperature of the freezer and could cause other foods to start defrosting.
  • Never refreeze anything that has already been frozen.
  • Make sure you wrap foods properly and put them in a sealed container or bag.
  • Freeze items in the quantities suggested so you have no wastage.
  • Label foods clearly with a marker pen. Date items if you are not going to eat during the planned week.
  • Defrost food thoroughly before cooking. Remove from the freezer the night before cooking the following day and store in the fridge.
  • Remove as much air as possible from items being packed in freezer bags.

Shopping list

Fresh vegetables and fruit

  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 4 bulbs garlic
  • 12 spring onions
  • 1 red chilli (optional)
  • 2 red capsicums
  • 3 yellow capsicums
  • 1 eggplant
  • 3 courgettes
  • 3 red onions
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 1/2 red cabbage
  • 2 medium-sized carrots
  • 1 bag mixed salad greens
  • 1 bag rocket
  • 2 punnets cherry tomatoes
  • 1 apple
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 orange

Chilled items

  • reduced-fat cheddar cheese (1/3 cup, grated )
  • 30g parmesan cheese
  • 400g pack fresh spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup low-fat plain yoghurt

Meat and poultry

  • 900g lean chicken breast fillets
  • 800g lean lamb steaks fillet

Bottled/canned products, dry goods

  • basmati rice (1 cup)
  • dried dates (1/3 cup)
  • sultanas (1/3 cup)
  • walnuts (1/4 cup)
  • red wine vinegar (about 1 cup)
  • harissa paste (4 teaspoons)
  • oil-free sun-dried tomato pieces (1/2 cup)
  • puy or green lentils (200g)
  • balsamic vinegar (3 tablespoons)
  • oil-free French dressing (1/3 cup)
  • honey (2 tablespoons)
  • rice noodles (200g)
  • orange juice (1/4 cup)
  • hoisin or plum sauce (3 tablespoons)
  • light flour tortillas (4)
  • passata (1 1/2 cups)
  • tuna in spring water (2 x 180g cans)
  • sun-dried tomato pesto (2 tablespoons)

Seasonings and pantry staples

Check your pantry to see what you already have.

  • olive oil
  • oil spray
  • salt, to season
  • black pepper
  • sugar (1 tablespoon)
  • ground cumin (1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • ground coriander (1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • paprika (1 1/2 teaspoons)

Here are the base mix recipes (see Part 3: Your week of dinners below for the daily recipes).

Basic chargrilled vegetable salad

Makes 4 portions
Total cost $20.30
Time to make 50 mins

  • 2 red capsicums, quartered
  • 2 yellow capsicums, quartered
  • 1 eggplant, sliced
  • 3 courgettes, sliced
  • 1 bulb garlic, broken in cloves
  • 2 red onions, cut in eighths
  • 1/2 cup oil-free sun-dried tomato pieces
  • 3 cups mushrooms, halved
  • oil spray
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Step 1 Preheat oven to 190°C. Place all vegetables in a large non-stick ovenproof dish, except sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms. Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over vegetables. Cook for 20 minutes.

Step 2 Toss vegetables then add sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms. Spray with oil. Cook for 30 more minutes until vegetables are lightly charred. Sprinkle with basil.

Step 3 Divide into 4 portions for Lamb lentil salad, Lamb tacos, Chicken stir-fry with noodles and Summer vege pasta with tuna.

Basic lentil mix

Makes 3 portions
Total cost $8.20
Time to make 40 mins

  • 200g puy or green lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, broken in pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Step 1 Place lentils in a pan with 6 cups water, salt, rosemary and garlic. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes until tender.

Step 2 Drain and place in a bowl. Add balsamic, orange zest, orange juice and oil. Cool completely.

Step 3 Divide into 3 portions for Lamb lentil salad, Lamb tacos and Summer vege pasta with tuna.

Roasted garlic bulbs

Makes 2 portions
Total cost $1.20
Time to make 35 mins

  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • oil spray

Step 1 Place bulbs in an ovenproof dish and spray with oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 190ºC until golden brown and garlic cloves are soft when pressed.

Step 2 Place bulbs in a sealed container. Use in the Chicken rice salad and Lamb lentil salad, broken in cloves.

Tip: Roasted garlic is perfect to add to salads for a subtle sweet garlic flavour.

Basic herby chicken mix

Makes 2 portions
Total cost $22.80
Time to make 15-20 mins

  • 900g lean chicken breast fillets, sliced

Marinade

  • 1 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, sliced, deseeded (optional)
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Step 1 Cut chicken in small pieces. Place marinade ingredients in a separate bowl. Mix until blended.

Step 2 Add marinade to chicken. Toss, cover and chill.

Step 3 Store in 2 portions for Chicken stir-fry with noodles and for Chicken rice salad.

Basic spicy lamb mix

Makes 2 portions
Total cost $33.30
Time to make 15 mins

  • 800g lean lamb steaks

Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • oil spray
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, removed from stalks
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons harissa paste
  • pinch salt

Step 1 Cut lamb in small pieces. Mix all marinade ingredients together and add to lamb. Toss, cover and chill.

Step 2 Store in 2 portions for Lamb lentil salad and for Lamb tacos.

Make it gluten free: Check ground spices are gluten free.

Basic coleslaw mix

Makes 2 portions
Total cost $9.50
Time to make 15 mins

  • 1/2 red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, grated
  • 1 yellow capsicum, diced
  • 6 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sultanas

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup white wine or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

Step 1 Place prepared vegetable ingredients in a bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together and store in a small jar or airtight plastic container.

Step 2 Divide into 2 portions for Chicken stir-fry with noodles and for Chicken rice salad.

Using the Base mixes (see Part 2 above), here are your dinner recipes for the week.

Monday: Chicken rice salad

Tuesday: Lamb tacos

Wednesday: Summer vege pasta with tuna

Thursday: Chicken stir-fry with noodles

Friday: Lamb lentil salad




Ready to put your health first?
Subscribe here

,

X

Thanks, you're good to go!

X

Thanks, you're good to go!

X

{{ contentNotIncluded('company') }} has not subscribed to {{ contentNotIncluded('contentType') }}.

Ask your librarian to subscribe to this service next year. Alternatively, use a home network and buy a digital subscription—just $1/week...

Go back