A week’s meal plan – For when you have limited time to cook

Cooking is one of my favourite things to do. It helps me to forget about the other things I have to do for a while.

It’s super easy to fall into a slump of grabbing yourself an instant meal so you don’t have to think about meal planning. The problem is, these quick meals are usually quite expensive and not healthy at all.

This article can be used as a meal plan for each day of the week – each meal can be adapted to fit your dietary needs too! I’m a vegetarian but I do a lot of cooking for friends and family who are not vegetarian so I have to adapt lots of meals to suit us all.

Top Tips for Quick Cooking

  1. Chop up fresh vegetables & put them in tupperware to freeze (in portions or by grouping vegetables). This will save you time later in the week, and saves money as the veg won’t go off as quickly! Freeze things like broccoli, pepper, courgette and onion.
  2. Alternatively, buy frozen veg from the supermarket.
  3. Invest in a slow-cooker. They aren’t too expensive to buy online and it will be an absolute life-saver if you’re set to have a busy day! You can find plenty of slow-cooker recipes online.
  4. Grab yourself some different herbs and spices – they’re so easy to use, last a while and make your food so much more interesting!
  5. Tinned beans, vegetables etc. are amazing to buy too!

So, let’s get going with a meal plan…

Monday – Tortilla Wrap Bake

Cook time = approx. 25 mins

Seen as I’m veggie, we’ll start off with ‘Meat Free Monday’! This is a super easy meal that can serve multiple people or can be left to cool and then put in the fridge and eaten the next day for lunch!

You will need

  • Vegetables
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Cheese
  • Tortilla wraps
  • Seasonings (I use mixed herbs, all-purpose seasoning and garlic)
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil
  1. Soften frozen (or fresh) veggies in a frying pan or wok with a bit of oil
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes and season
  3. Cover the bottom of an oven-safe dish with the mixture and roll some of the tortilla wraps (see photo above) and pop those in the dish too
  4. Add more of the mixture and roll more tortilla wraps for the top – if you want the top layer of wraps to be soft, save a little bit of mixture and put this on the top before the cheese
  5. Grate cheese on the top & bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 180 degrees.

Tuesday – Noodle Stir Fry

Cook time = approx. 25 mins

You will need:

  • Noodles (I use soft ‘straight to wok’ noodles)
  • Veggies
  • Diced chicken breast (I use chickpeas and kidney beans instead of meat)
  • Soy sauce
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil
  1. Stir fry your diced chicken and veggies in some oil (start off with your chicken and remember to check it is cooked all the way through by cutting a piece in half and seeing if the pink middle has completely gone)
  2. Once the veg and chicken is almost done, add in the noodles and soy sauce + any other seasoning you like!
  3. You’re ready to go once your noodles are done!

Wednesday – Fish, Chips and Beans

Cook time = approx. 20-25 mins

Did you know half a tin of baked beans is one of your 5-a-day? Here is a quick low-prep meal that is a step up from a microwave meal!

You will need:

  • Frozen or fresh fish
  • Oven chips
  • Baked beans
  1. Follow the packet instructions for the fish and oven chips
  2. Use a covered microwave bowl to cook the baked beans for approx 3 mins in the microwave just before the fish and chips are done

Thursday – Jacket Potato

Cook time = approx. 15 mins

You will need:

  • Baking potato
  • Tinned tuna
  • Tinned sweetcorn
  • Mayo
  1. Put your potato on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 15 minutes (keep stabbing it with a knife to see if it is soft in the middle)
  2. Mix together the tuna, sweetcorn and mayo to use as the filling! Alternatively, you can use whatever you like, such as coleslaw, cheese and more.

Friday – Fancy Toast Day!

Cook time = approx. 10-15 mins

You will need:

  • Bread
  • Avocado
  • Egg
  • Bacon
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil
  1. Super easy – fry your bacon and egg using a bit of oil
  2. Toast your bread
  3. Smush on the avocado, add the bacon and egg, season – done!

Saturday – Creamy Tomato Pasta

Cook time = approx. 25 mins.

You will need:

  • Pasta
  • Tinned Tomatoes
  • Double Cream
  • Vegetables
  • Meat of your choice (e.g. oven cook a piece of fish or stir fry some chicken pieces or bacon with the vegetables)
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil
  1. Stir fry the vegetables with a little oil + factor in your choice of meat as mentioned above
  2. Boil the pasta and drain
  3. Add the cooked stir fry mix to the pasta and add tinned tomatoes and some double cream (adaptable to how creamy you like pasta)
  4. Serve once the cream/tomatoes are fully heated through!

Sunday – Pie, Peas and Mash

Cook time = approx. 30-35 mins

Remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using some freezer food! I use frozen pies for this meal which are easy and nutritious. This is a meal you can cook while you do other things too.

You will need:

  • Frozen pie
  • Frozen peas
  • Potatoes
  • Milk
  • Butter/margarine
  1. Put your pie in the oven
  2. Peel and chop your potatoes and boil until really soft (around 30 mins)
  3. Mash potato with a little milk and butter/margarine (you can add other things such as cheese or melt the butter with garlic first if you fancy!)
  4. Add some peas to a microwave-safe bowl and pour in some water so it just covers the peas – microwave for 3 minutes
  5. Drain the peas and serve everything up!

Remember, don’t be put off by frozen foods like fish or chicken and tinned goods like baked beans – they’re convenient and still usually healthy!

Don’t forget to share your creations with us over on our socials!