30 March, 2018
Lifestyle

5 Healthy (and Affordable) Meals You Can Meal Prep on Sunday

30 March, 2018

Spend Sunday afternoon prepping healthy and affordable meals for the week ahead

Is eating in the new going out? Perhaps you’re on a health kick or saving money for your next holiday, or maybe you just want to have more control of what is in the food that you are eating. Whatever the reason then cooking at home in Hong Kong needn’t be too difficult or expensive. Here are some top tips and some easy recipes to get your cooking regime started.

Read more: 5 Seriously Easy Dinners You Can Make in 15 Minutes

Tuna Puttanesca Pasta

Store cupboard staples: Penne Tuna Puttanesca

Almost all of the ingredients in this simple, but tasty, pasta dish came from a can or jar. For when time is tight it is great to have a few simple canned or dried staples in the cupboard to throw together into a pasta sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 anchovy fillets (from a can)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 100g black olives
  • 1 200g can of tuna in olive oil (150g drained weight)
  • 160g dried penne pasta
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Tuna Puttanesca Pasta and Garlic Bread

Method:

1. Put a pan of salted water on to heat for the pasta.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, until starting to soften.
3. Add the anchovy fillets to the pan and stir for a few minutes, you will see that they start to disintegrate quickly.
4. Add the capers and fry for a few more minutes
5. Add the tin of tomatoes, bring to the simmering point and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Whilst the sauce is simmering add your pasta to the, now boiling, water and cook to the packet instructions.
7. When the pasta is nearly ready drain the tuna and add to the sauce along with the olives. If the sauce has thickened too much add a couple of spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water to loosen in.
8. Season to taste, baring in mind that the anchovies and capers are already quite salty.
9. Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce.

Read more: 5 Healthy Packed Lunches Perfect for the Office

Quinoa and Falafel Salad

Prepare ahead: Falafel Quinoa Salad with Tzatziki

The cooked quinoa and falafel balls can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Prepare them at the weekend and then it is quick and easy to throw this dish together when you get home from the office.

Ingredients:

Falafel (makes 12 small falafel):

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Handful of fresh coriander (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Quinoa:

  • 120g quinoa
  • 360ml cold water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cucumber, cubed
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, chopped

Tzatziki:

  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade. To make the falafel put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz for 5 minutes until combined. Use your hands to shape into balls and bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden. If you don’t have an oven you can pan fry in a little oil, turning regularly until golden.
2. To make the tzatziki grate the cucumber into a sieve over a bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the cucumber and leave to one side to drain, the salt helps to draw some of the liquid out of the cucumber.
3. Meanwhile place the rinsed quinoa and cold water in a pan and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. As a general rule for 1 measure of quinoa you need 2 measures of water. Once the quinoa is cooked remove from the heat and use a fork to fluff it up.
4. To finish the tzatziki use the back of the spoon to help push out some more of the liquid. Place the cucumber in a bowl and mix in all the other ingredients. Ideally leave in the fridge for a few hours or overnight for the flavours to combine.
5. To dress the quinoa whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and some seasoning. Stir through the cooked quinoa and then mix in the tomatoes and cucumber.
6. Serve the quinoa topped with some falafel and a drizzle of tzatziki. Perfect to take for packed lunch.

Read more: Must Try Recipes for your HK Kitchen: Teriyaki Salmon with Cauliflower “Rice”

Sweet Potato Stew

Batch cook: Sweet Potato, Lentil and Chickpea Stew

Cook up a large batch of this tasty stew and freeze portions to keep in the freezer. Just take them out when you need them and serve it with a chunk of crusty bread, with some rice, quinoa, or in a baked potato.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, for frying
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small orange sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 courgette, chopped
  • 1 tin of Chickpeas
  • 75g dried red lentils
  • 140g spinach (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Sweet Potato Stew Chickpeas

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a large pan or casserole. Fry the onion for 5 minutes, add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and spices. Stir well to combine, bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add the sweet potatoes, chickpeas and carrots and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add the red lentils and the vegetable stock, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add the chopped courgette and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender and the lentils are cooked.
6. Stir in the spinach until wilted. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Read more: Must Try Recipes for your HK Kitchen: Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Halloumi Flat Breads

Eat veggie: Honey Halloumi Flatbreads with Lemon Yoghurt Dressing

To save money and eat healthy, try to eat vegetarian meals a couple of times during the week.

Ingredients:

Flatbreads (adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe):

  • 175g self raising flour
  • 175g natural yoghurt
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Marinated Halloumi:

  • 250g halloumi, sliced
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Lemon and Herb yoghurt dressing:

  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Handful of fresh herbs, roughly chopped
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbsp yoghurt
  • Salt to taste
  • Salad to serve

Halloumi Flat Breads

Method:

1. Whisk together the lemon juice, honey and olive oil. Place the halloumi in a bowl, or food storage bag, and pour over the marinade. Ideally store in the fridge overnight to marinate the halloumi, although it is still good if you cook it immediately.
2. For the flatbreads; put the flour, baking powder and yoghurt into a mixing bowl and use a fork to bring the ingredients together to form a dough.Then use your hands to bring the dough mixture together and tip onto a floured work surface. Knead for a minute or 2 to continue bringing the dough together. Divide the dough into 4 portions and use a floured rolling pin to roll them out into rounds. The dough can be quite sticky so continue to flour your work surface and rolling pin as necessary.
3. Heat a dry griddle pan, or frying pan, to a high heat and fry the flatbreads for a minute or two on either side, until they start to puff up and turn golden brown. To make them extra yummy you can brush them with a little garlic butter.
4. Combine the dressing ingredients and set to one side whilst you cook the halloumi.
5. Fry the halloumi for approximately 5 minutes on each side, until it starts to turn brown and caramelise. Pour any extra marinade over as they are cooking.
6. Serve the flatbreads topped with salad, halloumi and the yoghurt dressing. Also great with some couscous.

Read more: Must Try Recipes for your HK Kitchens: Chicken and Lettuce Cups

Healthy Chicken Tomato Cous Cous

Double up:  Spicy Tomato Crusted Chicken with Cous Cous

Plan your meals for the week ahead and use ingredients, or elements of the meal, in more than one recipe. I doubled up on the couscous and used if for both the Halloumi Flatbreads and this chicken dish.

Ingredients: 

Chicken:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs (optional)

Couscous:

  • 160g couscous
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • Small knob of butter
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cucumber diced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, chopped

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
2. Mix together the tomato puree, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, chilli flakes. paprika and seasoning to form a paste. Place the chicken breasts on a baking dish and top with the tomato paste. Sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until cooked through.
3. Place couscous in a large bowl. Add the knob of butter and lemon juice. Pour over the hot stock and mix with a fork. Cover with a plate or cling film and leave for 10 minutes.
4. After the 10 minutes use the fork again to fluff up the couscous and then stir in the cucumber and tomatoes.
5. When the chicken is ready serve on a bed of the cous cous.

Read more: Must Try Recipes for your HK Kitchen: Prawn, Spinach and Coconut Curry

Featured images credited to Women and Home sourced via Pinterest, all other images credited to Mhairi Campbell

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