22 January, 2019

Easy Weeknight Recipes: 5 Meals Under $100

22 January, 2019

Who doesn’t love a meal that can be thrown together quickly and won’t cost the earth to make?

We’re pretty sure we’re not the only ones feeling the squeeze on the old purse strings this January. Add to that the fact that when we get home from work the last thing we feel like doing is starting to cook a long, involved meal. So we’ve pulled together some of our favourite, budget-friendly recipes to give you some midweek culinary inspiration. You should even have leftovers for a healthy packed lunch the next day. Bonus!

We used Fresh by honestbee to calculate the cost of the ingredients, and we reckon you can plate these dishes up for under $100 per portion (or less, depending on the contents of your store cupboard). Feel free to substitute any of the herbs and spices according to your taste.

Read more: Vegan Restaurants You Need to Try in Hong Kong

1. Lentil soup with peas and bacon

We are big fans of soup as the colder weather sets in, and this is a perfect winter warmer. It also freezes well, so it’s worth making in bulk!

healthy weeknight recipes lentil soup

Recipe adapted from food network

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pack bacon lardons
1 medium onion, chopped
1 potato, diced
1 cup red lentils
1 cup frozen peas
4 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to season


  • Heat in the olive oil in a large pot and add the bacon and onion. Stir frequently until the onion is golden and the bacon lardons are cooked through (around 5 minutes).
  • Add the potato, ½ cup of water and salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potato is just soft (around 8-10 minutes).
  • Add the chicken broth, 1 ½ cups of water and the lentils, cover and bring to a simmer. Uncover and cook until the potatoes are tender and the lentils begin to fall apart (approx. 12-15 minutes). Stir in the peas for the last few minutes of cooking and serve. You should get around 4 portions from these ingredients.

2. Black bean quesadilla

Quesadillas are quick to make and oh so yummy! If you want to up the veg count on this, why not add some additional fillings like red pepper or sweet potato, and serve with a salad.

healthy weeknight recipes black bean quesadillas

Recipe courtesy of the body coach

Ingredients (serves 2)
100g tinned black beans, drained
40g grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 red chilli, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
Small bunch of coriander
Salt and pepper to season
2 x corn or flour tortillas


  • Combine all of the ingredients, except the tortillas, in a large bowl and roughly mash together with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Spread the mixture over one of the tortillas in an even layer. Top with the second tortilla and press together.
  • Heat a large, dry frying pan over medium heat and add the quesadilla. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side before serving.

3. One-pan balsamic and asparagus chicken

This is a tasty supper dish, that counts towards 2 of your 5-a-day. It also tastes great cold, so is perfect for your lunchbox!

healthy weeknight dinners balsamic asparagus chicken

Recipe courtesy of delish

Ingredients (serves 4)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Packet chicken breast tenders
Salt and black pepper
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed
250g cherry tomatoes, halved


  • In a small bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the oil, honey, mustard, garlic and red pepper flakes and set aside.
  • In pan, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and sear until golden (about 3 minutes each side). Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add asparagus and tomatoes, season again with more salt and pepper, and cook until asparagus is bright green and the tomatoes are slightly wilted (around 5 minutes).
  • Add chicken back in with veggies and pour in the dressing. Toss the veggies and chicken until the chicken is cooked through and the dressing thickens (around 5 minutes or so).

4. Thai green pork lettuce cups

We love using lettuce cups as a substitution for tortillas or bread, to help lower the calorie count and add some crunch to a meal. You can always serve some rice on the side, if you want something a little heartier.

healthy weeknight dinners thai pork lettuce cups

Recipe adapted from BBC goodfood

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
250g pork mince
1 tablespoon green curry paste
1 red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
Bunch of mint, roughly chopped
Iceberg lettuce


  • Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the red onion and fry until soft. Add the pork and stir frequently until cooked through. Stir in the green curry paste and 2 tablespoons water, then cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice and herbs. Spoon the pork into the lettuce leaves to serve.

5. Green Shakshuka 

Eggs are always a cheap and easy dinner option, and this is a great recipe for when you’re sick of omelettes and looking for something a little different.

healthy weeknight dinners green shakshuka

Recipe adapted from the food medic

Ingredients (serves 3)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 small onion, diced
1 courgette, sliced
200g spinach
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
½ – 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
400g tin chopped tomatoes
6 eggs
100g feta or cheese of your choosing
Bread to serve
Salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the courgette, herbs and spices. Cook for 5 minutes and then add in the greens (a handful at a time) until wilted.
  • Pour in the chopped tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Make wells in the tomato mixture and crack eggs into the holes. Cook for 5 minutes, crumble feta on top, and cover with a lid for 2-3 minutes until the eggs are cooked but the yokes are still runny.
  • Sprinkle with chilli flakes and serve with bread to dunk.

Read more: 5 Healthy Packed Lunches Perfect for the Office

Featured image courtesy of Angele J via Pexels, image #1 courtesy of food network, image #2 courtesy of the body coach, image #3 courtesy of delish, image #4 courtesy of BBC goodfood, image #5 courtesy of the food medic

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