Planning meals for the week may be one of the less exciting chores on your list, but taking the time to do it will almost certainly pay off in the end.
First and foremost, planning ahead can very often save you from having to figure out what to cook every evening - and often, from having to cook at all. That can be a real winner on those busy midweek nights, especially when you’re short of time and low on energy or inspiration.
Secondly, bulk cooking to a schedule tends to work out so much cheaper than just buying that night's ingredients on a whim.
Not only can you shop far more economically and efficiently if you know exactly what you’ll be using, but a solid plan for the week’s meals means you can factor leftovers into your batch cooking. This will often mean you get two meals - or even three - for the cost and effort of making one.
That’s the idea behind these two recipes for family dinner ideas we’ve suggested below. They’re both one-pot dishes that you should be able to spin out as leftovers into five nights’ worth of tasty dinners. That means healthy family meals for a full working week, and you only have to cook twice!
The real beauty of this lazy Sunday recipe is that you barely have to pay it any attention while cooking, bar the occasional stir - it’s a simple hob classic. Furthermore, you can make so many different sorts of meals from the leftovers throughout the week.
After you’ve served up your first dinner as a regular chilli and rice dish, it’s completely up to you what you do with the remainder. It will certainly get you through three weeknight suppers, and no two meals need be exactly alike. Our favourite uses for leftover chilli include:
This recipe makes enough for 6-8 portions, or three hearty meals for two. It also freezes really well.View
This is a ‘proper’ version of a very simple, classic and delicious pasta recipe - the point being, you can reuse the extra portions later in the week as a fantastic base recipe, adapting it into more or less any other type of pasta dish you like.
Turning it into a cheesy tuna pasta bake is one simple and tasty way of putting the leftovers to great use. Alternatively, you can add pretty much any additional ingredients you like to switch up the flavours for second or third helpings. Spinach, courgettes, peas, cheese, chicken, spicy sausage, olives, artichokes, seafood...you name it, it probably works!
The base recipe will keep just fine in the fridge for 3-4 days. You might like to portion it out right after cooking, for even easier meal prep later in the week.
Makes enough for 6-8 helpings, or three hearty meals for two.View