Each year, the Dietitians Association of Australia challenges Australians to cook all seven meals in that week at home for Healthy Weight Week. The vital ingredient? Meal planning. Your PlanBuyCook meal planning app is a great tool to help get you started, plus our helpful guide to a week’s meals. You even get another three meals for the following week using our approach.
When you cook your own meals, you eat less. It is that simple. Home cooking is a far healthier approach than eating out, but a whole week’s meals? It can be done with a bit of organisation and a few free hours.
As always, start with a comprehensive shopping list that includes all the ingredients you need for the week. It is important to look for meals you can freeze for at least two or three meals a week, so that you can bank them for a few weeks down the track.
We have a number of meals you can cook on the barbeque as the weather is hot. We are also including at least one vegetarian meal (you can skip the bacon in the fried rice for another vegetarian option).
THIS WEEK’S MEAL PLAN
Lamb kibbeh – double the recipe and freeze half. Put half in the fridge for a few days later. Serve with lebanese bread, tabouli and natural yoghurt.
Italian sausage and white bean casserole – double the recipe and freeze half. Keep other half in the fridge and reheat a few days later.
Chicken satay – double the recipe and freeze half. Cook on a hot night with a salad and some bread.
Fried rice – a quick cook meal for a busy night. No pre-cooking required.
Herb crusted fish – prep on the day, refrigerate and cook that night. Serve with potatoes and green beans or steamed vegetables of your choice,
Tomato pasta – use the napolitana recipe from the beef cannelloni. Prepare sauce on cooking day and refrigerate. Cook the pasta on the night, reheat the sauce and top with parmesan.
As always, start by chopping the onions for the italian sausage and white bean, napolitana sauce, and crumbed fish. Get the Italian sausage mixture to simmering point, and then start on the other meals.
In another pot, cook the onion and garlic for the tomato pasta sauce. Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar,water, salt and pepper and simmer for 20–30 minutes.
Soak the cracked wheat (burghul) for the lamb kibbeh. While you are soaking the burghul, chop the chicken thighs into pieces for the satay.
Prepare the lemongrass for the satay, then add it to the crushed garlic and other ingredients for the satay mixture. Add the chicken and set aside.
Return to the lamb kibbeh and drain and squeeze out the excess water from the burghul. Process the remaining kibbeh ingredients together and then add the cracked wheat for the kibbeh. Mix and then shape into balls. Freeze half and refrigerate the other half for later in the week.
When ready, remove the italian sausage and white bean sauce from the stove and set aside to cool. Once it has cooled to room temperature, place half in a snaplock bag or plastic container and freeze for later use. Place remaining half in the fridge.
Cool the tomato pasta sauce once cooked and refrigerate for later in the week.
Thread the chicken satay onto skewers and place half in a container in the freezer (you can pierce a snaplock bag so best to use a plastic container) and refrigerate the other half.
If you have time and the motivation, poach the chicken breasts for the Vietnamese chicken salad and refrigerate for use later in the week.
Cook the onion and garlic for the Herb crusted fish, and then combine with the breadcrumb mix ready to place on the fish later that day. Store mixture in the fridge until you are ready to use.
Meal planning is the ultimate tool for busy people. Get the PlanBuyCook iPhone and iPad app here: Appstore.com/planbuycook.
Join our Dinner Done Challenge to make healthier meal choices by cooking from scratch. Join here – it’s FREE.