Sizzling Sausages and Beans

When you own a tin of cannellini beans that’s sat around so long it’s nearly out of date*.

As much as I love food (and come on, that’s all you hear from people these days), it’s usually the first thing that gets compromised come the end of the month. So aside from eating jacket potato and beans (that’s next week), I made a list of the things I need to use up, and set out to find a recipe that needed little other ingredients to make them happen.

Joe Wicks has some awesome quick meals, often with simple ingredients, and very little clearing up. I tend to make extra for lunch the next day (where recipes allow) as they’re often very inexpensive too.

Simple things like using chipolatas instead of sausages are great ways to cut corners without cutting flavour or interest. Yes, chipolatas are going to make the meal more expensive than if it were just vegetarian, but when they’re the only thing you need to buy (and they will make enough for two portions) it feels like a real winner!

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This is by no means a showpiece of a meal, but as it’s being demonstrated time and time again, by the likes of Jamie Oliver, Clean Eating Alice and Joe Wicks (to name a few), there really is no excuse for living off frozen chips and pizza. I can’t actually remember the last time I bought chips for home, my thought process has literally changed to ‘buy a potato’ to make potato wedges instead.

I guess it’s just about breaking the habits. Once you find a few cost effective, quick, healthy meals, your freezer draw contains ice for G&Ts, not frozen mac & cheese…

*do people really believe those dates?

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Curry Chicken Lettuce Boats

Just as you’d thought you’d heard enough about Joe Wicks (is it just me or is he everywhere?!) here’s another Lean in 15 meal for you.

This not only makes a great meal for one, but you could easily include it in a buffet style dinner for friends and family. Super quick and easy to prepare, it really ticks all the boxes.

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Ok so you could take it that step further by making your own homemade mayo, however I didn’t fancy the washing up!

I’ve found meals like this are a great way for me to make sure i’m eating enough fruit and veg. When buying and cooking for one, it’s often easy to avoid greens for fear of them going bad before you have a chance to use them up. I doubled this recipe and popped the little boats in a box for lunch the next day. By some miracle the way I had tightly packed them in meant they weren’t a complete mess by the time I got there! Meaning I had an awesome lunch and nothing was wasted.

Looking forward to the summer when I can pull things like this out for evening get togethers with a glass of wine (or two) in the sun.

‘Greek’ Chicken

Ok so i’m a little dubious about the title…

So we’re back to Joe Wicks with what probably has to be the quickest meal i’ve ever cooked (and managed to hold a steady conversation at the same time). I think I was so surprised when i’d finished eating it that I wondered if I had missed something.

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But I have to say, I felt it was a little odd. Olives, pomegranate, spring onions and pine nuts mixed with yoghurt and chicken stock. Although admittedly mine did have somewhat more chicken stock than in the book – but I had doubled everything to make enough for lunch too.

However, it looked and smelt lovely, and not to say it didn’t taste lovely either… I just felt it didn’t really know what it wanted to be. I’m still looking forward to lunch tomorrow though!

Roast squash, sage, chestnut and pancetta risotto

Introduced to me by my housemate, this really is a winner!

If you’re a bit unsure of butternut squash, I feel this could be a great way to warm to it. Colourful and full of flavour, there’s something to enjoy in every bite. It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe which you can find here, although you also need a basic risotto recipe (not listed fully in the method or ingredients list).

Half way through making the risotto, the butternut squash needs to come out of the oven to have further ingredients adding to it, which is a little tricky on your own with a pan of risotto to stop from potentially burning! So I have to admit, I needed an extra pair of hands to allow for 100% risotto attention! We also removed the skin from the butternut squash after that initial 30 minutes too – the recipe doesn’t state this but it just felt like the right thing to do!

Next time I cook this (and there will be a next time as it’s too tasty not to!) I will try roasting the butternut squash seeds for 5 minutes before adding them to the sage and chestnuts, I just felt they were too soft after only 10 minutes in the oven.

We also fried streaky bacon separately as there were vegetarians among us! So (although it made for slightly more washing up) it is a very versatile recipe to please all. And I’d definitely recommend the serving suggestion of mascarpone cheese – it really brings it all together.

When your ‘tell it how it is’ brother says he’d eat this at a restaurant, you know you’re onto a winner! And with very little meat in the recipe, it’s all the more astonishing!

Roast Spiced Cauliflower & Salmon

So I’ve joined the Lean in 15 party.

Recently ‘treated’ myself to the latest Lean in 15 book by Joe Wicks aka ‘The Body Coach’. A few mates are raving about him, and even my brother is now dabbling in the kitchen thanks to his simple, quick and nutritious meals.

To be fair it was around this time last year that I posted a meal from his first book – Sea Bass with Brazil Nuts, Kale & Pomegranate. So you could say I was one of the first to the party…

Anyway, roast spiced cauliflower with salmon was super easy, and pretty tasty too. It all happens in one roasting tray so you really can’t complain. When I cook meals like this it really highlights how healthy eating is not difficult, nor does it need to break the bank.

The most expensive ingredient is the salmon, which is usually around £3.50 for two fillets. Although, after watching Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast* this week, I will be keeping an eye out for the MSC sustainable seafood label and picking more meals based around these.

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I felt so healthy eating this meal, and will definitely be cooking it again. Only change I may make is reducing the spice mix down a bit as I felt the cauliflower was slightly too doused in the stuff! Don’t get me wrong, it’s no showstopper meal for a dinner party, but when you just need to impress yourself – it does the job!

*FYI after watching one of Joe’s live Insta posts he said he was down to appear on the show!

Spiced Lamb Wrap

When your wrap game is on form!

If you only have 20 minutes spare then you can do a lot worse than this. You can find the recipe in ‘Love your Lunch Box’ by James Ramsden – designed to keep lunchtime exciting without eating into your evenings to prepare it. And when you’re cooking for one, you can have lunch and dinner with singular effort!

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This is really so simple, there’s not much to say! Only tip would be to add more yoghurt & mango sauce than you expect, as it soon gets lost underneath all of the fillings. Just don’t get too excited loading them up as it can turn messy! Looking forward to lunch already… and dinner…

Prawn, Tenderstem Broccoli, Feta & Almond Salad

Letting me love prawns again.

I’ve never been a massive fan of prawns, especially those little frozen ones found in prawn cocktails that are often wet, squishy and drown in sauce!.. Ok, so perhaps it’s actually those traditional prawn cocktails that have spoilt them for me.

But these meaty king prawns marinated in harissa paste and lemon zest, with the slightly charred flavour from the griddle pan, are gorgeous. The simplicity of this recipe surprised me, as it looks so special on the plate. Plus the different textures and mix of hot, cold and warm elements makes it a joy to eat.

It’s from the Sirocco Persian cook book from Sabrina Ghayour, where on every page you will find bright and vibrant recipes to catch your eye.

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You can easily whip this up in half an hour, with very few ingredients. A quick tip (that may seem obvious) is when adding the ingredients together for the dressing, use your tablespoon measure for the oil first, as then the honey slips straight out of it afterwards rather than getting stuck (literally felt my life change when I figured that out).

I enjoyed this as a main meal (twice!) but I reckon it would turn a few heads as a starter if you have any dinner parties lined up. Or if you are planning on treating that special someone in a couple of weeks time.

I think it’s rare that people get genuinely excited by a salad. But so far the two I have made from this book (apple, pomegranate, red onion and sumac) have been simple, versatile and full of new flavours!