Here’s your shopping list and your step-by-step recipe
*This post features an advertorial from Waitrose & Partners
I have to admit that I love a three-hour long cooking session in the kitchen. Give me a podcast to listen to or a nineties soundtrack to belt out and that’s my happy place right there. However sometimes it’s just not feasible (and Mark is fed up of hearing me blast out Britney Spears ‘What U See (Is What U Get) (an unreleased banger of a song!) for the 64th time), so meal prep is where it’s at. The thing with meal prep is that it can feel a bit of a mission to get everything ready to prep in the first place; finding the recipes, putting together a shopping list, getting a daily meal plan in place and working out how best to cook it all simultaneously without setting the smoke detector off three times. So that’s where this post in collaboration with Waitrose & Partners comes in. Three super tasty veggie meals that will not only sort you out for dinners from Monday to Friday, but lunches too, a print out PDF shopping list, a daily meal guide and the nine-step recipe to prep three dishes in just two hours. Want to see it in action? Then watch todays’ video, or keep on reading for your ‘so easy you could do it with your eyes closed‘ instructions…
I’ve trawled the Waitrose & Partners recipe pages with a fine tooth comb and found three recipes that I think work perfectly for a week’s worth of lunch and dinners. They are quick and easy to make and whilst some are nutritiously dense and packed with veggies, one is the ultimate winter warmer comfort food STAPLE, which is exactly how I like to balance out my weekly menu. So here’s what we’re working with:
Waitrose & Partners Black Bean Chilli – this is the backbone of the week-long meal prep here. The recipe makes four servings, but by doubling it you’re making eight meals out of it and it’s perfect to eat for lunch and dinner; easy to store and easy to heat up in the microwave if required. I’ve added two packs of wholegrain rice and a loaf of the Waitrose & Partners No.1 Sourdough (a.k.a the most heavenly loaf made with flour from Shipton Mill in the Cotswolds) to the shopping list to have with it, but there’s nothing to stop you going down the tortillas route if you fancy making burritos one night, or just getting some sour cream and avocados in to beef it out.
Waitrose & Partners Roast Butternut Mac & Cheese – OH MY WORD. This dish is basically my dream. Creamy and rich and delicious and I have to stop myself from eating it cold straight out of the dish. For lunch I’d just have a serving on it’s own, but for dinner I’ve added frozen peas or petit pois to the list to add a bit of greenery to your meal. I also love a vinegary garden salad with it too, to give some acid to your plate if you’d rather up your veg intake that way.
Waitrose & Partners Tomato, Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa Yogurt – Homemade soups are just the far superior choice, especially when it comes to lunchtime offerings and this one is a little bit smokey, a little bit spicy and a lot delicious. Soups are so easy to take into work for lunch and quick to reheat with minimum fuss, and if you have a toaster on offer to you then can I suggest taking a slice or two of the sourdough in your bag to toast and give some extra crunch to your lunch?
THE MEAL PLAN
The above recipes yield 20 meals (if you double the chilli recipe), so that’s enough to sort two people out for lunch and dinner for five days. I’ve given the breakdown here of how I’d slot it all together:
MONDAY LUNCH – Soup with bread – MONDAY DINNER – Chilli with rice
TUESDAY LUNCH – Mac & cheese – TUESDAY DINNER – Chilli with bread
WEDNESDAY LUNCH – Soup with bread – WEDNESDAY DINNER – Mac & cheese with peas
THURSDAY LUNCH – Chilli with bread – THURSDAY DINNER – Mac & cheese with peas
FRIDAY LUNCH – Soup with bread – FRIDAY DINNER – Chilli with rice
BEFORE YOU START
Ok, so here’s what you need before you begin your meal prep. Firstly, you’re going to want to do your food shop, whether that’s in person or online at waitrose.com. But hold your horses and put down your pen and paper because I’ve done the legwork for you. Download your shopping list HERE, which contains everything that you need for your lunches and dinners – and the accompanying sides that I mentioned earlier – for Monday to Friday. Oh and when you get your black turtle beans, remember to give them at least a 12 hour soak in water before you plan on using them. Then you’re ready to start…
THE STEP-BY-STEP THREE-IN-ONE RECIPE
1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. Drain the 500g black turtle beans for the chilli that you’ve soaked overnight and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. For the soup put the 1 large chopped sweet potato in a large roasting tin with the roughly chopped 4 peppers, 2 red onions, 300g tomatoes (keep these whole!), 3 whole garlic cloves and 1 deseeded and chopped chilli; season and toss with the olive oil. Then for the mac and cheese put the squash in a roasting tin and scatter over the garlic and sage and drizzle over 4 tbsp oil. Roast the contents of both trays for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook 225g macaroni in boiling water for 8–10 minutes until tender. Drain well and set aside.
4. Drain the beans and set aside, rinse the pan and return to the heat. Heat 1 tbsp oil in the pan and cook the 2 chopped onions and 4 chopped garlic cloves for the chilli for 5-10 minutes, stirring until the onion is softened and golden. Add 2 tbsp of chilli and orange paste, 2 tsp hot smoked paprika and 1 tsp ground cinnamon and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, 4 springs of rosemary and 1 litre of vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Return the beans to the pan. Simmer for a further 45 minutes or so.
5. For the mac and cheese melt 40g butter in a new pan and stir in 40g plain flour. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in 600ml semi-skimmed milk to form a smooth sauce. Return to the heat and cook, stirring continuously, until it comes to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in two thirds of the 175g grated extra mature cheddar cheese.
6. Preheat the grill to high. Stir the macaroni into the cheese sauce, then carefully fold in the squash, taking care not to break it up. Spoon the mixture into an ovenproof dish and scatter over the rest of the cheese. Place under the grill for 3–5 minutes until bubbling. The mac and cheese is ready to eat/store. DONE!
7. For the soup, transfer the contents of the baking tin to a large pan with 800ml vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the sweet potato is cooked through. Add 1 tsp of sweet smoked paprika (or hot paprika if you prefer a bit more heat!) and season. Use a stick or jug blender to whizz until smooth.
8. For the soup toppings chop up 1tbsp chives and store in the freezer and mix 2 tsp of ruby rose harissa paste with 4 tbsp of Greek yoghurt and store in an airtight container until you ready to serve. The soup is ready to eat/store. DONE X 2!
9. Add the 400g of diced butternut squash to the chilli for the last 20 minutes of cooking time, until the beans are very tender and the chilli has thickened. Stir in 4 tsp of apple cider vinegar and cook for 3 minutes more. The chilli is now ready to eat/store. DONE X 3!
Photos by Mark Newton