Two of the most common things I hear from clients who are trying to lose weight are “I don’t have time to cook” and “I’ve run out of ideas of things to cook”.
One of my main suggestions is to find a day when you do have a bit more time, and do a big cooking session, and then recycle what you’ve cooked through the week.
Here’s an example using roast vegetables:
First of all get a load of different vegetables, chop up into cubes and roast in the oven. I used sweet peppers, courgettes, aubergines, red onions and butternut squash. You want to do a lot of veg as this is going to make you 3-4 meals per person.
The first meal I’d make alongside the roasted veg, then you can either store the rest of the veg ready to assemble into the next meals, or pre-make the other meals at the same time so they’re ready when you need them.
Roasted veg and quinoa
Roast some halloumi (not too much!) at the same time as the veg – put at one end of the roasting tray as you won’t be using it with all the dishes.
Boil some quinoa whilst the veg is in the oven (I used a pre-mixed bag of red and white quinoa, and added a little crumble of a stock cube for flavour). Then once the roasted veg and halloumi is ready, mix it with some mixed beans and serve on top of the quinoa. Either eat hot straight out of the oven, or serve cold as a salad (for a salad I’d dress it with some oil mixed with some spices to give it a winter warming salad taste).
Roast veg salad
Serve the roasted veg cold on a bed of salad leaves, you could add some beetroot or snow peas as well for variety and a bit of crunch. This is a good one for work, you can just pack up the pre-roast veg and buy a bag of mixed leaves, and then put it all together when you’re ready to eat. I’ll often throw in a can of chickpeas or other pulses to add in some protein and make sure that I’m not going to get hungry later.
Add a can of tomatoes and your choice of pulse or bean and split the mixture into 2 pans. Into the first add some Moroccan style spices – I use either Ras El Hanout (which normally comes as a jar of pre mixed spice) or a generous dollop of harissa paste (this is easy to buy where I live in Brixton and either comes in a small tin or a tube, like tomato puree. It’s great for livening up a stew or a dressing) and then add some orange juice and grated rind and apricots and serve on a bed of couscous (I add some cumin seeds to the couscous for flavour). This is a good one to freeze for another time (minus the couscous) and again, can be taken to work where you just pour boiling water onto the couscous to cook it (leave it covered) whilst you reheat the stew in the microwave – it smells great so you’re bound to get some jealous colleagues peering over.
Roast veg and tomato soup
Take the other pan that you put half the veg and tomatoes into, and add another can of tomatoes. Either stick it into a food processor or gently mash with a potato masher. I prefer to keep lots of lumps in there so I just mash it a bit. Add a bit of water if needed. This can be easily frozen for another time. Season with some salt and pepper (I often add a small amount of sugar – less than quarter of a teaspoon, to take away some of the acidity from the tomatoes).
So there you go, after the initial work to chop and roast the vegetables, each of the other meals shouldn’t take more than a few moments to assemble from your pre roast veg.
Enjoy! If you’ve got any comments or questions, do add them below. For more recipe ideas see https://feelfitwithlucy.co.uk/grub/