Whether you’re organising your Christmas work function, family get-together or Christmas Day lunch, we’ve got…
It’s late afternoon on a weekday, you’ve just come home from an exhausting day at work and the kids are hungry.
Sure, you may feel the easiest thing to do is order takeaway but—before you do, hear us out—healthy and easy ‘go-to’ meals do exist.
These five healthy weekday meals require the minimum in thought and preparation, yet are tasty, packed with nutritious ingredients and can be ready in under 40 minutes.
Really time-poor this week? Try making more than the recipe requires for delicious leftovers the next night (trust us, the vegetable frittata in particular tastes even better the second time around!)
In case of last minute dinner emergencies, ensure your pantry is always stocked with canned tomatoes, lentils, kidney beans and an assortment of pasta and grains that are quick to cook such as couscous, so you’ll always have a solid base to build on. (See more foods to keep in the pantry at the end of this post).
Chicken and vegetable stir fry
Ready in approximately 15-20 minutes, serves 4
2 cups uncooked rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts or 500g thigh fillets, diced
2 medium onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
4 cups seasonal vegetables, chopped (e.g. capsicum, carrot, beans, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, baby corn)
6 tablespoons teriyaki marinade
1 cup water
- Cook rice and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in pan and add chicken, onion and garlic. Stir over moderate heat until chicken is lightly browned.
- Add vegetables, teriyaki marinade and water to pan. Cook for approximately 5-8 minutes until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
- Serve with rice, or keep it colourful by using different coloured vegetables every day!
Ready in approximately 40 – 50 minutes, serves 4
Spaghetti or other pasta, uncooked
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
400g lean beef mince
2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
4 tablespoons salt-reduced tomato paste
4 cups seasonal or mixed frozen vegetables, diced or grated (e.g. carrot, beans, peas, capsicum, corn, zucchini, mushroom)
1 tablespoon mixed herbs (optional)
Pepper, to season
- In a large saucepan, fry oil, onion and garlic over medium heat until onions are soft.
- Add mince and separate with a spoon. Stir the onions through the mince and cook until brown (approximately 8-10 minutes), stirring frequently.
- Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetables and herbs. Mix well. Season to taste.
- Turn the heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta (as shown on page 5) and set aside.
- Serve pasta topped with Bolognaise sauce.
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 capsicum, cut into small cubes
8 mushrooms, sliced
1 x 400g can corn kernels, drained
1 cup low fat cheese, grated
6 bread rolls (optional)
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly oil a medium sized baking dish to stop the frittata sticking to the bottom.
- Place sweet potato in microwave safe bowl with 2 tablespoons water. Cook for 3 minutes, or until tender, and set aside.
- Heat oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add onion, capsicum, mushrooms and corn and cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until soft.
- Spread all the vegetables, including the sweet potato, evenly across the base of the baking dish.
- Use a fork to whisk eggs in a bowl until well combined. Pour over vegetable mix and sprinkle with cheese.
- Place baking dish in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes (until egg is cooked).
- Serve hot with a side salad and bread roll.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to two days and eaten hot or cold.
Family Eating Tip
Choose wholegrain or wholemeal bread to boost your fibre intake and help keep your body and gut healthy.
Crumbed fish and crispy potato wedges
Ready in approximately 30-40 minutes, serves 4
4 large potatoes, cut into wedges
1 1⁄2 tablespoons olive oil
Paprika for seasoning
3⁄4 cup dried breadcrumbs
4 firm white fish fillets (such as basa)
Green seasonal vegetables (e.g. green beans or broccoli)
- Preheat oven to 230°C. Brush baking tray with oil. Place potatoes and 2 tablespoons of cold water in a large microwavable bowl. Cover and microwave on high (100%) for 5 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to bowl.
- Add oil and paprika to potatoes and toss to combine. Spread wedges in a single layer on tray. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, lightly beat egg in a shallow bowl. Place breadcrumbs on a plate. Dip fish fillets in egg one at a time. Place in breadcrumbs. Using fingertips, press breadcrumbs onto both sides of fish. Place fish on tray.
- Reduce oven to 210°C. Place fish below wedges in oven. Roast both for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish is cooked through and potatoes are golden. Divide between plates. Season with pepper. Serve with steamed green beans.
Tandoori Chicken wraps
Ready in approximately 20-30 minutes, serves 4
4 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
1 eggplant, sliced lengthways
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1⁄2 cucumber, sliced
1 cup lettuce/spinach, chopped
1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 small tub low fat Greek yoghurt
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped pepper, to season
- In a medium bowl, mix together marinade ingredients then coat chicken and eggplant.
- On a hot BBQ grill, cook chicken and eggplant for around the same time, until dark on the outside and cooked through the middle.
- Meanwhile prepare yoghurt sauce by mixing yoghurt, mint and cumin together and season to taste.
- Once the chicken and eggplant are cooked, arrange on a wrap with lettuce/spinach, cucumber, red onion and with yoghurt sauce on top.
FOODS TO KEEP IN THE PANTRY
- Carbohydrate/ Grain Foods
- Breakfast cereals e.g. rolled oats
- Legumes and Beans
- Dried or tinned lentils
- Dried or tinned kidney beans
- Tinned baked beans (salt-reduced)
- Herbs and Spices
- Black pepper
- Mixed dried herbs e.g. basil, thyme, marjoram, parsley, cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, oregano, curry powder
- Chilli flakes
- chilli powder
- Vegetable oil e.g. canola oil/spray, olive oil, sunflower oil
- Sauces and Vinegar
- Tomato pasta sauce
- Tomato sauce (salt-reduced)
- Tomato paste (salt-reduced)
- Sweet chilli sauce
- Chilli sauce
- Soy sauce (salt-reduced)
- Vinegar e.g. white, balsamic
- Dried Fruit and Nuts
- Dried Apricots
- Fresh Food
- Tinned Foods
- Tinned tuna
- Tinned vegetables e.g. tomatoes, corn
- Tinned fruit
- Other Essentials:
- Mixed frozen vegetables (freezer)
- Stock cubes (salt-reduced)
- Liquid stock (salt-reduced)
- Light evaporated milk
- Plain flour/self-raising flour
- Wholemeal flour
- Baking powder
Want more ideas?
All recipes from ACT Health’s Good Habits for Life website – visit now to get your free personalised program for your family.
ACT Health runs a range of programs to support you and your children to set good habits, such as Fresh Tastes: healthy food at school and Ride or Walk to School. Check out these programs here.
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