• Karen Adams

7-Day Meal Planner For Lock-down Using Cupboard Essentials

Food shopping during self-isolation has proven to be challenging for many people - particularly parents - who are struggling to get into the supermarket, and then struggling to find many of the ingredients on their list. With the kids at home all day, planning meals for the week ahead can be a daunting prospect - particularly when you have to worry about preparing three healthy and nutritious meals every day. In order to help make this time less stressful, we have created a 7-day meal planner, which is full of healthy, easy recipes that the family will love. The recipes use mostly cupboard essentials and basic ingredients, as well as being flexible and versatile, so that you can swap out ingredients depending on what you have in the house, what vegetables your kids prefer eating - or what they had in the supermarket. Many of the recipes in this list can be made in big batches so that you can freeze or refrigerate the leftovers to be enjoyed on another day - saving you from having to cook a new meal from scratch twice a day.

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Monday Lunch: Pasta bake in tomato sauce, topped with melted cheese is a great lunchtime treat, which is quick and easy to make with whatever vegetables that you have in the house. This recipe freezes well - so double up, and keep half in the freezer to eat later. Follow this simple recipe for cheese and tomato pasta bake from BBC Good Food, and remember that you can swap and substitute different vegetables depending on what the kids like, what needs eating up, or what they had in the supermarket. Depending how much time you have, you can make your own pasta sauce, or use a ready made sauce. If you do make your own tomato sauce, consider making extra to freeze - as it can be used in lots of other recipes, or as the base for a spaghetti bolognese or vegetable soup. Dinner: Hit 'n' Run Traybaked Chicken by Jamie Oliver is a hearty and nutritious family dinner. Cooked on one tray, this dinner is simple to prepare and doesn't require lots of washing up - especially if you line the tray with baking parchment. The recipe is based on store cupboard essentials, which are throw together and baked for just over an hour. Cook more chicken that needed for dinner, so you have some pre-cooked chicken ready to go. Whilst the oven is on, why not roast a whole cauliflower, which will be kept aside for Tuesday night's cauliflower cheese. Simply rub the cauliflower with a olive oil and salt, place on a tray or tin and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until almost cooked through. If using chicken thighs for your tray bake, why not use the bones and scraps to make home-made stock - which is a nutritious alternative to stock cubes. Chicken stock can be used in soups and sauces - and it can be frozen for use at a later date. Follow the easy method by The Spruce Eats for perfect chicken stock from your leftover bones.


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