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Cheap and easy dinners for a whole month!

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It can often feel impossible to think of quick, easy and nutritious meals for the family every night. But we’ve got you covered with a month’s worth of ideas

Cooking food that the whole family will enjoy every night can feel so daunting it’s often tempting to reach for the takeaway menus.

But we have a selection of quick, easy, affordable and nutritious recipes that should see you through a whole month, and then you can pick and mix to your heart’s content.

All it takes is a bit of planning. Try drawing yourself a timetable and filling it with our dinner ideas and a few of your own ideas for each day. To fill in any gaps, we’ve also supplied some bulk cooking ideas, storage cupboard must-haves and freezing tips.

Read on to find out more and leave those take-out menus gathering dust…

Week one

Fish pie

Oily fish is a must-have ingredient for your weekly food plan, as it’s bursting with Omega-3. This fish pie is a tasty way of enjoying it.
At a glance: Oven bake a selection of white fish, salmon and prawns with milk and a bay leaf for 20 minutes. Add sautéed carrot and onion, grated cheese and parsley. Top with sliced, boiled new potatoes and bake until brown.
Click here for the full recipe.

Turkey pasta bake

Starchy foods, such as pasta, are a great source of energy. Plus turkey is lower in fat than many meats and contains zinc for the immune system, growth and healthy skin.
At a glance: Cook minced turkey with onion and garlic. Stir in cooked penne. Put in an ovenproof dish, cover with a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes and bake for 25 minutes.
Click here for the full recipe.

Mediterranean chicken

Chicken is fairly low fat and its nutrients not only help the body produce serotonin for a feeling of wellbeing, but are also good for healthy growth.
At a glance: Mash finely chopped garlic with 2tbsp olive oil. Rub into skinned chicken breasts and scatter with Mediterranean dried herbs. Griddle on each side for about four minutes.
Click here for more Med-inspired recipes.

More ideas to try

Pizza jacket potatoes
Spaghetti and homemade meatballs

Cook in bulk

When cooking the fish pie, boil extra potatoes to make mash. Mix with baked white fish and make into patties for fishcakes that you can easily freeze for another day.

Week two

Baked chicken nuggets

These homemade chicken nuggets are a much healthier alternative to shop-bought ones.
At a glance: Cut skinned, boned chicken into nugget sizes, dip in egg white and roll in well-seasoned breadcrumbs. Bake at 200°C for about 15 minutes.
Click here for the full recipe.

Grilled sea bass

This recipe can be made extra special by cooking it on the barbecue. Bonus tip: to get rid of that fishy smell after cooking, spray your home with Febreze Air Effects, which eliminates bad odours as well as adding a gorgeous, subtle fragrance.
At a glance: Wrap seabass fillets in baking paper with chopped chives, bay leaves, parsley, a slice of lemon and top with al dente green beans. Secure parcels with cocktails sticks and grill or barbecue for eight minutes.
Click here for the full recipe.

Lasagne

Serve with salad and use lean mince, low-fat cheese, skimmed milk and a tomato sauce low in sugar.
At a glance: Brown 400g of minced beef with onion. Add chopped tomatoes and lasagne tomato sauce. Make a cheese sauce by heating butter, flour, milk and grated cheese. Build lasagne with pasta sheets, top with grated cheese and leftover sauce. Oven bake for 30 minutes.
Click here for the full recipe.

More ideas to try

Homemade pizza recipe
Cheesy bacon chicken wrapped in Parma ham

Cook in bulk

Making a Sunday roast? Use one bigger chicken and get two - or even three – meals out of it with these recipes

Week three

Crab cakes

These might sound exotic but they’re super-easy to prepare and seem to go down well with even the fussiest of kids.
At a glance: Blitz chillis, lime zest and juice, lemongrass, spring onions and a tbsp of fish sauce. Add white fish and white crab meat then egg, desiccated coconut and chopped green beans. Pulse to combine and shape into small fishcakes. Shallow fry for a couple of minutes on each side.
Click here for the full recipe.

Nine-minute chicken noodles

This simple chicken noodle stir-fry is a real workday wonder that you can whip up in no time at all. Some green beans, broccoli or peppers make a nice addition.
At a glance: Fry a garlic, grated ginger and chopped coriander stems. Add chicken, honey and dark soy sauce. Stir-fry for three minutes. Add egg noodles, coriander leaves and sesame oil. Fry until sizzling hot and serve.
Click here for the full recipe.

Chilli con carne

Minced beef is hugely versatile, so it’s worth buying in bulk and freezing. You must freeze raw meat before its sell-by date and use it within two days of defrosting. If defrosting in a microwave, cook the meat straight away.
At a glance: Fry onions and garlic with chilli powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add 500g mince and brown. Add chopped tomatoes, cinnamon and 250ml water. Simmer for 90 minutes, adding kidney beans after one hour.
Click here for the full recipe.

More ideas to try

Perfect pancakes with sweet and savoury fillings
Tortilla omelette

Cook in bulk

Make soups in a batch and reheat over the week or freeze for later use. See our article on Power soups for winter for inspiration.

Week four

Simple grilled salmon

This is a seriously simple and quick recipe, requiring little preparation but providing plenty of nutrients.
At a glance: Grill salmon drizzled with a little olive oil and lemon for a few minutes on each side. Serve with greens and cooked new potatoes, lightly crushed with butter.
Click here for the full recipe.

Lamb skewers

Kids love eating with their hands, so these lamb skewers are a fun way of getting them to eat their veg.
At a glance: Mix 500g lamb mince with onion, garlic and mint or rosemary. Roll into golf-balls and thread onto skewers, with onion, pepper and tomato. Grill for 10-15 minutes.
Click here for the full recipe.

Lemon chicken pasta

Pasta and rice dishes are great when fresh food stocks are running low. For more ideas, see our article Kitchen cupboard essentials for standby suppers.
At a glance: Brown a couple of chicken breasts in a pan, adding mushrooms and chicken. Add olive oil and the juice and zest of a large lemon to cooked pasta. Mix and warm before serving.
Click here for the full recipe.

More ideas to try

Beef and baked bean goulash
Chickpea and sweet potato burgers

Cook in bulk

Cook a beef roast this weekend and we’ll show you how to get two more meals out of it! Just click through to our article, Cook once, get three suppers.

What’s your favourite family recipe? Let us know in the comments section below.

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