Solo Student: The Meal Plan

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve officially resolved to get back into cooking. I was so good last year when we were all cooking together, but now that I’m cooking by myself I let myself get super lazy and just started chucking things together according to what had taken my fancy in Waitrose/Tesco/Sainsbury’s the week before. There are only so many combinations of chicken, new potatoes and vegetables you can create, though, and so this term I’m forcing myself to hunt down new recipes and get a little more experimental. With the combined help of Tesco delivery & my old friend Pinterest, I whipped up a good old meal plan, and eating has suddenly become fun again! If you’re in need of inspiration, here’s what I’ve been eating over the last week or so.

(Quick warning: I took all these photos with my iPhone and then discovered the wonder that is Picmonkey, so apologies for the artsy photos – I got a bit carried away!)

Coronation Chicken Salad (BBC Good Food)

IMG_2628

This is a recipe we made a few times in the house last year and it is really good. I didn’t have curry powder, so I improvised with a mix of cumin and chilli powder which worked well enough for me. I am a HUGE fan of fruit-with-food, so mango chutney in a salad is like my dream come true, and the almonds make a great texture contrast. You can, obviously, add in whatever you’d like to your salad, and I can recommend this served with poppadoms. You’ve got to use up that extra chutney, after all!

Turkey Chilli with Sweet Potatoes (Skinnytaste)

Chilli is one of my favourite go-to meals so I was intrigued to try this no-bean variation. If I’m honest, it didn’t taste that different to a normal chilli, although I did enjoy the addition of the sweet potato. If you want a low-calorie dupe, this is definitely the one! You could of course make this with any mince you like, so it also works as a good option for chucking a load of leftovers in – I ALWAYS have lonely sweet potatoes left in my cupboard!

Vegetable Ragu & Pasta (BBC Good Food)

I think the day I finally consider myself an adult will be the day I have more than one type of pasta in my cupboard. That day has not come yet, though, and so I substituted tagliatelle for the open bag of Penne that was malingering in the back of my cupboard. I’m not usually a pasta kinda gal, at all, but sometimes you just need a nice dish of carbs to warm you up in these winter months and this hit the spot perfectly. To be honest, my favourite part about this was the celery and the balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar in tomato pasta sauce is DIVINE. I put courgette in too, although I wasn’t sure if I like courgette or not at the time. Verdict? I don’t really like courgette.

Sizzling Cod (BBC Good Food)

sizzling cod

This was one of my favourites. It was YUM. The potatoes were so good sliced thin and fried (healthy, too…) and it was relatively quick – the fish definitely cooked super fast, if nothing else. In a moment of inspiration, I sliced up a single rasher of bacon and chucked that in, too, which was a genius move if I do say so myself. I’m going to cook vegetables & potatoes like this more often I think, and experiment with various seasoning and meat – I reckon a pancetta-wrapped chicken breast would go very nicely.

Jamie’s Chinese Wraps (Save With Jamie Cookbook)

To be honest, this was the only recipe I didn’t really enjoy. It involves rice noodles, chicken, hoisin sauce and various vegetables in a wrap. To be fair to Jamie, who is my idol usually, I wasn’t really in the mood for it anyway and I stupidly listened to Rory’s (wrong) advice that I’d definitely need two wraps and so I was feeling uncomfortably full by halfway through the second and had to abandon mission. I also got the chicken-to-salad-to-noodle ratio completely wrong. So really, I was just having a bad day in the kitchen. Sorry Jamie!

Sesame Shrimp & Broccoli (Skinnytaste)

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I was a little bit dubious about how nice this would actually be but I was very pleasantly surprised! I served it with rice and I notice in the picture on the recipe she’s actually put peppers in as well – this would be a good one to chuck any old leftover veg in! I used frozen broccoli and it was fine, I just put it in the pan first so it had time to cook properly. The sauce is really easy to make, delicious and you’ll probably have everything (honey, soy sauce, ketchup, olive oil) in your cupboard already – bonus! It’s also super fast so a great one if you’re heading out somewhere or getting in late. Also, trust me, this is definitely the least photogenic dish of the bunch but it tasted much more exciting than it looks!

I’m currently scouring Pinterest looking for next week’s inspiration, so if you’ve got any top tips, hit me up. It’s nice to have a bit of structure again!

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