A week of healthy dinners (is it possible?)

Back working again this week, so thought you might be interested to see what I do to get through a week of healthy eating when under time constraints and general exhaustion. Can I do it? Am I authentic? Or am I a vegie-smuggling fraud who espouses healthy eating but actually feeds my kids jam sandwiches all week once the going gets tough.

Here is this week’s plan…

Sunday night dinner: Fried rice

During the afternoon I’ll make tomorrow night’s pumpkin soup to put in the fridge and my best-friend will whip up a quick fried rice for tonight’s dinner.

Monday night dinner
: Pumpkin soup

I’m not working on Monday so I’ll devote a couple of hours to cooking. I’ll make chicken pies – see the recipe below.

I’ll also make some beef cannelloni in a big dish that can sit for 48 hours in the fridge, ready to bake. Both these dinners are good serving sizes so that I’ll have enough to feed the kids, us and my parents who are doing a spot of emergency childcare for me.

Tuesday night dinner: Chicken pies

Wednesday night dinner: Beef cannelloni

Thursday night dinner: Quesadillas

I’ve got everything that I need for these in the pantry, fridge or the garden and they’re super quick to make.

Friday night dinner: Bolognaise
Same deal, my best friend made a double batch of this last week.

And there you have it. I have a big shop on the weekend, then two big cook-offs and I’m done for the week. I never usually feel like it, but stay motivated remembering how fantastic it is to walk in at the end of a work day and not have to spend any time pfaffing and thinking about what I can throw together for dinner – it’s already done, just waiting to be reheated.

So that’s mine, but what’s on your menu this week?

If minis look too fiddly, just buy a savoury flan case and make 1 big pie instead.

Chicken pies

1 tbsp olive oil
400g chicken breast fillets, trimmed, chopped into 1cm pieces
1 leek, finely chopped
4 bacon rashers,
finely chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
40g unsalted butter
¼ cup plain flour
2 cups chicken stock, warmed
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus (or green beans), trimmed, thinly sliced

Canola oil cooking spray
3 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry
1 egg, whisked, for
2 sheets frozen
puff pastry

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink on the outside (don’t overcook). Remove from the saucepan and set aside.

In the same saucepan, cook the leek and bacon for 2–3 minutes. Add the garlic for another 30 seconds then remove from the saucepan and set aside.

Melt the butter in the same pan over medium heat. Add the flour and use a wooden spoon to stir for 1 minute until the floury smell fades and there are no lumps. Gradually add the stock and stir briskly until it is thick and combined. Return the chicken and leek mixture to the pan. Add the mushrooms, asparagus and black pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5–10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (test by picking out the largest piece you can see and chopping it in half).

Set aside to cool slightly and prepare the pastry cases.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin with cooking spray.

Use a small saucer as a guide and cut out four circles from each thawed shortcrust pastry sheet. Ease the circles into the muffin holes and use your fingers to smooth out the folds. Leave some overhanging the top so that you can join the lids on. Brush the overhangs with the egg.

Divide your chicken mixture evenly between the pies.

Cut circle pie tops out of the puff pastry, place on top and press the edges to seal. Lift the edges slightly to keep the pies from touching (and to make it look pretty).

Brush with egg and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.


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12 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Wendy you are too good to be a vegie-smuggling fraud! We all have a night when beans on toast is the most we can muster, but with your recipes and menu plans, eating healthy is so simple! Thanks for putting so much effort into the planning so we don’t have to!

  2. 3

    kelly said,

    Sounds yummuy, im going to try this one this week too, thanks 🙂

  3. 4

    Lisa said,

    Made these today. 6 little ones for my fussy little man and 1 big one for Mummy & Daddy. Left out the asparagus and added carrots, broccoli & cauliflower. Blitzed the mixture for the little ones and they turned out brilliantly. Added some pastry ‘art’ in the form of fish, hearts and swirls on the top to encourage my son. Only problem – hubby not home for dinner after Cup Day and we were home late so I’ve stolen 2 little ones and left the rest for tomorrow. Delicious and the second meal cooked from my new Vegie Smugglers Book 2 this week!

  4. 6

    Barbara Good said,

    Loving all your recipes as always Wendy. I did a roast chook on the weekend and put all the leftover meat in the freezer, perhaps I’ll adapt this recipe for those (I even froze the left over gravy which would make a delicious sauce for the pies.
    My tricks for managing to do a decent veggie-filled meal every nights (I’m not working ATM, but I was doing three days a week until a year ago and I am slogging my way through a masters) is to batch cook with a friend and swap. We don’t actually cook together but we do 4-5 meals a fortnight, swap them and freeze them for a later night. It means we get more variety for much less effort. I also love my slow cooker (I have your pea and ham soup going in it as we speak).

  5. 8

    Danielle said,

    I am hardly going to cook anything this week except steamed veggie sides and salad sides. There is enough in our freezer to spend the entire week eating from the freezer, which is partly thanks to it being slow cooker season (as I like to call winter). We will have pea and ham soup, beef curry, steak and mushroom pie, lasagne, and baked rice in the freezer. One night we will be out. The last night on the weekend I might make a lamb ragout. Slow cooker. Having two adults and two very littlies we can usually get at least three meals from one batch of slow-cooking.

  6. 10

    Kirsten said,

    Just made these for dinner, amazing! Big hit in our house and will be making them again. Eldest son kept looking in there to make sure there was no veges, perfectly hidden! Thank you for the suggestion. Kirsten

  7. 12

    Pip said,

    Soooo good!! Delicious! (Though tried to cook mine in ramekins, as the muffin holes looked too small, but it didn’t work so well – pastry didn’t cook well, and was very tricky to remove from the ramekin)

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