With these five star ingredients and five easy hacks, you’ll have healthy dinners on the table in no time!
Star ingredient: Slaw
Save yourself the chopping and make use of ready-made slaw packs — serve them as a side, add to a stir-fry or incorporate them as part of your main meal!
1 Katsu chicken with mayo
Cook frozen crumbed chicken following packet instructions, and slice into 2cm pieces. Meanwhile, mix 1 part barbecue sauce, 1 part mayonnaise and 2 parts reduced-fat plain yoghurt in a bowl and set aside. Sauté chopped garlic, ginger and shallots in oil in frying pan. Add packet slaw and stir-fry for a few minutes. Prepare microwavable brown rice following packet instructions. Serve chicken on rice with mayo sauce over the top, and vegies on the side.
Heat sesame oil in a frying pan. Sauté pork mince, garlic, ginger and chilli for 3–4 minutes. Add packet slaw and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add a dash of sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce. Serve the laab with cooked brown rice or vermicelli noodles. Garnish with lime juice, coriander and basil leaves.
Boil small new potatoes until tender. Meanwhile, combine a thinly sliced fennel bulb and leaves in a bowl with salad leaves. Add defrosted frozen peas and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Flake in a can of drained tuna in olive oil and add the cooked potatoes. Stir through a dollop of ricotta. Drizzle salad with olive oil and garnish with black pepper.
6 Mexi-chicken salad with avo dressing
Sprinkle chicken breast fillets with ground cumin and smoked paprika. Bake or grill until golden and cooked through. Meanwhile, combine salad leaves, corn kernels, chopped red capsicum, edamame beans and chopped tomatoes in a large bowl. Add sliced fresh chillies if desired. Combine avocado, reduced-fat plain yoghurt, coriander and lime juice in a small bowl. Serve the salad topped with sliced chicken and drizzled with avocado dressing.
7 Curried tofu scramble
Stir-fry chopped shallots, garlic, zucchini, capsicum and tomatoes in a frying pan for 1 minute. Crumble tofu into pan and cook, stirring, for an extra minute, then add turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin and crushed ginger. Add a little water and stir for 2 minutes more. Add salad greens and remove from heat. Serve tofu scramble on grainy toast.
8 Chicken noodle salad with peanut dressing
Prepare soba noodles following packet instructions and cool by running under cold water. Combine sliced shallots, green beans and carrots in a bowl with salad leaves. Add noodles and cold, cooked chicken breast. Mix peanut butter, mirin, soy sauce and sriracha in a small bowl. Thin with hot water until a pourable consistency. Add the peanut dressing to salad and toss to combine. Serve the noodle salad sprinkled with fresh chillies and sesame seeds.
Star ingredient: Eggs
Eggs are a versatile and quick-cooking food that make an easy meal base while delivering protein, vitamins and minerals.
Sauté chopped shallots and garlic in a frying pan. Add cumin, smoked paprika, 400g canned tomatoes and 400g canned lentils. Simmer mixture for 5 minutes, then make space in the pan and break eggs carefully into the mixture. Cover the pan and cook another 5–10 minutes. Garnish the shakshuka with yoghurt and herbs and serve with a green leafy salad.
10 Quick kedgeree
Sauté sliced shallots, garlic, ginger and celery in a frying pan for about 1 minute. Add broccoli, baby spinach, curry powder and cooked brown rice and quinoa. Stir to combine and add a little water. Simmer for 3–4 minutes. Meanwhile, boil eggs until they are medium-hard. Flake hot smoked salmon into rice mix and gently combine. Serve topped with egg quarters, parsley and black pepper.
Whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa now come in handy microwavable packs, making them an easy pantry staple, cutting cooking time to just minutes!
12 Roasted vegie & quinoa salad
Heat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place sliced zucchini, capsicum and red onion on tray and spray with olive oil. Roast for 10–15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook quinoa following packet directions. Toss roasted vegies through quinoa, and sprinkle with fresh herbs and a little crumbled feta.
13 Chicken schnitzel with rice
Pan-fry crumbed chicken schnitzels (homemade or store-bought) in a hot pan. Remove from heat. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of soy sauce to the pan. Toss to sizzle. Set aside and keep warm. In the same pan, add a little sesame oil and stir-fry broccolini, asparagus and beans. Prepare microwavable rice and chia following packet instructions. Serve chicken with rice and vegies, sprinkled with sesame seeds.
14 Spicy fish curry
Prepare cooked brown rice, quinoa, couscous or buckwheat, following packet instructions. Sauté chopped shallots, garlic and ginger in oil in a frying pan. Add curry paste, a little light coconut milk and canned tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add chunks of firm white fish such as hoki, and lots of baby spinach or rocket. Simmer for 2 minutes. Serve with grains, garnish with coriander.
Canned beans, chickpeas and lentils are adaptable, inexpensive sources of plant-based protein. Look out for no-added-salt varieties.
17 Tuna Med salad
Warm canned borlotti or other beans in frying pan over medium heat for about 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat, add chopped parsley, rocket, tomatoes, capsicum and lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir through drained canned tuna along with a handful of capers. Drizzle the salad with olive oil.
18 Lentil burgers
Combine mashed canned lentils, egg, fresh breadcrumbs, chopped onion, parsley and thyme in a bowl, then shape into burger patties. Bake or pan-fry until warmed through. Serve the patties in grainy bread rolls with salad and spicy relish.
19 Lemony chicken & chickpea salad
Grill or bake chicken breast fillets until cooked through. Meanwhile, steam or microwave asparagus and peas until tender, then cool. Combine the vegies with drained, canned chickpeas, chopped basil and parsley, and a dressing made from lemon juice and olive oil. Top with chicken and season with black pepper.
20 Speedy dahl bowl
Spray a frying pan with oil and set over a medium heat for 1 minute. Sauté shallots, garlic and ginger. Add drained, canned lentils and canned chopped tomatoes with curry powder. Simmer mixture for 5–10 minutes. Add plenty of baby spinach and stir through. Serve dahl with cooked brown rice, and garnished with fresh coriander and chilli.
Easy hacks for quick cooking
Use just-boiled water from the kettle to cook pasta or rice.
Slice meat thinly, and chop vegies in thin, even slices, or use a peeler to get super-thin ribbons to ensure fast cooking.
Use garlic- and onion-infused oils to save fiddly chopping.
Cook extra vegies when you’re roasting, and store in the fridge for easy additions to salads, frittatas and omelettes.
Shake salad dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar.
10 ingredients to make meals in minutes
Keep these staples in your pantry, fridge and freezer…
canned beans, chickpeas and lentils (no-added-salt varieties)