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Posted on 6 September, 2018 in Updates, Tips & Tricks

Time-saving cooking for the week

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We’ve all been there. It’s Sunday afternoon and the crazy week ahead looms large in our thoughts. One way to get ahead of the madness is to save time in the kitchen. What if we told you that you could slash your weekday meal-prep time by more than half? “No waaaaaaaay”, we hear you say. Well, it’s possible, just by cooking for the week ahead. “NO WAY!”, we hear you say. But before you write this off as a completely crazy idea, hear us out. Cooking for the week ahead doesn’t mean you have to spend Sunday slaving away over the stove. It just means that you need to get a little tricky with a few smart recipes.

Where to start cooking for the week.

The place to start is with a crowd-pleaser, like chicken, for instance. It’s a better place to start than lamb’s fry, that’s for sure. Starting with something that’s universally loved means that you’ve got everybody catered for and on-side. The next step is to make sure you’ve got lots of volume without lots of effort. What we mean is that it’s just as easy to roast two chickens as one chicken. So, the humble roast chook is going to be our crowd pleaser. And with a bit of kitchen magic, we are going to change it into chicken korma curry, chicken enchiladas, chicken and corn fritters and chicken jaffles. That’s five whole meals, and four of them will take you roughly 15 minutes each night to get on the table. Now that’s what we call cooking for the week.

Cooking for the week, night one: Classic Roast Chicken

You can’t get this wrong. If you’re a family of four, you’ll need two chickens to ensure you have enough meat for the rest of the week. If there’s more of you, cook three. Increase all the other ingredients proportionately.

Roast chicken in the dish

Ingredients:

1 fresh chicken

2 teaspoons butter

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

3 shallots, peeled and halved

3 sprigs of thyme, left intact

1 lemon, quartered

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 celsius (or 160 if your oven is fan-forced)
  2. Remove the yucky bits from the chicken (giblets, neck, and anything else no-one but the dog wants to eat)
  3. Starting from the neck, gently push your fingers under the skin to loosen it from the flesh
  4. Put the shallots, sprigs of thyme and lemon quarters inside the cavity of the chicken
  5. Combine everything else in a bowl
  6. Rub this mixture under the skin over the flesh of the chicken
  7. Truss the chicken’s legs and turn it on its back. Tuck the wings in underneath
  8. Put the chicken on a rack inside a roasting pan. If you don’t have a rack, directly inside the roasting pan will do
  9. Roast at 180 celsius for 45 minutes, then turn the temp up to 230 (210 fan-forced)  for another 15 minutes
  10. You’ll know its done when the skin is golden. If you’re not sure, insert a skewer into the thigh – the juice should be clear.

After removing it from the oven, allow the chicken to rest for ten minutes. Carve the chicken(s) and set aside a little less than a quarter of the chicken for the first night’s dinner (keep it warm).  Divide the rest of the carved chicken into four equal portions. Freeze two of them. When you’re carving the chicken, make sure that you’ve stripped all the meat from the bones.  Waste nothing! It will all be used over the next four days as you’re cooking for the week.

Serve tonight’s chicken with:

Roasted vegetables and mashed potato. You can get great pre-prepared veggies and mash at the supermarket these days, or you can be brave and do your own.

Now you’re almost set for the rest of the week.

You’ve got Sunday night’s dinner sorted, and you’ve got four portions of chicken (two in the fridge and two in the freezer) for four more dinners.  NEXT!

Cooking for the week, night two: Chicken Korma Curry

At the end of Monday night, you’re generally exhausted. The first day back into the week is always a challenge, so it calls for an easy recipe. We’re not ashamed to say that this one relies on a bottle of Sharwood’s magic sauce. We feel that this is ok because Sharwood’s is a little bit fancy, right?

Chicken korma and naan bread
Ingredients

1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into circles

1 portion of your roast chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 jar Sharwood’s Korma Curry Sauce

Method
  1. Steam your veggies for five minutes. Use one of those nifty steaming baskets
  2. Heat the sauce in a medium-sized pot
  3. Throw the chicken and the veggies into the sauce and stir through
  4. Let simmer for a minute or two, or until the veggies are tender. Don’t boil

 

Serve tonight’s chicken with:

Jasmine rice.

Pappadums (did you know you can stick them in the microwave?).

A spoon of natural yoghurt on the top.

 

Cooking for the week, night three: Chicken Enchiladas

chicken enchiladas on wooden tray

Ingredients:

Enchiladas

1 portion of your roast chicken, shredded finely

1 small red capsicum, halved, seeded, sliced thinly

1 red onion, halved, cut into thin wedges

3 shallots, ends trimmed, sliced thinly

1 3/4 cups coarsely grated cheddar or jack cheese

6 flour tortillas

1 bottle chunky salsa sauce

Sour cream, to serve

Fresh coriander sprigs, to serve

Tomato salsa

3 ripe tomatoes, chopped coarsely

1/4 red onion, chopped finely

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (yes, lemon will do)

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Combine the chicken, capsicum, onion, shallot and 1 cup of the grated cheese in a large bowl
  2. Place a tortilla on a clean work surface. Top with one-sixth of the chicken mixture. Place 1 tablespoon of the salsa from the bottle on top. Roll up to enclose filling. Place in an ovenproof dish (if you use a nice-ish one, you can whack it straight on the dining table to serve from). Repeat with salsa and the remaining tortillas and chicken mixture.
  3. Spoon over remaining salsa and sprinkle with remaining cheddar. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheddar melts and filling is heated through.
  4. While the enchiladas are baking, make the tomato salsa by combining the tomato, onion and lime (ok, lemon) juice in a bowl. Season to taste with salt.
Serve tonight’s chicken with:

The fresh tomato salsa and a dollop of sour cream. Don’t forget to arrange the coriander artfully on top. You can also serve some corn chips and creamed avocado as a starter.  Mash a couple of spoonfuls of corn relish into the avocado for extra yum.

Cooking for the week, night four: Chicken and corn fritters

Wednesday is hump-day. This is a super-healthy recipe to revitalise everyone. It feels a bit like real cooking, even though it can be on the plate in less than 20 minutes.

fritters

Ingredients:

1 portion of your cooked chicken, thawed and shredded

1 can corn kernels, drained

1 small red capsicum, chopped finely

Half a bunch of English spinach leaves, washed and finely shredded

2 tablespoons of flour

6 eggs, beaten lightly

1/4 cup of olive oil

Method:
  1. Heat oven to 160 celsius
  2. Place chicken, corn, capsicum and spinach in a large bowl
  3. Stir in the flour and eggs and season with salt and pepper. Mix well
  4. Heat half the oil in a large non-stick frying pan
  5. Using 1/4 cup of mixture for each fritter, spoon mixture, 3 fritters at a time, into the hot oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes each side or until golden and firm to touch
  6. Drain on a rack over kitchen paper and keep warm in the oven while cooking remaining fritters
  7. Add additional oil to pan as needed
Serve tonight’s chicken with:

A salad of mixed leaves, tomato and cucumber

 

Cooking for the week, night five: Italian Chicken Jaffles

Alrightly. It’s almost the weekend, and you’ve tumbled into day four. You’re slightly frayed around the edges, but you’ve resisted every temptation to pick up McDonald’s on the way home. Well done you! You’re on the home stretch, and you’ve proven how much time cooking for the week can save you.

Young girl enjoyng a toasted sandwich

Ingredients:

1 portion of your cooked chicken, thawed and shredded

1 small avocado, smashed

4 tablespoons chargrilled antipasto (make sure there are no olive pips)

Pesto aioli

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

8 slices of nice white bread (we like Helga’s)

Method:
  1. Switch on your jaffle maker
  2. Place all your ingredients except the bread into a bowl and mix them well
  3. Butter every slice of bread on both sides
  4. Lay four slices in your jaffle maker
  5. Spoon your filling onto the centre of each slice and spread toward (but don’t overlap) the edges
  6. Lay your remaining bread on top and close the jaffle maker
  7. These should be done in two minutes. If in doubt, open and take a peek. They should be golden when cooked
Serve tonight’s chicken with:

A tin of tomato soup, and a green salad.

You made it!

You’ve done your cooking for the week and now it’s Friday. Time to celebrate the end of a great week, during which you saved a lot of time, and probably some money too. To help you celebrate, we’re giving you the night off.  Why not come into the club and grab a quick bite at The Roasted Berry? Or indulge yourself at Indigo – Eats, Treats & Bar? These and other great venues are all here waiting for you to enjoy.

 

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