Five simple meals in minutes

This week I’ve been thinking about Pam as I’ve made my meals.

You might remember you all helped her reduce her food packaging.

For someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but is on a zero waste mission, what can you do?

Here are three simple meals we’ve eaten this week:

Simple pasta.

  • Put a portion of pasta on to boil. Wholewheat pasta needs about 15 minutes, which is plenty of time to rustle up a quick sauce.
  •  In a frying pan, fry the end of a leek or a small onion, finely chopped with a clove of garlic and teaspoon of paprika, in olive oil, until softened.
  • Add half a red pepper from a jar of roasted pepper and 1/3 bottle of pasatta
  • Give it a gentle stir to mix the ingredients
  • Allow to come to the boil then simmer until the sauce thickens – this will take about the same amount of time as the pasta. If it’s getting to thick, turn it off the heat – it will stay warm.
  • When the pasta is ready, drain and add to the frying pan of sauce – mix everything together.

You can then serve as is, grate some cheese over the top, add a small tin of tuna, some chickpeas or some leftover chopped chicken

This sauce can also be served cold, spread on toast or used as a jacket potato topping; which brings me on to…

Jacket potato

Jacket potatoes are quick to prepare – all the time is spent with cooking.

Wash and prick a large potato and bake in the oven at 180-200 until cooked through. This usually takes around 1 1/2 hours.

Jacket potato can be served with anything you fancy from baked beans to hummous to bolognase sauce.

Serve with a salad or crudities and you’re all set!

The simplest soup in the world

In a saucepan place the following:

1/2 chopped onion

  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 2 sticks chopped celery
  • 1/2 chopped leek
  • 2 oz red split lentils
  • 1 clove of smashed and chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • soy sauce to taste
  • 1 pints vegetable stock or water

Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until everything is cooked.

Either serve as it is, or if you prefer a thicker soup, purée it.

Simple eh?

The great thing about this recipe is you can put in less water to make a thicker ‘sauce’ which is then fantastic for pasta, rice or to topped jacket potatoes.

Slow cooked chicken and rice

(credit to Simply Being Mum)

Mix the following in a slow cooker:

  • 1/4 pint hot chicken stock
  • 200 gms tinned, chopped tomatoes
  • One small, finely chopped onion
  • 1 cruched garlic clove
  • 25 gms sundried tomatoes (drained)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pesto

Mix these ingredients together then add:

75gms rinsed and drained basmati rice – make sure the liquid just covers the rice, if it doesn’t simply add more stock or tinned tomatoes.

Place 1 skinless, bonelss chicken breast on top of the rice.

Press everything down so the chicken is almost submerged into the liquid

Leave to cook on high (without lifting the lid!) for approximately 3½ hours. Ensure the chicken is cooked throughout.


Yes, it takes a bit of time to prep the ingredients, but making stir fry is a great way to use things up that might be going past their best.
Take time to cut your veggies as finely as you can.

A stir fry is really open to your imagination, but here are some of the things we like in ours:

  • Carrot
  • Red onion
  • mange tout
  • Red, yellow and orange peppers
  • Sweetcorn or peas
  • mushrooms
  • shredded cabbage
  • chestnuts
  • courgettes

To make a stir fry, you need to get your wok or frying pan really hot before adding the oil.

Once it is hot, add a splash of oil and let it just smoke before throwing in your prepared vegetables

Stir them around all the time to prevent burning and after a few short minutes the veggies will have started to soften.

Add some soya sauce and sesame oil (about one teaspoon in total for one person), shake it about and serve!

You can eat stir fry on its own, sprinkled with seeds or make it more substantial by eating with cooked meat or fish.

To make this simpler, you can prep the ingredients for two stir frys; eat half one night and store the other veggies in a sealed container in the fridge until the next day.

What about you? What do you cook when you’re in a hurry and don’t want to create too much packaging waste?

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Rachelle Strauss

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