Your lunch doesn’t have to be expensive, shop-bought fare that compromises your nutrition. Today I spent just under 1-hour preparing 7 healthy, tasty, high-protein meals for £1.89 ($2.46) per portion. Each flavourful portion contains two chicken thighs and packs at least 30g of protein, as well as vitamins and minerals from the vegetables and herbs. Add a large serving of fresh, steamed veggies for about 40 p per portion and you’ve got a week’s worth of lunches (or dinners) for under £2.50 a go.
From two main ingredients, chicken thighs and butternut squash, plus herbs I had lying around, and tinned beans, preserved peppers and pre-cooked lentils that have been in my kitchen cupboards for months, I easily prepared 7 cost-effective, tasty and nutritious meal portions. You don’t need advanced cookery skills or to use ‘cheap’ ingredients to produce cost-effective healthy food.
Slow-cooked chicken thighs, butternut squash, lentils and beans
7 chicken thighs
1/2 butternut squash
250g pre-cooked puy lentils
Tin hageolet beans
Sage, rosemary, salt & pepper, turmeric,
White wine, chicken stock
Pan fry the chicken thighs in butter, seasoned with salt, pepper and a little turmeric for colour, until golden brown.
Add the beans, lentils and butternut squash pieces to the slow-cooker (or casserole dish).
Add the browned chicken thighs to the lentils, beans and squash in the slow-cooker.
Throw in some herbs (I had sage and rosemary lying around).
Add wine (if like me you have half a bottle in the cupboard) and chicken stock to level but not cover your ingredients.
Let your slow-cooker do its thing or casserole in the oven at 180 for a couple of hours.
Roasted chicken thighs, butternut squash and fennel
7 chicken thighs
½ butternut squash
1 fennel bulb
Jar of roasted peppers
Sage, rosemary, salt & pepper
Splash of white wine
Place the chicken thighs in a roasting tin and season with salt & pepper.
Add butter squash pieces, fennel slices and peppers to the tin, surrounding the chicken.
Add a splash of white wine, sage and rosemary and glug of olive oil.
Roast in the oven at 180 for 1 – 1.15 hrs, depending on the speed of your oven.