After a long day at work, it’s tough to muster the energy to cook something from scratch for dinner, let alone having to think about lunch the next day.

Below, I’ve created a whole week’s worth of recipes, from speedy meals for one that you can easily make in advance to big-batch cook dishes that will last you lots of meals.

They’re quick and easy to prepare, require minimal attention and, as ever, are full of nourishing goodness.

Monday – Fajita chicken
Tuesday – Teriyaki tofu
Wednesday – Garlic chicken kievs
Thursday – Beef ragu
Friday – Salmon en papillote
Saturday – Mushroom and black bean chilli
Sunday – Roast chicken

FAJITA CHICKEN

So easy to throw in the oven!

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 pepper, sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • Feta/cheddar (optional)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Method:

1.Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Marinade the chicken in paprika, cumin and lemon juice (between 30 minutes and 24 hours).
3. Line a baking tray with tin foil, then add the sliced onions, peppers and garlic and top with the chicken breast.
4. Wrap the foil around the chicken and vegetables to make a sealed parcel and roast for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
5. Serve it all up with grains or sweet potato wedges and a sprinkling of cheese.

Tip: double the recipe and save half for lunch the next day. It’s great in a wrap, too!

TERIYAKI TOFU

A plant-based recipe with so much flavour. Cook it all in one pan and save on washing up!

Ingredients:

  • 150g tofu, diced
  • ½ onion, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 red chilli, descended and chopped finely
  • 1 pack baby corn
  • 1 pack green beans
  • ½ pepper, sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
 red chillies
Chopping red chillies

Method:

1.Heat the sesame oil in a pan and fry the sliced onions.
2. Add the garlic, chilli and ginger, and stir fry together until the onions are very soft.
3. Add the soy sauce and the maple syrup, then make space in the centre of the pan and add the tofu.
4. Cook the tofu on all sides until golden, then mix together so that everything combines.
5. Add the vegetables and stir fry together for 5 minutes, then finish with the lime juice to deglaze the pan.
6. Garnish with sesame seeds and spring onions.

Pairs well with:  rice or noodles.

GARLIC CHICKEN KIEV

A great way to pack a chicken breast with lots of flavour!

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 50g breadcrumbs/oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened but not melted
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1.Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. If using oats, blitz in a food processor until they resemble a fine crumb. If using breadcrumbs, go straight ahead and empty into a bowl. Add the chopped parsley.
3. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl.
4. Combine the softened butter with half the chopped parsley and the minced garlic.
5. Cut a deep slice into the side of the chicken breast, taking care not to slice the whole way through, and stuff with the garlic butter.
6. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then add to the bowl of crumbs, to coat.
7. Lay the breaded chicken on a piece of grease proof paper and roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and serve with your choice of carbs and vegetables.

Tip: try it with roasted potatoes and your choice of green vegetables for a failsafe combination.

BEEF RAGU

A great one-pan recipe – especially good for batch cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 150g lean beef mince (10%)
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 50ml red wine (optional)
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • 1 stick celery, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp oregano (fresh or dried)
  • 1 tsp basil (fresh or dried)
  • 1 can of tomato passata (250g-300g)

Method:

1.Heat the oil in a pan, then add the bay leaf, chopped onions, garlic, celery and carrots.
2. Sauté altogether until the vegetables begin to soften, then add the beef mince and brown all over.
3. Once browned, add the red wine and then top up with the tomato passata and stock. Add the dried oregano and basil (if using fresh herbs, add these later).
4. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced down to a thick sauce.
5. Finish with fresh herbs and serve.

Pairs well with: linguine, brown rice, roasted Mediterranean vegetables and a sprinkling of parmesan.

SALMON EN PAPILLOTTE

The easiest recipe in the world! Wrap it up, pop it in the oven and leave to cook for 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 salmon fillet
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 100g cooked new potatoes, halved
  • 100g asparagus or green beans

Method:

1.Line a baking tray with grease proof paper or tin foil.
2. Add the green vegetables, onions and then top with the cooked new potatoes.
3. Place the salmon fillet on top and pour over the lemon juice.
4. Top with the butter, then fold up the sides and scrunch them together, to seal.
5. Roast for 15 minutes at 175°C. Top with extra parsley, to serve.

Next time: try cooking cod, trout, sea bass or your choice of fresh fish. You could use sweet potatoes instead, too.

MUSHROOM AND BLACK BEAN CHILLI

 Ingredients:

  • 150g mushrooms, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced finely
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • Bunch of coriander
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
mushrooms
Chopping mushrooms

Method:

1.Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the leek and carrot until soft.
2. Add the garlic and mushrooms next, followed by the fresh chilli. Cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, then add the beans, tomatoes and vegetable stock.
4. Leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once the sauce is quite thick, add the lime juice and cocoa powder.
5. Cook for a further 5 minutes, season and finish with freshly chopped coriander.

Tip: you could use puy lentils instead of black beans, if you’re not a fan. They add lots of fibre and have a great texture, too.

ROAST CHICKEN

While this classic might take longer to prepare, it can be left to roast and provides you with enough meat for a few days of prep too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole roast chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 leek
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 3 tbsp butter/olive oil

Method:

1.Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Chop up the vegetables and place in a baking tray.Next, add the fresh herbs.
3. Place the chicken in the centre of the tray and fill the cavity with a garlic bulb (halved) and the lemon (halved).
4. Rub the skin with oil or melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
5. Roast in the oven for roughly an hour and a half, depending on the size of your chicken. Consult the packet instruction for specific timings – the juices will run clear when it’s done.
6 Serve up with your choice of carbs and veggies!

Pairs well with: anything really! Potatoes, parsnips, greens, onions, salad and more.

Add the ingredients to your next shopping list and give them a go.

Make sure to check out more of Jenny’s meal prep guides:

5 meal prep tips for beginners

8 make-ahead breakfast recipes that are all high in protein

5 lunchbox meal prep recipes and ideas

Chef Jen (@Miss_FightingFit) has six years-worth of meal prep experience and operates her own private meal prep service, We Cook London.