Every season has foodie joys, but for me springtime means boosting the veggie ratios on weeknight dinners and making easy weekend meals that get the kids to the table (outside if possible!) and keep everyone talking for way longer than they eat.

This meals plan can start any night of the week. It includes:

  • five fresh meals and an ‘easy leftovers’ dish (and a free night for takeaway or going out)
  • shopping lists and tips to make your dollar go further this season
  • a meat-free meal (with carnivore suggestions)
  • ideas for including kids in every recipe
  • optional make-ahead or freezer ideas to save you even more time and effort.

    SHOPPING LIST AND BUYING TIPS

    Buying Tips:

    • Herbs: Buy whole bunches of fresh parsley, basil, rosemary and thyme. If you buy a good-sized bunch of rosemary with long stems it should easily do all the recipes.
    • Visit a fruit shop or farmers’ market to find larger quantities on special for the zucchinis, ripe tomatoes, oranges, carrots, potatoes. etc
    • Grab a dozen fresh, local eggs from happy chooks.
    • Buy grated cheddar cheese and parmesan if you’re short on time for the quiche

    Fresh produce

    Broccoli 500 grams
    Onions 1 red
    Garlic 4 cloves
    Ginger1 very small piece (2cm)
    Snow peas 100 grams or a small packet
    Citrus
    1 lime
    1 lemon
    Herbs
    1 bunch each: parsley, thyme, rosemary, basil
    Tomatoes
    1 x 1 kilo bag (preferably ripe Romas)
    1 x 250 gram punnet
    Zucchini a 1 kilo bag if available or 5 medium loose ones
    Capsicum 1 yellow
    Baby Spinach 1 cup loose or buy 100 gram packet
    Lettuce 1 cup soft variety like butter or oak leaf
    Rocket 1 cup fresh leaves
    Cucumber 1 medium sized
    Celery 2 stalks
    Oranges 5 – look for a 1kg or larger string bag
    Potatoes 1 kilo
    Carrots 4 (often cheaper to buy a 1 kilo bag)

    Meat

    1 x 500-gram piece of leg or rump lamb
    1 kilo leg of lamb
    100-gram honey ham
    500 grams of chicken breast pieces

    Pantry essentials, dry ingredients, spices, sauces, tinned

    Ziplock bags or fridge and freezer safe containers
    Olive oil 200 ml
    Honey 1 tablespoon
    Soy sauce 1 tablespoon
    Dry
    baking powder
    plain flour ( buy a 500g packet)
    raw sugar (buy a small packet)
    ¼ cup pine kernels
    ¼ cup pepita seeds
    ¼ cup sunflower seeds
    1 packet tortillas or wraps of your choice
    paprika (a teaspoon)
    salt
    pepper
    Pastes
    1 tablespoon tomato paste (buy a small tube or tin)
    Jars
    ¼ cup semi-dried tomatoes
    Cans
    1 x 400 gram tin of corn kernels
    1 x 400 gram tin of chickpeas

    Other

    Small bottle of orange juice (or make freshly squeezed)
    Apple cider vinegar – a small bottle

    Fridge, freezer, eggs and dairy

    Eggs 8 – buy a dozen pack
    Dairy
    Cheddar buy 1 kilo block or already grated
    Fresh parmesan buy a 125 gram block of parmesan cheese or 1 bag grated
    Ricotta 500 grams
    Cream 500 ml bottle
    Milk only a little – buy a small carton if do not normally have milk or use some of what would be in your fridge
    Tzatziki a 200-250 gram tub

    UNPACK, PREP AND STORE TIME-SAVERS

    These tips help you prepare ingredients early – even immediately after you come home from shopping. The advance prep suggestions here are generally optional but will save you time each night if you follow them. If you don’t have time for this after shopping, check out the make-ahead ideas in each recipe.
    Meat prep
    Read the make-ahead notes in each recipe and decide which to follow based on when you’re making each dish. Eg, the chicken make-ahead involves freezing, which isn’t necessary if you’re cooking it early in the week of this shop.

    Fresh produce prep

    Store in the fridge (or freezer when indicated) in containers or Ziplock bags (ZLB), label. 

    Tomato note: tomatoes are better chopped on the day of use for freshness

    • 500 grams of broccoli, broken up into small florets – container, fridge
    • 1 red onion sliced in half lengthwise then slice each half into strips – ZLB, Fridge
    • 100 grams snow peas, topped and tailed – ZLB, fridge
    • 1 lime, juice of – container, fridge, and zest of – ZLB, fridge
    • 6 extra cherry tomatoes, chopped in half – ZLB, fridge
    • 6 ripe tomatoes, sliced thinly – ZLB, fridge
    • 2 ripe tomatoes, thinly slices – container, fridge
    • 5 medium zucchinis sliced into long, thin strips – ZLB, fridge.
    • 1 kilo potatoes washed and peeled, chopped into quarters, and parboiled – container in fridge (1 day ahead)
    • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into big pieces – ZLB, fridge
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped – ZLB, fridge
    • 2 cups of fresh rocket leaves – ZLB, fridge
    • 2 stalks celery, chopped bite sized – ZLB, fridge
    • ‘2 stalks celery, finely chopped – ZLB, fridge
    • 1 lemon, juice of container, fridge, and zest of ZLB, fridge
    • 5 medium large oranges, rind removed and chopped into segments
    • 1 yellow capsicum, de-seeded and sliced into thin slices – ZLB, fridge
    • 1 cup of fresh soft lettuce leaves (like oak), shredded – ZLB, fridge
    • 1 carrot, finely grated – ZLB, fridge
    • 1 red capsicum, finely sliced – ZLB, fridge
    • ½ medium cucumber, thinly sliced – ZLB, fridge

    Herb prep

    1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, leaves removed from stalks – ZLB, fridge
    ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped – ZLB, fridge
    ½ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly shredded – ZLB, fridge
    1 cup parsley, finely chopped or shredded – Ziplock bag, fridge
    4 stalks rosemary, leaves removed from the stem – ZLB, fridge
    2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from stem – ZLB, fridge
    1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, leaves removed from stalks – ZLB, fridge
    ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped – ZLB, fridge
    ½ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly shredded – ZLB, fridge
    2 whole stalks of fresh rosemary, leave whole – ZLB, fridge
    1 cup fresh mint leaves, very finely chopped, ZLB, fridge (OR make sauce right away)

    Cheese prep

    1 & ½ cups cheddar cheese, grated – ZLB, fridge
    ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated – ZLB, fridge
    2 cups cheddar cheese, grated – ZLB, fridge
    ¼ cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated – ZLB, fridge
    1 cup grated cheese – ZLB, fridge

    RECIPES

    Easy leftover roast lamb wraps

    Easy leftover roast lamb wraps

    Got leftover roast lamb? Turn it into a family wrap night and make it fun. Part of our September 2020 Meal Plan, so make sure you subscribe to receive yours next month. Buying tips: A soft lettuce like oak leaf, butter or mignonette will fold up more easily into a...

    Slow cooked lamb with mint sauce + potatoes

    Slow cooked lamb with mint sauce + potatoes

    Using your slow cooker for this lamb is like having your Nana come visit and bake a feast for you during the day. The mint sauce is a revelation - zingy and perfectly balanced for the rich lamb. Part of our September 2020 Meal Plan, so make sure you subscribe to...

    Honey spring chicken with orange, rocket salad

    Honey spring chicken with orange, rocket salad

    Oranges and honey turn this chicken salad into a main course taste sensation. Adjust the other ingredients to your family’s taste. This recipe was part of our Spring 2020 Meal Plan, where you will find the complete shopping list for a week of meals. Make sure you...

    Fresh zucchini roll bake

    Fresh zucchini roll bake

    This is a beautiful way to use up zucchini in warmer weather. Make it meat-free or add some ham to the mix for your carnivorous family. This was part of our Spring 2020 Meal Plan, so make sure you subscribe to receive your monthly Four Fast Weeknights recipes and...

    Herb, ham and tomato quiche

    Herb, ham and tomato quiche

    If you’ve got time, make two of these quiches and freeze one for another night. This recipe was part of our Spring 2020 Meal Plan, where you will find the complete shopping list for a week of meals. Make sure you subscribe to receive your monthly Four Fast Weeknights...

    Lamb and broccoli spring stir-fry

    Lamb and broccoli spring stir-fry

    Beautiful lamb and broccoli make this a filling meal, while the honey, soy, lime sauce makes it zing! This recipe was part of our Spring 2020 Meal Plan, where you will find the complete shopping list for a week of meals. Make sure you subscribe to receive your monthly...

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