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Meal planner: January 28

Meal planner: January 28

Keep the summer holiday spirit alive with Mediterranean-style meals cooked on the barbecue and eaten outside. It’s also time to think about dinners that do double duty in back-to-school and work lunchboxes.

Check you have in supply

Garlic * Onions * Pams olive oil * Sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar * Salt * Pepper * Pams flour * Baking powder * Cinnamon, turmeric, allspice, chilli flakes * Brown rice, wild rice, red rice, couscous or quinoa * 4 slices bread, for breadcrumbs * Chicken stock * Eggs * Butter

Shopping list

1 red capsicum, plus 6 of any colour
2 tomatoes, plus a few more for salad
1 cucumber
500g green beans
3 lemons
1 orange
7 courgettes
12-13 cherry tomatoes
Salad greens
4 medium-sized agria potatoes
2 sticks celery
4 apricots
Thyme, chives, mint, dill, parsley, rosemary, sage
400g chicken thighs (or squid tubes)
650-1kg butterflied lamb leg
200g goat’s cheese
250g parmesan
1 1/2 cups thick Greek yoghurt
½ cup walnuts
Spanish smoked paprika
Saffron (optional)
Paella rice (bomba or calasparra, or use arborio)
12 Pams kalamata olives

Pantry notes

  • Paella pans are made of thin but durable steel which conducts heat quickly. They are readily available in New Zealand from kitchenware stores or use a large stainless steel frying pan with low sides if you don’t have one.
  • Look for Spanish smoked paprika in your local New World, unlike regular paprika this Spanish variation uses peppers which have been smoked, providing a distinct flavour.

Prep ahead

  • Blend the capsicum sauce for paella 2-3 days in advance and store covered in the fridge.
  • The courgette pie is best eaten warm or at room temperature. It will keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days, just take it out at least 10 minutes before serving.
  • Capsicum stuffing can be made 3-4 days in advance and stored covered in the fridge.
  • The lamb marinade can be made 4-5 days in advance, as can the yoghurt sauce.


Courgette, cheese and cherry tomato pie

This is a scrumptious way to use an abundance of courgettes, and it is very lunchbox friendly. Serves 4 with extra slices for packed lunches.

Greek barbecued lamb

Fresh apricot and walnut stuffed capsicums

I have no shame in saying that the only reason I make these for dinner is to give us something other than sandwiches for lunches. They are a great way to enjoy stuffing without having to roast a chicken and make a well-balanced vegetarian meal. The eggs can be omitted for vegans - the mix won’t bind together the same way but it is contained in the capsicums anyway. Serves 4 with plenty for lunches.

Easy paella

Such a joyful dish should not be reserved for entertaining. There’s nothing scary about paella, it’s a simple one-pan meal that can be adapted to include seafood of your choosing. I like to use a mix of chicken and squid, or omit the chicken to make it vegetarian using fish or vegetable stock. Try not to stir the paella from step 3 onwards and you will hopefully end up with a crunchy rice crust on the bottom of the pan.


Use leftover paella to make crumbed rice balls for dinner another night. Form the rice in to balls, pushing a small piece of cheese and prosciutto in to the middle of each one. Roll them in flour, then beaten egg, then breadcrumbs and fry in hot oil until golden all over. Serve with salad.

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