Hazy sunshine; blue skies; lazy twilights: summer has finally arrived in the UK. Whether you’re planning to explore the great outdoors or opt for a laid back picnic in the park, we all want to make the most of those golden summer weekends! To keep you and your family feeling full yet refreshed wherever you venture, try our 4 fresh and budget-friendly lunches this summer.
Pork Tenderloin, Cranberry & Pear Salsa
Serves 4, at around £1.70 per serving.
For a crisp, protein-rich salad that packs a lot of flavour, combine one tablespoon of cider vinegar with a teaspoon of dijon mustard, a sliced clove of garlic, and a pinch of dried thyme. Stir well and set aside.
Next, cut 450g of pork tenderloin crosswise into thin slices and season with garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with all purpose flour and, after tossing, leave to stand for five minutes so that the flavours can soak into the meat.
After adding oil and heating 200g shallots with dried cranberries in a pan, add cranberry juice and allow to reduce into a sauce. Once it’s thickened, add a tablespoon of cider vinegar, salt and black pepper, stir well, and remove from the heat.
To cook the pork, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. Drizzle over a tablespoon of the cranberry sauce you’ve just made, then cook for three minutes, turning once and removing when it turns golden brown.
Thinly slice one ripe red Anjou pear and toss with two packets of spinach leaves: drizzle the remaining cranberry sauce into this salad and toss well to ensure it coats all the leaves. Top with the pork pieces and serve hot or cold.
Roast Chicken with Sweets Pots & Butternut Squash.
Serves 4, at around £1.15 per serving.
Filling yet fresh, this chicken potato salad is ideal for a quick lunch on a summer’s day. Prepare beforehand and grab it from the fridge before you go!
After preheating the oven to 200 degrees Celsius, combine 4 cloves of chopped garlic, half a teaspoon of dried sage, salt and a good pinch of black pepper in a small dish.
Chop sweet potatoes and butternut squash into chunks, and slice three chicken breasts. Then mix with the seasoning and place on a baking tray. Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked inside, remove and allow to cool.
Place into dishes, add a sprig of fresh basil on top, and keep chilled until you’re ready to serve.
Tuna Pasta Bake
Serves 6, at around £1.10 per serving
Rich and tasty with a tomato base, this tuna pasta bake can be made in bulk then left in the fridge for upcoming lunches. Chop a white onion and two cloves of garlic and fry until soft (but don’t fry until golden). Add in 3 tins of chopped tomatoes (each at 400g) and stir well, adding a bunch of chopped fresh basil for extra flavour. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes on a moderate heat.
Boil a kettle and add to a sauce pan. Cook 500g wholemeal penne pasta according to the directions on the back of the pack (usually around 10-12 minutes for al dente). As this cooks, open and drain two cans of tuna and stir into the simmering sauce. Add some more black pepper and, once the pasta is ready, drain and add to the sauce.
Stir well and then serve into dishes. If you’re eating it straight away, add some grated cheese and allow this to melt. If not, leave as it is and allow to cool to room temperature before covering and popping in the fridge ready for your picnic!
Sweet Chilli King Prawn Stir Fry
Serves 4, at around £1.70 per serving
A fast and fresh lunch which is tasty both hot and cold, sweet chilli king prawn stir fry is ideal for those who enjoy seafood. Fry one sliced red pepper, 100g mangetouts and a bunch of spring onions (cut into chunks) in two tablespoon of oil.
Meanwhile, start cooking 250g egg noodles in boiling water. As these become tender, in a cup, mix one tablespoon of tomato puree and clear honey with two tablespoons of low fat soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce.
Pour this flavour-filled sauce onto the vegetables, then add in the king prawns after draining. Allow the prawns to heat for around 2 minutes, ensuring that they are hot through. Don’t overcook them - they’ll become tough!
Once they’re cooked, stir the egg noodles into the wok with the veg and prawns, tossing well to ensure the sauce coats them. Serve into dishes and, if you’re eating this for lunch tomorrow, allow to cool thoroughly before covering and placing in the fridge. Don’t reheat before eating - the flavour is great without doing so anyway!
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