5 easy dinners for busy days + FREE recipe book

You’ve had yet another busy day and now it’s time to think of something to make for dinner. Sigh. A nightly chore we’re all too familiar with. When you’re pressed for time and energy, making a healthy meal that the whole family will love is no easy feat.  

But is it even possible to cook healthy, affordable, delicious, weeknight meals when you’re time-poor? Absolutely. 

That’s why we’ve created Easy Eats, our latest cookbook that provides simple, affordable, plant powered meal ideas to help ease the weeknight ‘what’s for dinner’ headache. Get your free digital copy and enter the draw to win a premium print edition here.  

We asked food stylist and busy mum of three Lucy Tweed, of Every Night of the Week Insta-fame, to road test the new recipe book, share her favourite recipes and provide some of her top tips for making dinnertime less of a battle and less likely to break the bank.  

Make it simple

According to Lucy, if there’s just one thing you should try to make your weeknight dinners easier, it’s this - keep your dishes simple. Minimise the ingredients you use and focus on one hero veggie.   

“A can of beans, cabbage, cauliflower - you can take these veggies in any direction,” says Lucy. In Easy Eats you’ll find plenty of simple recipes but also some ‘3 ways with’ ideas to show how much versatility you can get from one ingredient.” 

Her top tip? “I like to roast up one hero veggie or a mixture of what I have on hand for the week and have it in the fridge to use in lots of different recipes. All you need to do is add a protein like a tin of beans or a boiled egg and some quality carbs like a piece of whole grain toast and you have dinner ready to go in a flash.”  

Make it healthy

With a family of 5 in different life stages and with differing taste buds, Lucy understands the challenge in trying to please everyone and keep things healthy. Her advice is to start slow and include variety to help keep healthy eating on track.  

“Taking a family-friendly approach to healthy food can often scare people. I find developing and styling these kinds of recipes, like those found in Easy Eats, a real joy, especially as it helps give people the confidence to start,” says Lucy.   

“Try to offer a combination of ingredients to provide choice and variety - a mix of colour, raw and cooked foods – that means everyone gets at least something they like.”  

Her top tip? “Look to make meals healthier with simple swaps. You can substitute similar ingredients, like swapping butter for extra virgin olive oil in your cooking, white rice for brown rice or adding a can of lentils to your bolognaise sauce”.

Make it budget-friendly

Your social media feed may be dominated with influencers demonstrating how cheaply they feed themselves for a week, but they are often only feeding one person, with one set of taste buds. Lucy says feeding a family can be trickier, but it is possible.  

“Buying and eating seasonal local produce is the first and foremost way to start cutting your costs. You can buy cheap trays of whatever fruit or veg is in season and then adapt your recipes around what you have,” says Lucy.   

Her top tip? “I like adaptable planning, where I make the decision in my meal planning to make something like lasagne, but then change things up, like each of the layers, depending on what is on sale or in season. If eggplant is in season, I might use that for a layer and if ricotta is on sale I will choose that as another layer.”  

Make it plant-powered

The biggest change you can make to your meals to make them budget-friendly and better for your health is to reduce your meat intake and eat more plants and it is easier than you may think! 

Lucy suggests that one of the first meals you can practise reducing your meat intake with is in a mince-based meal, like san chow bow or the tofu larb lettuce cups in Easy Eats.  

“You can sub the meat out completely with legumes, tofu or a meat substitute, or you can bulk it out with veggies like mushrooms or cauliflower,” says Lucy. 

Her top tip? “I like to either cut or reduce the amount of meat my family eats by bulking out my meals with legumes like black beans or chickpeas. They can be left whole or mashed through.” 

Ready, set, cook

Lucy loved road testing all the meals in Easy Eats, and she’s shared 5 of her favourite recipes that are perfect for when you are tight on time during the week.  

Vibrant bean and corn tacos 

These tacos are what Lucy calls ‘hand to mouth’ food. They are not only delicious, but also help save on the washing up too. They are a great DIY family-friendly dinner that’s great for the kids as it provides a more interactive experience and you get to build the ingredients to your liking.  Lucy tries to incorporate one of these style of dinners into her meal plan each week.  


Rainbow falafels with parsley salad 

The perfect meal prep food. Choose whatever veggies you have on hand and blitz up and store in the freezer for when you need a delicious crispy meal filled with goodness. This is one of those perfect vegetarian meals that even the biggest meat eaters won’t complain about.  


Grated veggie rice balls with peanut dipping sauce

These little umami packed flavour bombs are so versatile. They can be eaten as is, crumbled on top of salads, flattened in a sandwich press, used as a toast substitute with an egg on top, or as a burger pattie. They are also great in lunch boxes or as a snack to get you through till dinner, which is how Lucy enjoys them during the inevitable afternoon slump. Make a batch and freeze them, you won’t regret it.  


Tofu larb lettuce cups 

A great meal that Lucy suggests starting with on your journey to reduce your meat intake. The tofu in this is a delicious combination of salty, sweet and zesty. It perfectly combines the soft texture of the tofu with the crunch and freshness of the lettuce and cucumber. 


Smoky kidney beans 

This recipe is proof that dinners don't need to be fancy or expensive to be a winner. It is quick, comforting and delicious all while providing you the nutrition you need. The best news is that the beans can be batch frozen and pulled out whenever you need them, for any meal of the day.  


For these recipes and more, download your free copy of our new plant-powered cookbook, Easy Eats. If you’re quick, you could even score yourself a printed version.