This post may contain affiliate links.

Our latest weekly meal plan is all about HANDS OFF cooking. That means 5 recipes that can be left alone to do their thing in the oven, hob or slow cooker after a little prep.

As always, we’re keeping everything to a budget and making sure we have plenty of nutrition, variety and simple ingredients – not to mention flavours everyone will love.

Recipes in Meal Plan 18 - 5 easy dinner recipes.

This week’s meal plan is all about hands off cooking, which leaves us time to get on with other things, the amount of hands off time does vary from recipe to recipe – for example, one pasta dish needs 15-20 minutes bubbling on the hob, while a stew can be left alone for 6 hours. 

Use these timings wisely according to your schedule at home. I love to come home to a full slow cooked dinner that I just need to spoon out if I know I’ll be home late, for example. On the other hand, I love to make my one-pan meals when I’ve got jobs I can be getting on with around the kitchen while they’re cooking. Win-win!

Disclaimer: while I am calling these meals ‘hands-off’, most of them will still require the odd stir now and then!

I’ll be sharing this meal plan on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, so watch out for the videos so you can cook along.

For reference, I shopped for this Meal Plan in February 2023 at Aldi and it cost £34.27.

Why use a meal plan?

⭐️ Knowing exactly what food to buy avoids food waste and saves you money.

⭐️ Having a plan for dinner avoids the mental load of “what’s for dinner?” question every night.

The printable shopping list can be found here.

You can find more Meal Plans here:

Meal Plan 17Family favourites
Meal Plan 1630-minute feasts
Meal Plan 15More 30-minute dinners

Some tips:

➡️ Check for any items on the shopping list that you already have in your cupboard.

➡️ Maybe think about doubling up and freezing a recipe or two where the recipes are suitable, so save cooking another day or for the weekend.

➡️ Remove ingredients for any meals that you don’t want to cook.

➡️ The shopping list includes the cheapest version of each ingredient. Obviously if you want to buy lower fat mince or free range etc, that’s personal choice.

➡️ All of the recipes are to serve 4, so if you’re cooking for 2, simply halve the ingredients.

The recipes:

Dinner 1

⭐️ A brand new pie recipe for you – think we’ve nailed the shortcuts with this one!

⭐️ Serve with mash and peas. FYI: Potatoes and peas are on the shopping list and can double up with Dinner 4 sides.

⭐️ Minimal prep over the course of about an hour’s cooking time.

Chicken and Ham Pie with golden crust being served straight out of the oven.
4.98 from 38 votes

Chicken & Ham Pie {Easiest Ever One Pan!}

This super-simplified pie-making method is an absolute must for busy families. This all-in-one Chicken and Ham Pie recipes ticks all the boxes for flavour but minimum fuss.
View Recipe

Dinner 2

⭐️ This recipe actually serves 6 people so you’ll have a couple of portions left over for lunches or to freeze for another day.

⭐️ A perfect ‘dump bag’ recipe to make ahead for extra convenience. 

⭐️ Can be left for 4-6 hours to cook.

Sweet potato and peanut butter vegan stew in a slow cooker, garnished with peanuts and parsley.
4.99 from 137 votes

Sweet Potato & Peanut Butter Vegan Stew {Slow Cooker Recipe}

This Sweet Potato & Peanut Butter Vegan Stew is comforting, creamy and totally delicious. Perfect for vegetarians, vegans or if you just want to reduce your meat intake.
View Recipe

Dinner 3

⭐️ Loads of flavour and ready in under 40 minutes, all in one pan.

⭐️ Mix and match the veggies up if you have anything to use up in the fridge.

⭐️ Can be left to bubble away on its own for about 15-20 minutes.

Meal plan recipe Cajun Dry Rice.
4.99 from 87 votes

Dirty Rice {Cajun Style Beef One Pot}

This is a tasty, easy and quick one potrecipe that's full of flavour from the Cajun style beef and packed with filling veggies.
View Recipe

Dinner 4

⭐️ Not completely hands-off but very little prep!

⭐️ A really simple fish dish – perfect for beginners.

⭐️ Serve with frozen peas and Homemade Oven Chips (potatoes are on the shopping list if you’re using it).

Homemade salmon fish fingers on a serving board, with a bowl of peas, tomato ketchup, tar tar sauce and homemade chips on the side.
5 from 5 votes

Homemade Salmon Fish Fingers

This Salmon Fish Fingers Recipe that's so easy to make and full of flavour for a simple family dinner in just 30 minutes.
View Recipe

Dinner 5

⭐️ One-pot pastas are so easy but have great results.

⭐️ Leave to cook on the hob for 15 minutes.

⭐️ If you’re using the shopping list, the recipe uses parmesan but we have used grated mozzarella to save buying two types of cheese!

One pan full of pasta, sausage and pepper for the perfect creamy pasta dish.
4.92 from 198 votes

Creamy Sausage Pasta

This Creamy Sausage Pasta is a quick and easy one pot recipe. It makes a brilliant midweek dinner, where the pasta is cooked in a super tasty the sauce, all in a single pan. 
View Recipe

Quick reminder, the printable shopping list can be found here.

If you’ve found this useful, let’s be friends on Instagram @tamingtwins

new cookbook!

Featuring 100 delicious recipes that can be cooked in one pot, you can open any page in this book and find something that will give you not only a meal that the whole family will eat and enjoy, but also one that makes your life a little simpler in the process.

More Recipes

Sarah Rossi founder of and author of 'What's for Dinner?' books.


Hi, I'm Sarah. I help busy people decide 'What's for Dinner?' Find hundreds of recipes here, and also in my bestselling recipe book. Hope my recipes make your life easier ❤️

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.