Five quick lunch recipes that prove cooking meals from scratch doesn’t have to be time consuming

LORNA COOPER knows cooking meals from scratch doesn’t have to be time consuming or pricey.

When a back injury forced mum-of-three Lorna to take time off work, she had to slash her food bill from £100 to just £20 a week.

Lorna, 44, soon realised that by shopping around, diligently checking voucher codes and buying in bulk she was able to reduce her bill with ease.

In her second book, Feed Your Family For £20 In A Hurry, Lorna, from Paisley, Renfrewshire, reveals 100 more tasty recipes that can be prepared reasonably easily — and in less than 20 minutes.

Here she shares five quick lunch recipes. With leftover portions from two of the dinner recipes we revealed on Saturday, that’s your whole week’s midday meals sorted.

This is week one of an eight-week meal plan to feed a family of four.

  • For the remaining seven weeks’ recipes and a full shopping list to help you budget, check out Feed Your Family For £20 A Week In a Hurry by Lorna Cooper (£16.99, Seven Dials, published on April 15).

Lorna’s 7-day lunch menu

TODAY we’re bringing you all the lunch recipes from the first week of Lorna’s meal plan.

Here’s what’s in store:

Lorna’s signature bruschetta
Smoked mackerel spread sandwich
Tomato & pesto palmiers
Curried egg mayo sandwich
Mexican red rice leftovers*
Broccoli cheese soup leftovers*
Cheese & onion pasties

  • *Recipes were printed in day one of our special series on Saturday

Lorna’s signature bruschetta

2 mins prep • 10 mins cooking • Serves 6


  • 2 part-baked baguettes
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, chopped and seeds removed
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil, plus extra for brushing
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 120ml balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder


  1. Bake the baguettes and allow to cool. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, red onion, garlic, basil, oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Give it all a good mix with your hands.
  3. If you have time, place the bowl in the fridge for one hour to let the flavours come together.
  4. In a small pot, heat the balsamic vinegar over a medium heat.
  5. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half.
  6. Remove from the heat and leave to thicken.
  7. In a small bowl, mix the oil with the garlic powder.
  8. Cut the baguettes into slices just over 1cm in thickness.
  9. Brush both sides of the slices with the oil/garlic mixture and lightly grill them.
  10. Top each slice with some of the tomato mixture, then drizzle the balsamic glaze over them to serve.

Cheese & onion pasties

5 mins prep • 15 mins cooking • Makes 6


  • 3 potatoes, mashed
  • 150g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • ¼ tsp mustard
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • 500g ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7. Grease a large baking tray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mashed potato, cheese, onion and mustard.
  3. Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface and roll out the pastry to the thickness of a 10-pence coin.
  4. Cut out six circles from the pastry. I used a side plate (15cm diameter), but you can choose your own cutting tool to suit the desired size.
  5. Place the pastry circles on the baking tray.
  6. Put a large spoonful of the mixture onto each circle, just slightly off- centre.
  7. Fold each pastry circle over, sealing tightly around the edges using a fork.
  8. Once you have sealed all of the pasties, brush the tops with the beaten egg.
  9. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until golden and crispy.

TIP: For a Cornish pasty, just replace the cheese with cooked beef.

Curried egg mayo sandwiches

5 mins prep • Serves 4


  1. 4 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and chopped
  2. 1 tsp curry paste
  3. 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  4. 1 tsp tomato puree
  5. 4 spring onions, diced
  6. 6 slices of cucumber, diced


  1. Mix the ingredients by hand and serve on your favourite bread.

Smoked mackerel spread sandwiches

5 mins prep • Serves 4


  • 180g smoked mackerel, flaked
  • 200g soft cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsp chives
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Mix the ingredients by hand and serve on your favourite bread.

Tomato & pesto palmiers

5 mins prep • Makes 12


  • 250g ready-made puff pastry
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • 100g pesto
  • 100g sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Roll the puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface, into a 25 x 30cm rectangle.
  3. Spread the pesto evenly over the left-hand side of the pastry, then sprinkle the sundried tomatoes over the right-hand side of the pastry.
  4. Roll the left-hand side of the puff pastry so that it meets the centre of the rectangle.
  5. Do the same with the right-hand side so that it meets the rolled left-hand side in the middle.
  6. Cut slices across the rolled pastry, roughly 1cm thick.
  7. Pinch the sides of the pastry slices so that they each form a classic palmier shape.
  8. They should be well spaced out on the baking trays.
  9. Bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes, until golden.
  10. Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.


ENJOY Lorna Cooper’s Feed Your Family For £20 A Week – In A Hurry! for half-price at just £8.49.

The cookbook includes more than 100 new budget-friendly recipes, from Tuscan Chicken Pasta to Philly Cheese Steak and Peanut ­Butter Cookies, which can be prepared in under 20 minutes for less than £20-per-week.

Never has saving time and money been so easy with Lorna’s savvy shopping tips and clever short-cuts.

Pre-order online at by adding the book to your basket, then entering the code 60133175 in the promo code box at checkout.

Or cut out the voucher below and take it to your nearest WHSmith from Thursday, April 15, when the book is released.

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