It’s always good to have a little catalogue of fail safe meals you can rustle up quickly when you don’t have too much time or energy for cooking after a long day. These are meals that can be ready to eat in under 45 minutes or so and will feed your body and soul! Get cooking!
1. Feta, red onion and pepper penne with pesto
This dish is packed full of flavour and goodness and takes about 15 minutes to make!
- 1 pepper, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- olive oil
- penne pasta (enough for however many you’re cooking for)
- plenty of feta cheese, cut into cubes
- black pepper to serve
Start by frying the red onion and pepper with some garlic in a pan. Boil up the pasta and when it’s ready, spoon in a good dollop or two of a pesto of your choice, then mix in the peppers, onion and garlic.
Lastly, add the cubes of feta and stir the whole lot over a low heat until the feta melts a little. Season with lashings of black pepper and serve! A side salad is good with this.
2. Baked spicy chicken with rice
You can’t beat nicely seasoned juicy chicken baked in the oven with some veggies and rice. If you do have time though, the chicken is a lot nicer when marinated in the fridge for an hour or two before cooking.
- 2 chicken breasts, slice into strips
- red onion
- Basmati rice
- all purpose seasoning
- soy sauce
- chilli powder
- garlic, crushed
- olive oil
You can easily vary the ingredients, the measures and the method – to suit your own tastes and requirements.
First add olive oil, crushed garlic, a few dashes of soy sauce into a bowl. Add the slices of chicken breast and mix in well. Add the seasoning and chilli powder and rub it well into the chicken and marinade. Wash your hands, cover the bowl and put it in the fridge till ready to cook.
Slice the peppers and onions and add them to a baking dish. Slather with a little olive oil and whatever other veggies you fancy. Add the chicken, spread it all out well and pop it in a pre-heated oven and bake for 30 mins until the chicken is cooked through and juicy.
Serve with rice.
3. Lentil refritos with tomato and red onion salad and mashed potato
This is a family favourite; super easy and quick to make and really delicious.
- 1 tin of green lentils
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 large onion
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 red onion
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- milk/butter to mash
- plenty of parsley
The secret with the lentils is to really cook the onion. First put the onion into a pan and fry in olive oil until golden brown. This will take up to 15 minutes at medium-high heat. Then add the garlic and cook some more. Finally just add the lentils and tomatoes and simmer gently until all cooked through.
Add the red onion and tomato to a simple vinaigrette of salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Serve all with mashed potato garnished with parsley.
4. Steak and Italian green beans
Select a decent rump or sirloin steak from your butchers or supermarket. You can always have potatoes with this too but depends on how much time you have to play with.
- green beans
- olive oil
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- black pepper
First prepare the green beans. Wash them, top and tail them and part boil them. Prepare the sauce; add olive oil to a pan and fry the garlic taking care not to burn it. Add the tinned tomatoes and the green beans and simmer.
Cook your steak to your liking and serve! Quick and easy and full of meaty goodness.
5. Quickie Quorn and vegetable curry
This one is better slow cooked but works well as a quickie too.
- quorn (frozen, chicken style pieces work best)
- any veggies of your choosing
- 1 tin of coconut milk
- tomato puree
- olive oil
- 1 onion
- spices (cumin, curry powder, ground coriander, paprika, whatever your favourite spice mix is)
- 1 spoonful of curry paste
If you have more time add potato to this recipe! I add sweet potato to it.
Fry the onion and garlic, curry paste and spices together first, add the frozen quorn and cook through. Add the coconut milk, tomato puree and veggies and bring to the boil. Simmer for as long as you can in the time you have – as long as the quorn is cooked through, you can choose your cooking time according to how crunchy you like your vegetables.
Serve with rice and fresh coriander and chopped spring onions!
Apologies for the hap hazard instructions, I’m a bit of a bandit when it comes to measures and cooking times. I kind of go with what looks and smells decent.
Enjoy cooking and feel free to give me more ideas with some of your family favourite mid week meals!