Super-quick main meals
Chicken fajitas with tomato and avocado salsa
Skip the Mexican takeaway and whip up this fresh dish in no time. Just polish up your knife skills to top classic chicken fajitas with a flavourful salsa made of avocados and tomatoes.
My drunken noodles
There are various stories about the origin of this popular Thai dish’s name. Some think that eating these noodles can ameliorate a hangover, others that the spiciness of the dish causes one to drink too much.
Spring onions stand in for the usual BLT greens in this pasta dish. If you’re looking to trim fat, substitute low- or no‑fat plain Greek-style yogurt for the cream cheese and about six pieces of thinly sliced prosciutto for the bacon.
Spicy black bean, sausage and rice burrito
One part burrito, one part jambalaya, all good. If you want to crank the heat, splash some hot sauce onto the rice and beans, or sprinkle diced jalapeno peppers inside before rolling up the tortilla. This filling also would be good as a hearty rice dish served alongside spicy grilled chicken.
Teriyaki fish with noodles
Impress your friends with this deceptively easy meal that takes 25 minutes to cook from scratch. The aromatic flavours of teriyaki sauce are a popular and delicious combination with sweet, thick fish fillets. See recipe...
Recipe from Fish Cookbook, CJ Jackson, DK, £20, available from dk.com.
Baked eggs with tomatoes and peppers
Affordable and healthy, this dish consists of red onion, colourful bell peppers, chile peppers, tomatoes and spinach that create a bed for a soft baked egg.
Skillet gnocchi with chard & white beans
In this one-skillet supper, we toss dark leafy greens, diced tomatoes and white beans with gnocchi and top it all with gooey mozzarella. Serve with a mixed green salad with vinaigrette.
Pizza bianca with Parma ham, rocket, and mozzarella
For a more traditional pizza, add some diced tomato along with the rocket. Cook's notes: You might want to cut the Parma ham into pieces with a pair of scissors so that the pizza is easier to eat. See recipe...
Recipe from Mix & Match Menus, DK, £14.99, available from dk.com.
Pasta carbonara with pancetta and cream
An Italian classic with a mouthwatering combination of ingredients. Variation: You could add some cooked peas to the final dish. For a vegetarian version, leave out the pancetta. See recipe...
Asparagus & feta frittata
This is one of those all-round dishes that is perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner or picnics.
Minestrone with endive & chorizo
Considering that this minestrone soup incorporates mostly frozen vegetables, it is remarkably savory and aromatic. Look for frozen soup or stew vegetables with potatoes, carrots, celery and onion in the mix to give the soup the best flavour. Although pepperoni isn’t traditionally part of minestrone soup, you’ll find it’s a great shortcut to add spicy, complex flavour.
Turkey cutlets with artichoke sauce
A twist on a traditional dish that’s usually prepared with veal, this recipe features turkey cutlets topped with a tomato and artichoke sauce.
Mussels with spicy tomato sauce
The distinctly Spanish flavour of smoked paprika is a welcome addition to this classic dish of mussels in tomato sauce.
Chicken & spinach soup with fresh pesto
This fragrant, Italian-flavoured soup takes advantage of quick-cooking ingredients: boneless, skinless chicken breast, bagged baby spinach and canned beans. It features a simple homemade basil pesto swirled in at the end to add a fresh herb flavour. If you are very pressed for time, you can substitute 3 to 4 tablespoons of a shop bought basil pesto.
The flavour of this salmon chowder is greatly enhanced by adding either fresh dill or dried tarragon: each herb lends its own distinctively different and appealing character to the soup. Even if you dont keep instant mashed potatoes in your pantry, its worth picking some up for this soup. They give the soup a thick, chowder texture without any heavy cream or butter.
Tofu & broccoli stir-fry
Broccoli is delicious in this tofu stir-fry, but any mixture of vegetables you have on hand will work. One way to get great tofu texture without deep-frying is to toss the tofu in cornstarch before stir-frying. Let it cook for several minutes without stirring to help it develop a little crust.
Lightly spiced beetroot & coconut soup
Dramatic in colour and flavour, this soup makes a lovely lunch and is also an excellent canapé served in espresso cups. Friends who proclaim to hate beetroot have tried this and loved it. I like to serve it with hummus toasts for a contrast of flavours and textures.Recipe from The Pure Package: The Diet for Food Lovers by Jennifer Irvine, £11.40 from Amazon
A Mexican-style torta is just like a burrito, except the 'wrapper' is a hollowed-out roll instead of a tortilla. Here it’s filled with mashed spiced black beans and a quick guacamole. Take this vegetarian version to another level (and add calcium) by melting Monterey Jack cheese onto the bean side of the sandwich.
Kung pao tofu
Tofu and lots of fresh vegetables are stir-fried in just a bit of oil in this traditional Chinese dish. In the Sichuan province of China where this dish originates, the tofu wouldn’t be deep-fried like it is so often in America. Similarly, in this version of a takeout favourite ingredients are stir-fried in only a little bit of oil.
Egyptian edamame stew
A riff on the Egyptian classic ful medames, a highly seasoned fava bean mash, this version is made with easier-to-find edamame. Edamame (fresh green soybeans) have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. They can be found shelled in the freezer section of well-stocked supermarkets. This stew is great served with couscous, bulgur or warm whole-wheat pita bread to soak up the sauce.
Chilli-rubbed steaks & pan salsa
Any cut of steak will work for this recipe, but we especially like the flavour and texture of rib-eye with these seasonings; look for steak that has been thinly cut. A cold ale, sweet potato fries and vinegary coleslaw can round out the meal.
Parsley-garlic roasted salmon
Just four main ingredients give this simple, healthy salmon recipe loads of flavour. Fresh lemon juice cuts through the salmon's fattiness and lends brightness to the final dish.
Cube steak with mushroom-sherry sauce
Cube steak is a tougher cut of meat pounded to make it tender. It cooks quickly and is inexpensive - perfect for a weeknight dinner. Look for presliced mushrooms to save even more time on prep.
Creamy fettuccine with brussels sprouts & mushrooms
Sliced Brussels sprouts and mushrooms cook quickly and cling to the pasta in this version of pasta primavera. Look for presliced mushrooms to cut prep time. Serve with a tossed salad.
Beef & bean chilli verde
Chile Verde, usually a slow-cooked stew of pork, jalapenos and tomatillos, becomes an easy weeknight meal with quick-cooking ground beef and store-bought green salsa. Make it a Meal: Serve with fresh cilantro, red onion and Monterey Jack. Add cornbread on the side and your favourite hot sauce.
Apple turkey picadillo
This twist on the Latin American staple is made healthier with lean ground turkey and crisp apples. It doubles well. Try tucking it into whole-wheat tortillas or serve over instant brown rice for a quick and healthy supper.
Pacific sole with orange and pecans
Not so long ago, Dover sole meant an overcooked fillet swimming in butter, dotted with tasteless dried herbs and soaked in too much lemon juice. But sole deserves a comeback: it can become a satisfying, sophisticated, one-skillet dinner with very little effort. The recipe can easily be doubled.
Polenta with creamy mushroom sauce
This mushroom sauce has such sophisticated flavour, you won’t believe how easy it is to make. We love the smooth, creamy texture and nutty, rich taste of fontina cheese when paired with full-flavoured shiitakes. Make it a Meal: Toss steamed broccoli with olive oil, lemon juice and salt to serve alongside.
Three-chip chicken cutlets with cranberry sauce
The goal here is an ultra-crispy chicken cutlet without the mess of deep frying. The solution? Start with ingredients that already are crunchy, add high heat, and you’ve got a winner. For even more intensity, use flavoured crisps, such as sour cream and onion or sweet potato crisps.
Smoked trout pâté with toasted rye bread & carrot salad
This flavourful lunch takes no time to make and the essential oils in the trout fillets are said to boost brain power.Recipe from The Pure Package: The Diet for Food Lovers by Jennifer Irvine, £11.40 from Amazon
Toasted cumin and rosemary-rubbed lamb chops
Other than overcooking, there's not much you can do to mess up lamb chops. And that makes them perfect for busy weeknights. Rub some seasoning on them, toss them in a pan with a bit of oil, and about 8 minutes later you've got dinner.
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