10 Dinner Ideas

Monday, 25 January 2016
I've been getting really into meal planning and meal prepping recently.  Anything to try reduce the amount of time I have to spend in the kitchen when I get home from work, and to reduce our amount of food wastage (we're forever chucking out things that have gone off before we got round to using them).   Whenever we get back from a big food shop I sit and write out a meal plan, working around the best before dates on the meat/veg we've just bought.  This has been really helpful, and it's stopped us having those nights where we just go "I can't decide what to make - ah fuck it, let's just order a takeaway".  I thought I'd share some of the meals I've been making, so if you're struggling for dinner ideas maybe this will give you some inspiration!  


Salmon stir-fry
This is probably the quickest meal on the list, so a good one for a night where you don't have much time.  I just spray a couple of salmon fillets with Frylight, season and sprinkle on some mixed herbs then wrap in foil and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes.  Stir-fry some veg (I've used onion, baby corn, mange tout and tender stem broccoli), boil noodles for a few minutes then drain and stir fry with a little soy sauce.  Pile it all together and ta-da - a healthy and speedy dinner.


Lamb filo pie
I fully admit that this looks like shit, but bear with me.  This takes around 45 minutes, which is usually my standard dinner cooking time so is fine for midweek.  You start by browning diced lamb leg in a pot, then adding veg and frying until soft (I used carrot, onion, spinach and mushrooms).  Next pour in a jar of chopped tomatoes, some beef or lamb stock, mixed herbs, cinnamon, garlic, and tomato puree, and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add the lamb mixture to a casserole dish and top with a few sheets of filo pastry, then stick in the oven for about 15 minutes.  I served with mashed potato and stir fried mushroom and onion.


Spicy bean baked potato
This would do for a quick easy dinner or a lunch. Cook your baked potato however you like - in the microwave for a speedy dinner or in the oven if you've got plenty time to wait.  The spicy topping is chorizo, a tin of black beans, chopped onion, a tin of chopped tomatoes, smoked paprika and chilli (omit the chilli if you don't want it too spicy).  Serve with salad and top with cheese if you like.


Chicken pot pie
I got this recipe from the Slimming World magazine, although it would make a nice healthy dinner for non-SW followers too.  I chucked most of the ingredients in the same pot together - chopped chicken breast, chicken stock, cabbage, onion, leek, carrots, and mixed herbs.  In another pot boil diced swede then drain and mash.  Stir a few spoonfuls of quark into the chicken and veg mix and place in a casserole dish, topped with the mash.  Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until slightly browned, and you're good to go.  I served with courgette slices, baked in the oven sprinkled with chilli flakes and lemon juice.


Burgers & chips
The ideal Friday or Saturday night dinner, and if you're following Slimming World you're in luck as it's syn free!  The burgers are handmade, just simple lean mince, seasoning and some smoked paprika, shaped into patties and grilled.  The chips are easy peasy - just cut potatoes into 1cm chips, spray a baking tray with frylight, arrange the chips evenly in a single layer, spray with more frylight, season with salt and pepper, baking in the oven for 20 mins or so until browned and crispy.  I served my burgers on a wholemeal roll with cheese and salad.  The roll and cheese can be your healthy extra A and B if you're on Slimming World.


Lamb curry
Curry is a pretty standard meal to fall back on when you've run out of ideas, and you can make it as spicy as you like (in my case - not spicy at all!).  Another case of just bunging everything into a pot and leaving to simmer away for about 40 minutes.  I've used diced lamb leg, stock, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic, carrots, onion, cumin and tikka curry powder.  I've served it with plain old basmati rice, but you could be a bit more adventurous, or add naan bread if you like too.


BBQ sausage & bean stew
Another Slimming World recipe that you could tweak if you're not following the plan.  I've used the Slimming World syn free frozen sausages which are actually pretty nice - they do taste a bit quorn-like, but not quite as cardboardy.  To make this add a tin of baked beans, a tin of chopped tomatoes, garlic, chopped peppers, onion, smoked paprika, and worcestershire sauce to a pan and simmer.  Meanwhile, grill the sausages then slice and add to the pan once cooked.  I've served with low-fat garlic bread slices, but you could serve on its' own in a bowl or add a healthier vegetable based side.


Beef stew & roast potatoes
There's nothing I enjoy more on a Sunday night than a roast dinner, especially with my classic roast potatoes.  The secret to these is that I boil them in beef stock for 5 minutes before roasting in the oven, sprayed with frylight and seasoned well.  The stew is slow cooked for a few hours in a casserole dish, diced stewing steak with a beef stock pot, carrots, onion, herbs and seasoning.  You could also add pastry and turn this into a yummy steak pie.


Spanish chicken & stuffed mushrooms
This is a firm favourite in our house - and it's dead easy!  You just arrange skinless chicken thighs in a large dish with chopped peppers, onion and sliced chorizo, pour over a tin of chopped tomatoes mixed with a few tablespoons of smoked paprika, mix it all together and stick in the oven for 30 minutes.  I've served with flat cap mushrooms stuffed with courgette, spinach and parmesan, and a small portion of savoury rice.  If you're doing Slimming World you'll need to syn the chorizo, but the rest is free (parmesan would be your healthy extra A).


Cottage cobbler pie
This is a slight twist on the classic cottage pie - so the bottom layer is the usual lean beef mince, carrots, onion, stock, with an addition of baked beans.  I've then added a cobbler topping - i.e. scones!  I wrote a Slimming World Scone recipe here which is a sweet version of these scones - just replace the sweetener with herbs instead.  I've served with another stuffed mushroom, and savoy cabbage.

Will you be trying any of these?

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