What are your busy week night dinner staples?

(18 Posts)
reastie Thu 29-Nov-12 12:35:38

Just after ideas grin as I feel like I'm stuck in a bit of a cooking rut and relying too much on ready frozen stuff when I'm perfectly capable of cooking, just lacking in inspiration.

My staples include ratatouille in the slow cooker using supermarket frozen chargrilled Mediterranean veg and some passata and stock and then sticking in some dumplings in the last half hour. I also make quiche with ready made pastry which is quite quick, do baked potatoes with various fillings or pizza bases in the bread maker. I'm struggling for ideas though, and DD is getting so fussy that most of the time what I cook she refuses to eat <sigh>

Drladybird Thu 29-Nov-12 12:58:10

I like to make one pot wonders such as:
jambalaya- basically rice, veggies and beans in a delicious tomato sauce
veggie stew and dumplings
I made this cauliflower pesto and pasta the other day and it was really lovely:
onesweetsaturday.com/2012/10/31/midweek-meal-inspiration/
All these are really easy to put together and leave to cook when you have been at work/ had a busy day running after a small person!

reastie Thu 29-Nov-12 14:02:20

good ideas there drladybird, thanks

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 29-Nov-12 19:52:06

Both of my DC and DH all love toad in the hole with lots of veg. Not super quick, takes about 40 mins but appreciated by all.

Mintyy Thu 29-Nov-12 19:53:49

Stir fries are always quick.

Spaghetti carbonara.

Salmon baked in a foil parcel with a bit of butter and seasoning (takes 20 mins maximum) served with rice and vegetables.

Mintyy Thu 29-Nov-12 19:54:31

I make a gorgeous prawn and chorizo paella-ish kind of thing.

Caerlaverock Thu 29-Nov-12 19:55:19

Yes to spaghetti carbonara
In summer, grill cherry tomatoes with garlic and olive oil then blitz with balsamic vinegar, basil and crime fraiche

tipp2chicago Thu 29-Nov-12 20:08:34

Fish & Cous Cous

Whack frozen fish in oven.

Boil kettle for chicken stock. Chop up about an inch of chorizo per person into approx pea-size bits and fry off in a teaspoon of oil. Make chicken stock. When chorizo is cooked, add in about a half-handful of peas per person. Put cous-cous in a bowl and add enough stock to cover by 1cm.

Chop up as much bell pepper as you like and add to chorizo and peas. Stir around a bit, then add enough chicken stock to barely cover. Stir in a teaspoon of whole-grain mustard to the chorizo & vegetables.

When chorizo & veg is done, stir it into the cous-cous. Dish up with fish. Done.

Sounds harder than it really is, there are lots of intervals where you're really doing nothing and can have wine tea.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 30-Nov-12 00:15:56

Meatballs!!! I make them in huge quantities on dull weekends and freeze them raw on trays before knocking them into a big bag. For a quick supper they get poached in a rich tomato sauce and served with pasta

Makes lots...
1lb minced beef
1lb minced pork
1 onion, finely chopped or minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2oz grated parmesan
4oz fresh breadcrumbs or rolled oats
Herbs
Seasoning

- Combine all the ingredients (easiest in a food processor) and then shape with wet hands into balls about the size of a walnut. (Can be frozen at this stage)
- Make a simple fresh tomato sauce with passata, a pinch of sugar, seasoning and italian herbs and allow to reduce a little
- Place the meatballs on top, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir very gently and only towards the end of the cooking time.

reastie Fri 30-Nov-12 07:40:54

Jilted yes I do toad in the hole - always goes down well here too

Minty I do stirfries for myself, but had never considered giving them to DD as she still chokes quite easily when eating hard things and the carrots etc in the stirfry always seems quite hard and I'm not neat enough to chop them really really thin

Ohh caer that sounds delish

Actually, was watching Jamies 15 minute meals the other day and there was a really nice recipe for a pea/asparagus linguine which I might try

tip we don't have cous cous anymore as <shudders at thought> DD just throws it on the floor and it takes ages to clean up but sounds like a nice recipe could try with pasta or rice

cogito meatballs is a great idea but DD refuses to eat them angry - which is why I'm struggling so much as I don't want to bother cooking if it doesn't get eaten.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 30-Nov-12 20:34:20

If you are after some meals that dd will eat, I've got the the dinner lady by Jeanette orrey. Both of my DC love all the recipes and I've just bought aggies family cookbook for 3.99, only cooked 2 recipes so far but both were yummy and it comes with handy meal plans smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 30-Nov-12 20:35:01

And your library will probably have loads of family cookbooks too.

crikeybadger Fri 30-Nov-12 20:48:21

There was a good one on Nigel Slater the other day:
Finely chop one shallot and slice one fennel bulb
Gently cook in olive oil
Toss this mixture in to freshly cooked linguini or spaghetti and add some crumbled feta and basil.

Even DH who turned his nose up at the fennel intially, thought this was delicious.

My other mid week staple for the ds's is something like bacon and cheese frittata.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 30-Nov-12 20:52:16

Curley does Spind yum but fennel is about the only thing DH will refuse. Might just have to cook it when he is out smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 30-Nov-12 20:59:42

Spind? Wtf? Sound blush

GrassIsntGreener Fri 30-Nov-12 21:00:28

How about sausages in place of meatballs? I make an easy sauce:

Heat butter in big saucepan, add carrots, onion and any leftover veg and cook for a few minutes. Make up about 1pt stock or whatever instructions are and pour into pan. Let it reduce by about half then add a tin/carton of chopped tomatoes. Add a bay leaf, dried garlic and mixed Italian herbs then simmer for a while. Add Worcestershire sauce generously. Remove bay leaf, add seasoning. I add salt & pepper.

Everything is to taste this is just what I do do you might like to add different things. A slosh of red wine works wonders if you have one open.

That's the sauce, cook some pasta, some sausages and mix it all. It is really quick and easy. I usually aim to make the sauce in advance and freeze or heat later. grin

reastie Sat 01-Dec-12 18:14:47

Jilted might look those cook books up. I bought an Annabel Karmin (or whatever her name is) cook book to try stuff for DD but she refused all of it angry so I gave up

Grass I'm going to try that sauce. I don't usually have the patience to let anything reduce for long maybe that's my problem but will give it a go.

reastie Sat 01-Dec-12 18:15:20

Oh and crikey that recipe sounds nice. I've always been a bit hmm with fennel, maybe this will sway me to like it!

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