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Basic ideas needed. Please help!

(25 Posts)
Renaissance227 Wed 25-May-11 11:16:20

I'm pregnant at the min and really need ideas for quick, easy, and tasty evening meals.
I'd be grateful for even standard dishes that you do for a usual evening when you want to be fairly quick!
Thank you for any help.
P.S. My DP and me like spicy and plain food and at the min I have a mad craving for anything with cheese in it! (but not brie!)

DamselInDisguise Wed 25-May-11 11:20:34

When we're in need of a quick and non-labour intensive dinner, we have pasta with roast tomatoes.

Preheat oven. Chuck a packet of cherry tomatoes in a small tray. Pour over a little olive oil, a dash of balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper. Shoogle the tray about a bit to coat everything and then roast for 15 minutes. Cook some pasta. Mix the two together and grate serve. You can grate some cheese over the top if you like.

jaffacake79 Wed 25-May-11 11:20:44

Macaroni cheese (I do ours with pancetta or bacon in).
Creamy pasta (bacon, garlic, mushrooms, can of condensed chicken or mushroom soup and a good slug of cream) I chuck a few handfuls of broccoli in as well as we all like it. Loads of grated cheese on top.

Batch cook a load of bolognaise sauce that can be adapted to loads of things, and freeze into portions.

Cauli cheese with crusty bread.

Beef and broccoli noodles.

Depends on what sort of thing you like most I guess!

Renaissance227 Wed 25-May-11 11:31:39

That all sounds lovely jaffacake79, but I am a cooking novice and wouldn't have a clue where to start with Beef and Broccoli noodles!
How do you make macaroni cheese?

Thanks for your idea DamselinDisguise! Can't wait to try that one!

DamselInDisguise Wed 25-May-11 11:53:25

Another easy meal is spinach and ricotta pastry roll.

Preheat the oven to 225C (or whatever it says on the pastry packet).

Mix together a pot of ricotta and some chopped spinach (as much or little as you like, I usually use about 5 or 6 handfuls). Add some grated (unwaxed) lemon rind and salt and pepper.

Roll out ready-rolled puff pastry. Spread the spinach and ricotta mixture over the pastry in a thin layer, leaving a couple of inches bare at one end. Roll the pastry up (starting from the end with the mixture on it). Brush the bare end with egg and it will stick down. You should have a nice roll.

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper (this makes it easy to lift the cooked roll off). Place the roll seam side down on the tray and brush the top with more egg. Put in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

When it's cooked, slice it up and serve (you could have salad with it, or new potatoes and veg, whatever you like really).

Renaissance227 Wed 25-May-11 11:56:29

That's perfect DamselInDisguise. Thank you so much smile

DamselInDisguise Wed 25-May-11 11:59:56

You can also use ready-rolled puff pastry to make all sorts of easy dinners. You can top it with goats cheese and onion (slice 3 onions and fry over a low heat with a little oil, thyme, salt and pepper until softened and a bit browned - takes about 10-15 minutes; spread the onions over the pastry leaving a couple of cm around the edges; top with thin slices of goats cheese; bake for 10-15 minutes at 225C), ham and cheese, cheese and tomato, or a variety of other things.

The end result looks much more impressive than you'd think.

jaffacake79 Wed 25-May-11 13:19:33

Ah ok then, it's nothing hard. I use one decent sized steak for 3 of us, slice it thinly and then chuck in a bowl with a teriaki marinade and leave (I do this overnight and then it's really quick to cook the next day).
Heat a wok up, dash of sesame oil, chuck the steak in and a load of broccoli florets, add about 2 tbsp of soy sauce, a good couple of grinds of garlic and chilli (just depends on taste really, more or less doesn't matter) then about a wine glass of water. Put a lid on and steam for 5 minutes on a high heat, stirring regularly. As soon as the broccoli is starting to soften put in a packet of the soft ready to wok noodles (we like Udon, the really fat ones), you might need a dash more soy and a grind of black pepper, but after about 3 minutes of stirring and moving the noodles around it'll be ready. smile

The creamy pasta: Set pasta to boil in the biggest pan you have. 5 minutes before it's due to be ready chuck a load of broccoli in.
In another pan fry off the chopped up bacon, garlic and mushrooms, add a can of condensed soup (I use chicken or mushroom), then refill the can with cream (easy way to measure) and stir that in. Once the pasta and broccoli are done, drain, put back in pan and tip contents of smaller pan over the top, stir and then serve with loads of grated cheese on top.

Macaroni cheese: Boil macaroni, make up cheese sauce (you can use a packet, if I do I like the Luxury 4 cheese one, I think it's Colemans, but making your own just takes practice), fry off a load of bacon to stir into the sauce. Once the pasta's done, drain, tip back in pan, pour over sauce and stir. Put into a baking dish, top with loads of grated cheese and bake in the oven for 20 mins ish.

French Onion Soup: Slice really thinly about 6 red onions, soften in a massive pan in a little olive oil, you can add some garlic if you like. Once they're soft add about 2 tbsp brandy and about a glass of red wine, allow this to cook off for 5 minutes. Then crumble in a couple of oxo's, or use some liquid beef stock and add about a litre of water, I add some dried parsley, about 2 tsp. Let it simmer for about 20mins. I make huge cheesey croutons with this - slice up a french stick into inch pieces, place on a grill tray and grill for 2-3 mins, turn over so the soft side is up, drizzle with a little olive oil and top with a little grated cheese, put under the grill for about 2 mins until it's all melted and gooey. Serve in big bowls and chuck a few croutons in at a time so they soften and go all yummy.

What other sort of thing do you fancy? I love cooking!

Renaissance227 Wed 25-May-11 13:24:51

They are brill. Thank you so much jaffacake79.

Anything that I could bake in the oven for not too long that would be easy to put together? x

jaffacake79 Wed 25-May-11 13:33:11

Ooh chicken wrapped in parma ham.
Get a couple of chicken breasts and cut into the fattest bit horizontally so you make a pocket. Stuff it full with boursin or another cream cheese you like, wrap it in parma ham or streaky bacon pop in a dish and then bake in the oven for 25/30 mins at 180C. I tend to put some vine tomatoes in the same dish and drizzle everything with a little olive oil and balsamic syrup.

Renaissance227 Wed 25-May-11 13:54:29

Great! Thank you.
How'd you get to be so good?! x

stressedHEmum Wed 25-May-11 19:56:19

Anchovy pasta - cook pasta. Finely chop an onion and a clove of garlic, drain the oil from a jar of anchovies into a frying pan and gently fry onion and garlic until soft. Chop anchovies. Drain pasta, stir in onions and garlic with oil. Stir to coat pasta, add another a glug of oil if needed. Toss in the anchovies and a handful of fresh, torn basil leaves. Add the juice of half a lemon and plenty of black pepper. Serve with salad.

Salmon pasta - cook pasta. Drain, stir in a pack of smoked salmon trimmings, a tub of creme fraiche and about 1lb of thawed frozen peas. Season with lemon juice and black pepper.

Tortilla pie - brown 1lb mince with a chopped onion, garlic, some chopped tomatoes and some taco seasoning. Lay a flour tortilla in a deep pie dish, spread over 1/2 of the mince. Top with some grated cheese. Put another tortilla on top, then the rest of the mince then some more cheese. Top with another tortilla then scatter with grated cheese. Bake at 180 for about 30 minutes. Serve in slices with salad.

Chick pea and pasta soup with garlic - chop an onion and a lot of garlic. Fry in some olive oil until soft. Add 2 tins of chick peas, drained, and 2 pints of veg stock. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Blend half the soup and add back to the pan (or just put a hand blender in and whiz it for a few seconds until some of it is blended and some still chunky.) Add a couple of handfuls of pasta and simmer for another 10 minutes or so until pasta is well cooked and soup is thickened nicely. Serve with crusty bread.

Patatas bravas. Chop a couple of pounds of potatoes into bite sized cubes. Toss in olive oil and roast at 200 for about 30 minutes or so until tender. Meanwhile chop an onion and some garlic. Fry in olive oil until soft. Add about 80gms of sliced chorizo and fry until it releases its oil. Add a tin of chopped toms, a pinch of cayenne, a spoonful of sugar and a couple of teaspoons of smoked paprika. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the roasted potatoes and stir to mix. Put a lid on the pan and leave, off the heat for a few minutes for the potatoes to absorb the sauce a bit.

Tomato rice - chop an onion and fry in olive oil until soft. Stir in a cup of rice. Add a tin of chopped toms and 1 1/2cups water. Season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Simmer for about 12 minutes or so until rice is cooked and all liquid is absorbed. Serve topped with grated cheese. This serves 2 but is very easily doubled or even trebled.

Smoked mackerel cream. 200gms smoked mackerel fillets, skin peeled off, 200gms black pepper philadelphia, bunch finely chopped parsley, couple of tablespoons lemon juice. Mash everything together until fairly smooth. Serve on toast with rocket leaves and cherry tomatoes.

DamselInDisguise Wed 25-May-11 22:28:35

You could try oven-baked Spanish rice too. It takes a bit longer but is really easy. You just have to do a bit of chopping, throw it in the oven and stir occasionally. It makes enough for 6 generous portions, so there will be leftovers that are good reheated in the microwave the next day.

Preheat oven to 200C.
Chop up an onion and a couple of peppers (as finely or roughly as you like really). Crush or chop 2 cloves of garlic.
Throw into a large oven-proof dish with a packet of cherry tomatoes and some olive oil. Season.
Roast for 10-15 minutes.
While that's happening, peel and slice a chorizo ring (c. 200g but more or less is fine). Take 4 skinless and boneless chicken things and cut into quarters.
Finely chop up some rosemary (3 or 4 stocks worth, just pull the green bits off and then chop).
Weigh out 300g of rice (arborio or paella).
Make up 1 litre of chicken stock (I use kallo cubes, which are great). Add a pinch of saffron and throw in the rosemary.

Take the softened onion, pepper, tomato mixture out the oven. Add the rice, chorizo and chicken and mix. Pour over the stock mixture and stir so everything is as submerged as possible. Return it to the oven (uncovered) and cook for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, take the dish out and give it a stir. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. At this point you can add some prawns if you like (raw one's, defrosted frozen one's will do). You could chuck in some other kind of seafood if you prefered or nothing at all. my DH hates seafood, so we don't bother.

After 10 minutes it's done. Take it out, stir and serve. It's good with crusty bread and salad.

jaffacake79 Thu 26-May-11 11:19:09

OMG that potato and chorizo dish sounds divine! I'm stealing that one grin

My Mum and Gran taught me how to cook the basics and then I trained in a restaurant from a pot wash to restaurant manager where you had to flambé dishes at the customer's table, so I was taught to cook by the chefs there. I love cooking anyway, so will try my hand at most things. Some things end up not working and tasting rubbish but then other things are lush!

stressedHEmum Thu 26-May-11 13:59:08

Jaffa, patatas bravas is a complete favourite in here. You can add more chorizo or miss it out completely for a veggie meal. You can also add a sliced red pepper with the chorizo, if you like. The kids like it with a drizzle of aioli on top.

I have thought of another couple of things that are fairly standard in here and that only take minutes.

Spicy beans and toast - fry a chopped onion with some garlic until soft. Stir in a spoonful of chilli powder and a sliced red pepper and cook for a minute or so. Add a tin of chopped toms, a tin of kidney beans and a tin of some other kind of beans, drained. Season with salt and pepper, a splash of lemon juice and a pinch of sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes or so. Cut a baguette in half and then cut the halves in half lengthwise. Toast the crusty sides. Turn over and sprinkle with a little grated cheese. Toast until cheese is melted and bread is brown. To serve, spoon the bean mix over the top of the baguette slices and top with a few rocket leaves.

lemon pasta - cook a packet of pasta. Meanwhile juice 3 or 4 lemons. in a pan mix a 200gm tub of philly with a small carton of cream and heat gently until melted. Drain the pasta and stir in the lemon juice. Let it soak into the pasta for a minute or two. Stir through the cream and cheese mix. At the last minute mix through a bunch of watercress and season with plenty of black pepper.

mummytopebs Thu 26-May-11 21:16:14

This thread is great I am going to try lots of your ideas, I am also not so good at cooking sad

Do you ladies have any pork or turkey recipes?

DamselInDisguise Fri 27-May-11 12:05:10


Slice a couple of onions and peppers. Crush a couple of cloves of garlic. Chuck in a frying pan with some oil on a medium to low heat with some chilli (dried or fresh, as much as you like, or none at all).
Thinly slice some pork fillet (you could use chicken or beef if you preferred). Once the onions and peppers are softened, add the pork to the pan. Stir and cook for a few minutes. You can add some chopped tomato too if you like.
Squeeze in the juice of a lime and a bunch of roughly chopped coriander.
Lay a tortilla wrap on baking tray (it might help to put some greaseproof paper down to make it easy to lift off and cut up at the end. Sprinkle some cheese (cheddar will do just fine, as much or little as you like) on the wrap and then spoon on some mixture from the pan. Spread the mixture evenly in a thin layer across the whole wrap. Top with more cheese and another wrap.
Put this in the oven for 5 minutes or so until the cheese has melted (this holds it together) and the top has started to brown. Turn over and do the other side if you can be bothered. Otherwise take it out, cut into slices and eat.

DamselInDisguise Fri 27-May-11 12:06:18

You could use turkey for that too, I guess.

DamselInDisguise Fri 27-May-11 12:09:03

You could substitute pork or turkey in Jaffa's stirfry recipe too.

Carrotsandcelery Fri 27-May-11 12:16:19

Spicy Chick Peas

Pour some oil in a medium pan - chuck in a chopped onion and crushed garlic and soften. Add curry powder eg 1 tsp or more, cumin 1 tsp or more and chilli powder to taste. Cook for about a minute. Add drained can of chick peas and can of chopped tomato. Simmer. Serve with rice and grated cheese.

stressedHEmum Fri 27-May-11 12:31:28

I have a nice chick pea recipe as well. I had forgotten all about it until Carrots posted hers.

Fry a chopped onion with a some chopped garlic until soft. Stir in 1/2tspn chilli, 1/2tspn cumin and cook for a minute. Add 2 tins drained chick peas (or 1/2 a bag of dried chick peas, cooked to packet instructions). Stir about to mix. Add 1lb of fresh tomatoes that you have chopped and the juice of a lemon. Cook 5 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down a bit. Serve with rice or couscous. It's quite a dry dish, not very saucy.

Potatoes and greens (this is one of my DD's favourite things to eat) - 3lbs or so potatoes, cut into chunks, a good sized cabbage, shredded (or any other type of leafy green), a couple of chopped onions, salt, pepper and curry powder. Par boil the potatoes. Fry the onions in a decent amount of oil until see through. Add cabbage and curry powder. Stir to coat with oil. Put on a lid and cook for a couple of minutes until wilted. Take the lid off and add the drained potatoes. Cook, stirring all the time, until everything is done. Season well with salt and pepper. You can add an optional tin of tomatoes with the cabbage, if you like. You don't need to stir it as much if you do.

ivykaty44 Fri 27-May-11 15:35:44

Pasta with bacon creme fraich and pesto. Cook up bacon squares of any kind, or strips of bacon. Cook pasta shapes as the packet instructions and then drain, stir in two dessert spoons of pesto (basil or sun dried tom), stir in creame frache around two tablespoons and then stir in the bacon. Serve with a salad and grated cheese on top.

Carrotsandcelery Fri 27-May-11 17:21:38

Emma that chick pea and cous cous dish sounds yum!

MoniDubai Sat 28-May-11 09:35:42

Try the recipes in really work and are meal based, ie starter main course and pudding, veg, non veg and spicy and non spicy, easy to print out too and keep in folder, in the What's for Dinner Tonight section

stressedHEmum Sat 28-May-11 18:19:07

I made this today, it's a bit of a staple in here:

lentil and potato curry - chop 2 onions and some garlic. Fry in a reasonable amount of oil until soft, Stir in about 1tblspn of curry powder and cook for a minute or so. Add about 2lbs of diced potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring. Add a 1lb bag of red lentils and stir. Pour in a tin of coconut milk and 6 cups of water (1 1/2litres) and 2 or 3 spoonfuls of mango chutney. Mix well, bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or so until liquid is absorbed and lentils and potatoes are cooked. Serve with either rice or flatbreads. Serves 6.

I used a 2.5kg bag of potatoes today. 500gms made potato pancakes for breakfast (mix with a very finely chopped onion, plain flour, a couple of eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg,) about 1kg went into the lentil and potato curry and the rest have been made into potato soup for dinner with onions, carrots and a leek. All very quick and easy.

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