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laziest meals...that look like you made an effort

(253 Posts)
ghoulelocks Thu 21-Mar-13 15:04:39

can we pool ideas, those meals that get brownie points but are very little effort.

My contribution:

lamb casserole:
diced meat
frozen veg (tesco do nice and chunky mix)
few spices

throw in big pot, oven 90min. looks lovely, don't even get a knife dirty and takes about 2 min prep.

Amiable Thu 21-Mar-13 18:55:24

2 to offer:

1 - bacon and bean stew - chop bacon and onion and fry for a couple of mins in large non-stick pan (use extra oil if you want) add:
tin chopped tomatoes
tin baked beans
tin sweetcorn
tin or two other beans as desired - butter beans, kidney beans, chick peas - basically any will work!
can add chilli/chilli powder if liked, and bit of water if it's a bit thick. Really quick too - done in 20 mins, but will sit quite happily for longer if needed. Can serve alone, or with rice, cous cous or jacket potatoes. also works with pork belly cut into largish chunks, or sausages cut in half (or a mixture as you fancy!)

2 - chicken with mediterranean veg
chuck mushrooms, courgette, peppers and onion (all sliced/chopped quite large) into roasting dish, with some oil or low fat spray, chicken breasts on top with cherry tomatoes, and sliced cooking chorizo if desired - roast for about half an hour on 200oC until chicken cooked through. Also works well if you add whole baby new potatoes (or cut larger new potatoes into halves/quarters) for 10 mins first, then chuck in everything else for half an hour.
Can do a 'winter' version with carrot, celeriac, parsnip, ar any other root veg you fancy, in which case roast them for 10 mins or so before adding chicken.

both are delicious, healthy and look like they've taken far more effort - dish 2 is a good option for entertaining too!

trixymalixy Thu 21-Mar-13 18:58:03

Fry some shallots in the oil from sundried tomatoes , chuck in some cooked chicken and some chopped sundried tomatoes and stir until heated through. Then pour in some cream. Voila!

Serve with carb of choice and a green salad.

loveonashoestring Thu 21-Mar-13 19:00:03

Nigella's marmite spaghetti- comfort-tastic!

Spaghetti onto boil, melt a good knob of butter in a pan and add a dessert spoon sized blob of marmite to it to make a sauce. Stir into spag when cooked and finish with grated cheese.

Amiable Thu 21-Mar-13 19:00:05

for got to say, you can add mixed herbs to the stew and/or splash of worcestershire sauce for added extra oomph!

FrameyMcFrame Thu 21-Mar-13 19:05:29

Home made cheese and onion pie.

Buy ready made roll of puff pastry, boil diced potatoes grate lots of cheese fry 2 onions.
Bung it in the pie dish and pour over half a beaten egg. Pop the pastry on top and brush with other half of egg.

Serve with steamed veg.

or baked beans for little kids.

apatchylass Thu 21-Mar-13 19:06:29

Put chicken thighs, new potatoes, unpeeld garlic cloves (you don't even have to peel them, - all part of the rustic charm!) and small red onions in a big pan with 1 large spoonful of olive oil and roll them around a bit until all coated with oil. Add one glass white wine, one mug of chicken stock from cube and some fresh sprigs of rosemary, salt and pepper.
Bake in oven for 35-40 mins, until the meat is soft and the skin is all golden crunchy and crispy. Serve with a big leafy sald. People coo over this dish and the house smells fantastic.
One pan, and nothing to peel except four small red onions and a bit of lemon rind.

Furball Thu 21-Mar-13 19:09:10

Littlemissexpecting -

I use about 300 gr (there's only 3 of us) of extra lean frozen minced horse beef .

1 x tin of napolina tomatoes - I find any other brand too wishy washy
1 x tin napolina mixed bean salad
1 spoon of bovril mixed with 1/2 cup of boiling water, 1 1/2 teaspoons mild chilli powder, 1 teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon sugar.

Chuck the whole lot in slow cooker and leave, if you are doing it all day you may need abit more fluid.

I don't use onion, as dh doesn't like them and I use extra lean mince so it hasn't got a layer of fat on the top at the end.

Easy Peasy - Even 11yo Ds can do it. smile

Furball Thu 21-Mar-13 19:09:58

oops and a squirt of garlic puree

TrucksAndDinosaurs Thu 21-Mar-13 19:18:06

Bag large frozen prawns defrosted in colander under cold running tap
Tin of crabmeat
Tin of tuna
A bag of spinach
A lump of butter
Lazy garlic from jar
Microwave rice
Lemon wedges
Torn up fresh herbs ie basil, coriander, parsley, chives, whatever (not all at once)

Melt butter and dry garlic in big deep pan
Put defrosted prawns in hot butter, heat through til piping hot.
Remove prawns with slotted spoon
Put spinach in pan and wilt in the butter
tip in hot microwaved rice, tinned tuna,crab and prawns
Mix it all about,chuck herbs on top and garnish with lemon wedges

You can add chorizo slices dry fried before you melt the butter and mushrooms if you can be arsed but is nice as is with lots of very cold white wine or beer.
Reminds people of summer holidays

TrucksAndDinosaurs Thu 21-Mar-13 19:18:40

Should say fry garlic not dry garlic

gardenpixie32 Thu 21-Mar-13 19:19:51

Pesto pasta without jarred pesto. Like a deconstructed pesto.

Boil linguini.
Toast pine nut in a dry pan.

Warm garlic oil in pot, add cooked linguini, toasted pine nuts, tear in some fresh basil leaves and shave on parmesan reggiano.

Is easy and delicious and always get complements.

lustybusty Thu 21-Mar-13 19:21:17

I do lemon and garlic chicken-lazy garlic, bottled lemon juice and herb if choice (I use thyme), mix up, dip chicken in, grill. Served with roasted veg - chop carrots/peppers/squash/potatoes into 2cm/1inch cubes, on baking tray, drizzled with oil, in the oven at some temp for some time (can't you tell I'm a great chef...! I think about 140C for about 20 mins?) and serve. Full of flavour, loads of colour, no "bad" fats, naff all washing up. grin

starfishmummy Thu 21-Mar-13 19:22:37

Fish pie. Buy a pack of mixed fish cubes (or get them loose on the fish counter); tip in an kvenlroof dish with some prawns and frozen peas. Tip over a carton of ready made fresh parsley sauce; top with chilled cabinet mash (or cheesy mash) swirled into a nice pattern. Bake.

starfishmummy Thu 21-Mar-13 19:23:15

I should preview......ovenproof

Taffeta Thu 21-Mar-13 19:24:40

Chicken breasts, skin on? Roast. Take out of roasting pan.

Put roasting pan on hob, scrape bits off base, add white wine or vermouth, bubble for a few minutes. Add some chicken stock, bubble up, add chopped tarragon and a splash of cream.

Serve w green beans and new potatoes.

quornqueen Thu 21-Mar-13 19:26:39

I have had compliments on my 'home made flatbreads'. Standards are obviously low because I take a fajita, rub tomato paste on it and grate cheese on it. If I can be bothered I sprinkle oregano on top. I kid you not, my friend thought this cheese on toast ensemble it was homemade.

My REAL easy show stopper recipe is thai noodle soup. Buy pre-roasted chicken, coconut milk, thai curry paste, onions, ginger, fish sauce and stock. Fry dry stuff, add wet stuff, combine with noodles and shredded chicken. Voila.

BikeRunSki Thu 21-Mar-13 19:35:30

My mil need never know that my fab Yorkies are Aunt Bessie's....

BalloonSlayer Thu 21-Mar-13 19:37:07

Honey and Mustard Chicken (I do it with Quorn though)

Dice onion and fry in oil or butter.

Add chicken breasts and brown them

Add a tablespoon of flour

300ml stock - add

Add a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of wholegrain mustard.

Simmer for 40 mins.

(I tend to need to add salt)

MorphsMum Thu 21-Mar-13 19:43:33

Sausages (I use beef, don't like pork - good quality sausages best)
+ tin of plum tomatoes
+ cup of frozen veg (I like Tescos frozen casserole veg)
+ tin kidney beans
+ cup of rice per person (could also use pearl barley)
+ stock (I used low-salt organic as DC only just weaning)

Slow cook whilst out for the day
Delicious on its own or with crusty roll.
I don't usually chop the sausages until serving but you could do.

Also with sausages - popular with baby and toddler - squeeze the meat out of the sausages, fry with loads of mushrooms and garlic, onion, puree and use as a (freezable) bolognaise sauce.

Chandon Thu 21-Mar-13 19:46:01

Balloon, that recipe to me screams for a splash of double cream added at the end...

ErrorError Thu 21-Mar-13 19:48:14

spilltheteaagain my 'signature' 3-bean soup:


1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 pint of water
1 tin broad beans
1 tin butter beans
1 tin red kidney beans
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tbsp chilli sauce (or half a chilli, or 1-2 tsp chilli powder - v potent!)
1 tbsp mixed herbs
twist of cracked salt & pepper
1 small handful of dried spaghetti


1. Peel and dice onion, fry in a large soup pan with a small quantity of oil, until onions are soft but not brown.

2. Add chopped tomatoes. Note: Some mixture will evaporate, and consistency is intended to be quite thick (like minestrone), but if you prefer a more brothy texture, then 1 further tin of tomatoes can be added, or a dash of water every now and then to soften the mix.

3. Add 1 pint of water (see above for notes on consistency.)

4. Pour beans into a sieve and rinse with cold water, then add to pan. If the beans listed are unavailable or not to your taste, you can substitute with lentils, dried peas, or any other type of bean. (I've made it with flageolet and azuki beans.)

5. Bring mixture to the boil. Once boiled, turn down to a simmer and stir regularly.

6. Take the small handful of spaghetti and break chunks into the pan. It may look like there isn't much, but it swells! Can be made without spaghetti if preferred, but I love the texture, and it absorbs the other flavours.

7. When spaghetti is completely soft, add chopped garlic (garlic salt as alternative), mixed herbs, salt and pepper, and stir again.

8. Add vegetable stock cube by crumbling straight into pan or dissolve in a small amount of boiled water and pour in, (the latter method is useful if mixture has become quite thick.)

9. Add either chilli sauce, half a finely chopped chilli, or a tsp of chilli powder to give the soup a kick. (All 3 if you like!) Quantity can be altered or even not included at all.

10. Stir occasionally, taste and alter seasonings to personal preference.

11. Serve and enjoy!


I make a big pan of this and eat some straight away, but often leave the rest overnight to really absorb the flavours and it tastes even better the next day, (A small amount heated in a pan with a dash of water.) This soup is vegetarian and also suitable for freezing!

MorphsMum Thu 21-Mar-13 19:48:48

Another good one is fish tarts -

Buy cubes of fish
Buy shortcrust pastry
Cut out circles of pastry and put in muffin/ fairy cake tin
Put fish in each tart and add a sauce (my sauce was very simple - egg, milk, abit of flour to thicken - can add frozen peas)
cook and serve with salad

Isandri Thu 21-Mar-13 19:58:14

Beef casserole. 400g of meat will make 10 portions.
Flour the beef and brown in pan with some salt and pepper. Thrown in a little bit of alcohol, red wine, brandy, sherry, port(or stock if you don't cook with alcohol) and some roughly cropped onion. Add chopped peppers and give it a stir on a medium heat. Let it all sweat a bit. Add lots of stock, some potatoes and if you want to stretch the portions some bulger wheat. Let the entire thing simmer as as low a heat as you hob will go for at least 8 hours. In emergencies you can simmer for 2 hours but the longer you leave it the better it is.

Cheap soup. Thick and filling
Fry some opinions in butter. Add mixed fresh or frozen veg to pan. Stir and let it sweat. Add liquid and potatoes. Add 1 small handful of lentils for every 4 portions. Simmer for at least 30 min. Add salt, pepper, stock cubes etc. Blend some or all of the soup. If it's too thin you can add boiled potatoes next time. Serve with cubes of cheese, sliced leeks or bacon/creme fresh on top if you want to make it more interesting. 

MorphsMum Thu 21-Mar-13 19:58:24

Can we have a dessert thread like this one, too? I love the easy jam sponge above, am often stuck for a nice pudding. I rely on carrot-cake served with ice-cream or jelly with fruit and mint in in summer!

Lovecat Thu 21-Mar-13 20:05:49

Couple of fish things that don't look like much but taste amazing:

Tuna pesto pasta.

Boil pasta. While it is cooking, open a tin of tuna and drain it. Open a jar of red pesto. Mix together. Grate some cheese. Drain pasta and stick back in the pan. Add "sauce" and stir until warmed through. Stick in bowls and lob cheese on top. My fussy 'won't eat THAT' DD loves it.

Fish Pie - I adapted this from a recipe and it is not only relatively cheap but LUSH:

1-2 packs Smoked mackerel fillets (the cheapest you can find)
Frozen or fresh spinach, either defrosted or wilted in a pan if fresh (I always use frozen as it's less faff).
1 tin ratatouille
2 baking potatoes

Preheat oven to 180. Chuck the potatoes in the microwave to bake for about 10 mins (don't worry about them not having crispy skins, this is just to cook them a bit).
Get an ovenproof casserole and flake the fish into the bottom of it. Cover with the defrosted/wilted spinach.
Spread the ratatouille over the top of the spinach.
Slice the baked potatoes and layer over the top of the ratatouille. Dot with butter if feeling extravagant.
Sling in the oven for 20 mins, serve with a bag of salad.

The original recipe said just slice the potatoes and put them raw on top but I found they were never properly cooked by the end of the 20 mins, so I part bake them first in the micro.

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