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Weekday cooking - getting in late

(24 Posts)
puffinpants Thu 01-Sep-16 10:08:25

I'm shortly going back to work and going to be getting in after 7pm and then I'll need to cook dinner for DH and I. I'll batch cook teas for DH to heat up for ds so it will be just for two.

What are your best fifteen minute style meals? To give you an idea of my skill level I did a Jamie Oliver fifteen minute meal the other day and it took me nearly an hour... As time is so tight I'm also not mad keen on that amount of 'clean down' time required but it's not the end of the world to need to whip round the kitchen to tidy up. I've done a meal plan for the first week but I can't help but think we're going to end up with lots of stir fries and pasta....

PurpleDaisies Thu 01-Sep-16 10:12:28

We do a lot of batch cooking on the weekends and reheating. Things like chilli, bolognaise, stews and curries. That means your clean up time afterwards is really quick too. All you need to cook fresh is the accompaniment.

Otherwise, curries using paste or jars of sauce, fajitas, baked fish with rice are ate pretty quick to do.

Can't your dh do some of the cooking?

idontlikealdi Thu 01-Sep-16 10:16:36

Same as Purple. 3 days a week I'm in too late to start cooking so cook the weekend for those 3 days. The kids have their portion before I get in and DH and I eat after they've gone to bed.

Otherwise pasta with a simple sauce that takes the amount of time to cook as it takes for the pasta to boil.

DoItTooJulia Thu 01-Sep-16 10:16:50

What about an omelette-that's quick with some salad. One pan too.

Anything on toast is quick.

Bacon/sausage sarnies.

In terms of batch cooking, you could make the base of a sausage and bean stew but don't cook the sausages. Just cook them while the stew is reheating and add at the end.

Curries/daals batch cook and freeze. Boil in the bag rice makes it quick.

Egg fried rice for any leftovers.

Is that the kind of thing you were thinking?

puffinpants Thu 01-Sep-16 10:36:58

Yea egg fried rice is a staple in this house for leftovers so definetley that kind of thing

Some great suggestions here. Re things on toast - I can think of mushrooms and beans and DH will have it with mackerel on it - any other good ones? I like the idea of things that DH can be responsible for cooking as he's currently a cooking avoider! If I leave him to it he will just order takeaways for us which isn't great for the bank balance ...

PurpleDaisies Thu 01-Sep-16 10:43:01

I really like cooking so do most of it, but when I had lots of work on that finished late we started a dh cooks the tea night once a week with the stipulation that he puts all the ingredients on the shopping list and it must contain at least two types of vegetable. That expanded to three nights a week, then five when my work went crazy busy. Now he's a pretty good cook.

It isn't fair to expect you to do it if you're getting in later than him all the time.

calzone Thu 01-Sep-16 10:46:54

Having just done a simple meal plan, I have jacket potato, cheese and beans for one night. Get DH to put them in the oven before you get home.

Am also planning a freezer meal every week.

Why not buy a couple of fresh meals to bung in the oven that you can have with fresh vegetables.
Not everything has to be from scratch every night.
There are some lovely meals in the meat section of Waitrose if time is scarce.

puffinpants Thu 01-Sep-16 11:18:38

Agree about fair - it's a confidence thing and really he's just never learnt. I like the idea of getting him to build up slowly to more cooking- with DS he will need to get better about just having a go so that he gets decent food when I'm not around.

Jacket potatoes are an excellent idea. I'm sure he can manage that! Agree, a certain amount of ready made food or, at least, prepped veg is probably going to be necessary. I'd like to avoid having to pop to the supermarket on the way home if I can so I can maximise time with DS if he's still awake (if he is at all...)

1frenchfoodie Thu 01-Sep-16 13:30:33

I agree that batch cooking and getting DH to do more are good ideas. Meanwhile a few suggestions:

Slice pork tenderloin or loin chops thinly then add to a frying pan with thinly sliced onions, cook for a few minutes then add sliced mushrooms and carry on cooking. Once meat is cooked add mustard and cream, stir and combine with pasta / gnocci (readymade supermarket pack) or serve with mash.

Steam salmon and veg over a pan of boiling baby potates then dress potaotoes with a bit of butter and dig in.

Fajita kits are pretty quick.

I love far eastern/thai curries / lhaksa so often do a spice paste on a sunday then prep on the worknight is minimal - just some sauteeing and adding coconut milk while rice cooks.

AdoraBell Thu 01-Sep-16 14:52:02

Get DH to prep veg to go with something from batch cooking? That will also help him to learn a bit too. It doesn't need to be restaurant standard so ask him to do carrots and potatoes to roast, just wash and chop into, fe, 2 inch chunks. That could go with grilled sausages. Or he could prep a chunky salad to go with pasta, or omlettes.

Cookingongas Thu 01-Sep-16 15:27:26

Fish is fast. This bean and spinach side

With a fried fillet of trout/bass/ halibut etc would take ten minutes.

Salmon with steamed veg

This lamb with bean mash
I use this bean mash on toast as well, it's really nice.

Cookingongas Thu 01-Sep-16 15:27:38

Have you got a pressure cooker?

puffinpants Thu 01-Sep-16 17:34:14

No I haven't got a pressure cooker buT I've been thinking about an instant pot - would it be a worthwhile investment do you think?

Cookingongas Thu 01-Sep-16 17:50:56

I'm desperate for an instant pot- I have a stove top pressure cooker and it really has solved my busy weekday problem. I use irreducible weekly. Bacon and chicken soup was last night in 12 minutes.

Cookingongas Thu 01-Sep-16 17:51:38

It twice weekly

wobblywonderwoman Thu 01-Sep-16 18:02:47

You could use a slow cooker or other ideas

Salmon peas and new potatoes takes 20 mins and little cleaning

Steak and salad - very quick

Soup and sandwiches

Omelette or scrambled egg on toast

But I would freeze curries and dinners at the weekend

1frenchfoodie Thu 01-Sep-16 19:05:15

I have been lusting after an Instant Pot for a while and am getting one for my birthday next month - but I think it does take 10 mins or so to get up to pressure so 15 minute meals are probably not achieveable.

Artandco Thu 01-Sep-16 19:07:48

7pm is that late is it? Can't you just get in, see son, cook meal between you and eat at 8-8.30pm.

Cookingongas Thu 01-Sep-16 19:58:01

Oooh French is it that long for pressure on instant pot? My stove top only takes 4minutes if I use already boiling water(kettle)

1frenchfoodie Thu 01-Sep-16 21:43:56

cookingongas , time to pressurise an Instant Pot obviously depends on temperature and volume of ingredients you start with. I've seen a ref to the manual saying it can take 10-40 mins for the preheat/pressure building stage. The IP comes with a chart apparently.

lastqueenofscotland Thu 01-Sep-16 21:53:30

I get in at 9/10 on Tuesday's. 7:30 is early for me! But on Tuesday's I have
Pasta and pesto with veg
Soup and a roll
Puy lentil/chickpea/cous cous salads
Beans on toast

TheSpottedZebra Thu 01-Sep-16 22:05:37

Have you a microwave?

Those rice packets, or other pulses and grains are excellent and only take 2 mins. Can be served with fish, cooked really quickly, or even tinned ? Simple veg eg pre prepped from frozen, or things like wilted spinach.

Tinned cannellini beans make lovely mash, and just need to be squashed and v. quickly heated up. Again, excellent with fish, pork steak, etc etc.

loosechange Thu 01-Sep-16 22:14:07

The MN cookbook prawns with Broccoli and quick noodles is fab.

Pasta with tomato based sauce/pesto or salmon with Creme fraiche and peas for a treat.
Pasta with mackerel and peas
Spanish omelette
Scrambled eggs on toast
Jacket potato with cheese and beans or whatever you want on it.


I double up on soup and then defrost one each week.

Friday night we gave a slightly slower to cook meal.

sashh Fri 02-Sep-16 11:10:48

Things that go on toast

eggs - fried or scrambled
mashed banana
peanut butter

Get husband to put in baked potatoes and have with cheese/beans/creme fresh

Or halve them, take out some potato and put in an egg - bake for 10-15 mins.

If you don't have one get a slow cooker - stich a chicken in on a morning, dh can take the wings off for the kids and make a salad to go with it.

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