Midweek dinner hacks that aren’t takeaway.

We’ve all been there: what the heck to cook for dinner to feed the family when you’ve wrapped up a long and tiring day at work. And by the time you’ve sat in peak hour traffic or faced the train trip home, are trying to decide what to cook knowing full well that at least one person will complain, followed by the inevitable trip to the supermarkets to grab the stuff you know you don’t have at home, what you want is something easy and fast that will garner as few complaints as possible.

Here then, are some of my favourite midweek dinner winners:

Spaghetti carbonara

Or as I told my kids when they didn’t know what it was, bacon and egg pasta. By the time the water comes to the boil and the pasta cooks the bacon is all nice and crispy, the kids have set the table, and hopefully someone has poured you a nice chilled glass of wine. Transfer the pasta and bacon into a bowl, stir through, allow to cool for a couple of minutes before pouring a couple of beaten eggs over, and finish with some parmesan cheese. Too easy.

My secret curry paste stir fry

Not an earth-shattering suggestion, but what is worth mentioning is my favourite secret tip: use some supermarket curry paste as the flavour base instead of the traditional sauces and seasonings. All you need to add is the protein and some veg {frozen combos work a treat}, a packet of microwave rice, and dinner is ready in a flash.

Antipasto every damn night

I’m not sure if it’s all the holidays to Europe or if it’s just in the blood but I can have some sort of antipasto or other for any meal on any day or night of the week. Usually there’s enough in the fridge and all I need to grab is some nice bread, other times it’s a quick stop on the way home for some cold meats, a nice chunk or two of cheese, and some nice pickle-y things. Yum.

Breakfast as dinner

This is such a broad category but maybe for that reason it’s also my favourite. Some of my favourites are egg based meals like frittata or classic bacon and eggs, mushrooms on toast with some baby spinach and crumbled feta, zucchini fritters with a garden salad and smoked salmon, and of course that ubiquitous cafe standard, the avo smash. You might not have everything in the house that you need but there’s a good chance you’ll have enough to make do with, and let’s face it: a frittata is a great way to use up all those bits of different vegies left in the crisper.

Hot dogs

You can either go flashy with some good quality sausages with a variety of nice things on top {sauerkraut and bratwurst, chicken sausages and sauteed mushroom, cevapi and ‘slaw}, or you can go retro old school with some frankfurts, mustard, ketchup, and cheese. Either one works for me I have to admit.

Big salads

I LOVE this one. Take a nice bag of mixed salad greens, bonus points if there’s grated beetroot and carrot inside, and add a ready-to-go protein. My favourites are shredded BBQ chicken {also bought} or some nice quality canned tuna with some cherry tomatoes and cucumber added. Filling and super healthy, and good for lunch the next day too.

Fish & seafood

People can sometimes seem a bit intimidated by seafood and I understand that some of the prep can seem daunting for beginner cooks. But there are SOOO many user friendly fish and seafood options that make a midweek dinner sing. Grilled salmon fillets can go in the oven with some asparagus and be on the table in twenty minutes, and if you’re lucky enough to have a good fish supplier nearby, tuna steaks take next to no time to prepare and make for one heck of a nicoise salad.

Quick midweek roast

Yes you can easily have a roast without needing hours to cook it. Grab some chicken thigh cutlets on the bone, some veg, and a couple of chorizo sausages and even with the prep and preheating the oven time it’s ready in well under an hour. If chicken isn’t your thing you could go with some mini lamb racks, or even a whole snapper with thick potato discs and lots of fresh lemon.

So there you have it, my favorite healthy and quick dinners for when the clock is ticking and I have to get some kind of food on the table.

But if all else fails and it’s a Friday as well as being one of those days/weeks: mix yourself a margarita and order in.

 

 

 

 

 

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