One of my favourite things to do is cook. I find it really relaxing and enjoy being experimental in the kitchen. In all honesty, I have quite a throw it all together and hope for the best attitude – but hey, who doesn’t love a happy accident? Pre-lockdown weekday life meant that I just wanted to be able to cook something easy that tasted delicious… and use a lot of what was already in the fridge. I thought I would share some of these fuss-free recipes, for an easy weeknight dinner.
Pan Fried Fish with Balsamic Veggies
As you can tell from my A Little Taste of Puglia post, I’m obsessed with seafood. I love this recipe because not only is it fish, but it also uses up a lot of the vegetables that I have in the fridge. It’s incredibly easy, filling and absolutely delicious too as well as being perfect for the warmer weather. All you will need is:
- Fresh fish fillets with the skin on.
- Selection of vegetables – I use courgette, tomatoes, onion, red bell pepper and mushrooms.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Plain Flour
- A Lemon
Firstly, chop up all your vegetables and put into a roasting tin. Pour over a good glug of your olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss in a couple of garlic cloves with their skin on. If I have rosemary sprigs at hand then I usually chuck one on top too. Place your roasting tin in your preheated oven and roast away, turning every so often.
Pour some of the plain flour onto a plate and season with salt and pepper. If you’re feeling extra fancy, grate a bit of lemon zest into the flour too. Coat both sides of your fish in the flour, you only want a very light dusting.
When your veg is almost roasted, heat up some olive oil in a pan. Once hot, place your fish in skin side down. Fry the fish until your skin is lovely and crispy, only flip the fish over to finish off cooking on the other side. I like to sprinkle sea salt over the skin straight after taking it out of the pan.
To serve up, simply spoon your roasted balsamic vegetables onto your plate, top with the fish skin side up and a lemon wedge for squeezing.
Pasta with Beef and Tomatoes
This is such a delicious and incredibly easy weeknight dinner. There is also the added bonus that there isn’t much washing up needed to be done afterwards. Similarly, this recipe doesn’t need many ingredients:
- Diced beef
- A punnet of cherry tomatoes
- Garlic clove
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Pasta (I mainly use fresh penne)
Firstly, finely dice the shallot and put it in a deep pan (preferably with a lid) with a glug of oil. I turn the heat on low and just cook them slowly. Whilst the shallot is sweating, mince the garlic and chop your cherry tomatoes. Add the minced garlic to the shallots in the pan and fry the two together.
Next you need to add the tomatoes to your pan, and let them warm through. After a minute or so, squish your tomatoes flat so a sauce starts to form. At this point, if you have a bottle of wine open, add a little splash and cook off the alcohol. Now add the beef and a generous pinch of salt and black pepper, and a pinch of oregano. All that’s left to do is put the lid on and let the sauce do its thing.
Fill another pan with water and bring it up to the boil. Once the water is bubbling away nicely, add a generous pinch of salt followed by your pasta. Just before your pasta has finished cooking, take a ladle and add a splash of the salty water into your beef and tomato sauce.
All that’s left to do is strain your pasta, tip it into the pan with your sauce in, add another good glug of extra virgin olive oil and mix. Serve up into bowls and top with plenty of black pepper. Buon Appetito!
Roasting Tin Chicken and Vegetables
Again, another really simple dish that is full of flavour and has very minimal prep or washing up so is perfect for when you want to relax on the sofa after a long day. For this easy weeknight dinner you will need:
- A whole chicken
- Chicken Gravy Granules
The most important thing is to ensure your chicken is going to be lovely and, dare I say it, moist… sorry! So, stuff your chicken with some lemon wedges, onion, a couple of garlic cloves and thyme. Smother some butter on the outside of the chicken and crack over some black pepper. Place in the oven to roast.
I roast everything in the same dish for this meal, so next it’s time to prep the vegetables. All I do is roughly chop a leek, carrot and onion. Once your chicken is partially cooked, take it out of the oven and place your vegetables around the the chicken. At this point, I add some garlic cloves with their skin on and a few more sprigs of thyme. Place the roasting tin back in the oven so it can all finish off cooking together.
At the very end, when the vegetables and chicken are served up, I make a very basic gravy. There is so much flavour left over in the roasting tin so I pour this in with gravy to jazz it up.
I hope this blog post has given you some inspiration for your easy weeknight dinner. All of these dishes were fuss free to make and definitely don’t skimp on flavour. I will add recipes to this as I go so please feel free to save it!