3 Easy Weekday Dinners

Easy weekday dinners

Weekdays can be incredibly busy, but that doesn’t mean we have to resort to supermarket ready-meals.

Here, I have selected three recipes that take half an hour or less to prepare, so they are perfect for rustling up after a busy day at work.

 


Chorizo Fried Rice

Chorizo Fried Rice

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 476 per portion
Fat 24g (11g sat) per portion

Ingredients

  • Butter 15g (½oz)
  • Garlic 1 clove, peeled and crushed
  • Mushrooms 50g (2oz), wiped and sliced
  • Microwave basmati rice 250g packet
  • Chorizo 75g (3oz), chopped
  • Egg 1, beaten
  • Frozen peas 75g (3oz)
  • Frozen sweetcorn 75g (3oz)
  • Soy sauce 1–2 tbsp

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a wok or frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the garlic and mushrooms for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the rice in the microwave according to the packet’s instructions.
  3. Add the chorizo and egg to the pan and cook until lightly scrambled.
  4. Add the peas and sweetcorn and cook for 2 minutes and then add the rice and mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes until everything is hot.
  5. Serve on warmed plates sprinkled with soy sauce.

Cook’s tips You could replace the mushrooms with peppers, if you prefer. For an even more cost-effective meal you could cook your own basmati rice rather than using the microwave version. It will just take a little longer to prepare.

 


Mushroom Pancakes

Mushroom Pancakes

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 413 per portion
Fat 26g (12.7g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians

Ingredients

  • Plain flour 110g (4oz) plus 2 tbsp
  • Egg 1
  • Milk 700ml (1 pint 4fl oz)
  • Vegetable oil for brushing
  • Butter 75g (3oz)
  • Mushrooms 450g (1lb) button or mixed, wiped and sliced
  • Mustard ½ tsp
  • Chopped parsley 2 tbsp
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cheddar cheese 50g (2oz) (optional)
  • Green salad to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. To make the pancakes, sift 110g (4oz) of flour into a bowl and break in the egg. Gradually add 125ml (4fl oz) milk, beating to form a smooth batter. Pour in another 125ml (4fl oz) milk and beat until smooth.
  2. Brush a non-stick frying pan with oil and pour in enough of the pancake batter to coat the base. Cook until the pancake moves freely, turn and cook until golden. Repeat until you have 8 pancakes. Keep warm.
  3. Melt 50g (2oz) of the butter in a deep frying pan over a medium heat and fry the mushrooms for 4–5 minutes, until softened and starting to brown. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  4. Melt the remaining butter in the pan and add the 2 tbsp flour. Cook for 1–2 minutes, then gradually add the remaining milk, beating well and allowing the mixture to come to the boil between each addition of milk. Simmer the sauce gently for 2 minutes, then stir in the mustard, parsley, mushrooms and seasoning.
  5. Preheat the grill to hot. Divide the mushroom mixture between the pancakes, and fold or roll each one up. Place them on a buttered dish, sprinkle with cheese if you like and then place under the grill until the cheese melts and turns golden. Serve immediately with a green salad, if using.

Cook’s tips If you have any bacon in the fridge, chop up a few rashers, fry them and
add to the mushrooms. You could use tarragon in place of the parsley.

[/recipe

 


Salmon, Lemon & Asparagus Pancakes

Salmon, Lemon & Asparagus Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 655 per portion
Fat 35g (20.8g sat) per portion

Ingredients

  • Tagliatelle 300g (11oz)
  • Asparagus tips 100/125g pack, halved
  • Butter 25g (1oz)
  • Frozen peas 150g (5oz)
  • Crème fraîche 250ml pot
  • Milk 4 tbsp
  • Lemon 1, grated zest only
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Ready-cooked lemon and herb salmon 185g packet, flaked

Instructions

  1. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the tagliatelle and cook for about 10–12 minutes, or according to packet’s instructions, until just tender.
  2. Add the asparagus tips during the last 4 minutes, then drain well.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the peas, then stir in the crème fraîche, milk and lemon zest (reserving a little for garnish). Heat gently, stirring, for about 3 minutes, then season to taste.
  4. Drain the pasta, then return it to the saucepan and add the sauce, stirring gently to mix. Divide between 4 warmed bowls. Scatter with the salmon flakes and lemon zest and serve at once.

Cook’s tip Use unwaxed lemons if possible, otherwise just scrub ordinary ones thoroughly before grating the zest. Remember to use only the yellow part – the white pith has a bitter flavour and will spoil the taste of the dish.

 


 

Fantastic Food For Less cookbookAll of these scrummy recipes are taken from our cookbook, Fantastic Food for Less.

This is one of the cookbooks that I refer to most and I can highly recommend it.

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Recipe of the Week: French-Style Couscous with Prawns

French-style Couscous with Prawns

 

A really simple combination of ingredients, but packed full of flavour, and perfect for your lunchbox.

French-Style Couscous with Prawns

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15 mins plus cooling
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 310 per portion
Fat 2.2g (0.4g sat) per portion

Ingredients

  • Couscous 110g (4oz)
  • Sundried tomato paste 1 tbsp
  • Chicken stock 200ml (7fl oz), boiling
  • Cooked king prawns 150g pack
  • Tomatoes 2, diced
  • Cucumber 7cm (3in) piece, diced
  • Frozen peas 75g (3oz), cooked
  • Chopped mint 2-3 tbsp

Instructions

  1. Place couscous in a large bowl. Stir sundried tomato paste into stock and then pour onto couscous. Stir, cover, then leave for 5 minutes.
  2. Fluff up couscous with a fork then leave to cool.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients, season to taste and serve immediately.

Recipe taken from Dairy Diary 2017.

#tripletested

#recipeoftheweek

Liven up your lunchbox this week

Many (many) years’ ago, I endured a two week long school exchange trip to the Limousin region of France.

As a 13-year-old staying with an extremely eccentric family in an even more eccentric cobweb-strewn house (half of which appeared to be a long-abandoned cabaret café), I found the whole experience challenging to say the least. Never before, or since, have I experienced such a longing for home.

It was such a vivid experience, however, that much of it has stayed with me, including the flavours of the local cuisine.

This trip was undoubtedly
the catalyst for my life-long
love of food.

The whole family were superb cooks, and I tasted the most delicious pastas, pâtés and crêpes. One particularly memorable couscous dish was served at the local village fête. I’d never even heard of couscous, let alone tasted it, but I loved the combination of flavours and textures.

I’ve done my best to recreate this recipe almost 30 years’ later in the 2017 Dairy Diary. It’s really easy to make, and can be made in advance and chilled, so it’s ideal for a portable lunch, and much more interesting than the ubiquitous cheese sandwich.

 

French-style Couscous with Prawns

 

French-Style Couscous with Prawns

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15 mins plus cooling
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 310 per portion
Fat 2.2g (0.4g sat) per portion

Ingredients

  • Couscous 110g (4oz)
  • Sundried tomato paste 1 tbsp
  • Chicken stock 200ml (7fl oz), boiling
  • Cooked king prawns 150g pack
  • Tomatoes 2, diced
  • Cucumber 7cm (3in) piece, diced
  • Frozen peas 75g (3oz), cooked
  • Chopped mint 2-3 tbsp

Instructions

  1. Place couscous in a large bowl. Stir sundried tomato paste into stock and then pour onto couscous. Stir, cover, then leave for 5 minutes.
  2. Fluff up couscous with a fork then leave to cool.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients, season to taste and serve immediately.

Recipe taken from Dairy Diary 2017.

#tripletested

Recipe of the Week: Double Lemon Puddings

Double Lemon Puddings

A light lemon sponge with a secret sauce, these lovely little puds are from the Dairy Diary Favourites cookbook, which is available to order online now.

 

Double Lemon Puddings

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 539 per portion
Fat 27g (15g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Ingredients

  • Lemon curd 5 tbsp
  • Lemons 2, grated zest and juice
  • Butter 110g (4oz), softened
  • Caster sugar 110g (4oz)
  • Eggs 2, lightly beaten
  • Self-raising flour 110g (4oz)
  • Icing sugar to dust

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°fan/Gas 5. Lightly grease four 175ml (6fl oz) ramekins.
  2. Beat together the lemon curd and half the lemon juice and spoon into the ramekins.
  3. Put half the lemon zest and the rest of the lemon juice with the butter, caster sugar, eggs and flour into a mixing bowl or food processor and mix well. Divide the mixture among the ramekins (do not fill right to the top as the mixture will rise) and bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden.
  4. Leave for a few minutes before serving, as the lemon curd will be very hot! Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and the remaining lemon zest.

Cook’s tip. Lemon puddle pudding but made with the easiest sauce ever – what could be simpler than stirring extra lemon juice into lemon curd?

 

Dairy Diary Favourites Cookbook

Enjoy 100 of the best recipes from 35 years of the Dairy Diary, including at least one from each edition.
From speedy weekday meals to tested crowd-pleasers, there is something for everyone in this beautiful cookbook.
And it’s only £8.25!

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Make mowing a breeze! How-to-do brick border edging

Brick Border Edging

Brick Border Edging

One of the projects that I (when I say I, I actually mean my far more practical other half) want to tackle this summer is the edge between the lawn and the borders. 

Our strimmer seems to run out of strimming
line roughly every two minutes and I end up
on my hands and knees using our blunt garden
shears to hack at the edge of the lawn.

With sunken bricks, you can just mow straight over them and the borders look tidy and stay contained. Overall, this gives a really neat finish to the garden.

 


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Instructions

You can put in brick edging at any time of year, but it’s better to choose a dry day for it.

The time it takes will depend on the length of run.

Equipment

  • Engineering bricks.
  • Sand.
  • Ready-mixed mortar.
  • Spade and bricklayer’s trowel.
  • Watering can or bucket for water.
  • Wheelbarrow or board for mixing mortar.

1 The bricks can be laid on a 12.5cm (5in) footing of sand. Assuming your bricks are 7.5cm (3in) thick, you need to dig a trench 20cm (8in) deep. Start by digging the trench along the full length of the border, making it slightly wider than the length of brick you are using.

2 Line the entire length of the trench with a 12.5cm (5in) deep layer of sand, tamping it down very firmly.

3 Make up the mortar according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using either a wheelbarrow or a board for mixing. Lay a stretch of mortar on the sand at the start of the trench and set the first bricks into it, mortaring neatly between each brick.

4 Continue in this way for the length of the trench, allowing for any curvature along the way by inserting a slightly wider band of mortar between the bricks on the lawn side of the edging. The brick edging should be flush with the grass edge or very slightly below it.

5 Leave the mortar to dry and set before running a mower across the edging.

Tip
Check that all the bricks you use are sound and whole – the wheels of a mower going over them can give quite a battering, which will soon destroy a damaged brick.

Notes
If you prefer you can use concrete instead of sand for the footing – it will be even stronger. Use ready-mixed concrete and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for its use.

Aftercare
Lever up and replace any cracked or broken bricks as soon as you can after spotting them. Once there is a break in one brick, those adjacent to it will also start to crumble and disintegrate. Brush dirt, leaves and debris off the brick edging to keep it looking good.

#gardening

Recipe of the Week: Easy Peasy Danish Pastries

Easy Peasy Danish Pastries

Buttery, almondy and delicious – these are perfect for a decadent breakfast.

Easy Peasy Danish Pastries

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 272 per portion
Fat 16g (6.3g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Ingredients

  • Ready-rolled puff pastry 375g packet
  • Egg 1, beaten
  • Apple sauce 8 tsp
  • Marzipan 110g (4oz)
  • Apricot jam 2 tbsp, warmed
  • Toasted flaked almonds 2 tbsp

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°fan/Gas 7. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Unroll pastry and cut into eight squares. Brush each with egg and place 1 tsp apple sauce in centre. Roll marzipan into a sausage shape about 5cm (2in) long and cut into eight. Place each piece onto apple sauce. Fold up corners of pastry to meet in middle. Brush with egg and place on tray.
  3. Bake for 15-18 minutes until risen and golden.
  4. Brush with jam and sprinkle with almonds. Serve warm.

 

#recipeoftheweek

#tripletested

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