Tag Archives: Pasta

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
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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


  • 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


  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
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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


  • 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)


  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.



Salmon, Lemon & Asparagus Pancakes

Salmon, Lemon & Asparagus Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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


  • 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


  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.

Click here for more information or to order.





Boxing Day – now it’s time to treat yourself!

Time to treat yourself!

I’m sure, like most people, the last month has been a whirlwind of planning, shopping, wrapping, cooking, and generally trying to make Christmas perfect for everyone.

Now’s the time to slow
down and treat yourself.

Do something you makes you feel happy. That may be a long walk, a phone call with a friend, a soak in the bath with your favourite music playing, reading a book, or even filling in your Dairy Diary.

Whatever it is, enjoy yourself and maybe even indulge in some simple comfort food like this. Just make sure someone else makes it for you!


Pasta Supper

Pasta Supper

  • Servings: 2 adults & 3 children
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 529 per portion
Fat 31g (17g sat) per portion


  • Dried tagliatelle 250g pack
  • Butter 40g (1½oz)
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp
  • Onion 1 small, peeled and finely chopped
  • Ham 110g (4oz), cut into strips
  • Frozen peas 110g (4oz)
  • Single cream 150ml (¼ pint)
  • Cheddar cheese 110g (4oz), grated


  1. Cook the tagliatelle according to the packet’s instructions.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the oil and cook the onion for about 4 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the ham and frozen peas and cook for a further 4 minutes.
  4. Add the drained tagliatelle, cream and half of the cheese. Toss together and serve immediately sprinkled with the remaining cheese.

Cook’s tips
Dried tagliatelle has been used here but it can be tricky for little ones to twiddle around a fork. For young diners you might like to use pasta twists or shells instead that can be scooped up with a spoon.



Dairy Diary Favourites CookbookThis recipe is taken from
Dairy Diary Favourites cookbook.

Click here to find out more.


Have a happy Boxing Day everyone.






Recipe of the Week: Spicy Sausage & Tomato Pasta

Spicy Sausage & Tomato Pasta

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 832 per portion
Fat 20g (11g sat) per portion
Suitable for freezing


  • Olive oil 1 tbsp
  • Pork sausages 4-6, cut into chunks
  • Onion 1 small, peeled and finely chopped
  • Garlic 1 clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • Dried chilli flakes ¼-½ tsp
  • Chopped tomatoes 400g can
  • Red kidney beans 215g can, rinsed and drained
  • Dried fusilli 150g (5oz)
  • Grated Parmesan and basil leaves to serve, optional


  1. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook sausage for 10 minutes until golden brown, stirring. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and dried chilli flakes and cook for a further minute.
  2. Pour in tomatoes and beans. Bring up to boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until mixture has thickened and sausages are cooked, stirring often.
  3. Meanwhile, cook fusilli in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water according to packet’s instructions. When pasta is al dente, drain well.
  4. Tip pasta into frying pan with sausage. Stir well to coat and season. Spoon onto plates and sprinkle with Parmesan and basil leaves, if using.

Read Spicy Sausage & Tomato Pasta on the Dairy Diary website

Dairy Diary 2016A Dairy Diary recipe.

Spicy Sausage & Tomato Pasta is one of the weekly recipes in Britain’s favourite diary.

Now available for just £7.99.











Pesto chicken

A super-tasty chicken dish cooked up in less than 30 minutes

Pesto chickenServes 4
Time 20 mins
Calories 409 per portion
Fat 29g of which 8.1g is saturated

Walnuts 15g (½oz), roughly chopped
Garlic 1 clove, peeled and chopped
Salt ½ tsp
Flat-leaf parsley 50g (2oz), leaves only
Grated Parmesan cheese 3 tbsp
Olive oil 6 tbsp
Skinless chicken breasts 4, cut into thin strips
Crème fraîche 4 tbsp
Buttered tagliatelle to serve

1 Dry-fry walnuts in a non-stick frying pan until lightly toasted.

2 Put walnuts, garlic, salt and parsley into a food processor and pulse to a rough texture. Add Parmesan cheese and 5 tbsp oil. Whizz to blend, but still leave slightly chunky.

3 Heat remaining oil in a wok or frying pan and add chicken strips. Cook for 4–5 minutes until browned.

4 Add crème fraîche and 3 tbsp of parsley pesto and simmer for 5 minutes.

5 Mix in 2 tbsp extra pesto and serve with buttered tagliatelle, if using. Put leftover pesto in a bowl alongside for any extra drizzling.

Dairy Diary recipe.


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Red Pesto Lamb with Pasta

Red Pesto Lamb with PastaHere is a tangy, tasty alternative to Bolognaise.

Time 30 minutes
Calories per portion 667 Kcal
Fat per portion 41.8g of which saturated 7.9g
Serves 4

Lamb mince 500g (1lb 2oz) pack
Onion 1, peeled and finely chopped
Garlic 2 cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Red peppers 2, deseeded and diced
Red pesto sauce 190g jar
Chopped tomatoes 400g can
Pasta shapes 150g (5oz)

1 Heat a deep, wide frying pan over a medium heat. Add the mince, onion and garlic and fry for 5 minutes.

2 Stir in the peppers, pesto and tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3 Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook as instructed on the packet or until al dente.

4 Mix the pasta into the meat sauce and serve.

If you are really hungry, serve with a French stick spread with garlic butter and grated Caerphilly and baked in the oven.

Recipe taken from Good Food, Fast.

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Ratatouille and Ham Pasta Bake

Ratatouille and Ham Pasta BakePreparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Calories per portion 594 Kcal
Fat per portion 21g
of which saturated 9g
Serves 4
Suitable for freezing

Aubergine 1
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pasta shapes 300g (11oz)
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Onion 1, peeled and chopped
Red pepper 1, deseeded and chopped
Courgette 1, trimmed and chopped
Chopped tomatoes with garlic 2 x 400g cans
Dried mixed herbs 1 tsp
Cooked lean ham 225g (8oz), diced
Mozzarella 175g (6oz), grated
Grated Parmesan cheese 4 tbsp

1 Trim the aubergine and cut into small pieces. Layer in a colander or large sieve, sprinkling with salt. Set aside to drain for 30 minutes, then rinse well in cold water and pat dry.

2 Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet’s instructions. Drain well and set aside.

3 While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion and pepper for 5 minutes until just softened. Add the aubergine and courgette, and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs, ham and black pepper and stir. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and leave to simmer for 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

4 Preheat the grill to hot. Stir the pasta and 110g (4oz) of the mozzarella into the vegetables. Pile into a large shallow ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese. Place under the grill and cook for 4–5 minutes until the cheese has melted and is bubbling. Serve immediately or cool and freeze, as described opposite.

Cook’s tip
To freeze, allow to cool. Transfer to individual freezer containers. Freeze for up to 6 months. Allow to defrost overnight in the fridge. Reheat in the oven in a small ovenproof dish, covered with foil, until piping hot.

Shopper’s tip
For a quick version, replace the vegetables and chopped tomatoes with 4 x 390g cans ratatouille.

Recipe taken from Clever Cooking for One or Two, Dairy Cookbook.

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