You don’t need to spend an hour every night cooking the family meal. Check out these simple weeknight dinners that you could have on the table in under 20 minutes.
Hearty chorizo, potato and bean stew
Serve this comforting, Spanish-inspired stew with crusty bread to mop up those fragrant, amber-coloured juices. Serves 4.
1 tablespoon olive oil
300g cooking chorizo
1 red onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped finely
4 new potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes
400ml chicken stock (from a stock cube is fine)
400g tin cannellini beans, drained
Small handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
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1. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick pan. Remove the skin from the chorizo and slice the meat into chunks. Fry until lightly browned.
2. Next, add the onion, garlic and potato and cook for five to six minutes until soft. Pour in the chicken stock and cannellini beans. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes and chorizo are cooked through. Taste and season with salt and pepper, scattering over the chopped parsley before serving.
Lamb koftas with couscous
Couscous cooks very quickly, making it perfect for a mid-week meal. Here, it’s served with homemade lamb koftas which can be served in 10-15 minutes. Makes 8 koftas.
400g lamb mince
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
8 wooden skewers
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
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1. Place the lamb mince in a bowl and sprinkle in the garlic, cumin and one tablespoon each of the mint and parsley. Add a pinch of salt and mix until just combined. Divide into eight.
2. Pick up a wooden skewer and form one of the batches of mince around it. Lay on a grill tray lined with foil and continue with the other seven koftas.
3. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and grill the koftas for five to seven minutes on each side until the lamb is cooked all the way through.
4. Meanwhile, boil the kettle. Tip the couscous into a serving bowl and stir in the extra-virgin olive oil, coating the individual grains. Pour over the boiling water until the couscous is just submerged and leave for about five minutes. The couscous should now be tender. Sprinkle in the rest of the mint and parsley and squeeze in the lemon juice. Season to taste, fluff up with a fork and serve with the koftas.
Salmon fish fingers with lemon and parsley dip
Homemade fish fingers are quick and easy to make and you can use any species of fish. Great served with a salad or chips and peas. Serves 4.
4 salmon fillets, skinless and boneless
150g fresh breadcrumbs, with a good pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
3-4 tablespoons plain flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
3 heaped tablespoons crème fraîche
Zest of 1 lemon
Small handful chopped parsley
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1. Slice the salmon fillets in half lengthways, and then cut horizontally through the fish where the fillet starts to get thicker. You should have 16 slices of fish.
2. Heat a little vegetable oil in a shallow non-stick pan. Dip each slice of fish into the flour, then into the beaten egg, and then into the salted breadcrumbs. Gently fry each piece for two to three minutes on each side. Transfer to a piece of kitchen roll to drain off any excess oil.
3. While the fish is cooking, quickly stir together the crème fraîche, lemon zest, parsley, a pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper.
4. Serve the cooked fish fingers with the dip and lemon wedges for squeezing over.
Quick cheesy pasta with chard
You’ll never buy ready-made cheese sauce again! This dish is quick, simple and just uses a handful of ingredients. Also works well with spinach.
75g pasta per person
1 large clove garlic, chopped
3 chard leaves (about 200g)
200ml crème fraîche
30g grated Parmesan</br>Black pepper
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1. Boil the pasta in slightly salted water. Meanwhile, fry the garlic in a little olive oil until soft. Trim and chop the chard and add to the garlic. Fry gently for four to five minutes, until the leaves have wilted.
2. Stir the crème fraîche into the chard and season with black pepper.
3. When heated through, take the sauce off the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Drain the cooked pasta and combine with the sauce.
What are your favourite quick weekday meals?