I’m in a food rut always.
My weekly shop always looks the same – rocket, a big ol’ lump of reduced cheddar, chicken fillets, avocados, eggs, chorizo, sweet potatoes and tinned tomatoes. And my evening meals always look the same too – sweet potato hash, chorizo and prawn spaghetti, chicken and halloumi salad – ya get the gist.
So I thought I’d do something pretty obvious, I thought I’d send irritating messages to my gal pals and ask for their favourite homemade dinners. The ones they make in the week over and over again, the ones which aren’t *too* unhealthy.
The ones that don’t leave them silently weeping in a bundle of duvets and Friends re-runs with food guilt. But at the same time don’t have them scurrying in their ‘home’ clothes (trackies, bra off, giant sweatshirt and the first shoes they could find) to their local Tesco Express for a family size bar of Fruit & Nut Dairy Milk and a bag of Walker’s Sensations because they’re starving.
And I gotta tell ya, the results surprised me. Like, really surprised me. Everyone was eating stuff I’d never even thought about whipping up in the kitchen.
And heck, most surprising of all, food I’d never even seem them upload to Instagram. Like, if it’s not on your grid, has it even really happened? That’s what you got to ask yourself.
So, without further ado, here’s your Monday night cooking inspo. You’re welcs.
1. THAI SOUP
“SO easy to make. Boil some vermicelli and whilst that’s sorting itself out get some chicken stock, coconut milk, chilli, turmeric, tamarind, fish sauce and lime juice (about 1tsp of each should be fine but do it to taste) and stick in a pan and bring to the boil. When that’s boiling put whatever veg you fancy in it. I normally go for green beans and baby corn. Add some cooked chicken or prawns (or both), tip the noodles in, mix around a bit and YOURE DONE. Definitely one if you’re feeling a bit run down.”
“My go-to is a simple variation on ratatouille. Coconut oil and garlic purée stirred in with chopped courgettes, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, kale and pine nuts. Then add goats cheese, salami and avocado once taken off the hob.”
3. HEALTHY INDIAN TAKEAWAY
“I’m a sucker for a curry at the weekend, so if I’m feeling like I can’t actually justify all the yummy fats and naughtiness of a takeaway then I make my own. Take some diced chicken or lamb and fry over a medium heat in a little bit of olive oil with chopped chilli and garlic. Buy one of those curry pastes from the supermarket and add to the pan with chopped tomatoes and whatever veg you fancy – I normally add onions, peppers and maybe mushrooms. Leave for 30 mins to simmer and thicken and then serve with quinoa, natural yoghurt and cucumber, mango chutney and grated carrot with a squeeze of lemon.”
“Homemade burgers (lean mince, breadcrumbs, egg – add chilli/applewood cheddar/brie for a bit more pizazz) with salad and home-made sweet potato wedges smothered in paprika and salt and pepper. Obvs hold the bun if you’re trying to be healthier.”
5. SEAFOOD PAELLA
“Fry some chorizo, red pepper, onions and garlic in a pan, then make some chicken stock and tip it in with some rice. Bring to the boil then as its simmering stick in about 1tsp of paprika and turmeric, add prawns, squid rings and whatever other fish you want and then stick some frozen peas in right at the end, stir until the rice is cooked and then boom, paella.”
6. MUFFIN TRAY FRITTATA
“Chop up peppers, spinach and red onion, whisk some eggs in bowl, add in the veg, pour into greased muffin tray, sprinkle with feta and chopped up tomatoes, bake in oven for 15 mins. AMAZING.”
“My healthy go-to is frozen cod fillets (£2.69 for 5 pieces in Lidl) wrapped in foil and then straight in the oven for 20 mins with lots of black pepper, bulgur wheat boiled in half a Kallo stock cube, some wee green trees, and bit of halloumi on the side if I’m feeling sassy.”
8. CHORIZO PASTA
“Fry onions, garlic, peppers and chorizo then add tinned tomatoes and tomato puree and mushroom and leave to simmer for 20 mins (tastes better the longer you can leave it). Serve with pasta, add some fresh basil if you’re feeling fancy/remembered to buy it.”
9. GRAPE SALAD
“Grill some bacon and then for the last few minutes, top with goat’s cheese. Serve on a bed of rocket and spinach and then, trust me on this one – sliced grapes. So good. Mix up some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper as a light dressing to go with it.”
10. SAUSAGES AND MASH
“I’m obsessed with cheesy sweet potato mash – just add some grated cheddar or parmesan once it’s mashed and full of pepper,. Serve with grilled veggie sausages (if you wanna cut down on some of the fat), peas and a tonne of onion gravy made with a big dash of balsamic vinegar.”
11. EGGY SWEET POTATO HASH
“Instead of stirring in an egg or two when making sweet potato hash – cook without it. Combine garlic, grated sweet potato and whatever else you want – chorizo, mushrooms, sweetcorn etc – and then once it’s cooked through, make a well and crack and egg into it. Put your frying pan under the grill for a few minutes to cook the egg and then serve with homemade guacamole and a squeeze of lime. Gamechanger.”
12. NO WRAP FAJITAS
“This takes about 10 minutes so it’s the easiest thing ever. Mix peppers, onions, carrots, courgette and chicken with a fajita spice mix in a pan and then serve with guac and salsa. It has about 300 calories in it, although is a little high in salt, but meh.”