Yesterday I had crunchy peanut butter with fresh tomato and salt and pepper on low carb toast. For dinner. (Seriously, don’t knock it ’til you try it. It’s a sensation). Now this wouldn’t be anything too out of the ordinary if it wasn’t for the fact that the week prior it was peanut butter and blueberries on low carb toast, and a few days earlier; boiled eggs, cheese and avocado. All for dinner.
Fact of the matter is that I’ve kinda lost my cooking mojo and it’s time to get it back.
I dare say your hard-working mums and dads feel it worse. You’ve got other mouths to feed and little immune systems to support; peanut butter on toast doesn’t cut it for kids too often now does it. Today I thought I’d gather some easy midweek dinners to inspire those of us who need to get back into the kitchen and make healthy meal preparation a priority again.
Here are 5 of my easiest recipes:
1. Ten minute spicy chicken strips.
The name says it all. Ten minutes. And if you cut the strips even smaller you’ll bake it in less. The best thing about this dish is that it can take LOADS of spice so if you’re a full bodied flavour family, knock your socks off.
2 chicken breasts, cut into long strips
1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking tray if you so wish.
Combine the spices on a plate or in a bowl. Then, using your hands roll the strips of chicken around in your spices until they are evenly coated. Then, drizzle in your olive oil and coat evenly.
Lay the chicken strips out on your baking tray so they are not touching. Pop them into the oven for 8 minutes max. Do not over cook or they will become dry and no one wants that!
Remove from the oven and serve with a beautiful fresh salad or even some simply roast veg. I like mine with a fat dollop of homemade pesto too.
2. The easiest Sweet Potato Pie
Let’s be honest, if you’ve put the time aside to make this on a Sunday this becomes one of the easiest mid-week dinners going around.
Makes 1 large family pie.
1 cup cauliflower rice
1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed
2 zucchini’s, grated
2 carrots, grated
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup hard cheese, grated
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large handful fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
A good pinch black pepper
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease an oven proof baking dish of approximately 20 cm diameter with coconut oil.
Heat coconut oil in a small frying pan on low to medium heat. Add onion and sauté until golden. Transfer into a large mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared oven dish. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the pie is set and a golden brown on top.
This recipe is a great standalone dish but would pair beautifully with a fresh garden salad and a big spoon of homemade relish or tomato sauce too.
3. Crispy Skinned Salmon with Strawberry Pistachio Basil Salsa.
If you can fry fish and chop strawberries, you’ll nail this one so fast you’ll be wondering what on earth to do with the rest of your night. Make it, it’s surprisingly delicious.
4 small salmon fillets, skin on
For the salsa:
1 punnet strawberries, diced
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 cup basil, torn
1/2 large red chili, finely diced
Juice of half a fresh lime
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Remove your fish from the fridge (it’s better not to cook the fish ‘fridge cold’).
Combine all salsa ingredients in a small bowl and combine.
Heat your BBQ or pan to medium to high heat and season well with coconut oil and a good sprinkling of salt flakes. This combination prevents the skin from sticking. Place your salmon skin side down on the pan and leave for at least 4-5 minutes without touching it, to give the skin it’s very best opportunity to crisp!
Carefully flip the salmon and cook for another 4 minutes. Test with a fork, it should flake easily. If it’s not quite ready don’t be afraid to flip it again skin side down, certainly if your skin could do with some more cooking time. It’s best served with a little bit of pink in the centre.
Remove from the heat and topple the salsa over your steaks. It might be lovely served with roasted smashed potatoes me thinks.
4. Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu with Turmeric
I’m not a big tofu eater, personally I think it better in moderation, but let me tell you this scratches my ‘need something fried and naughtyish’ itch.
200 grams firm or hard tofu (more for heftier appetites), sliced and cut into cubes
1 heaped tablespoon tapioca or arrowroot flour
1 dessert spoon coconut oil
1/3 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 good pinches of sea salt
Ground black pepper
Put a small frying pan on the stove on medium to high heat and give it time to get really hot.
Combine your flour, turmeric, salt and lots of ground pepper in a bowl. Add your cubed tofu and tumble it around, coating it evenly in the flour mix.
Add the coconut oil to the frying pan and when fully melted and hot, gently tip in the tofu cubes. Leave it to fry for 3-4 minutes on one side. When browned turn the cubes over to fry 3-4 minutes on the other side. The tofu is done when it’s browned both sides.
Remove from the heat and add to a salad or veggie stir fry of choice.
5. Roast Vegetable Frittata.
Trusty eggs at it again, all over the world, bringing ease and deliciousness to dinner tables abound. You just can’t go wrong. Unless you’re egg intolerant of course.
Serves 5 – 6
5 cups chopped/cubed vegetables, cooked or raw (sweet potato, broccoli, zucchini, potato, peas, carrots, any will do!)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
1 red onion, finely diced
80-100 grams goats cheese (or feta), crumbled (optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup fresh herbs of choice (eg parsley, coriander, basil), chopped
2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
If you are using uncooked vegetables, preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius. Grease a round or rectangular baking dish with some of your oil.
To roast your vegetables, coat with 1 tablespoon of oil and some sea salt and pepper and pop into the oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan on medium heat. Once hot, sauté your onion and garlic until soft (5-7 minutes). Set aside.
Whisk your eggs, adding a couple of pinches of sea salt and some pepper.
Once the vegetables are cooked line the bottom of your baking dish with the vegetables, dispersing evenly. Add your chopped herbs and cooked onion and garlic to the egg mix and combine well before pouring over the vegetables, making sure the entire base is well covered. Scatter the goats cheese over the mixture followed by the cherry tomato halves.
Place in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is starting to brown and puff up – there should be no wobbly egg bits in the centre!
Serve warm with a fresh side salad. Slice up and refrigerate left overs for lunch tomorrow.
So off you go, go cook up a very swift storm and if you get through one or all of these recipes please report back to let me know how you enjoy them.