Need some dinner inspiration? I’ve got ya.
Sometimes I write a post for purely selfish reasons. This post is one of those. I just thought it might be handy to have an index written down of all the recipes that we love, so next time we’re feeling uninspired I know exactly where to turn. I thought ‘Why not make this into a blog post?‘ – so here you go. I’ve broken them down into three categories and although we make pretty much all of these recipes at various times of the year, some are more seasonally appropriate than others. I guess the ‘Hearty & Warming’ ones are more for the winter and the ‘Lighter & Healthier’ for summer, with the ‘Quick & Easy’ recipes good year round. Most are veggie – although you will notice that I have a penchant for beef stews in the winter (and yes we have the first recipe I recommend cooking in the slow-cooker as I type and it’s driving me WILD), it’s the one time of year that I just can’t resist, but for the most part the recipes are healthy-ish, filling, easy to make and easy to get hold of ingredients for. No faffing here…
HEARTY & WARMING
Hearty Beef & Beetroot Stew by Waitrose & Partners. To me this is the ultimate comfort-food. I cook this for longer than the given cooking time at a slower temperature, or throw everything into my slow-cooker for meat that just falls apart when you eat it. We love it with some mustard mash and steamed broccoli. Throw a dumpling or two on top and that’s just heaven for me. We’ve been making this since we lived back in London.
Muffin-Topped Winter Beef Stew by BBC Good Food. I mean this is very similar to one above but you finish off cooking it with a muffin/dumpling hybrid topping that is actually just one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It’s HUGE. I remember making this a few winters back for all my family and my sister had to lay on the floor after eating it.
Cumble-Topped Sweet Leek Leftovers Pie by Anna Jones. Can you tell I have a thing for dinners topped with some kind of dumpling, muffin, crumble thing?! I really, really do. This is a great recipe to have on hand for when it comes to using up leftovers, or anything in your fridge that’s on the turn. I tend to use red onions, carrots and and sweet potato for the root veg part and swiss chard for the greens part. Such a good one to have in the fridge for leftovers too. Got some white wine to throw in? I love a glug of that in it too.
Butternut Squash & Sage Macaroni Cheese by BBC Good Food. I was a real late bloomer when it came to mac and cheese. I’m not the biggest fan of melted cheese, so I like something that’s creamy and rich, without being too stringy – you know? Over the past couple of years I’ve tried a lot of recipes, but this is the one that we always come back to. It makes an incredible amount of food and we can end up eking this out for about 8 dinner portions.
Dhal with Crispy Sweet Potatoes by Anna Jones. We can sometimes end up making this once a month – we love it in our house. It’s very easy to make. We tend to leave out Coconut Chutney as lovely as it is – just to keep things simple – but we always make the crispy potatoes for the top, they are delicious. When we lived with my parents they were sceptical but ended up loving this dish – the squeeze of lemon at the end really takes it to the next level.
LIGHTER & HEALTHIER
Avocado & Kale Caesar Salad with Sweet Potato Fries by Pinch of Yum. I’m not really a ‘salad for dinner‘ kind of gal, but this is worthy in my eyes. I find making the sauce in advance and prepping the kale (removing the stalks and having it ready so it just needs a massage) and leaving both in the fridge is a good way of prepping it so it doesn’t take too long to assemble. Mark loves it with some chicken in, so we’ve often made it and thrown on some strips from a rotisserie chicken on top and it’s lovely.
Miso Burgers with Mint & Pomegranate Slaw by BBC Good Food. These burgers come together really quickly and you could either have them in a bun with some chips, or you could have them like they suggest here with a homemade slaw. We’ve done both and both are nice ways to have it. When it comes to making veggie burger/patty-style things I always like to make a few more than the recipe suggests and keep them in the freezer so we have some that are just ready to bake whenever we want them.
Healthy Vegan Burgers by BOSH!. I have tried SO MANY veggie burger recipes and these are by far the best. OK, it’s a bit of a pain as owning a food processor is pretty integral to the recipe (although I’m sure you could make them without with a bit of elbow grease instead), but the taste is amazing. These in a brioche bun?! YES PLEASE. The patty mixture is so good that I end up eating it raw and only about half of it makes it into the burgers.
Roast Tomatoes with Mint & Parsley Couscous by Nigel Slater. This is one of my Mum’s favourite dinners. I almost put it in the ‘Quick & Easy’ category because it’s very much just a ‘throw it all into one dish and roast‘ recipe, which is the kind of recipe that I that I like, but it’s super healthy too and when tomatoes are in season? Well, it’s sweet and delicious and just a very lovely dish. You can make this all year round if you fancy, but it’s particularly delicious in the summer.
QUICK & EASY
Leek Carbonara with Garlic Crumb Topping by The Mother Cooker. I quite honestly dream about this dinner. What’s not to love? Leeks? LOVE. Spaghetti? LOVE. A *GARLIC* crumb topping? OH MY WORD. It’s just a delight and such an easy one to throw together. I love how adaptable it is too, if you don’t fancy the crumb and just want a stick a load of parmesan on top!? Sure (although I do highly recommend the crumb). Want to use a different type of pasta? Yeah, why not? It’s just a good one to have in your arsenal.
Roasted Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup from BBC Good Food. The simplicity of this dish is really something. It’s only got six true ingredients and you’re like ‘I’m sure this tastes ‘fine’‘, but actually it’s outstanding. Like literally my favourite soup that we make, and we make a lot of soups. It takes a while to cook, but in terms of standing up and chopping and doing stuff, it’s over in a matter of minutes and as long as you have some kind of food processor/blender situation then you’re all good.
Pasta al Limone by Molly Baz. I asked Mark what he wanted me to cook for his birthday last week and this was it. A five-ingredient, comes together in about 15 minutes, super simple pasta dish. I have to say I was over the moon. It’s become quite the staple in our house because we often have all of the ingredients hanging around (or just need to pop out for the cream or a lemon) and once you get the hang of making an emulsified sauce (it sounds harder and grosser than it actually is promise), it’s an easy peasy dish to put together.
Braised Sage, Garlic & White Wine Butter Beans by Jessica Elliot Dennison. THESE BEANS. I mean, I love butter beans anyway, but I had no idea they could taste this good. I know it’s sounds a bit random, but seriously give this one a go. It tastes like proper restaurant-made food and although it takes an hour – which means it’s not really quick – it is very easy. I’d recommend serving it with some roasted broccoli or some steamed sugar snap peas, something with some crunch.