Lacking some weeknight cooking inspiration?
I’m always on the hunt for nutritious family dinner recipes that can be prepared quickly during the week. So I’ve rounded up some favourites that can be prepared in advance and leave enough to fill lunchboxes the next day too (win, win!). My family’s passion to “use it up” means we often find fun, creative, and tasty ways to make the most of store cupboard staples. Hopefully these recipes will inspire you to do the same too!
Greek Garlic & Lemon Chicken (Kotopoulo Skorthato)
Take your taste buds on a Greek holiday to remember with this tangy and tasty one-tray meal. A really simple evening feast, with minimal dish washing required. This recipe makes four to six servings and can be kept in the fridge for up to two days. Save time by preparing the chicken and vegetables in advance. This dish can then be stored in the fridge, ready to cook after work or school
1 whole chicken (1kg) butchered into 8 pieces, or 1kg chicken thighs
1kg white potatoes, washed & peeled, cut lengthways into 3cm wide wedges
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Juice from 2 lemons
8 cloves of garlic, crushed
125ml olive oil
1 tbsp (heaped) dried oregano
- Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).
- Use a kitchen towel to pat dry the chicken.
- Transfer the chicken and potatoes to a large roasting tin. Add the salt and toss well to coat evenly. Move the potatoes so they sit around and under the chicken.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and oregano. Pour over the chicken and potatoes.
- Slowly pour the water into the roasting tin against one side or corner (to avoid washing away the lemon mixture from the chicken skin and potatoes). Transfer the roasting tin to the oven and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Remove the roasting tin from the oven. Turn over the chicken and potatoes. Use a spoon to baste the chicken and potatoes. Return to the oven and cook for another 20-30 minutes until the chicken is a deep, golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and check that the chicken is cooked by inserting a knife into a thick part of the chicken thigh. If the juice runs clear and no blood can be seen close to the bone then the chicken is cooked. If the chicken needs further cooking, return to the oven for another 10 minutes and check again.
- Serve immediately with green beans or a Greek salad.
Lunchbox Leftover Ideas:
- A quick salad: shred the chicken and mix with feta cheese and leafy greens or lentils and roasted vegetables.
- A healthy wrap: shred the chicken, add salad, or veggies with a little Greek yoghurt and roll up in a soft tortilla wrap.
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
Bring some zing and warmth into your evenings with this tangy, tasty soup. Packed with heaps of nutrients and hidden vegetables, this meal can be on the table in a flash. This recipe makes six servings and can be kept in the fridge for up to two days.
2 x red peppers, washed, cored & cut into quarters
400g tomatoes washed & quartered
4 x cloves of garlic, peeled
1 x large white onion, roughly chopped
450ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 200 C (390 F).
- Place peppers, tomatoes & garlic cloves into a baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle over a pinch of salt. Toss well to evenly coat the vegetables.
- Bake at the top of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the skin on the peppers starts to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the roasted pepper, garlic and tomatoes to the saucepan and mix well.
- Add the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Using a hand blender, blend the mixture until it reaches a smooth consistency. Taste and add more salt and ground black pepper if needed.
- Serve the soup immediately on its own or with bread.
Save time by chopping the vegetables in advance, ready to complete steps 2 to 4 after school or work.
Lunchbox Leftover Ideas:
- Cool and freeze any leftover soup for a quick meal later in the week.
- A simple pasta dish: sauté some vegetables (e.g. onions, carrots, leek or courgette) in olive oil, add cheese or tinned tuna and 75g cooked pasta per serving. Add 150ml of leftover soup per serving as a sauce and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.
Bring a little Spanish flavour to your week and instantly turn your home into a tapas bar with this tasty and versatile tortilla that your family will love. Olé! This recipe makes six to eight servings and can be kept in the fridge for up to three days.
700g potatoes (about 4 medium), peeled & cut into 0.75cm thick slices
2 large white onions, peeled and cut into 0.5cm thick slices
7 tbsp oil (sunflower or vegetable)
Salt & pepper to taste
- In a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan (non-stick is best), warm 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat.
- Once the oil has reached a water-like consistency, add the onions and 1 teaspoon of salt. Fry the onions for 7-10 minutes until they start to brown and caramelise.
- Transfer the onions into a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool. Set aside the frying pan to cool for cooking the tortilla.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and simmer for 5 minutes to soften slightly. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.
- Whisk the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Add to the cooled onions and mix well to combine.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the cooled potatoes to the large mixing bowl. Fold slowly into the egg mixture – taking care not to break up the potatoes.
- Add 4 tablespoons of oil to the same frying pan used to cook the onions, and warm over medium heat. Once the oil reaches a water-like consistency, tip the egg, onion and potato mixture into the frying pan. Use a heatproof spatula to gently level out the mixture evenly inside the frying pan. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
- Allow the tortilla mixture to cook for 10-12 minutes – do not stir or move the tortilla mixture around. The tortilla should have set after this time.
- Using a spatula, gently tease away the edges of the tortilla from the frying pan. Check the underside of the tortilla, which should have reached a golden brown colour.
- Remove the frying pan from the heat. Take a large dinner plate and place across the top of the frying pan. Using oven gloves, flip the tortilla onto the plate and slide the tortilla – uncooked side down – back into the frying pan.
- Return the frying pan to a low to medium heat and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.
- Check that the tortilla has set – push a butter knife into the middle of the tortilla. If the knife comes out clean without any raw egg then the tortilla is cooked. If the knife is covered in raw egg, cook the tortilla for a further 3-5 minutes until the knife comes out almost clean.
- Remove the frying pan from the heat. Using a spatula, gently tease away the edges of the tortilla from the frying pan and slide onto a large dinner plate or wooden serving board.
- Allow the tortilla to cool and set for a further 5 minutes. Serve immediately or allow to cool completely to eat at room temperature.
This Tortilla tastes even better when eaten cold! Make the dish at the weekend for lunchtime snacks or to serve as an accompaniment for dinners during the week.
All images courtesy of Melissa Au.