Saturday, 23 February 2013

Quick and easy dinners

You know those nights when you need something nourishing quick - either you can't be bothered or you're coming or going from the gym or a meeting. You need dinner and you need it fast. This week I had two of those nights. I had the added issue that we have not been shopping for a while so our cupboards are looking rather bare. Here are two of my quick and easy dinners.

First, my Throw it all in the pot pasta. The title says it all and I make this quite often. Whatever I can dredge up from the bottom of my fridge's vege drawer goes in. Pasta like this can be a bit boring, so it's important to make sure it has a flavour punch. I did this by whizzing up a quick pesto - I use basil, cashews, chilli, parmesan, garlic and olive oil. If you can't be bothered making pesto, other flavour punches can simply be added by using chilli, garlic and lots of fresh herbs such as parsley.

So, to make the pasta I got my frying pan going with some oil and fried some chilli and garlic. In went mushrooms, corn, peas and broccoli heads. To speed up the cooking time I threw the broccoli stalks in with my boiling pasta. When the pasta was done, I simply drained the whole lot and threw it in with the rest of the veges. I had some leftover chicken, so in that went too. I mixed the whole lot together with most of the pesto and some of the pasta cooking water to make it a bit saucy. I topped it off with some pesto and, in true Jamie Oliver style, "olive oil drizzled from a height". Done.  

Although it's a bit of a funny colour, don't be put off because this next dish tastes amazing. This is my version of Tom Yum Soup.  Note I say my version, I have no idea what authentic Tom Yum Soup tastes like, but this does the trick for me. It's super quick, easy and only uses one pot!

You will need: ginger (chopped finely), lemongrass, a tomato, mushrooms, green veges, capsicum, Nam Prick Pao (a Thai chilli paste that you can pick up from an Asian grocery store), fish sauce, lemon juice, corriander and prawns.

Put 3 cups of water into a pot. Add a 2 teaspoons each of the ginger and lemongrass and bring to the boil. Add a chopped tomato, a handful of chopped mushrooms, some chopped beans (or whatever green veges you have), half a chopped capsicum and 4 tablespoons of Nam Prick Pao. Let that bubble away for about 10 minutes and then add a handful of rice vermicelli noodles. When the noodles are almost done, add about 200g of prawns. Boil until the prawns are cooked, or warmed through if they are precooked. Don't overcook your prawns! Remove from the heat and one tablespoon of fish sauce, some chopped corriander and the juice of a lemon.  
This will serve two for a hearty dinner. You won't be disappointed.

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