Help remove the stress from weekday cooking with a little bit of planning and these easy-to-prepare five-ingredient meals. For Monday to Friday dinners, there’s nothing practical about a recipe with multiple components. However, meals need to be balanced. Keep staples such as rice, couscous and pasta plus dried herbs and spices in the pantry. And add salad greens from the fridge. Salt, pepper and cooking oil are essentials so I haven’t added them to the five ingredients listed in the following recipes.
Frozen vegetables and fruits are also great standbys and often more nutritious than their ‘fresh’ counterparts. Add them to beaten eggs together with frozen seafood such as prawns or mussels, and you have a frittata.
Fewer ingredients does not mean lack of flavour. Commercially prepared Asian sauces are a cook’s best friend. Together with coconut cream, some veggies and chicken, a soup or stew can be on the table in minutes. Team this with steamed rice and you have a well-balanced nourishing dinner.
And don't forget that slow cooker at the bottom of the cupboard. It is a great asset for home chefs: meat, three veg and mixed herbs can be cooking while you’re working. There’s nothing better than arriving home to an aromatic house.
Great served with crusty bread and a salad.
1 large onion, diced
16 large shelled raw prawns
4 large eggs
130g flavoured cream cheese eg garden herb and onion
2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive or canola oil in a medium, non-stick frying pan on moderate heat. Sauté the onion until soft. Add the prawns and cook for 1 minute.
Whisk the eggs together with half the cream cheese. Pour over the prawn mixture and dot with the remaining cream cheese and parsley. Season. Cook on medium for about 5 minutes. Finish under a medium grill for about 2 minutes to just set the top. Serves 2.
I used a golden beer.
500g lean minced beef
400g can chilli black beans, drained
400g can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups beer
1-2 tablespoons spice mix for chilli
Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium. Add the minced beef in batches stirring with a fork and pressing out any lumps. Cook until well coloured.
Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
Can be served with rice, corn chips and toppings such as sour cream, diced avocado, diced onion and coriander. Serves 4.
MUSHROOM & SPINACH TOSTADAS
Tostadas are usually prepared with corn tortillas. But flour tortillas are a good substitute.
4 x 16cm flour tortillas
1 large onion, diced
4 cups (300g) sliced mushrooms
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup sour cream
Heat a medium, non-stick frying pan and toast the tortillas until crisp and golden on both sides. Place aside.
Heat a tablespoon of olive or canola oil in the frying pan. Sauté the onion until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until limp. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Season.
Spread each tostada with a tablespoon of the sour cream. Top with the mushroom mixture then dot with the remaining sour cream.
Can be garnished with chopped chives or parsley. Serves 4 as a light meal.