You don’t need a supermarket in your pantry to create and enjoy delicious meals. And when you’re running from work to make the school pick-up followed by the shuttle service to dance classes or sports practice, when you get home easy meals are a must.

Five-ingredient meals using clever combinations plus a few basics from your pantry can be quickly and attractively prepared. The flavourful dinners that follow prove that you don't need much to make a great meal.

I kick off today’s recipes with a frittata that uses roasties from my supermarket’s freezer. They’re already spiced and add heaps of flavour to this popular dish. Roasties don't always have to be roasted! I’ve combined them with cherry bocconcini. These useful little fresh mozzarella cheese balls add eye appeal as well as low-fat protein to dishes.

Smoked salmon has a good shelf-life in the fridge and adds a smoky deliciousness to the gratin up next. I’ve chosen thinly-sliced smoked salmon but hot smoked seasoned salmon could substitute 

Risotto is comfort food and although it is necessary to add the stock to rice in about half cup portions stirring until it is absorbed each time, one can often ask for a helping hand. Or you can just stir and chat.

NB: Salt, pepper and cooking oil are essentials and don't count as one of the five ingredients.


2 tablespoons olive oil
350g frozen southern-style roasties
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
8 cherry bocconcini, halved

Heat the oil in a medium, non-stick frying pan.

Add the roasties in a single layer. Fry for 3-4 minutes. Turn and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes.

Pour in the eggs, cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until the base and edges have set.

Meanwhile, preheat a grill. Place the tomatoes and bocconcini on top of the frittata. Place the pan under the grill until the tomatoes are soft and cheese slightly melted. Serves 4.


400g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
100g spinach, chopped
200g smoked salmon, chopped
freshly ground black pepper to taste
200ml cream

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Place the potatoes in a shallow microwave dish. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes. Cool.

Place the chopped spinach in a microwave bowl. Cover and microwave for 1-2 minutes until limp. Cool then squeeze out any excess moisture.

Layer half the potatoes in a 22cm x 12cm baking dish. Top with half the spinach and salmon. Season. Repeat the layers.

Pour the cream evenly and slowly over the mixture. Bake for about 45 minutes until the potatoes are fully cooked and the tops is lightly golden. Serves 2.


5 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 1/4 cups arborio rice
400g spinach, washed and chopped
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Bring the chicken stock to the boil.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Sauté the onion until softened. Add the rice and stir until coated in oil, toasted and fragrant. 

Add the boiling stock a half cup at a time stirring until it has been absorbed by the rice before adding the next 1/2 cup. Cook until the rice is tender about 18 minutes in total. The consistency should still be a little runny, not solid. Stir in the spinach and cook until warm. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan.

Great topped with extra grated parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. Serves 4.


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