Our family meals thrive on some semblance of a pre-established meal plan. Knowing I have the ingredients to either cook ahead of time or have key elements to make quick dishes saves us panic when dinner time rolls around. The goal is to avoid opening the kitchen cupboard with a hungry toddler at my heels while I try to rack my brain for dinner inspiration. Dishes like the ones I’m sharing today make regular appearances on our dinner table, and while they don’t cook themselves, they’re sure to make mealtimes fuss-free!
One of the most famous and tastiest Filipino dishes is chicken adobo. So popular that it’s the unofficial national dish of the Philippines, it’s a sweet, sour, and savory chicken dish that makes the most of pantry ingredients like vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and peppercorns. It might not be an easy dinner—the more traditional recipe that appears in my Meals In Minutes cookbook uses bone-in chicken thighs and slow-cooks them in the rich umami marinade until tender and creamy—but this version for weekday evenings can be cooked (give or take) in 15 minutes. I used this easy soy marinade to transform fried chicken fillets served with rice and veggies.
The one-pan veggie lasagna is also included in today’s recipes. It’s packed with veggies and uses fresh pasta to simplify things, before taking mozzarella to melting, muddy dreamland under a hot grill. It’s not traditional, but with vegetarian glory guaranteed, it delivers in earnest.
And for some weekday comfort, a quick steak dinner will do, too. Creamy pasta with mushrooms and seared minute steaks make for an easy, straight-to-the-table dinner for everyone to help themselves.
So, lots of quick weeknight fix ideas to get your meal plan through the week. Have fun!
Vegetable lasagna in a pan
Cooking time 30 mins
This is a fabulous vegetarian version of the popular comfort food favorite lasagna – only without all the pots and pans to wash up!
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 zucchini, chopped
250 g cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
200 g baby spinach
400 g fresh pasta sheets, cut into strips
Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
80 g Parmesan cheese, grated
2 x 125g mozzarella balls, sliced
1. Heat oil in a deep ovenproof skillet. Add the onions and sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until tender, then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
2. Add zucchini and mushrooms, increase heat and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and 400ml boiling water and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
2. Preheat the grill to the highest setting. Stir the spinach and pasta strips into the pan and, when the spinach has wilted, stir in the basil and two-thirds of the Parmesan and half of the mozzarella.
3. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and place under the grill for 3-5 minutes until bubbling and melted.
Minute steaks with brown butter mushroom sauce
Cooking time 20 mins
Wild mushrooms or another interesting variety from your local greengrocer or deli will make all the difference for this dish if you can track them down. The bittersweet taste of tarragon pairs really well with the creamy mustard sauce spread over the al dente tagliatelle.
200g of tagliatelle
1 tbsp olive oil
4 x 50g minute steaks
50 grams of butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 sprigs of tarragon, leaves removed and chopped
300 g of wild mushrooms
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
250 ml double cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Salt well and add the tagliatelle. Cook 10-12 minutes or according to package directions.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the steaks well and sear for a minute on each side, until charred and cooked through. Set aside to rest.
3. Add the butter to the pan until melted, bubbly and golden. Add the garlic, tarragon and mushrooms. Toss in pan for 5-6 minutes until golden brown.
4. Add the whole grain mustard and cream and stir through.
5. Drain the pasta with tongs and add directly to the pan with the mushrooms, taking some of the pasta cooking liquid with you. Toss to coat the pasta in the sauce and serve.
Our family dinners thrive on leftovers — for every delicious, well-planned recipe I cook, there’s always a dinner consisting of just a mezze left over from the week. To keep the fridge from becoming a cave of bowls and plates covered with cling film, I’ve long been a fan of reusable glass containers. They’re perfect for leftovers and even better for meal prep. Invest in about six of these Pyrex appliances for your kitchen and you’re good to go!
LA’s food scene is an ever-evolving story and it’s often difficult to keep up with the many new places to try. Kismet, one of the city’s most famous Middle Eastern-inspired eateries, in hipster haven Silverlake, has a quick, rotisserie-style chicken joint to go that serves colorful platters of its signature chicken with colorful pickles, simmered with sleazy potatoes, chicken fat, and silky humus with chilli oil.
We’ve been busy in the kitchen filming a new series for my YouTube channel that’s filled with quick family meals. In the midst of the madness of trying to do just that with two children under the age of three, it was inevitable that we would be overwhelmed by some little ‘helping’ hands!
https://www.independent.ie/life/food-drink/recipes/donal-skehans-quick-fix-suppers-vegetable-lasagne-and-minute-steak-pasta-38950029.html Donal Skehan’s Quick Recipes – Vegetable Lasagna and Minute Steak Noodles