There is nothing worse than having a full day at work and coming back, having to contemplate what to cook. Meals on worknights do not need to be difficult, or convenient. Just good hearty food that will keep you satisfied after a long day. Here are some easy dinner ideas to whip out any day.
*This post is in collaboration with Schwartz*
Key tip: Everything’s better with seasoning and spices. Trust me, cooking with herbs adds so much to a meal, and is so affordable. I have recently begun using garlic powder – (in pretty much everything, as you’ll find out) mostly because I am not a fan of cooked garlic cloves, to me they seem bitter. Powder allows the same flavour without the texture of garlic. Nonetheless, start with building your herbs and spice collection. This will help to lift even the most basic ingredients.
Mini Roast Potatoes
What I love about mini roasties is that they are not as stodgy as regular sized roast potatoes. When I am running out of easy dinner ideas, this is the perfect side to get thinking.
Just a sprinkle of salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic powder – pop it in the oven for 35 minutes at 220° / Gas Mark 7 and there we have it! A perfect accompaniment to any meal. With a bag of potatoes just over £1.00, it will not hurt the bank either.
What I love about pork belly, is that you get so much for your money. Although costing around £4, there is enough to feed 3 people or dinner and leftover lunch for 2 people.
Toast in a pan 2 bay leaves, a pinch of pepper, a tablespoon of oil, half a teaspoon of fennel, rosemary, garlic powder and any other spices you wish to add.
Then add the scored pork skin side down into the pan and sear the skin – leave for five minutes.
Once this is complete, flip the pork and place it into a large roasting tin, fill the empty space with seasonal veg and pour in vegetable stock, ensuring it covers the meat, not the skin. Leave for 2 hours 30 at 140° and you’re all done! Get this in the oven when you get back from work and let it do its thing until you are ready to eat!
Garlic and Herb Pork Chop / Can also be made with Chicken:
This is so easy to make, yet it could seem like a challenge. At only £3 for 2 pork chops (and cheaper when you bulk buy), it is still an affordable meal.
Method: Begin with making the marinade. Breadcrumbs can be made simply by lightly toasting a slice of bread, either blending it or grating to create crumbs.
Into a bowl add the breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of oil (that will be your bonding agent), half a tablespoon of garlic powder and a quarter of a teaspoon of onion powder. The herbs you use are completely your choice, I opted for half a teaspoon of both thyme and oregano.
Rub this marinade on your meat (leave to infuse if possible), finishing it off for 14-16 minutes in a medium heated grill, turning occasionally.
Related: How To Eat Vegan on a Budget
Pork loin steaks are much cheaper than chops (£4 for 4 steaks). Marinating these can be done earlier in the day, and simply cooked when wanting to eat. This is always my go-to when thinking of easy dinner ideas.
In a bowl add 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder, ginger powder and onion powder as well as 1/4 teaspoon of five-spice (less is more, it is really quite strong). Adding 5 tablespoons of brown sugar will allow the meat to caramelise as well as counteracting the bitter taste of the five-spice. Seems like a lot, but the caramelisation on the pork is what you’re aiming for.
Add your chosen meat to the bowl, marinate, then grill for 12-14 minutes on a medium grill, turning occasionally.
Although these can be bought frozen, nothing can beat fresh right? At £1.99 for a small pack of chicken mini fillets, it really can be an affordable snack. On days where you want an easy dinner but you are not that hungry, this is perfect. Pair with a salad or some chips and there you have it!
In a bowl mix golden breadcrumbs (about 1/3 of the tub) (or panko if you prefer), with half a tablespoon of paprika, half a teaspoon of garlic powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Flour your chicken, then coat in one beaten egg and then in the breadcrumb mixture. Finally, shallow fry in a pan for around 7-8 minutes, turning every 2 minutes.
And there we have it! Some recipe ideas that not only taste good, but don’t break the bank either? Do you have any go to simple meals when cooking on the cheap? Comment below!
*This post is in collaboration with Schwartz, but all opinions are honest and my own*
What are your favourite easy dinner ideas?