Homemade Week: Dinners
Wednesday was much easier! I’m on holiday for the rest of the week, so breakfast, lunch and dinner can be made from scratch whenever I like (and no need to remember to pick anything up). Dinners are always one of my favourite meals to experiment with – probably because they’re the easiest one to vary. Dinners for me will always be based around the meat-and-vegetable template, with as much green as possible (and as little carbohydrate as possible so I don’t go to bed bloated). That’s why this week I’ve gone for simple, hearty dinners…
If we have a roast on the Sunday, Monday is always leftovers. Which means cold cuts of meat with chips and salad. For Homemade Week we switched the chips to potato wedges; thinly slice your potatoes (keep the skins), cover them in salt, pepper, and olive oil, and stick them in the oven at 190°C for 40 minutes. Delish! And just think how much you’re saving by buying a bag of spuds instead of a bag of frozen chips…
Despite this being my disaster day, I still managed a homemade dinner: steak, mashed carrot and potato and greens. Rub your steak with oil and pepper and grill it on a hot griddle for two minutes (maximum) each side. Boil potatoes and carrots until soft, add a bit of butter and mash together. Greens of your choice (I’m a sucker for broccoli, kale, and green/fine beans).
A popular family meal, it does take a bit longer than Monday and Tuesday’s dinners: meet Jamie Oliver’s Hit’n’run tray baked chicken. To serve four, you’re going to need:
4 large ripe tomatoes
2 red onions
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
4 cloves of garlic
½ a bunch of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 180°C, and then chop the veggies in to large chunks. Crush the garlic slightly to release the flavour, then add it all, with the chicken thighs, to a roasting dish. Coat it all with the balsamic vinegar, paprika, thyme and olive oil and stick in the oven for about an hour – or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
This is a dead simple recipe, and always goes down a storm. Team it with a light salad or, for a more filling side, potatoes.
Back to BBC Good Food for honey mustard chicken pot with parsnips (click the link for the full recipe). It’s not far off the tray baked chicken in style, but has a completely different flavour. Which is why I prefer to serve it with fine beans or runner beans and virtually al dente broccoli for bite.
This might require a small cheat when it comes to it – another Jamie Oliver, this time his Tasty crusty cod with mashy peas (click the link for the full recipe). Unless I can get the bread machine to play ball with gluten free bread, it’s going to be pre-bought breadcrumbs. However, this is RIDICULOUSLY TASTY and totally worth giving in.
I’ve tried BBC Good Food’s Quick beef and broccoli one-pot (click the link for the full recipe) with both mashed potato and rice noodles, depending on whether I’ve added Five Spice or not. Personally, I’d recommend lots of spice and rice noodles, but as I have NO IDEA how to make my own noodles, it’s mash again (I’m going to look like mashed potato by the end of the week).
I’m building myself up for attempting BBC Good Food’s Pulled lamb shoulder with sticky pomegranate glaze, but it also takes 5 hours to cook (I have no patience) and Sunday is our family day to celebrate Little Sis’ birthday (which was yesterday). So it’s more about what she wants to eat than what I plan… but I have already promised teabag biscuits!
Homemade Week is surprisingly easy. I was amazed at how little I had to change within my day-to-day diet, but I will openly admit that I’m suffering from the lack of bread. As long as you take the time on a Sunday to make breakfast and lunch, it doesn’t even require that much effort during the week. Anyone I’ve spoken to about it has been impressed by the concept, and actually if I could master bread, I’d be much more comfortable making this a permanent lifestyle change. Even homemade coleslaw is straightforward! My next challenge will have to be jams and chutneys…
Are you tempted to try making everything from scratch? How much do you buy pre-prepared?