Roz Crowley’s quick & tasty midweek dinners

Bored with eating the same dinners week after week?

Do most recipes take too much time when you’re exhausted from work or ferrying kids around all afternoon?

These are my most-used midweekers . With a selection of fresh vegetables and some fish and meat in the freezer, you will be able to quickly rustle them up during the week.

Keep the vegetables varied in colour and you won’t go wrong. Store them in a cool place and substitute with frozen vegetables when you need to. Once you have a good variety, your nutrition needs will be met. Midweek meals can be fun!

MONDAY: Roz’s turkey and chorizo meatballs with quick sauce

This is a firm favourite with children and is economical too. You can use minced pork or chicken, even a few sausages squeezed out. It takes less than 20 minutes to make. Turkey mince costs €1 for 100g. Most supermarkets have 300g or 400g packs.

Serves 4

400g turkey mince

75g chorizo

Sauce

I can chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp passata or 1 dessp tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 onion, grated thickly

1 stick celery, finely chopped

Handful broccoli, finely chopped

2 carrots, grated thickly

If serving with pasta or rice, put it on first. The sauce and meatballs will take about 10 minutes. Use fresh chorizo if you can. I buy vacuum packs from The Real Olive stalls and other speciality shops nationwide – they are full of flavour. A pack of two costing €5 will do at least four meals. Chop half of one chorizo finely and place in a wide pan which will take all the meatballs later. Bring the heat to high (no need to put oil or fat in the pan) and allow to fry for 1 minute until the fat melts out. Turn to low for another 2 minutes. Remove the chorizo pieces from the pan to cool.

Sauce

Empty all the ingredients for the sauce into the saucepan with what is left of the chorizo juices and fat. I mix a can of tomatoes with passata as the can on its own doesn’t have quite enough flavour. A squeeze of tomato sauce works too. I like to use the stalks of the broccoli, trimming off the hard outer skins and chopping the white inner core into matchstick pieces. Bring it all to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.

To finish

Mix the cooled chorizo with the turkey mince and form into walnut-sized balls.

Drop the turkey balls into the tomato sauce and cover with a lid until cooked through – about 5 minutes. By then the vegetables will be cooked through, but still have a little bite. Serve with rice, pasta, mashed potato, couscous, quinoa or chunks of bread for a quick supper.

The hightlights of the making of this dish can be seen here: 

TUESDAY: Roz’s quick chilli fish

My quickest fish and veg dish ever – this is a one-stop wonder and can be ready as quickly as 10 minutes from start to finish.

Serves 4

300g monkfish tails, whiting or cod

2 large leeks, cut into fine rings

1 dessp olive oil

2 carrots, grated thickly

4 large leaves kale or other greens

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp water

Place the leeks in a saucepan with the chilli sauce and water. Cover with a lid and bring to a gentle simmer.

Shred the kale or other greens and add to the saucepan and replace the lid.

Cut the fish into 4-5cm chunks and add to the leek and kale along with the carrot. Replace the lid and cook gently until the fish is cooked through – no more than 5 minutes. All done! This can be served with rice, potatoes, pasta or bread, but it’s quite substantial and satisfying without any starchy accompaniments. I also love to cook chopped chorizo with the vegetables, even when serving them with fish.

Get more great cooking tips, ideas and recipes in our dedicated Food and Drink section.

WEDNESDAY: Vegetarian spicy fried rice with crisp fried onions, baby spinach and chickpeas

Serves 4

If you really need this to be quick, bring the rice to the boil the night before or in the morning, cover with a lid and turn the heat off. By the time you need to use it, it will be cooked through and ready to go.

400g brown basmati rice

2 large onions

3 cloves garlic

5cm fresh ginger

1 red chilli

1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil

1 tbsps sunflower oil

½ teasp salt

1 tsp sesame oil (optional)

1 tbsp seasoned flour

100g cooked chickpeas

Handful fresh baby spinach

1 tbsp soy sauce

If not already cooked, bring the rice to the boil according to instructions on the pack and cover with a lid. It should take about 15 minutes to cook.

Chop one of the onions finely. Grate or chop the garlic and ginger finely.

Cut the chilli into thin rings, removing the seeds and membrane. Place in a large saucepan with the olive oil and cook gently until the onions are soft.

Cut the second onion into thin rings and toss in the flour and salt. Heat a frying pan and add the sunflower oil.

When very hot, drop in the floured onion rings and fry until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Add the cooked rice to the vegetables along with the chickpeas. Cooked lentils are good too.

Just before serving add in the baby spinach and toss around so it wilts a little. Add the sesame oil, if using.

Serve in individual bowls and top with the fried onions. A drizzle of yoghurt flavoured with grated garlic is delicious too.

A fried or poached egg on top of each portion is delicious too for extra sustenance.

THURSDAY: Minute steaks with sweet potato wedges & red peppers

Serves 4

4 small minute steaks

4 small sweet potatoes

½ tsp cinnamon

1 red pepper

1 large onion

5 tbsp olive oil

Heat the oven to 220C 240F Gas 9.

Leaving the skin on, cut the sweet potatoes into skinny wedges. Rub with 3 tbsp of the olive oil and the cinnamon.

Cut the red pepper into medium slivers and the onion into chunks. Rub with a little more of the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and the onions soft and gooey.

A few minutes before the vegetables are ready, heat a frying pan with 1 dessp of the olive oil. Dust the steaks with salt and a little black pepper. Place the steaks in the hot pan and turn over quickly to cook a few minutes each side, less if you like them rare. Serve immediately with the roasted wedges. A green salad on the side is delicious.

FRIDAY: Pasta with bacon, broccoli and goat’s cheese

Another quickie, this will cook for the same length of time as the pasta so get the water on to boil first.

4 large streaky rashers

100g broccoli

100g goats cheese

Parsley

Grill the rashers until crisp. Meanwhile cut the broccoli into small florets, cutting into the stalks so heat gets into them and cooks them through. Place in a saucepan with a tablespoon of water. Bring to the boil and cover with a lid so it steams for no more than 4 minutes and keeps its green colour. Chops the rashers into 1 cm pieces and add to the cooked broccoli. The water should have turned to steam at this stage.

Add the goats cheese torn into small chunks. Toonsbridge mozzarella is good for this too. Allow to melt before pouring over the cooked pasta.

Drizzle with olive oil if it needs a bit more moisture.

READ NEXT: Craft brew festival to whet artisan beer-lovers’ thirst in Cork

Get more great cooking tips, ideas and recipes in our dedicated Food and Drink section.

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