8 easy dinner recipes ready in 30 minutes or less

By | February 22, 2020

In need of easy dinner recipes but short on time? These are from new book Quick After-Work Cookbook by Eaglemoss and they’re all super quick

Who else agrees that the thought of cooking after work makes you want to cry? Like seriously, am I bothered though? Instead we tend to grab the nearest takeaway available to quickly set us up with a week’s supply of dinner ‘prep’. But not for much longer.

Cooks Diary have come up with an easy solution to all our dinner problems with their new super cute diary style recipe book that you can easily pack into your bag and bookmark your recipes to get a deliciously prepared dinner on the go.

On the go? Yes, you heard correct. To make it even easier you can scan the ingredients onto your phone to create or add to your shopping list, making our life that much simpler.

So here are some of our favourite gorgeous mid-week recipes from a creamy veggie soup to a greeny trout salad to a fancy Korean style seafood pancake (aka pizza) . We have it all to get your dinner sorted and onto the table in 30 minutes and under.

Easy dinner recipe #1 Chestnut mushroom soup with blue cheese toasts (V)

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Serves 2 | Time: 30 mins | Per portion: 437 Kcal, 27g fat (13g saturated)

Ingredients:

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 1 small leek, trimmed, quartered lengthways and finely chopped

– 1 celery stick, finely chopped

– 2 good thyme springs, plus extra to serve

– 250g (9oz) chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced

– 1 vegetable stock pot or stock cube

– 600ml (1 pint) boiling water

– Dried porcini mushrooms, snipped into small pieces with scissors to make 1 good tbsp

– 1/2 ciabatta loaf, cut into 6 slices on the diagonal

– 3 tbsp crème fraîche

– 75g (3oz) soft blue cheese

– Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the leek, celery and thyme, covered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the chestnut mushrooms, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the Stock Pot (or crumble in the stock cube) and pour in the boiling water. Sprinkle in the dried mushrooms, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan (or preheat the grill) and toast the ciabatta slices on both sides.
  • Take out the thyme stalks then whizz the soup with a stick blender, adding 1 tablespoon crème fraîche. Season well.
  • Spread the blue cheese on the toasts. Pour the soup into warmed bowls. Dot crème fraîche on top of the soup, grind over some black pepper, and sprinkle with a few fresh thyme leaves, if you like.

Cook’s tips: Whizz briefly for a rustic soup, or for longer if you want a smooth soup. If chestnut mushrooms are unavailable, use portobello or flat mushrooms. Add a peeled garlic clove to the soup along with the mushrooms or rub a halved garlic clove on the toast before spreading it with cheese.

Easy dinner recipe #2 Summer bean & samphire salad with trout

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Serves 2 / Time: 25 mins / Per portion: 359 Kcal, 16g fat (7.8g saturated)

Ingredients:

– 250-300g (9-11oz) new potatoes, scrubbed

– 150g (5oz) runner beans, shredded with a bean slicer or cut into 4cm (11/2in) lengths on the diagonal

– 50g (2oz) samphire

– 1 or 2 (total weight approx. 250g/9oz) trout fillets

– 1/2 lemon, finely grated zest and 1-2 tbsp juice

– 3 heaped tbsp crème fraîche

– About 10 stalks fresh chives

– Salt and freshly ground black pepper

– 1 small Little Gem lettuce, leaves separated

– 10-12 mint leaves, shredded

Method:
  • Cook the potatoes in a pan of simmering water for 20 minutes or until tender – after about 10 minutes, put the beans and samphire in a steamer above the potatoes and cook for 5–6 minutes until just softening. Cool the beans and samphire under cold running water and leave to drain well. Put the trout on a piece of baking paper in the steamer and steam for 4-6 minutes until just cooked. Skin the fish.
  • Whisk the lemon zest, juice and crème fraîche together in a serving bowl. Snip in the chives and season well. Add the lettuce leaves and drained potatoes, beans and samphire and mix lightly to coat in the dressing.
  • Arrange large flakes of trout on top of the salad. Sprinkle with shredded mint leaves.

Cook’s tips: If you can’t get samphire, use fine asparagus tips. Use salmon or mackerel instead of trout.

Easy dinner recipe #3 Herby cheese & asparagus roulade (V)

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Serves 4 / Time: 30 mins / Per portion: 425 Kcal, 31g fat (18g saturated)

Ingredients:

For the roulade:

– 50g (2oz) butter

– 50g (2oz) plain flour

– 300ml (1/2 pint) milk

– 75g (3oz) parmesan-style hard cheese, grated

– 4 eggs, separated

– Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the filling:

– 250g (9oz) asparagus

– 150-170g tub soft cheese with garlic and herbs

– 1-2 tbsp milk (optional)

– 2 tbsp chopped parsley

To serve:

– New potatoes (optional)

Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°fan/Gas 6. Line a 33 x 22cm (13 x 9in) Swiss roll tin with baking paper.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the flour and beat well to make a thick paste. Gradually add the milk, letting the mixture come to the boil between each addition and beating until smooth. Once all the milk has been added, simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in about three-quarters of the hard cheese and season to taste; leave to cool slightly.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Beat the yolks into the cheese sauce, one at a time, then fold in the egg whites. Turn the mixture into the lined tin, and gently spread it out to the edges, taking care not to press out too much of the air. Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top and bake the roulade for 15–18 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the asparagus in simmering water for 3–5 minutes or until just tender, then drain well.
  • Beat the soft cheese to soften it, adding a little milk if it’s very thick, and mix in the parsley.
  • When the roulade is a light golden colour, remove it from the oven and tip out onto a clean sheet of baking paper. Peel away the lining paper. Spread with the cream cheese and lay the asparagus over it widthways. Roll up, using the baking paper to help make a tight roll. Cut into slices and serve with steamed new potatoes, if you like.

Cook’s tips: This is also delicious served cold with a salad, so if there’s any left over, leave it to cool, then cover with cling film and keep in the fridge.

Easy dinner recipe #4 Korean-style seafood pancake

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Serves 2 / Time: 25 mins / Per portion: 392 kcal, 23g fat (5.5g saturated)

Ingredients:

– 2 tsp sesame seeds

– 2 tsp sesame oil

– 1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed

– 1 thai red chilli, deseeded and sliced

– 3 spring onions, trimmed and cut into short lengths on the diagonal

– 2 baby squid around 100g (3 and 1/2 oz), cut into rings

– 110g (4oz) raw peeled kings prawns, thawed if frozen

– 50g (2oz) plain flour

– A pinch of salt

– 1 egg

– 1 tbsp vegetable oil

To serve:

– Chilli dipping sauce

– Salad

Method:
  • Heat a small frying pan and toast the sesame seeds for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tip them out of the pan into a bowl. Add sesame oil, garlic, chilli, squid and prawns to the pan and fry for 4-6 minutes until the seafood is cooked through, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Dry the frying pan.
  • Whisk the flour with a good pinch of salt, the egg and 5 tablespoons cold water to make a creamy batter.
  • Warm the frying pan, add 1⁄2 tablespoon vegetable oil and, when hot, pour in half of the batter and spread it round the pan using the back of a spoon. Scatter the spring onions and the seafood mixture over. Add 1 tablespoon cold water to the remaining batter then spoon it over the seafood. Cover and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until the base is browning and the top is setting.
  • Invert the pancake onto a large plate, add the remaining 1⁄2 tablespoon oil to the pan and when hot slide the pancake back into the pan. Fry for 4–5 minutes over a medium to low heat until cooked through, golden and crisp. Tip out onto a board and cut into wedges. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with dipping sauce and salad.

Cook’s tips: Use ready-made sweet chilli dipping sauce, or make your own dipping sauce by stirring together 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 1⁄2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 1⁄2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, 1 small garlic clove, crushed, and a small amount of finely chopped green or red chill.

Easy dinner recipe #5 Nasi Goreng (V)

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Serves 2 / Time: 15 mins / Per portion: 478 Kcal, 29g fat (3.4g saturated)

Ingredients:

– 4 tsp vegetable oil

– 1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced

– 5cm (2in) root ginger piece, peeled and grated or thinly sliced

– 1/2-1 thai chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

– 2 tsp tamarind paste

– 250g ready cooked brown basmati rice, microwave pack

– 50g (2oz) fine green beans, trimmed and cut into short lengths

– About 15g (1/2oz) stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped

– 1 tbsp soy sauce

– 2 eggs

– Freshly ground black pepper

– Around 4 tbsp ready-made crispy fried onions

– 1/2 lime, cut into 2 wedges (optional)

Method:
  • Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a wok, add the garlic, ginger, chilli and tamarind and fry for 2 minutes. Cook the rice in the microwave.
  • Add the beans and coriander stalks to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute. Carefully stir in the hot rice and soy sauce. Season to taste with black pepper. Remove from the heat and add most of the coriander leaves.
  • Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan over a high heat until very hot. Add the eggs and fry for a few minutes until set, with frilly edges.
  • Divide the rice between two warmed bowls. Place an egg on top and garnish with the remaining coriander leaves and some crispy fried onions. Serve with lime wedges, if you like.

Cook’s tips: Crispy fried onions are sold in 100g tubs; they are useful to have handy to add a savoury crunch to all sorts of dishes. Use plain white rice or a flavoured rice if you like. You can cook the rice from scratch, but it will take 20–25 minutes.

Easy dinner recipe #6 Honeyed halloumi with golden couscous (V)

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Serves 2 / Time: 30mins / Per portion: 859 Kcal, 43g fat (21g saturated)

Ingredients:

– 1 red onion, peeled and sliced

– 2 tbsp lemon juice

– 2 tbsp olive juice

– 100g (3 1/2 oz) couscous

– 200ml (7fl oz) boiling water

– 400g cooked chickpeas can, drained

– 1 tsp ground turmeric

– 1 tsp ground cumin

– Salt and freshly ground black pepper

– 225g (8oz) halloumi cheese, sliced

– 2 tsp clear honey

– 2 tbsp chopped parsley

– 2 tbsp chopped mint

Method:
  • Toss the onion in 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan and gently cook the onion, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.
  • Meanwhile, put the couscous in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Cover and leave to soak for 10 minutes until the water is absorbed. Then fork up the grains and stir in the chickpeas, spices and plenty of salt and pepper.
  • When the onion is cooked, stir in the couscous. Cover and heat through over a very low heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium to high heat and cook the halloumi on each side for 2-3 minutes until golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
  • To serve, mix the honey with the remaining lemon juice. Stir the herbs into the couscous and pile into warmed serving bowls. Top with the cheese and drizzle with honey and lemon.

Cook’s tips: For a gluten-free version, replace the couscous with cooked white or brown rice.

Easy dinner recipe #7 Walnut & Olive salsa with tagliatelle (V)

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Serves 2 / Time: 15 mins / Per portion: 536 Kcal, 32g fat (8.4g saturated)

Ingredients:

– 150g (5oz) tagliatelle

– 25g (1oz) walnut pieces

– Around 25g (1oz) parsley, thick stalks removed

– A handful of mint leaves

– 1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped

– 1/2 lemon, finely grated zest and juice

– 1 small slice stale bread, around 25g (1oz)

– 6 tbsp olive oil (or 3 tbsp walnut oil and 3 tbsp olive oil)

– 50 g (2oz) dolcelatte cheese, crumbled

– 10-12 pitted black olives, halved

– Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:
  • Cook the pasta in boiling water for 8–10 minutes, or according to the pack’s instructions, until just tender.
  • Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a small pan.
  • Put the parsley, mint leaves and garlic in a large jug, tear in the bread, add the lemon zest and juice and the oil. Using a stick blender, whizz to a rough paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the walnuts and whizz again to incorporate them but retain the rough texture.
  • Drain the pasta, keeping back some of the water. Put the pasta back in the pan, stir in half the sauce and 2-3 tablespoons of the cooking water. Divide the pasta between two warmed bowls, dot with the cheese and olives and serve immediately.

Cook’s tips: Though the pasta serves 2, there is enough sauce for 4 people. The rest of the sauce will keep in a jar in the fridge for a week. Double the pasta portion if serving 4. Serve any remaining sauce with chicken or chops or on top of fried flat mushrooms. Add 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or double cream for a creamy sauce.

Easy dinner recipe #8 Dhal with paneer (V)

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Serves 2 / Prep time: 30 mins / Per portion: 372 Kcal, 19g fat (6.3g saturated)

Ingredients:

– 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

– 1 tbsp vegetable oil

– 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

– 2 tbsp tikka curry paste

– 75g (3oz) split red lentils, rinsed

– 600ml (1 pint) boiling water

– Around 200g (7oz) 2 heads baby leaf greens

– 75g (3oz) paneer cheese, cut into 8 cubes

– About 1 tbsp freeze-dried curry leaves or fresh coriander leaves, plus extra coriander to garnish (optional)

– Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve (optional):

– Natural yogurt and naan bread

Method:
  • Put the onion and 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in half the garlic along with the curry paste and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the lentils, pour in the boiling water and simmer, uncovered, for about 12 minutes until the lentils are just tender.
  • Meanwhile, wash the greens and cut out the thick stems and veins using scissors. Roll the leaves up lengthways and cut into fine strips.
  • Heat the rest of the oil in a small non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Fry the paneer cubes for a couple of minutes, turning them occasionally, until golden. Add the curry leaves or coriander and the rest of the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add the greens to the lentils and cook until they just begin to wilt. Season to taste. Serve the lentil mixture with the paneer mixture sprinkled over and garnish with coriander leaves, if using. Serve with natural yogurt and naan bread if you like.

Cook’s tips: Prepared weight of greens will be about 110g (4oz). Freeze-dried curry leaves can be found in the spices section in the supermarket. If you cannot obtain paneer, use halloumi instead.

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These recipes were extracted from The Quick After Work Cookbook which you can purchase from the Cook’s Diary Website.

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