8 speedy, easy, delicious midweek dinners

8 speedy, easy, delicious midweek dinners

by Great British Chefs 12 June 2017

Had a long day at work? Don’t slave over the stove for hours and eat just before you go to bed – instead, try one of these eight quick and easy recipes that are bursting with flavour and take just half an hour to make.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Whether you have a long commute, had to work late or just need a break from the daily toil of life, there are those days when the thought of spending hours preparing a cooked meal – whether for yourself or your entire family – doesn’t exactly fill you with joy. Chopping, frying, simmering, serving; you could be ready for bed by the time it’s ready to eat.

But you don’t have to spend all your evening cooking – there are countless recipes which can be cooked in roughly half an hour, leaving you plenty of time to relax before bedtime and avoid potential heartburn or indigestion. And if you’re super-organised, you can prep veg the night before to make things even easier.

These are just a few of our favourite quick recipes that are perfect for midweek dinners – they’re just as tasty as the most slow-cooked, time-consuming dishes out there, but can be whipped up in a flash when you get in from work.

1. Linguine with prawns, lemon and parsley

This recipe is a masterclass in Italian cooking, showing how just a few ingredients (the majority of which you probably always have in your store cupboard) can be transformed into an incredible meal in less than twenty minutes. Francesco keeps the linguine al dente and reserves some of the pasta cooking water to whisk into the garlic, chilli and oil. Make sure you get fat, juicy tiger prawns for this, rather than the little pre-cooked alternative, and go heavy with the lemon zest and parsley at the end.

2. Bacon and pea omelette with cheese glaze

An omelette for dinner might not sound like the most exciting meal in the world, but then most omelette recipes don’t come from the mind of two-Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw. The omelette itself is filled with red onion, peas and bacon, but what sets this omelette apart is the cheese glaze on top, which is grilled until golden brown and bubbling.

3. Broccoli and Stilton soup

The perfect dinner when you’re short on time and need something warm and comforting, this classic British soup is so easy to make, you could do it with your eyes closed (probably best if you don’t actually try this). A hunk of Stilton, a head of broccoli, some butter, some cream, some stock and a shallot – that’s all you need. Make sure there are some thick, buttered slices of good bread to go alongside it, too.

4. Mapo tofu

If you turn your nose up at tofu, dismissing it as nothing more than a meat substitute for vegetarians, then you obviously haven’t had it mapo-style. A combination of Sichuan chilli bean paste and fermented black beans creates a sauce with a serious punch of umami, which is then used to coat the tofu. Everything is cooked super-fast, which is exactly what you want after a busy day at work.

5. Thai beef salad

This healthy recipe is basically a prep job, which makes washing up a lot easier and means you don’t have to be keeping an eye on bubbling pots and pans while you try and watch the evening news. It’s ideal if you’ve had roast beef at the weekend and there’s some meat leftover, as you can just give strips of it a pan-fry and plonk them on top of the vegetables and rice noodles. A simple dressing of soy sauce, sugar and lime adds plenty of zing and seasoning.

6. Quick bake macaroni cheese

Macaroni cheese is the ultimate comfort food, but many recipes call for a long, slow bake in the oven – the last thing you need on a weekday. Legendary chef Paul Heathcote has come up with a speedy way to recreate the classic, however, by creating a silky, creamy sauce that just needs to be poured over cooked macaroni before being sprinkled with breadcrumbs and toasted under a hot grill for a few minutes. Paul adds ham to his macaroni cheese, but you can omit it if you’re vegetarian. Try adding other bits and pieces into it instead – chilli, finely chopped veg and different varieties of cheese are easy ways to make this recipe your own.

7. Chargrilled chicken with cauliflower

In just twenty minutes you can have this beautiful, healthy plate of food on the table, which makes it a perfect midweek meal. The chicken breasts are given a brief marinade in rapeseed oil and lemon zest, before being cooked in the oven or on a griddle pan. These sit on top a simple yet deliciously fresh salad of thinly sliced raw cauliflower and toasted pine nuts, with a scattering of parsley and pomegranate seeds to add a splash of colour.

8. Grilled tuna steak with Asian coleslaw

Tuna steak is a bit of a luxury however you cook it, but Adam Gray's super-speedy salad gives it an Asian twist. The fish takes literally seconds to cook, leaving the centre raw (as it should be). It's then sliced into strips and draped over a bed of shredded red cabbage, carrots and red onion. Some grilled Tenderstem broccoli – cooked in the same pan as the tuna to cut down on the washing up – transforms this dish from a light snack to a beautiful midweek dinner for the warmer months.