I read somewhere that the average person has about 10 recipes in their repertoire. An old article in The Daily Mail lists the 9 most commonly made dishes (read it here) including, spaghetti bolognese, roast dinner, shepherd’s pie, pasta dish, meat and two veg, pizza, casserole/stew, sausages and chips and curry. Nothing wrong with those meals at all and I cook most of them too but I have to admit I get very bored with cooking the same meals over and over again. So, how to spice up the menu without spending even more time in the kitchen?
Cookery Books are a great source of inspiration for me. I have far too many (so many more than the average eight; in fact I think I may have a bit of an addiction). I now borrow cookery books from the library which has the added benefits of keeping my bookshelves clearer and being much cheaper! I love buying into the whole spirit of a cookbook; Nigella’s Express, for example, had me conjuring up images of myself waltzing into the kitchen and whipping up a meal in minutes from my well stocked larder (I don’t actually have a larder but in my head that didn’t seem to matter). Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook had me imagining bringing in huge baskets of veg from the garden and transforming them into bagna cauda or radish top pasta. You get the drift; I’m a bit of a dreamer.
In reality I’ve been the primary maker of Family Meals for over 9 years now. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s to Keep Things Simple and Plan Ahead. I Keep Things Simple by keeping a handwritten book of some very easy, tasty dishes that really can be whipped up in half an hour and use just the one saucepan, oven dish or frying pan. You can see my book in the photo above with Jamie Oliver on the front. I’m just about to finish it so will have to get another one (yay – any excuse to buy some stationery!) I get these dishes from many places including magazines and friends. I Plan Ahead by writing up a Menu Plan every week (well nearly every week). Have a look at the invaluable resource for Mums at Net Mums for inspiration.
This post is introducing a new category for Speedy Suppers or One Pot Wonders that are my Go To meals when I just don’t feel like cooking. Hopefully you’ll find a couple that work for you too and prompt you to share your favourite Speedy supper dish that you make for your family!
One Pot Wonder No 1 is imaginatively entitled Yummy Rice with Spinach and Feta (bear with me on this one it’s worth a try and a firm favourite with my 6 yr old and 9 yr old and husband too!)
Yummy Rice with Spinach and Feta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
2 cups veg stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, sliced if they’re large
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
Fry the onion and garlic until golden.
Add the uncooked rice. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the wine and stock, bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the spinach and cover for about 5 minutes so the spinach can wilt. It will look as if you have a whole forest of spinach in the saucepan but it’ll reduce to next to nothing as it wilts down.
Pile into bowls and eat up. I tend to make this on a school night after violin and rugby practice as it’s nice and warming and comforting and can be eaten slumped on the sofa watching re-runs of the Wonder Years (naughty I know but I promise we do eat at the table the rest of the time!)