QUICK AND EASY WINTER WARMING DINNER IDEAS
There’s something about long, cold and dark winter nights that have us craving nothing other than a big, warming bowl of homemade comfort food. However, with short evenings, work-filled days and chaotic family life, the thought of cooking homemade food from scratch after a hard day in the office can have us running to the microwave meal or freezer aisle for a quick and easy teatime fix. However, there are some super easy, great value, homemade dinners that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes, for a nutritious end to the day. Here’s how.
Stuffed Mushroom Skewers
This super easy recipe is a lighter alternative to a carb-heavy meal, yet still packed full of delicious flavours. Serve the finished mushrooms on their own as a starter or use as the main event alongside a lentil-filled side salad.
- 6 large Portobello mushrooms
- 125g unsmoked bacon (preferably Lardons)
- 1 x garlic and 1 x shallot (finely chopped)
- Handful breadcrumbs
- 50g grated cheddar (strength depending on preference)
- Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.
- Place washed mushrooms on a basking tray, top side down.
- In a frying pan, cook bacon, shallots and garlic in a pan until the bacon is just starting to crisp.
- To make the breadcrumbs, add a couple of slices of thick white bread into a food processor and blitz.
- Add the bacon and garlic mixture to the breadcrumbs.
- Spoon the mixture into the mushrooms.
- Grate the cheese and sprinkle over the top.
- Cook for around 10 minutes.
Veggie Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash
A vegetarian alternative to a good old British classic, this flavourful, hearty dish is proof that vegetarian dishes (often cheaper than meat alternatives) don’t have to be boring and tasteless. This dish is essentially a one-pot wonder topped with sweet potato so can be prepared the night before if you’re pushed for time. If you have a busy week ahead, why not double up on ingredients and freeze half? Give it a go for yourself.
- 1 large onion
- 2 carrots
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 2 veggie stock cubes
- 200g can green lentils
- 950g sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped)
- Chop onion, carrots and add to 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan.
- Fry for five minutes and add the two stock cubes with 300ml of water.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and let the entire pan simmer for 10 minutes.
- Whilst this is simmering, chop your sweet potatoes into chunks and put onto boil.
- Once veg mix is simmered, pour in the can of green lentils and leave to simmer for a further 10 minutes.
- Take your potatoes from the boil and begin to mash, seasoning to taste.
- Pour the lentil mixture into an oven-proof dish and top with sweet potato.
- Bake for 20 mins on 170 degrees if you are cooking for the first time. If you are re-heating from chilled, bake for 40.
- If your portions are frozen, leave to de-frost before re-heating.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Is there anything better than getting inside, out of the cold, to the comforting smell of cooking? Slow cooker recipes are not only super easy to follow but are also a great way of preparing a nutritious, home-cooked meal in no time at all. Fill your slow cooker with the recipe below in the morning and leave it on low all day – when you get home, simply serve up in bowls with a wedge of crusty bread – the definition of ‘winter warmer’…
- 1 large onion
- 2 celery sticks
- 3 carrots
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 beef stock cubes
- 900g beef (this dish works well with cheap cuts as the slow cooking guarantees tenderness)
- 1 small bunch parsley
- Soften the carrot, onion and celery in a pan in a small amount of oil.
- Add the puree and Worcestershire sauce, along with 600 ml boiling water, stir and tip into the slow cooker.
- Crumble the beef stock cubes into the slow cooker.
- Batch fry your beef in the remaining oil until it has browned.
- Tip the beef into the slow cooker and leave on low for 8-10 hours (or 4 on high).
Easy to cook for any time of day, this traditional Middle Eastern breakfast dish is a fantastic start or end to your day, packed full of vegetables, protein and delicious tomato-based flavours. The great thing about Shakshuka is that it can be all cooked in the one pan and left to simmer until it is ready to be eaten. This recipe includes the basics but the stew can have a number of different additions, including meat, fish and lentils. Try this recipe for a unique teatime twist.
- 2 red onions
- 1 red chilli
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 400g cans chopped tomatoes
- 4 eggs
- Small bunch coriander
- Chop onions, garlic and chilli and begin to soften in the frying pan.
- Stir in the tinned tomatoes and chopped coriander and bubble for 8-10 minutes until thick.
- Make four holes in the mixture with the back of a large spoon.
- Crack the eggs into the holes.
- Put the lid back on the pan for around 8 minutes or until the eggs are done to your liking.