Quick and healthy mid-week suppers

by Ali on May 13, 2008

None of us want to come home from work and prepare an elaborate, time-consuming meal; we want something nutritious but tasty, and fast! If you’ve ended up resorting to ready meals every night, here’s some simple ways to cook easy suppers.

Stock up your cupboard

If you live on your own, or with only one other person, goods which last a while are best. My five top staples are:

  • Dry pasta – If you can spend a bit extra, delis and high-end supermarkets do some premium dried pastas which are just as tasty as fresh ones.
  • Rice – Brown rice is great for extra fibre, but does take longer to cook.
  • Frozen vegetables – Often containing more nutrients than fresh veggies, they’re frozen straight after harvesting, and have the advantage of needing no preparation.
  • Jars of sauce – For stir-fries, curries and marinades.
  • Chopped tomatoes – An absolute essential – they go in so many dishes.

Tips for quick and easy cooking

Even when you have all the ingredients to hand, it can be tempting to just order a takeaway rather than get started on cooking in the evenings. These tips can all make cooking quicker or less onerous:

  • Get someone else to do it! If persuading your partner to cook every night just isn’t going to happen, try enlisting some help from other family members – kids can weigh out pasta or rice, teens can peel and chop veggies.
  • Listen to music or an audio book. Pop your favourite CD on, or borrow an audio book from the library to listen to whilst cooking – it’ll make a monotonous task much less dull.
  • Don’t feel you have to rush. Last week, I was making an omelette for supper, and put the potatoes on to boil first of all. I ended up rushing to chop the veggies and make the omelette, because the potatoes were looking like they’d soon be turning to mush … and I managed to cut my thumb whilst slicing a carrot. So my new method is to prepare vegetables before starting the cooking!
  • Use ready-made sauces. However much of a kitchen maestro you think you should be, there’s no need to create every curry completely from scratch. Don’t feel guilty for using a few time-savers: even Delia does it…
  • Find some fast, nutritionally-balance recipes If you’re not sure where to start, try the recipes pages here on The Office Diet

(Image above by Baha’i View/Flitzy Pheobie)

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