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Quick summer dinners
menu planning

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13 replies to this topic

#1 Impatientmummy

Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:19 PM

DH & I will both be working until 8pm most nights for the next month, I need some ideas on quick easy dishes or even slow cooker ideas that go well when its hot. A bonus is if I can give it to DS 3yrs the next night as the kids will be at home with a baby sitter. Im going to attempt a fortnightly menu plan so I only have to do 2 big shops then quick grab ones inbetween. Any tips for menu planning last time I tried it I didnt feel like what was planned lol

#2 Funnington

Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:19 PM

I would be following Jamie Oliver's 'family tree' concept to get a few meals out of one thing.  Or, embracing a slow cooker (one pot meals or slow cooked roasts).

Some ideas would be:

- Cook a roast leg of lamb on Sunday.  Make sure you buy a big one - I understand the initial outlay is huge (up to $30 for a large leg) but, if you can make a couple of extra meals on top of a traditional roast, that's got to be a winner!  So, Sunday - traditional roast with all the trimmings, next night you could have a shepherds pie using finely chopped leftover lamb and the night after that, lamb ragout with pasta.  

- Pop a piece of roast beef in the slow cooker.  Add some stock for moisture and any flavours you like (herbs, mustards, red wine etc.).  Chuck a nice salad together and boiled potatoes - easy!  

- Make a beef stew in the slow cooker.  If you make a large batch you could just get home and add some dumplings to the stew and the next night use the beef stew as a filling for a pie.

- Roast a large chicken (no need for complicated stuffing's).  Just baste with melted butter, finely chopped thyme and salt & pepper.  On a Sunday, roast chook and all the trimmings.  Another night a chicken pasta or curry.  (I tend to get only two nights out of a chicken)

- Make a large batch of bolognaise sauce.  Freeze into family size portions.  Make sure you add heaps of finely grated vegie goodness - tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, fresh herbs.  There's the bog standard spag bol, lasagna (using fresh sheets to speed up the cooking process) or, get fresh lasagna sheets and use them to roll up and make cannelloni.  

- Don't forget soups that can be made on the weekend and frozen.  There's nothing wrong with having an omlette or poached eggs on toast.  

You can definitely do it if you plan ahead without compromising nutrition and learning to cook a 'family tree' meal that can be stretched across another one or two nights.

Edited by Funnington, 19 December 2012 - 06:20 PM.

#3 MoonPie

Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:27 PM

Get intimate with the slow cooker.

This morning I stuck carrots and brussels sprouts straight from the crisper into the bottom of the slow cooker. Stuck the cheapest lamb roast I could find on the top and put it on low. It will last us 2, maybe 3 meals. The veggies go lovely and soft original.gif If I can be bothered I pop chopped or baby potatoes and/or peeled sweet potato and pumpkin in the bottom too.

Cheap beef, stock, tomato paste and veggies.

If DS will eat curry I recommend the McCormicks Mild Chicken Curry powder mix with coconut milk, chicken thighs and sweet potato.

Budget mince, tomato puree, stock and veg.

All easy, and the cheaper the cut of meat the better for slow cookery.

#4 Funnington

Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:33 PM

This morning I stuck carrots and brussels sprouts straight from the crisper into the bottom of the slow cooker.

Yum!  The juices would make a delicious gravy.  

I'm a very late starter with the slow cooker.  I had a crap Sunbeam one that was either on or off.  Didn't work for me turning it on at 8am and arriving home after 5pm to a stringy bark, watery mess.  I've invested in a better slow cooker (that I can brown ingredients in, woo hoo) that has a timer and low, medium and high settings.  

I've officially left my husband for Morphy Richards (the slow cooker).

OP, as for your requirement for 'summer dinners' - I know we tend to BBQ more and have more salads in Summer,  but the slow cooker doesn't overheat the kitchen area so you can have things that would normally lend themselves to Winter.  Unless you're after lighter meal ideas?

Edited by Funnington, 19 December 2012 - 06:35 PM.

#5 ChunkyChook

Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:37 PM

Here is a thread I started a few weeks back. It has some great ideas


#6 MoonPie

Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:43 PM

QUOTE (Funnington @ 19/12/2012, 04:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yum!  The juices would make a delicious gravy.

Yep, I'm about to duck to the shops for mint sauce to go with the lamb and gravy. Droooool.

#7 Impatientmummy

Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:10 PM

Thanks for the idea's, some of those sound really yummy!
Funnington I said summer because when its hot we dont want to eat a hot meal every night, so some cold dishes or ones that go with salad are helpful.
I have a few good slow cooker recipes but have never tried veggies in there with a roast so thats something Im definately going to try!
Forgot to mention DH is dairy free not that its an issue with the suggestions so far original.gif
Thanks for the link ChunkyChook, some good ideas in there too

#8 Natttmumm

Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:43 PM

I don't use the slow cooker but here are some of our summer style meals.
Tacos - I cook the sauce the night before and chop up all the salad etc.
Pasta with the taco sauce. Cook pasta night before
Chicken pasta bake made the night before - I add veges too
Beef stir fry made the night before with noodles. It's very quick as I buy the sauce.
Maze plate- homous with pita bread, cheeses, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and ham - kids love it
Scrambled eggs with ham - my lazy no time meal

#9 IVL

Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:53 PM

Our quickest meals are normally seafood which we eat 2-3 times/week. Pan fried salmon or ocean trout, should not take longer than about 7 mins total in a hot pan, spray pan with olive oil. In that time steam some chinese veg or make a salad. We also do prawn stir fry and a quick laksa in less than 15 mins.

We also like the platter where everyone picks what they want, we serve them with wraps so kids can make buritos if they like.

I can't take any credit for these as DH is the cook in our house, but I do encourage from side lines and pour the wine.

#10 Fairey

Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:55 PM

Chicken salad using a roast chook from the supermarket!!

Quiche? Zucchini slice? Getting hungry just thinking of food!!

#11 kandj

Posted 21 December 2012 - 11:26 AM

Our Fave quick dinner mid week is Salmon on rice. We marinade the salmon in a quick curry paste and yoghurt mix (though i'm sure you could use something other then yoghurt for dairy free). We usually do tikka massala or tandoori as these generally go best with the salmon.

The rice we do in the microwave, we add some turmeric, cumin seeds, lemon zest and cardamon pods to flavour the rice while its cooking.

Cook Salmon on the bbq. Then when rice is done, add juice of 1 lemon and a handful of fresh coriander leaves stirred through.

We servce it with mango chutney and yoghurt.

I know there are no veggies in there which is a bit of a no no, but on nights when we are really pushed for time we figure its still better then getting take out wink.gif

#12 MintyBiscuit

Posted 21 December 2012 - 11:31 AM

We've been doing a lot of wraps this summer. Basically just grill the meat you're using, and put that, some salad bits and pieces and the wrap on a plate and build your own. Very little cooking, and you could easily do a double batch to have hot one night with vegies and then cold the next day in a wrap.

#13 noonehere

Posted 21 December 2012 - 11:36 AM

Ours are
Minute steak cooked then sliced and tossed through salad with what ever flavours you want. We use soy, honey and garlic

Eggs on toast

White fish, cream, lemon juice, loads garlic, dill served on rice with salad

#14 ThatsNotMyName

Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:08 PM

Cheat version crunch noodle salad using a bag of coleslaw salad. Add bbq chicken or sometimes we have it with pine nuts or cashews.

Pasta with a jar of pesto mixed through & a punnet of halved cherry tomatoes (or chopped tomato) & some parmesan.

Spanish omlette/fritatta

Salad with leftover meat or cheese.

Cheese plate with vegie sticks & dip.

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