Bowl of vegetables, chicken and noodles on a tray

5 simple and nutritious midweek dinner ideas

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Busy life made dinner more an afterthought rather than a chance to enjoy a healthy home-cooked meal? Try these 5 ideas for quick, and healthy midweek meals to fill your plate and nourish your body.

1. Pantry puttanesca

A little foresight during the weekly grocery shop means you’ll always have a back-up dinner on hand.  To throw together a healthy pasta the whole family will love, you need only these pantry staples: spaghetti, a tin of chopped tomatoes, anchovies, capers and black olives.

Fry a little garlic in olive oil, then add all the other ingredients. Simmer until sauce has reduced and thickened. With some grated parmesan and chopped parsley, you have a classic pasta puttanesca in as little as 20 minutes. 

Bowl of puttanesca

An easy, 5 ingredient puttanesca the whole family will love

2. Spicy Korean rice bowls

Inspired by the traditional Bibimbap, this nurturing and delicious dinner works well with leftovers and is a great way to revive those half-wilted greens lingering in the crisper.  
 
Simply mix together cooked brown rice with store-bought kimchi, blanched greens such as gai lan or kale, some cooked mushrooms and pan-fried tofu (or meat of your choice).  
 
Add a little light soy sauce, top with a soft-boiled egg, add some pickles and dinner is served.

Korean rice bowl

Easy to make from leftovers and staples in the pantry and fridge, throw together a Bibimbap inspired rice bowl

3. Mussels in tomato broth

Mussels are often overlooked for quick simple dinners, but you can buy these delicious bite-sized molluscs in a pot-ready packet from your fishmonger. They take almost no time to cook.

Heat olive oil in a large pot and fry chopped onion, celery and garlic until golden and softened. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a splash of wine, salt and pepper and cook until reduced. Add your drained, pot-ready mussels, place a lid on the pot and steam until mussels open (discard any that don’t).

Spoon mussels and broth into bowls, top with chopped parsley and serve with toast rubbed with olive oil and garlic. 

Mussels in a pan with parsley, lemon and crunchy bread

Mussels served with parsley, lemon and crunchy bread

4. Sticky miso-sesame chicken

Everyone loves a finger-licking chicken dinner. One of the quickest and tastiest cuts of chicken to cook is the thigh fillet. Choose free-range and antibiotic-free chicken where possible and marinate for 10 minutes in white miso paste, honey, light soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds.

Cook the chicken on a char-grill pan, barbecue or in a hot (200°C) oven until cooked through. Serve with soba noodles tossed with sesame oil and steamed Asian greens.

Marinated chicken with noodles, greens and lemon

Marinated chicken with noodles, greens and lemon

5. Turmeric-yoghurt lamb with white bean salad

Satisfying, succulent and protein-rich lamb is a sure-fire favourite. Combine Greek yoghurt with ground turmeric and cumin, salt and pepper and use to coat a lamb backstrap. Set aside for 10 minutes while you heat a large frying pan.  
 
Cook the lamb for 2-3 minutes each side and allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing. While the lamb is resting, combine chopped cherry tomato, chopped cucumber, cannellini beans and mint leaves in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Serve the lamb with the salad and grilled flatbread.

Alternatively, enjoy your white bean salad with these chimichurri chicken skewers.

Chimichurri chicken skewers and white bean salad
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