• Katie Chilton

5 staple meals to get you through the week.

It’s teatime (or dinner time if you’re fancy). You put the kettle on and look at your options. Chicken? Curry? BBQ Beef? Your cupboard of noodles is looking pretty sad tonight.

spaghetti in a bowl / fully grown

Cooking might not be something you were ever interested in before, but when you live alone, all of a sudden you wished you’d agreed to help out with tea after school. Living on a diet of pasta, beans on toast and ready meals is super easy and great to have when you can’t be bothered to cook; but having staple meals that last a long time is a much better option.

Our recipes below will fill you up, give you the flavour that you’re searching for, and won’t break the bank. Lots of them repeat the same ingredients and methods so there’s no need to hunt around the supermarket for obscure ingredients!

spaghetti bolognese.

An easy, staple meal to make; whether you’re cooking for friends or making a bulk batch to save for later, it’s a tasty dish that never gets old. The mince can be frozen and defrosted – just add cooked spaghetti!

ingredients (serves 3-4).

500g Beef Mince (or Quorn Mince if making it veggie!)

1 Garlic clove, finely cut or crushed

1 Onion, finely diced

1 Pepper, finely diced

2 Carrots, finely diced

400g Chopped Tomatoes

1 beef stock cube mixed with 300ml of boiling water (OXO do meat-free beef stock cubes!)

Worcester sauce (optional)

1 Chilli, finely diced (optional)

Oil for cooking

1.) Heat up your pan with a splash of oil and cook your garlic and onion on a high heat

2.) When the onion is soft and darker, add the pepper and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add your chilli here too

3.) Add your mince and cook until all the mince is brown- with Quorn mince, it won’t need to change colour, so cook until soft

4.) Add your chopped tomatoes and beef stock, bring to boil, then turn down heat allowing to simmer

5.) Add Worcester sauce, 1 tbsp is usually enough but add to your taste!

6.) Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 mins or until it’s all thickened up!

chicken curry.

Curries have a reputation for being a complicated dish to make, with weird and wonderful ingredients that you’ll never use again. But you don’t need to buy expensive ingredients to make a tasty curry. This simple chicken curry can be made over and over with different flavours. Try alternative curry pastes to find the best flavour for you. There’s optional chilli depending on how hot you like it, but remember that chilli FLAKES can be very hot for those who aren’t great with heat, so miss it out or switch to chilli powder if you still want a bit of warmth.

ingredients (serves 3-4).

700g Chicken, chopped into large chunks (Or Quorn chicken pieces)

1 Onion, finely diced

1 Garlic Clove, finely cut or crushed

1 Pepper, roughly chopped or finely diced, whichever you prefer

400g Chopped Tomatoes

1 tbsp Curry Paste (flavour of your choice!)

1 tbsp Mild Curry Powder

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Coriander

½ tsp Chilli flakes (optional)

1 Chilli, finely diced (optional)

Oil for cooking

1.) Heat up your pan with a splash of oil and cook your garlic, onion, pepper and optional chilli on a high heat

2.) When the onion is soft, add the chicken and add the curry powder, cumin, coriander and chilli flakes evenly over the ingredients. Cook until the sealed all over

3.) Add curry paste and chopped tomatoes and stir well

4.) Bring to boil and reduce heat

5.) Simmer for 20-30 mins until the sauce is thickened to your likening!

6.) Serve with rice, naan and poppadoms for an authentic Indian ‘fakeaway’.

chilli con carne.

This recipe and the Spaghetti Bolognese are very similar so you can mix it up each time! It’s all about simplicity so if you master one you can master both. Remember to taste as you cook to get the flavour and the heat to your liking. Don’t be afraid to bulk up on veg, add more chilli and try with other flavours, this recipe is just a starting point!

ingredients (serves 3-4).

500g Beef Mince (or Quorn Mince)

1 Garlic clove, finely cut or crushed

1 Onion, finely diced

1 Pepper, finely diced

400g Kidney Beans in chilli sauce

1 beef stock cube mixed with 150ml of boiling water

1 Chilli, finely diced (optional)

2 tsp chilli powder

Oil for cooking

1.) Heat up your pan with a splash of oil and cook your garlic and onion on a high heat

2.) When the onion is soft and darker, add the pepper and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add your chilli here too

3.) Add your mince and chilli powder. Cook until all the mince is brown- rule for Quorn mince is the same as in Spag Bol

4.) Add your stock and kidney beans and mix together

5.) Just like the Spag Bol and the Curry, simmer for 20-30 mins until you’re happy with the consistency!

6.) Serve with rice or a side of nachos. If it’s slightly spicy, add a dollop of sour cream.


bangers & mash.

A British classic! It’s easy to cook some sausages and add boiling water to gravy granules but it’s so simple to make a tasty sauce! This is inspired by a Hairy Bikers recipe, and it’s all about full flavour. Serve this with mashed potato.


ingredients (serves 4).

8 Sausages

800g potatoes, peeled and chopped into quarters

1 Onion, thinly sliced

2 tbsp Tomato sauce

1 tbsp Worcester sauce

1 Beef stock cube mixed with 300ml of boiling water

2 tsp Cornflour

Oil for cooking

1.) Put the potatoes into a pan and fill with water so they’re covered, and bring to boil

2.) Heat up the oil in a pan and fry the sausages for 5 mins, until they’re brown all over

3.) Add the onions and cook for a further 10 mins, stirring regularly- Your sausages should be cooked and onions soft!

4.) Add the stock, tomato sauce and Worcester sauce and simmer for 2-3 mins

5.) Add the cornflour to 1tbsp of cold water until its smooth and add to the pan

6.) Pierce the potatoes with a fork to check they are soft, drain the water and mash until there are no lumps

7.) Cook until the sauce is thick, should only take 2-3 mins

risotto.

Risotto is one of the simplest dishes to make and so easy to mix it up and try with different flavours. I’ve gone with chicken and pea (inspired by an old recipe magazine) but get creative and add ingredients that excite you!

ingredients (serves 4).

200g Arborio risotto rice

1 Onion, thinly sliced

2 Garlic cloves, crushed

1l Veg stock

700g Chicken, chopped into chunks

100g Frozen peas

1 Chilli, sliced

1.) Fry the onion and garlic until they’re soft

2.) Add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides

3.) Add all the rice and chilli, and slowly pour in 150ml stock until the rice absorbs it

4.) Repeat this until all the stock has been absorbed- it’s a slow process, but it will all absorb!

5.) Stir in the peas and you’re done!



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