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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] D[/dropcap]o you struggle with the whole planning and shopping part of getting healthy dinners on the table? Well today you’re in luck!
quick pork ragu
If you’re not normally a huge sausage fan, I highly recommend seeking out a super good quality butcher who preferably makes their own sausages and trying them out. Trust me there’s a whole world of difference between a cheap and nasty banger and one made with love.
3-4 thick pork sausages
1 can tomatoes
2-3 tablespoons butter
4 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
1. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan or skillet on a medium high heat.
2. Remove sausage meat from the casings and crumble into the pan. Discard casings.
3. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring to break up the chunks, until the meat is starting to brown.
4. Add tomatoes and butter and cook for another 10 minutes for the sauce to reduce a little.
5. Serve on a bed of baby spinach.
vegan – replace sausages with 1 drained can of lentils or about 250g (9oz) of cooked red or green lentils and swap the butter for olive oil.
different sausages – pork are a firm favourite in our house but feel free to use other sausages such as beef or chicken if you like them.
herby – cook a few thyme leaves or rosemary in with the sausages.
budget – replace half of the sausages with cooked or canned white beans.
more substantial – feel free to serve the ragu with your favourite cooked pasta, preferably something short like rigatoni or penne.
gluten-free – use GF sausages or replace with about 400g (14oz) minced (ground) pork or other meat.
video version of the recipe
white bean & avocado salad
I just adore avocado in salads. Creamy and filling, it’s perfect against leafy greens with a sharp dressing.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cans white beans (400g / 14oz), drained
4 handfuls baby spinach
small handful roast almonds
1. Combine lemon juice with 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large salad bowl. Season generously.
2. Toss drained beans and baby spinach in the dressing.
3. Halve avocado and scoop out bite sized pieces of flesh with a spoon and add to the salad.
4. Divide salad between two plates and serve with almonds sprinkled over.
carnivore – avocado and bacon are great friends. Replace the almonds with some crispy fried bacon pieces. Add in a few halved tomatoes for a classic BLT salad.
no baby spinach – just substitute in whichever mixed salad leaves you have on hand.
nut-free – replace the almonds with some halved cherry tomatoes, for colour OR some finely diced red onion for crunch.
mexican salad – Replace lemon juice with lime and toss in a little dried or fresh chilli to spice things up.
sausages with summer veg
I’ve kept this quite light with just the sausages and veg. Feel free to serve with some mash, pasta, white beans or crust bread.
3-4 good quality pork sausages
1 red capsicum(pepper)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes (250g/10oz)
1 teaspoon dried chilli
1 handful baby spinach leaves
1. Heat a medium pan on a high heat. Add a few tablespoons olive oil.
2. Remove sausage skins and crumble the meat into chunks in the pan. Discard the skins. Fry, stirring occasionally for a few minutes, or until sausages are starting to brown on the outside.
3. Meanwhile chop capsicum (pepper) into long chunks and add to the pan. Halve tomatoes and add them as well.
4. Continue to stir fry for another few minutes or until the sausages are browned and cooked through and the tomatoes have started to break down and go a little squishy.
5. Season with salt, pepper and chilli and serve with baby spinach leaves scattered over the top.
vegetarian – try a tofu with summer veg. Replace sausages with about 350g (12oz) crumbled firm tofu. Add in a tablespoon smoked paprika to help give the tofu some colour and flavour.
vegan – Replace sausages with diced eggplant. No need to salt the eggplant first but the eggplant will take quite a bit longer to cook than the sausages and be prepared to be very generous with the olive oil. Super important to make sure the eggplant is cooked – there are few things worse than crunchy eggplant.
different sausages – I’ve used good Italian style pork and fennel sausages here but feel free to play around with different types. Chorizo would work really well with the tomato and peppers.
Spanish chicken with white bean mash
Smoked paprika and red peppers just scream of Spain to me. If you can’t find smoked paprika, substitute in regular paprika but it won’t have the same exotic flavour.
450g (1lb) minced (ground) chicken
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 red capsicum (pepper), sliced into ribbons
1 can white beans (400g / 14oz), drained
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Heat a large frying pan (skillet) on a very high heat.
2. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil, chicken and paprika. Stir fry for a few minutes.
3. Meanwhile chop the pepper and add to the pan Continue to stir fry until the chicken is golden and cooked through. Season.
4. Mash beans and lemon juice together and season.
5. Serve chicken on a bed of beans with a little extra lemon if you think it needs it.
vegetarian / vegan – replace chicken with crumbled tofu. You may like to increase the amount of paprika to add a little more flavour to the tofu. A few tablespoons of tomato paste will help too.
bean-free – serve chicken on a bed of your favourite pasta or noodles or even steamed rice.
more colourful – toss in a sliced green pepper or a handful of snow peas at the end.
Chicken burgers with avocado & red salad
While it’s hard to beat a good burger in a bun, for mid week dinners I often fancy up my burgers by ditching the bread and serving with salad or veg and an interesting sauce. I just love the colours in this dish with the vibrant ‘red’ salad and green avocado sauce. So pretty!
450g (1lb) minced (ground) chicken
1 punnet (250g / 8oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red capsicum (pepper)
1. Heat a medium frying pan (skillet) on a very high heat. For about 3 minutes. You want it searing hot.
2. Divide chicken into 2 and form into 2 patties.
3. Sprinkle a scant teaspoon of salt over the base of the pan and add burgers.
4. Cook for about 4 minutes each side or until burgers are deeply golden.
5. Meanwhile, mash avocado flesh with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and season. Taste and add a little more lemon if you like.
6. Finely dice capsicum (pepper) and toss together with tomato and a squeeze of lemon.
7. Serve burgers on a bed of avocado mash with salad on the side.
vegetarian – replace chicken with halloumi cheese. Slice into pieces about 1cm (1/3in) thick and pan fry in oil until golden.
vegan – replace chicken with large field mushrooms. You’ll need 1-2 mushrooms per person depending on their size. Either pan fry the mushrooms in oil OR roast in a 200C (400F) oven for about 30 minutes or until tender and juicy.
different meat – ground beef, ground buffalo, ground port or ground lamb would all be lovely here.