Even with the work from home pandemic life, weeknight dinners can still be a challenge and takeout is sooo easy. There’s nothing wrong with ordering in and we still do it regularly, but there are so many good things about cooking for yourself – it costs less, it’s healthier, and if you do it right, it can taste way better.
There are a few staples in our regular weeknight rotation that are easy to prepare but deliver big in flavour so we don’t get bored (and order in too often). Many of them take 30 minutes or less to prepare and make great next day lunches too.
Baked Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa & Creamy White Lightning Sauce
Fish tacos seem like they’re going to be time consuming – especially when you’re making a salsa and a sauce too – but these one’s don’t take long at all. It’s as simple as dicing up the salsa, seasoning the fish, and as soon as it’s out of the oven you blend up the sauce – 30 minutes max.
Besides being easy and super tasty, they’re also really light on the calories and fat! Only 400 calories and 10 grams of fat for a serving of 3!
Get the full recipe for Baked Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa & White Lightning Sauce.
Melt-in-your-Mouth Coconut Curry Meatballs
These coconut curry meatballs were a lucky accident but have become a midweek favourite in our house. Rather than being fried the meatballs are slowly poached in the coconut curry, which makes them super soft, tender and full of coconut curry flavour. All for only 15 minutes of hands-on prep. Toss some basmati in a skillet with a pinch of cumin seeds and you’ve got a comforting meal in no time.
The great thing about this recipe is that the coconut curry sauce is multipurpose – make a double batch so you can make the next recipe another night.
Get the full recipe for Melt-in-your-Mouth Coconut Curry Meatballs.
Seared Tuna Steaks with Sweet & Spicy Coconut Curry Sauce
Another super flavourful meal that’s also great for bigger groups. This recipe is full of bright tropical flavours and comes together in about 30 minutes all in – even faster if you have leftover coconut curry sauce from the meatballs above.
The tuna steaks are great with Coconut Lime Rice with Cilantro and Black Beans but you can also serve them with something lighter, like Mango Salsa in 10 Minutes or Less. You also don’t have to use tuna steaks – salmon, tilapia, cod – what fish doesn’t pair well with coconut curry? None I say.
Get the recipe for Seared Tuna Steaks with Sweet & Spicy Coconut Curry Sauce.
Coconut Lime Rice with Cilantro and Black Beans
If you’re looking for a lighter Meatless Monday option then skip the tuna and go straight for the Coconut Lime Rice with Cilantro and Black Beans. It’s basically 5 minutes of hands-on prep to get it cooking and you can easily turn it into a satisfying meal with sides like:
- Fresh or pickled thin sliced jalapeño peppers
- Sliced radishes
- Mango Salsa in 10 Minutes or Less
- Hot sauce!
Get the recipe for Coconut Lime Rice with Cilantro & Black Beans.
Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowls with Lemongrass Pork
This is one of my all-time favourite meals. It takes such little effort and the result always rocks my world no matter how many times I eat it. So fresh, so vibrant, so flavourful and still even with all the fresh veg – its still comforting and feels like takeout – healthified takeout ;p
Vietnamese pork is a standby Vietnamese favourite made even better by home cooking. It’s as easy as blending up a marinade, grilling or frying the pork, and assembling the bowls. Only about 30 minutes. You can replace the pork with chicken or even tofu. Makes a fantastic next-day cold lunch.
Get the recipe for Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowls with Lemongrass Pork.
Thai Chilli Basil Chicken
This dish is a homemade take on a takeout favourite influenced by the chilli basil chicken I ate in Thailand. It still leans on the comfort side of things but it’s way better than takeout chilli and basil chicken which tends to be covered in a sweet sauce – very different from the way I experienced this dish in Thailand.
It’s ready in about 20 minutes and you can serve it with steamed broccoli or even 5 Minute Asian Sauteed Cabbage with Garlic, Sesame & Chilli Pepper.
Get the recipe for Thai Chilli Basil Chicken.
Jamaican jerk chicken with rice & peas
Jerk chicken marinade is the easiest way to take your chicken from boring to mind-blowing. The flavour you can get by blending up a few ingredients is incredible and pairs perfectly with Jamaican Rice and Peas. Make them both for only about 15 minutes of hands-on prep time.
The marinade takes an hour but if you marinade from the night before it can be on the table even faster. If you’re feeling adventurous you could also whip up a batch of Jamaican Beef Patties to make it a Jamaican feast.
Çilbir: Turkish Poached Eggs with Aleppo Butter, Jalapeño Shug, and Roasted Aubergine Two Ways
Who says you can’t have breakfast for dinner? Especially when breakfast is this decadent. Move over eggs benny – Çilbir is my new favourite breakfast. The flavours are absolutely incredible – you have to taste it to believe it.
And for how elegant it looks – it doesn’t take very long at all. If you sub store bought baba gaboush for the homemade roast aubergine puree this will only take you about 25 minutes – barely 10 of that is hands-on.
Sweet & Spicy Freezer Friendly Hoisin Meatballs
These hoisin meatballs are full of sticky sweet and spicy Asian flavours. They take about 20 minutes of hands-on prep to prepare and if you make a double batch you’ll have an additional exciting freezer meal at the ready next time you need quick eats.
Make them with a side of 5-minute Asian Sauteed Cabbage with Garlic, Sesame & Chilli and some rice and you’ve got a complete meal on the table in 20 minutes of prep and 20 minutes of simmering.
Get the recipe for Sweet & Spicy Freezer Friendly Hoisin Meatballs.
Ethiopian Lasagna with Berbere
As far as I’m concerned it’s not a proper weeknight rotation without a pasta dish. Ethiopian Lasagna with Berbere Spice is everything you want in a classic lasagna with the added flavour of earthy, smokey and spicy berbere and a creamy and decadent bechamel topping.
Great for lactose intolerant pasta lovers but you can also throw some cheese between the layers or in the bechamel – who’s going to stop you. Only 30 minutes prep before it goes into the oven.
Get the recipe for Ethiopian Lasagna with Berbere.