Beat that midweek slump with one of these easy recipe ideas that are delicious and nutritious.
Staying motivated in the kitchen isn’t always easy, especially in the middle of those busy weekdays. If you’re in need of some meal inspo, you’ve come to the right place. Below we have three easy, hearty meals to try out at home that will help to see you through the week.
Creamy Chicken Bake
This delicious comfort dish is from Avoca’s new cookbook, AVOCA At Home. Full of nourishing home-cooked meals, this book retails at €27.95 and can be purchased in store or on avoca.com.
- 600ml chicken stock
- 100g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 175ml cream
- 2 Tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 large leek, white side only
- 500g cooked chicken fillets, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 250g cooked ham, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 150g fresh breadcrumbs
- 40g grated white cheddar cheese
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Bring the chicken stock to the boil, then reduce the heat to keep it simmering gently.
- Melt half the butter in a separate large saucepan over a medium heat. When it’s foaming, stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook for about 5 minutes to create a golden-brown roux.
- Add half the hot stock to the roux and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, whisking continuously, then pour in the remaining stock and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more, still whisking until thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and mustard, ensuring there are no lumps of roux in the sauce.
- Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the leek and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.
- Put the cooked chicken and ham in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of parsley, then pour in the white sauce and mix well.
- Season to taste, but go easy on the salt as the stock, ham and butter are already salty.
- Transfer to a baking dish and spread it out evenly. A 25cm Pyrex dish is ideal but use whatever you have.
- Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and remaining tablespoon of parsley and toss to coat the breadcrumbs in the butter, then scatter this over the chicken and ham along with the grated Cheddar.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the breadcrumb topping is golden brown and the cheese has melted.
- Serve straight to the table.
Pork Chops Baked with Parsnips, Carrots and Apples
This flavoursome recipe from Bord Bia is the perfect hearty meal to get you over that mid-week slump.
- 4 loin pork chops, well trimmed
- 300g parsnips, peeled and quartered lengthways
- 300g carrots, peeled and quartered lengthways
- 2 dessert apples, quartered and cored
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2cm piece ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 50g butter, melted
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teasp. honey
- 2 tablesp. Dijon style mustard
- 1 tablesp. wholegrain mustard 1 tablesp. cider vinegar
- To serve:
- Potatoes, cut into wedges, seasoned and tossed in oil. Roast in the oven at the same time as the pork. Some thyme leave to sprinkle over
- Set oven at Gas Mark 6, 200°C (400°F).
- Place the parsnips, carrots, apples, thyme, ginger and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and black pepper. Pour over the melted butter and mix well. Place them in a large roasting tin along with the bay leaves.
- Mix the honey, Dijon and wholegrain mustard and cider vinegar. Place the chops in a bowl and pour over this mixture. Season with salt and black pepper. Then add the chops to the roasting tin with the parsnips and apples.
- Roast for 25 minutes until the chops and vegetables are cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve with potato wedges. Spoon over juices from the roasting tin.
Seared tuna with Fijian-Style potato curry
This dish from delicious.com is great if you’re looking for something different to try out in the kitchen.
- 800g sebago potatoes, peeled, cut into 4cm pieces
- 2 tbs ghee
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 long green chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped, plus extra to serve
- 2cm piece ginger, grated
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tsp mild curry powder
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 3 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 10 fresh curry leaves, plus extra fried leaves (optional), to serve
- 1/2 tsp caster sugar
- 1/3 cup (60ml) rice vinegar
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced into rounds
- 4 x 180g tuna steaks
- Coriander leaves, to serve
- Place potatoes in a pan of cold salted water, bring to the boil over high heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes until par-cooked. Drain.
- Heat the ghee in a frying pan with a lid over medium heat.
- Add onion and cook, stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes until softened.
- Add chilli, ginger, garlic and spices, and cook for a further 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add the potatoes, curry leaves and 1 cup (250ml) water.
- Cover and cook for 10 minutes, shaking to prevent catching, then remove lid and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until potatoes start to crisp.
- Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 tsp sugar and season. Keep warm.
- Combine the vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt and remaining 1 tsp sugar in a bowl, stirring until dissolved.
- Add red onion and toss to combine. Set aside.
- Heat a chargrill pan or barbecue to high.
- Season tuna and grill for 1 minute each side or until seared but still rare in the centre.
- Remove from pan. Rest, loosely covered with foil, for 5 minutes.
- Drain red onion. Add coriander leaves and toss to combine. Season.
- Divide tuna and potato curry among plates.
- Top with onion mixture, extra chilli and fried curry leaves, if using, to serve.