How many times have you found yourself thinking / asking your colleagues / Googling “what should I have for dinner tonight?” I’ve always said that after council tax, deciding what to have for dinner every night is one of the worst things about adulthood. But it can also be one of the best – you just need a little imagination sometimes! All of the following I have either made myself, had cooked for me (not professionally) or are on my hit list to make in the near future. Hopefully, this list will keep you going for a while!
Bangers and mash
The ultimate classic. My boyfriend could live off bangers & mash if he needed to.
Toad in the hole
Sausages in a giant Yorkshire pudding? What’s not to love…
Chicken, pork, lamb, beef, nut roast – whatever you want to roast, the options are endless! Serve with all the trimmings – roasties, veg, Yorkshire puddings… lovely!
Whether Shepherd’s (made with lamb mince) or Cottage (beef mince) this is always a winner to warm your cockles.
Steak and chips
Disclaimer: I don’t actually like steak…! But I do make it for my boyfriend when I’m feeling kind. You can make your own chips in the oven too and serve with roasted vine tomatoes and a pepper sauce.
Beef / mushroom Wellington
It’s basically beef or your vegetable mix of choice, wrapped up in pastry! Try this sexy video from Facebook.
Cook up some chicken, with leeks, a creamy sauce and top with pastry.
Steak / beef chunks in a rich gravy. Serve with carrots for homely heartiness. I put some sausages in the side for me as I don’t like beef and they’re just as tasty.
Commonly salmon, haddock and prawns will be used in a creamy sauce but you can put whatever fish you want to. I like a white sauce with fresh tarragon and topped with creamy decadent mash.
Kinda like a fish pie but without the topping – again you can use whatever fish you want to…
Sweet corn chowder
I’ve made this with chicken and without – it’s lovely either way.
This is best when you have the time to cook it low and slow. Use chicken on the bone for succulent meat which will fall off the hones.
Leg of lamb with trimmings
Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s worth it.
Rack of lamb, potatoes and veg
Ditto the above. Rack of lamb is pricy but when done well is oh so rewarding.
Beef, lamb, just veg – whatever takes your fancy bung it in a pot with some stock, vegetables and a bouquet garni and leave to simmer. Remember: low and slow.
Beef, mushroom, chicken – this rich winter dish is guaranteed to warm you up this winter.
Gammon, sweet potato hash and poached egg
A updated take on gammon, egg and chips; make a sweet potato hash and poach an egg to sit on top. Delicious.
Fish & chips
This is usually reserved for Granny May but I am hoping to one day be able to cook it as well as she does – she uses Ruskoline bread crumbs and fries locally caught haddock… you literally cannot beat it!
I love casseroles as the accompaniments can be whatever your heart desires – roast potatoes, mash, new potatoes, hasselback potatos, dumplings…the world is your oyster.
I’ve deliberately left this open to interpretation as I think everyone has their own favourites but mine include butter chicken, makhani and jalfrezi.
This is actually really simple to make, very tasty and healthy – serve up on its own with some crusty bread or with chicken on the side (I like it with garlicky chicken kievs).
Burgers don’t need to be reserved for when you go out – try making your own at home.
Pulled pork & sweet potato fries
Check out my slow cooked pulled pork recipe – it cooks while you’re at work – perfect! If I’m feeling naughty I serve it with a side of mac n cheese too.
Pork Chop, sweet potato mash & veg
Another mid-week winner – use some of the pork cooking fat with Dijon mustard and stock to knock up a quick sauce to go with it.
Lamb steak, potatoes & veg
Lamb steaks aren’t as common as their beef counterparts but they are so damn tasty!
Mussels & fries
Most supermarkets sell mussels ready cooked in a sauce so all you gotta do is make the fries.
Grill a chicken breast and top with chorizo and cheese for extra decadence.
Burgers don’t need to be meaty – fry a wedge of halloumi for a yummy vegetarian alternative.
French onion soup
Hearty, hearty, hearty – Delia’s recipe is my favourite.
This is an ode to my friend Lucy who makes the best sausage plaits – mix sausage meat with some mushrooms and onions and lay down the centre of rolled out puff pastry, plait the pastry around the meat and bake.
Risottos don’t have to be difficult or scary – make it spicy with chorizo and added chilli flakes.
Or maybe you like a creamy risotto? Cook it up with pancetta or lardons and lots of mushrooms and add cream at the last minute – heaven.
Butternut squash risotto
The classic vegetarian risotto – butternut squash and sage make perfect bed partners.
Classic ones – with just some mashed potato, salt and pepper or go exotic with different flavours such as thai spices, chorizo or mix cheese through for a gooey treat.
Haggis, neeps and tatties
Scotland, we know how to do!
Pork belly, potatoes and veg
Pork belly slices are pretty cheap and don’t take too long to roast off in the oven – oil and salt will ensure a crispy top, you won’t even need a sauce for it if you cook it right.
Steak and dauphinoise potatoes
Or just anything and dauphinoise. Oh, dauphinoise you da best.
Stuff chicken with haggis, wrap in bacon. Bob’s yer uncle, Fanny’s yer aunt.
Smoked haddock, champ and poached egg
Poach smoked haddock in milk, with a few garlic cloves, mix spring onion into your mash and top with a poached egg – this is a Posh Granny classic.
Duck with sweet potato mash & veg
Mmm, duck, my favourite meat. Like with the pork chops, you can make a quick and easy sauce using some of the duck fat, stock and some Dijon or red wine.
Pork fillet with colcannon mash
See my recipe for this Sunday Roast alternative here.
Scampi and chips
I’ve tried to stay away from freezer dinners for this list but scampi and chips is one of my favourites…
I love chicken, I love garlic and I love breadcrumbs. Supermarkets now offer fresh kievs so you don’t need to head to the frozen aisle for these 70s classics.
Lemon chicken, new potatoes & greens
This is a Pinterest favourite as it almost looks too pretty to eat!
Top chicken with bacon, cheese and BBQ sauce for something a bit different but still super easy.
Chicken / salmon en croute
Creamy chicken or salmon in a pastry lattice.
Baked potato / sweet potato
Topping options can literally be anything you want!
Mozzarella stuffed chicken
Mozzarella is the perfect summer chicken filler, wrap in proscuitto and feel fancy. Brief recipe can be found on my Instagram.
It’s a popular classic for a reason!
Everyone loves a lasagne. Make it the day before you need to eat it – it always tastes best the day after – fact!
Try real carbonara – no cream, just egg yolks!
Chuck a bit of chorizo together with mushrooms and onions for a quick and easy pasta dinner.
Have you tried your own pesto? It’s really easy and worth the extra effort!
Meatballs & spaghetti
Homemade meatballs are another surprisingly easy one to make – time consuming, yes, but worth it. Paired perfectly in a passata sauce with fresh basil, spaghetti and some cheeky garlic bread on the side.
Prawns, chilli, garlic – so simple but so, so effective.
Ravioli / tortellini
I’ve yet to attempt making filled pasta myself but I do love the ready made ones – usually tossed in butter and then pesto topped with a little parmesan.
Mac n cheese has seen a resurgence recently – you don’t need to have regular M&C, try putting bacon, pulled pork, mushrooms in the mix for something a little more exciting.
Smoked sausage pasta
This is actually another one for Lucy – fry off some onions and mushrooms in butter, add some tomato puree and sliced smoked sausage until they are all nicely browned. Add to buttered tagliatelle and it’s one of the most simple but tasty dinners ever.
Creamy bacon and/or chicken pasta
Like above, but add cream, chicken and or bacon lardons or pancetta with some peas for a hearty pasta dinner.
Black pudding & pancetta pasta
This is my Scottish-Italian fusion favourite – cook up some black pudding and crumble into a creamy sauce with crispy pancetta and stir through the pasta of your choice. Mmmmmmm….
Pizza making sachets are actually super easy to make and well worth the effort if you don’t want to get one off the shelf. My favourite pizza toppings are pepperoni, artichokes, mascarpone and chilli flakes…heart eyes.
A slightly healthier option pop your toppings on top of a regular tortilla and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.
This isn’t a whole meal, granted, but they are so freaking good I had to mention them. Slice a block of halloumi into fry sized pieces and fry in oil (you don’t need a deep fat fryer for this, just plenty of oil).
Falafel & pitta with salad
Warm up some ready made falafel if you don’t fancy making your own and serve with some tzatziki and salad in warmed pitta breads.
These are another of my favourite go-tos – sometimes with chicken and halloumi, just chicken, pork, just halloumi and veg – be as bold or as boring as you want. Grill them in a George Foreman or under a regular grill & serve with salad and veg rice or couscous.
Bacon and sausage hash
Fancy breakfast for dinner? Chop potatoes into 1-2cm squared cubes and fry them off in a little oil with onions, mushrooms, bacon and sausage and a sprinkle of cheese. Top with a fried egg if you are so inclined.
We had ‘Slumdogs’ at the (now closed sadly) Salvation of Leith (review here) and they were so good I want to make them at home – fry off some onions in oil and curry powder and top your posh dog with some curry sauce (homemade or otherwise).
These are my “I’m pretending to be healthy go to” – they can be as naughty or nice as you like depending on what you stuff them with. I ate them a lot when doing Whole30 and you can find out more here.
Marinade prawns in lime, honey and chilli, stick ‘em on a bamboo skewer and grill. Serve up with a homemade mango and avocado salsa for an easy peasy dinner.
Turmeric, cumin and coriander are great for throwing on anything and making it come out delicious. Serve up with some greens for a healthy, light dinner.
Spicy curried noodles – and you can put whatever you like in them. They’re so tasty you don’t need meat with them as the veg really absorbs the flavour.
Find my recipe here – it’s not much to look at but tastes amazing.
Craving a Wagamamas? Why don’t you make it at home? Here is my recipe…
Tom Kha soup
Another of my creations. Just try it and thank me later. Click for recipe.
Thai green curry
I always keep curry pastes in my fridge for quick suppers – I usually keep thai green as well as those listed below. Mix with coconut milk and whatever ingredients you want / have. Chicken with lots of green vegetables is my preference for thai green.
Thai red curry
Chicken again is my favourite – but with red peppers and pineapple cuts through the spice nicely.
Duck is my favourite meat to pair with penang.
Slow cooked beef is perfect for a massaman – and don’t forget a few boiled potatoes for authenticity.
Katsu curry & rice
Another cupboard staple is curry sauce powder – then I can make katsu curry whenever I like!
These are a favourite Friday treat – and are often on offer in supermarkets. Slice up some cucumber and spring onion to have in your pancakes and for a lil summin’ summin’ else roughly chop some coriander.
Chicken laksa with noodles
Co-op do a sachet in their stir fry chiller which makes a mean laksa – noodles, chicken, shredded carrot and peppers are the perfect accompaniments to this Malaysian favourite.
I’ve not actually made this as I don’t like peanuts but the recipes looks pretty simple and it’s one on my hit list (minus peanuts).
Vegetable, prawn, chicken, crispy pork belly. The only limit is your imagination. Make your own salsa, guacamole and soured cream to accompany this or any of the other tex-mex options. Find my recipes here.
My cheat – don’t cheat! I detest the ready made packets – use your own spices such as cumin to make fajitas, they taste so much better!
Like tacos but rolled, put in a tray and topped with salsa and cheese? Yes please!
As Granny May says “so you’re having crisps for dinner?” Yes Granny, nachos can be delicioso! I like to use leftover pulled pork to mix through so you get little surprises in between tortilla chips.
If you’re making this properly, you’ll have rice in it too but you don’t need to go to all that effort if you don’t want to. Just fill it big and roll it up and away you go.
A healthier alternative – don’t want tortillas? Just wrap up your ingredients in little gem lettuce cups. A light summer alternative.
Make ‘em zingy and serve with a dip on the side.
Moroccan Shepherd’s pie
This is one of my favourite recipes I’ve ever made. You can find it here.
Lamb meatballs & couscous
Ready made lamb meatballs are tasty, I like to fry mine in harissa paste for a Moroccan flavour and serve up with couscous and tzatziki.
Moroccan lamb mince & pitta
If you don’t fancy meatballs, why not try lamb mince? Use harissa or a mixture of cumin, coriander and allspice and serve with pittas and pomegranate molasses. Make your own dressing with natural yoghurt and mint.
Tagine & couscous
Another of my favourites – you can find my recipe for haddock tagine here but it can also be swapped out for other meats if you’re not a fish lover.
Seabass, new potatoes and samphire
Pan frying seabass is really quick and it’s easy to achieve a crispy skin. Serve up with some new potatoes and samphire with a squeeze of lemon.
Salad – options are endless!
I could probably do another 101 meals but just for salads. Don’t be shy when it comes to salad. Try figs for a meat-free salad, add chicken and bacon for a Caesar style salad or even just top with some prawn cocktail.
Cajun chicken & salad
This is one of my boyfriend’s meals that he makes – cover your chicken drumsticks / thighs in Cajun spices and bake in the oven. Homemade Nando’s – done!
Again, this could be anything your heart desires but my favourite is chicken or pork with lots and lots of five spice.
Cabbage stir fry
Want a noodle free version? Fry up lots of shredded cabbage and put all your usual bits in it for a carb-free take on the stir fry.
Quinoa salad with pomegranate
Relatively unknown until a few years ago, quinoa is on menus up and down the country now. Don’t be afraid to give it a go at home. Try quinoa with pomegranate molasses and a mint yoghurt dressing (as above) for something tasty and healthy.
Use a little of the juice from pineapple rings to pour over and grill your chicken with and serve up with salad and grilled pineapple rings – I like them done in the George Foreman to get a little charring for flavour.
Buddha / burrito bowls
These kinda took off on Instagram and Pinterest recently – find lots of inspiration for how to fill them over there! Lots of veg, bright colours and Asian influences make these a sure fire winner.
If you still need more inspiration after making your way through this whole list (!) then you might need help!