The Easiest Healthy Dinners You Can Make In Under 30 Minutes

I’ve started a new challenge. Eight weeks. Eight weeks and a complete lifestyle overhaul. It’s going to be a long slog but I’ll be posting about it here in (yes you guessed it) eight weeks time. Today is my first day – so shout out to any girls starting their health journey today. Lois is even cutting out sugar for a week. Poor girl.

Anyway, part of my challenge is avoiding picking up bad lunches because they’re fast. You never know how something has been prepared unless you do it yourself. So, I had a look at some dinner ideas that I can box up and take to lunch with me the next day. Here’s what I found:

Spinach & Creamy Polenta With Fried Egg & Sautéed Mushrooms

A photo posted by lapetit.sk (@lapetit.sk) on

Ingredients (serves 1)

45g quick cook polenta
Tbsp of mascarpone
Handful of spinach
Tbsp of butter
7 mushrooms, white variety or chestnut
Red onion
Fried egg
Salt & pepper to season

Instructions

1. Melt the butter into a saucepan then add the chopped mushrooms. Cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and half the size
2. Cook the polenta according to pack instructions. When the polenta is softened and smooth, stir through the mascarpone and spinach. Leave for 30 secs until the spinach has just begun to wilt, stir again and then serve with a fried egg and the sautéed mushrooms
3. Top with finely chopped red onion (optional), salt & pepper

 

Deconstructed Baja Burrito Bowl

Ingredients (serves 4)

(For the beans)

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion
200g drained black beans
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp mole sauce
handful fresh coriander, finely chopped

(For the fish)

40g plain flour
2 tsp ancho chilli powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
250g white fish fillets, sliced into four
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

(For the bowl)

Green Quinoa, or grain of your choice
Pickled Carrot and Cabbage Slaw (optional)
Tomato Salsa
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Vegetable of your choice (I personally like brocolli)
handful of fresh coriander
hot sauce

For the Beans

Using a frying pan, preheat the olive oil over a medium heat while you finely dice the onion. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and fry for 5 minutes until it has softened, but not browned.
Add the black beans and garlic, and fry for 3 minutes.
Add the mole sauce, mix thoroughly, and fry for another 3 minutes, until the beans become soft and slightly sticky.
Sprinkle over the chopped coriander.

For the Fish

Combine the flour, chilli powder and garlic powder in a large shallow bowl.
Toss each fish fillet into the flour and lightly dust, ensuring they are evenly covered.
Place the olive oil into a frying pan over a medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, shake each fillet to remove any excess flour, then place into the frying pan. Cook for three minutes on each side (increase cooking time for thick fillets) until golden and crisp.
Remove from the pan and season with plenty of salt and pepper.

For the Bowl

Create a base using the Green Quinoa, or grain of your choice, then add the beans, slaw, fish fillet and salsa.
Finish with sliced avocado, veggies, coriander and plenty of hot sauce

 

Avocado Smash On Toasted Rye With Courgetti & Buffalo Mozzarella

A photo posted by Shayan ??? (@sakuraofmay) on

Ingredients (serves 1)

Dark rye bread
Half an avocado
Vine tomatoes
Courgetti or if you want to make your own use 1 large courgette
Buffalo mozzarella ball
Tbsp of yogurt
Wedge of lemon
Mustard
Olive oil
Mixed dried Italian herbs
Chilli flakes (optional)

Instructions

For the courgetti

Spiralize your courgettes on the large noodle attachment. Heat a large frying pan with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and add your courgetti. Cook until slightly softened, for 2-3 mins. Season with salt and serve topped with chopped vine tomatoes and lemon yogurt dressing

For the lemon yogurt dressing

Whisk together lemon juice, mustard, yogurt and olive olive oil. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

 

Broccoli & Pork Stir-fry

Ingredients (serves 3)

12lb lean boneless pork (or chicken)
34cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1tbsp cornstarch
2tbsps reduced sodium soy sauce
2tbsps dry sherry or 2 tbsps water
18teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
nonstick spray coating
1medium onion, sliced
1(10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and well drained
1 garlic clove, minced
12teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 -2teaspoon cooking oil
12cup sliced water chestnuts
1 12cups hot cooked brown rice

Instructions

1. Thinly slice meat across the grain into bite-size strips.
2. Meanwhile, for sauce, stir together chicken broth, cornstarch, soy sauce, dry sherry, and red pepper. Set aside.
3. Spray a wok or large skillet with nonstick spray coating.
4. Add onion, broccoli, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
5. Remove vegetable mixture from wok.
6. Add oil to hot wok. Add pork and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until done. Push pork from center of wok.
7. Stir sauce and add to the center of wok. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
8. Return vegetables to wok.
9. Add water chestnuts and stir all ingredients together to coat with sauce.
10. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes more or until heated through.

 

Olive Crusted Chicken Breast Stuffed With Goat Cheese

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 slices sourdough, crusts removed (or around 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup pitted black olives
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 small chicken breasts
2 tbsp goat’s cheese
Mediterranean vegetables of your choice (I like courgettes, tomatoes and onions)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 180°C
2. Process bread in a food processor until it becomes coarse breadcrumbs. Add olives, olive oil, parsley and lemon rind and process until all ingredients are finely chopped and well combined
3. Place chicken breasts on a large chopping board. Cover with cling wrap and flatten slightly with a rolling pin or mallet
4. Turn chicken breast over and spoon goat’s cheese onto middle of underside of chicken. 5. Fold two sides over goat’s cheese and transfer on an oven tray, folded side down
6. Top chicken breasts with olive mixture, pressing down slightly
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until chicken is just cooked through
8. Serve with mixed roasted vegetables

 

Roasted Butternut Squash, Pine Nut, Chicken & Kale Pasta Salad

Ingredients (serves 2)

150g pasta
200g kale
Small handful of pine nuts (toasted)
2 chicken breasts
Half a butternut squash, chopped (roast at 200 C with some olive oil for 25-30 mins)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

 

Chicken In Coconut Mango Verde Sauce

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1/8” slices against the grain*
1 red bell pepper, sliced then chopped into 2” pieces
1 green bell pepper, sliced then chopped into 2” pieces

(For the sauce)

1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
1 cup salsa verde
1 cup roughly chopped mango
1 Jalapeno, seeded, deveined
3-5 tbsps brown sugar
2 tbsps lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sriracha/Asian hot chilli sauce to taste (optional)
Cilantro to garnish

Instructions

1. Add all of the Coconut Mango Verde Sauce ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
2. Heat oil over medium high heat in large nonstick skillet until very hot. Add chicken and cook just until most pieces are no longer pink then add bell peppers and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
3. Stir in Coconut Mango Verde Sauce and cook just until chicken is completely cooked and sauce is heated through. Taste and add additional brown sugar for sweeter, Sriracha for spicier or lime for tangier.
4. Garnish with optional fresh cilantro. Serve with rice.

 

Pan-seared Chicken In Tarragon Sauce & Spring Veggie Gratin

Ingredients (serves 4)

(For the chicken)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 Tbs. chopped shallot
1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
Fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

(For the gratin)

Choose your veggies & use the amount to cover your baking tray.
Add the gruyere and bread crumbs lightly to the top.
2 – 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cups gruyere cheese (or more to your taste)
½ cup Panko Bread Crumbs (or more to your taste)
1 Tbsp butter (softened a bit & mixed into the bread crumbs)
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper

Instructions (for the chicken)

Use a rolling pin to flatten the chicken to an even thickness of about 1⁄2 inch.
In a large sauté pan or fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. When hot, add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and sauté gently, turning once, until the chicken is golden and opaque throughout and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a warmed plate and keep warm.
Pour off any excess fat from the pan and place the pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and sauté, stirring, until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tarragon and cream, increase the heat to medium and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits from the pan bottom and blending well. Cook, stirring, until bubbling and thickened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Return the chicken to the pan and turn each breast several times in the sauce until well coated and hot. Transfer the chicken to a warmed serving plate or individual plates and spoon the remaining sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Instructions (for the gratin)

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Peel and chop your veggies. (I like my veggies crisp but if you like them soft, sauté them in a pan for a few minutes before putting them in the oven.)
3. Toss the veggies in 2 tbsp of olive oil to lightly coat.
4. Put veggies in single layer on a baking pan.
6. Mix the cheese, breadcrumbs, butter, parsley, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
7. Sprinkle the cheese and bread crumb mixture over the vegetables.
8. Bake, uncovered, until the vegetables are just tender and the topping is melted and golden brown – approx 15 – 20 min, depending on the thickness of your vegetables.

 

Spanish Tortilla With Sweet Potato & A Butter Bean Side Salad

Ingredients (serves 2)

6 eggs
1 sweet potato
Goat cheese (optional) or any cheese you like
Sprig of rosemary
Olive oil
Milk
Salt and pepper

(For the bean salad)

Can of butterbeans
Spring onion
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Rocket
Spinach leaves
Salt and pepper

Instructions

1. Heat 2 tbsps of olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat
2. Add your chopped sweet potato medallions to the pan and fry on both sides until brown
3. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with salt, pepper and a splash of milk
4. Pour the egg mixture into the frying pan
5. Top with cheese
6. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the tortilla until the bottom of it is browned
Once the bottom is brown, put the frying pan under the grill to finish off the top (my trick to avoid flipping it and destroying it)
7. Cut in half with a knife and use a spatula to plate up. Garnish with rosemary.

 

Salmon & Pea Fettuccine With White Wine & Parmesan Sauce

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 salmon fillets
Half a cup of good white wine
1 garlic clove, minced
2 handfuls of peas
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
Fettucine
Wedge of lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Finely grated Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

1. Set large pan to boil with water and generous pinch of salt to cook pasta.
2. Salt and pepper salmon and set aside.
3. When water is boiling add pasta to cook.
4. In a large skillet over medium heat add butter and melt, add garlic and simmer till translucent, about 1 minute. Add salmon and allow to cook 5-7 minutes. Add wine, red pepper, peas, parsley and squeeze a wedge of lemon to pan. Cover and cook an additional 5-7 minutes, or until salmon is cooked to your liking. Stir in grated parmesan. Carefully remove salmon to cutting board. Lower temperature of pan to low.
5. When pasta is cooked al dente using tongs transfer pasta directly from boiling water to pan with wine, toss to coat evenly.

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