What to cook when you don't feel like cooking: 10 low effort (high reward) meal ideas
We're not sure about you guys, but we've been feeling a bit of home cooking burnout lately. Although we're looking forward to a burst of Spring BBQing energy, lockdown 6 currently has us reaching for our takeaway apps more often than we'd like to. So, for those nights when you want to eat at home with as little effort as possible, here are our favourites!
1. Zest Curry Pastes
This is one of our very best lazy day options because not only are they super easy, they're also gluten and sugar free, meaning you're not compromising on the health factor. Simply add your favourite protein (we're a big fan of chicken thighs, beef strips or even lamb backstrap for the fastest and easiest versions of these curries), some veg and a few pantry staples and you're good to go. Check them out here...
2. Cannings Pasta Sauces
We love the convenience of pasta sauce in a jar, but we have to admit this is usually a compromise when it comes to taste and healthiness. That is why we're such fans of our Cannings pasta sauces - not only are they super easy but they also taste really fresh and authentic. We love to pair them with mince for a classic bolognese, or our il Nono frozen pasta.
3. Chicken Drumettes
These are great when you feel like comfort food. You can go for the easiest option, pre-marinated honey soy, or throw in a combo of your favourite spices and a little baking powder for a crispy, fried chicken-esque drumette (check out our recipe here). We love to serve this with an easy green salad for minimum fuss and maximum deliciousness.
4. Lamb Shoulder
Yes, this one requires a bit more effort BUT hear us out... it's all about the leftovers. We love to spend a Sunday afternoon slow roasting a delicious marinated lamb shoulder, then strip the carcass completely and use the leftover meat throughout the week. If you spread the leftover meat out on an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper then bake for 10-20 mins the meat will get delicious and crispy (like souvlaki meat!). From there you can use it to top a salad, in a wrap or with your favourite roast veggies - so easy!
We also love to save the bones to use as the base for soup. Recently we did one with lamb bones and some saved up ends of our root veg from the freezer. After about a day in the slow cooker we strained it then added tomato paste, herbs and some veg and had a big batch of delicious soup for the week!
The thing we love about prawns is that they're delicious but don't require a heap of planning. If you've got a bag in your freezer, they are so fast to defrost and add a great boost of flavour to soups, curries or salads. Garlic prawns is one of our all time favourite fast dishes for prawns - just grab some of our Garlic and Parsley Prawns, cook in a generous amount of butter (you can also add a tsp of sweet chilli sauce for a little extra something) and serve over rice. Veggies optional ;)
6. Hot Dogs
Hot dog meat can be very mysterious, but not our delicious free range Uncle's Smallgoods kranskies and frankfurts! These are made with love and the very best high welfare meat, which makes them awesome for when you just want to kick back and watch a movie with some comfort food. All you need to do is heat and serve in the soft bun of your choice. Our fave is definitely the cheese kransky!
7. Chicken Enchiladas
These are ready to go when you are - just bake in the oven for 20 mins and serve with a bit of guac and sour cream (check them out here). So easy for a low effort lunch or dinner. (Some other great 'throw it in the oven and enjoy' options are our Chicken Parmas and Kievs).
8. Spaghetti and (Sausage) Meatballs
Did you know that sausages make pretty good meatballs? Our two favourite flavours for this are the Pork & Fennel and the Casalinga snags. Just squeeze them out of their casings into balls, cook in a frypan or bake in the oven, then add to your favourite pasta sauce. So easy, so fast, and a hit with kids and adults alike! (Check out our official recipe for this here).
9. Steamed Veg with Salmon
This is easiest if you have a cast iron fry pan or other stove-to-oven appropriate vessel. We love to take an Ora King Salmon Fillet and rub it all over with coconut sugar, salt and Japanese Togarashi seasoning (a spicy chilli and sesame powder). Fry skin side down for a few minutes then transfer to a preheated oven on 200C for another 7-10 mins (don't flip the fish!). While the fish is in the oven, steam some bok choy, broccolini, shiitake mushrooms, chopped garlic and a dash of sesame oil and by the time the salmon is rested you're ready to eat! This meal comes together so quickly you'll barely even have time to register your time in the kitchen.
10. Heat and Serve Meals
We've saved the most obvious for last - our heat and serve meals! Our heat and serve meals are awesome for nights when you don't feel like ordering out or cooking. It's nice to let someone else do the cooking without having to compromise on the quality of the ingredients and the welfare of the meat you're eating, since we use our very own free range, high welfare meat in all our meals. Plus, you can treat yourself to dessert while you're at it with our delicious apple crumble - you deserve it!