Written by: Cally Worden
I often find myself staring into the fridge of an evening wondering what on earth to cook. Tired from a day at work, perpetual housework and being the best Mummy I can be (which isn’t always great) I stare at the cheese, the milk and the butter and wonder if I can be faffed to whip up a cheese sauce. I’m always thinking of idea’s for no cook meals? Again. Devoid of inspiration I fall back on old favourites that I can churn out in minutes with my eyes closed. Or I visit the freezer. And frankly, it’s becoming a bit dull.
I don’t always feel like cooking, and it’s taken me a while to realise that, hey, I. Don’t. Always. Have. To. Revelation! Here are some fab ideas for no-cook meals that will help to put a little spring back in your culinary step, and hopefully prevent your kids’ eyes from glazing over when you serve up spag bol from the freezer. Again.
Okay, these require a teensy bit of cooking, but it’s only a minute in the microwave. Spread a heap of tortilla chips on a plate and sprinkle liberally with grated cheese, and leftover (or bought) shredded chicken or beef. Then nuke in the microwave for a minute. Add your favourite toppings – salsa, jalapenos, olives, guacamole, chopped spring onions, tomatoes, sour cream … the choice is yours.
No, wait, I know that doesn’t exactly sound innovative but think about it – it doesn’t have to mean a slice of cheese slapped between two slices of bread. Next time you shop invest in some variety breads, like pitas, wraps, poppy seed, walnut or olive. This will instantly make a sandwich more appealing. Leftover cold meats make a great filling, especially when teamed with a different range of veg or salad. Cold roasted veggies are lovely with chicken and spot of mayo, and unexpected ingredients like avocado, and apple or pear slices will delight your kids. Most supermarkets offer a pick-and-mix of mini cheese portions, and slicing in a new flavour between juicy cherry tomatoes and vibrant green salad leaves can liven up any bread.
Dips are usually only served as a starter, but who isn’t tempted sometimes to over-indulge? With a little beefing-up a plate of dips and yummy dippables will satisfy the biggest appetite. If you have the time it’s simple to whip up the likes of a homemade hummus but if, like most tired parents, you find that’s one step too far you can buy a range of ready-made delicious dips from the chilled section in most supermarkets. Dips sorted, you then need only provide a range of sliced veggies, cold meats and bread to complete the meal.
Tapas and Antipasto
Those chaps on the continent know a thing or two about simple al fresco dining. Taking a leaf from their recipe book is a great route to simple meals. You’re aiming for tasty, not necessarily strictly authentic, so let your imagination run riot in line with your favourite flavours. Serving crusty warmed bread with a range of continental cheeses, such as Spanish Manchego or Italian Provolone, and a range of cured meats will get your taste buds working overtime. Coupled with jars of flavour-rich olives. sun-dried tomatoes and roasted vegetables this meal has something for everyone. You may not be eating on a sunny terrace, but Mediterranean flavours can bring a little sunshine into any kitchen, whatever the weather.