As Christmas gets nearer and our diaries get busier and busier, mid-week dinner inspiration tends to get lost amidst the flurry of festive drinks and late-night Christmas shopping. So to make things easier, we've put together a collection of simple recipes to help you survive those busy nights in the lead up to the big day, with comforting, nourishing dishes that will keep the the whole family happy.
Drawing inspiration from some of our favourite cookbooks, like Nadiya Hussain’s Time To Eat, we’ve chosen easy-to-prepare meals that will warm you up after an evening spent shopping for gifts, ice-skating with the kids or admiring the Christmas lights. We also love these recipes because we find there is always plenty to go round, and during the Christmas season that can often come in handy - whether you’re visited unexpectedly by a hungry family member or a neighbour pops in with some mince pies - you can embrace the Christmas spirit and invite them to stay for dinner without changing the menu.
Spiced roasted chicken packed into flatbreads with raw slaw beats a kebab-shop shawarma any day. From Nadiya Hussain's new book, Time To Eat, she shows you how to make a healthier version of this takeaway classic, on the table with minimal fuss and in no time at all.
There's something pretty reassuring about a recipe that has instant in the title when your schedule is packed. Enter another winner from Time to Eat, featuring four variations on a comforting theme and the promise of dinner on the table in just 15 minutes.
Get your copy of Time to Eat here.
Come in from the cold and warm up with this Chicken and Rice Bake; a failsafe recipe with nourishing ingredients that can just be thrown into a tray all together and roasted in the oven. There’s really nothing to it, and the result is absolutely delicious.
Ready in under 25 minutes, this creamy pasta dish teams Parma ham, sweet peppers and herbs – fresh, simple and tasty.
This Asian-inspired traybake teams soy-marinated salmon, crunchy green veg and chilli and lime dressing all in one tin – zingy, healthy and quick. This is a dish that travels relatively well so take any leftovers for packed lunch the next day.
You might think lasagne laborious to make, but Jamie's version is a clever twist on the original, made all in one pan and with lasagne sheets roughly torn in. With sweet tomato sauce, garlic, sage and lemon, and a cheese and almond crunch, this is a midweek dinner that's just a little bit special.
With tasty prawns and plenty of veggies, this stir-fry recipe is so simple to make and easy on the wallet too. Swap in other veggies or protein depending on what you've got in the fridge or what's on offer in the shops.
Creamy chicken topped with golden filo pastry, this pie recipe can be made from start to finish in one dish. "To get ahead, make the filling a day in advance, then just reheat, top with the pastry, and bake", says Chris.
If you're after something vegetarian, this Crispy Gnocchi and Roasted Peppers from The Green Roasting Tin is a hassle-free recipe that brings delicious Mediterranean flavours to a cold winter's night.
A true classic from the queen of easy comfort food, this simple Spaghetti Carbonara from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat can be thrown together quickly to leave you more time for wrapping presents.
This One-pan Sausage and Pearl Barley Stew from One Pan. 100 Brilliant Meals is always a big hit with the family, and it's packed with veggies to keep you feeling nourished.
Keep it simple with this Autumnal Chicken Tray Bake, which is just the kind of thing we feel like at this time of year. We particularly like this recipe from Chicken because it's fuss-free, wholesome, and totally delicious.
Pasta is always a reliable go-to when you're tight for time, particularly when you can throw everything together in one pan and know you'll come out with something delicious. This One Pan Chorizo Pepper Spaghetti from Eat Well For Less always does the trick; it's a quick dinner with simple ingredients that won't break the bank.
Ottolenghi’s delicious Slow-cooked Chicken with a Crisp Corn Crust recipe from his latest cookbook, SIMPLE, is a comforting crowd-pleaser with lovely warming flavours, and its corn crust makes it a lighter alternative to a classic mashed potato topping. This is a great recipe to prepare in advance - you just need to warm it through for 10 minutes, covered in foil, before serving.