One simple shopping list and five easy dinner ideas

An injection of a fresh idea is sometimes all you need to give an old favourite a lift

Creamy chicken pie

Creamy chicken pie


This year, many families across the country have had the time to put more thought into their weekly meal plans.

November is Food Month in The Irish Times.
November is Food Month in The Irish Times.

We are relying more than ever on a trusted shopping list to have us armed and ready for a quick supermarket sweep.

Store cupboard meals really don’t have to be bland; an injection of a fresh idea or two is sometimes all that’s needed to give an old favourite a lift.

Shopping List

  • 1 2kg chicken
  • 500g lean beef pieces
  • 1 pepperoni sausage
  • 1 pack each chicken & beef stock cubes
  • 1 jar each smoked paprika, oregano & curry powder
  • 1 tube tomato puree
  • Fresh parsley & thyme
  • 1 pack of mushrooms
  • 3 beef tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 finger ginger
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 pack onions
  • 1 pack spinach
  • 1 small tin sweetcorn
  • 2 litres milk
  • 1 pack grated cheddar & mozzarella mix
  • 1 tub creme fraiche
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 pack ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 bag plain flour
  • 1 bottle rapeseed oil
  • 1 pack fast action yeast

1) Classic Roast Chicken

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and boil a kettle of water.
– Place your chicken in the centre of a roasting tin and rub a crumbled chicken stock cube into the skin. Add a sprinkle of fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper.
– Put a slit into each leg between the breast and leg, and pour 300ml of boiling water into the tin. Cover with tin foil to trap in all the steam.
– Place in the oven to cook for 1½ hours without touching.
– After the allotted time take the chicken out, drain off the liquid stock into a saucepan for a gravy, and ladle a little chicken juice over the bird.
– Put back in the oven for 20 minutes without the tin foil to crisp up the skin.
– Serve with all the trimmings.

2) Beef Goulash

Heat a teaspoon of rapeseed oil in a heavy-based saucepan with a lid.
– Sprinkle 500g of lean beef pieces with a tablespoon of flour. Brown the meat over a medium heat.
– Mince 1 garlic clove, chop 3 beef tomatoes, 1 onion and 1 red pepper then add them to the pan along with the beef. Fry until softened.
– Add 2 tablespoons of tomato puree and sprinkle in 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika.
– Finally, pour in 300ml of beef stock. Let it simmer on the hob for 3½ hours.
– Finish with a dollop of creme fraiche before serving with fluffy rice.

3) Leftover Chicken Pie

Place an oiled pan over a medium heat and add in your leftover chicken.
– Slice a handful of mushrooms, crush 1 garlic clove and add these to the pan with 2 tablespoons of sweetcorn. Cook for 5 minutes then add a tablespoon of flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
– In a jug mix a half pint of hot chicken stock with a half pint of milk.
– Slowly add the liquid quarter by quarter to the pan stirring well till it thickens nicely.
– Transfer the mix to an ovenproof dish.
– Top with a sheet of ready-made puff pastry, egg wash, then finish off in the oven at 180 degrees for about 40 minutes.

4) Coconut Veggie Curry

Crush a clove of garlic, dice 1 onion and 1 butternut squash, chop a finger of ginger and 1 green pepper, and slice a handful of mushrooms.
– Add all the veggies to your saucepan over a medium heat with a little oil.
– Squeeze in a tablespoon of tomato puree and mix.
– Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of curry powder, season with a little salt then add a tin of coconut milk. Stir well.
– Put a lid on the pan and simmer for 25 minutes.
– Finally, chuck in a handful of spinach and let it wilt.
– Serve with fluffy rice.

5) Press Pizza

Preheat the oven to 240 degrees.
– In a large mixing bowl, add 200g of plain flour and 1 teaspoon of salt.
– Make a well in the middle and pour in 120ml of water, 2 tablespoons of oil and a tablespoon of fast action yeast.
– Mix together with a spoon to make your dough.
– Tip out onto a floured work surface and give it a good knead, stretching the dough to let the yeast do its magic.
– Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper then roll out your dough to the same size.
– Place it on the greaseproof paper and top with tomato puree, a sprinkle of oregano and a pinch of sugar.
– Scatter with the cheddar and mozzarella cheese mix then top with sliced pepperoni.
– Drop the oven temperature to 180 degrees and bake for 30 minutes, checking after 20. 

1 shopping list, 5 breakfast ideas
- 1 shopping list, 5 lunch ideas

- 1 shopping list, 5 dinner ideas

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