Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Hey loves! Today’s post is a much requested and anticipated post as I share SO many of Matt and I’s meals with you over on my Instagram stories and am always asked what the heck we’re cooking. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to do this, cooking is something I’ve talked about several times on my blog but I don’t often share recipes because photographing food is so difficult. I know it’s a trick of the trade with cookbooks etc that cold food photographs so much better, but obviously we want to eat out food whilst it’s hot. Please bare with me for the photos in this post – I know they’re so bad – and I’ll figure out the photos for future posts, somehow! I really want to share recipes with you on a more regular basis as we rarely make anything difficul and we just love hearty meals that fill us up and help us unwind from our busy work days. Also, at this time of year a hot meal is the best to come home to; it’s something we look forward to from the moment we get out of our warm cosy bed each morning, ha!

On weekends Matt and I experiment a lot more with dinner recipes, and you may have seen I’m planning to make at least one new recipe per week this October. However, on weeknights we generally like to make quick and easy dinners that we know and love! We rotate between around twenty ‘standard’ meals, but the odd time we’ll throw in a curve ball to change things up a little. Every time we try a new recipe we love we just add them into our rotation of weeknight meals, and this has been the best way to learn and enjoy cooking. I shared how we meal plan and where we often get our ideas from in this post a few months ago, so be sure to check that out if you’re unsure where to start.

All three of the recipes are based on dinner for two people so if you want to make more just double or triple accordingly!

Cod With Roasted Veggies & Mash

This is probably the most popular recipe for us of the three, and one we kinda cheat on. Snapple fact: mash potato is my favourite food. Ever. When we first started dating, Matt wasn’t a huge fan of mash potato but now he loves it just as much as I do, and I hate to say it but the store-bought pre-made options are so much better than homemade. I’m sorry! We also serve with baby potatoes (as above) but if you want to make your own mash potato go right ahead. This is perfect for nights Matt is home late and I’m preparing dinner for him coming home, because timings are SO easy to get right on this and it’s minimum effort for maximum reward.

Ingredients:
2 x cod fillets
(approx) 4 x large carrots
(approx) 160g x broccoli
(approx) half a courgette
400g x mash potato / baby potatoes
(approx) two tablespoons of chilli olive oil
Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to (approx) 200 degrees.
2. Place cod on tin foil lined baking tray, and cover with a light dusting of salt and pepper. Place a second sheet of tin foil over the fish, tucking in any corners so the juices don’t spill out, and place in oven.
3. Whilst the fish begins to cook, chop the ends off carrots, roughly peel and cut into batons. Cut courgette into small pieces.
4. Cut broccoli stems down and peel off any remaining leaves.
5. Place carrot batons, courgette and broccoli onto another baking tray, separating out vegetables so they’re not overlapping too much. Take a pinch of salt and pepper over vegetables, sprinkle Italian seasoning over then drizzle chilli olive oil, mostly distributing through the centre as it will run during cooking. You could just switch out to regular olive oil if you don’t like heat!
6. Place into the oven approx five to ten minutes after you’ve put in your fish (ideally underneath the fish) and cook for approx 20 – 25 minutes. This really depends on how soft you like your fish/veggies to be.
7. Microwave potato side of choice, or make your own during the time that your fish and veggies cooking!

Seriously, how quick and simple is that?! Roasted veggies are our favourite, they taste great with any meat or as a side dish to a vegetable tagine!

Matt’s pepper in the background looks a little drunk… hahaha!

(Beer) Chilli Stuffed Peppers

This was a take on one of our already favourite meals (just regular chilli – with or without beer) but we loved this variation so much it’s become a staple. We usually pair with homemade salt and pepper chilli chips – super easy, too! – and it’s such a hearty dinner. Stuffed peppers are another of my favourite foods and again Matt has kinda learned to love them. LOL, I promise he really enjoys these meals too! We have an ongoing private joke because I throw peppers into pretty much anything we cook. He’s like “can you please make me porridge for breakfast? Oh wait do you want to put peppers in that too?!” Hahaha. They’re just delicious, okay?! There’s also an option to add a little beer in here if you fancy it. Don’t worry, it’s totally safe for kids as the alcohol burns off! Also, yes I made this festive for #spookyszn. Because why not?!

Ingredients:
250g x lean beef mince
1 x large onion
2 x stalks of celery
2 x cloves of garlic
2 x chilli peppers
1 x large pepper
(to dice)
2 x large peppers (I’d recommend orange for Halloween dinners!)
400g x chopped tomatoes
(approx) 200ml x light beer (optional)
(approx) 100g x tomato puree
(approx) 200g x mixed beans
(approx) 100g x light mozzarella cheese

Tilda peri peri rice
Salt, pepper, paprika to taste

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Chop all veggies into small diced shapes, except for two peppers. You only want to cut off the tops, take out the core and de-seed. I recommend going over the inner surface with a tablespoon to make sure you’ve got plenty of room for your mixture! If you don’t like a lot of spice make sure to de-seed your chillis.
3. Brown mince in pan with onion and garlic cloves. Drain any excess fat. If you’re adding beer to your recipe, this is where you’d add it! It adds a great depth to your chilli, although we don’t do this too often as Matt generally prefers the recipe without it. Give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen?!
4. Add in all of your diced vegetables and tomato puree, and brown.
5. If you’re serving with chips, put them in the oven now!
6. After around seven minutes, add in mixed beans and chopped tomatoes. Allow to simmer for approx ten minutes. Place large de-seeded peppers on a lined baking tray.
7. Pour chilli mixture into large peppers, add as much grated cheese as you’d like on top and pop in the oven for approx fifteen minutes (just keep checking to see how the cheese is melting/peppers are softening).
8. Just before you take out your peppers, microwave rice. You can use this as a ‘bed’ for your peppers or serve it on the side!

I mean seriously… could this be any more simple? How freaking cute do our Jack-O-Lantern stuffed peppers look?! They’re perfect for this time of year, and I know if you have littles they’ll appreciate this too. Matt and I always add a little extra cheese once cooked too which makes them a little less healthy, sshhh!

Hunter’s Chicken

This is a recipe we just LOVE to make, and it’s so crazy easy; you literally prepare everything in five minutes or less, throw it in the oven and leave it for half an hour to cook. It’s kind of become a go-to for us because of how quick and easy it is, and it’s a meal we really enjoy each time. You could serve with rice, veggies, chips, mash potato, the possiblities are endless! We switch our side up pretty much every time we have this meal, it’s super versatile which makes it feel like something new each time. I also made BBQ chicken baked tacos for the first time last week which Matt LOVED – I’d be happy to share that recipe soon?!

Ingredients:
2 x chicken breasts

4 x rashers of unsmoked bacon
(approx) 200g x French’s BBQ sauce
(approx) 100g x light mozzarella cheese

Salt, pepper and peri peri seasoning to taste

Method:
1. Wrap chicken breasts in bacon; add a little salt and pepper (and peri peri seasoning if you like a little heat) and place in the oven for thirty five minutes.
2. After the time is up, take out your dish and add BBQ sauce; we really roughly use around 200g, but basically just make sure all of your bacon and chicken is covered. Add grated cheese and put back in the oven for seven minutes.

…Yep, that’s IT! I really love eating this with mash potato because it’s filling and hearty, but not TOO filling and means we have an excuse for a McFlurry run later 🙂 hahaha we’ve definitely got our priorities right!

I hope this post was somewhat helpful and gave you a little inspiration for what you and your partner or family can cook this week! I would love to share more, maybe every month I’ll share three of our favourite dinner recipes with you? We LOVE our Crockpot and make so many meals in there that are super easy! We also cook vegetarian dinners now and then (we’re trying to partake in #MeatlessMondays much more often than we do) but we have so many options of things to share. Please let me know what kind of meals you’d like to see! Are you planning on making any of these dinners this week? What is your favourite easy (and kinda healthy) dinner recipe?!

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! Happy Friday to you all 🙂 I am so freaking happy it’s the weekend and I’m determined to enjoy every. single. second. Does anyone else feel like they blink and the weekend just disappears? I’m not to let that happen this time. During this week I’ve kinda been running on empty; literally every morning when Matt and I’s alarm goes off we both have felt as though we’ve just closed our eyes to fall asleep. I think it’s probably just a combination of late nights watching The Office and busy weeks at work, bring on the weekend! Also I just have to say… I’ll probably definitely be talking about this in lots more detail next week but BONFIRE SPICE HOT CHOCOLATES ARE BACK AT COSTA. Me and the girls at work have made a Costa run a priority during our lunch break today and I’ve already got my re-usable mug waiting by the door 🙂 I’m SO EXCITED!!!

What I’m loving:
I’ve been having lots more baths over the past few weeks, and I’m really really enjoying them! Matt’s had more late shifts at work than usual which means he’s not home until around 9.30pm, so I’ve been spending at least an hour in the bath most nights before he gets home, reading my book and treating myself to various pamper treatments. As it starts to get colder my arthritis gets worse (it’s unfortunately just a fact of life) so I will be pretty much living in hot baths for the foreseeable. Bliss. There’s just a few of the products I’m loving right now in the photo above, but I’d love to share my favourite pamper products with you if that’s something you’d like to see? Spoiler: this shampoo and conditioner is brand new to me and I’m already LOVING them both so much!

What I’m slightly jealous about:
My brother is in Canada right now! Matt and I were feeling a little bitter saying goodbye to him because we want to visit Canada so bad. I mean that in a jokey way because of course we want him to have a great time, we just also wanted to hop in his suitcase. He’s spending the week in Toronto and also visited Niagara Falls, which is super high on Matt and I’s travel bucket list! He was sending me photos whilst he was there (which you may have seen on my Instagram stories) and I so badly wish we were there too!

What I’m buying:
I have started officially shopping for Fall! (I know. I’m English, but Fall sounds SO MUCH BETTER than Autumn, right? My friend Jessy agrees which is enough for me… we’re going to make Fall happen this year. Fall.) Topshop had 25% off last Sunday (!!) so I ordered this mustard sweater, the most perfect black polka dot satin blouse and a gorgeous grey, cream and blush colourblock sweater, I’m so excited for them to arrive (hopefully today)! I also ordered this beautiful checked blazer from H&M on my lunch break during the week and although the shipping has been delayed I am SO excited for it to arrive. Prepare to see it featured lots on the blog, I really can’t wait to create more fashion related content this season. I’ve been looking for a pair of riding boots and had very little luck so far, but I LOVE how they look so I really hope I can find some soon. I’m trying to shop intentionally, so I’m buying staple pieces that will not only last me through this A/W season, but many years to come.

What I’m cooking:
Again, I didn’t take photos of our meals throughout the week because we’ve been making our old faithfuls due to Matt’s shifts! Tuna pasta bakes, bolognese and chicken fajitas… nothing groundbreaking, therefore I didn’t want to bore you with it all. But I really need to share this CrockPot dinner with you because it’s one of our FAVOURITES and a dish we’ll be making pretty much every week this Autumn/Winter. Side note: we are already big fans of a strawberry and lime cider, but oh my gosh we tried this peach and apricot cider this weekend and it is so good. You need to try it ASAP! We totally made up the recipe way back in February when I bought the CrockPot for Matt (#adulting) so we have tweaked it a little here and there since, but now it is perfect for us. You really need to try it, CrockPot meals are THE BEST for long days when you’re at work as you literally throw it all in and when you come home dinner is ready for you!

Ingredient list:
500g x diced chicken
3 x peppers
20 x cherry tomatoes (approx)

1 x large onion 
5 x celery stalks (approx)
1 x jar of Chicken Tonight Spanish Chicken sauce
salt, pepper and seasoning to taste

Method:
Dice all your veggies as large or small as you like them; add to CrockPot. Cut chicken into small pieces; add to CrockPot. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, any seasoning of your choice (we like this fajita seasoning) then pour sauce over the top. Stir well, then cook on low for 8+ hours, or medium for 4-6 hours. If one of us is at home when this is cooking we stir every 1-2 hours, but it’s not required. We eat with rice or pasta depending on what we want that day. This is enough for four large servings, and it also refrigerates or freezes if required.

What I’m excited about:
Strictly Come Dancing is back this weekend, and I CAN’T WAIT!!! I love love love Strictly, and much to Matt’s disappointment we watch every weekend, usually with his mum because she also loves it. I feel like it’s the beginning of the build up to Christmas (yep, I said the C word!) and it just makes me look forward to cosy nights in the house when it’s super dark and cold out. I already can’t wait for snuggly nights in the house with the Christmas lights twinkling in the background, how perfect! Also, Chris Ramsey is a contestant this year and I have everything crossed for him to do really well, and also Saffron Barker!

What app I’m loving right now:
So I’m pretty sure I’m WAY behind everybody else, but I just found out about the Tezza app and I am obsessed with it. I edited all of the photos for this post (and probably every post for the foreseeable) with the app, and I’m so happy with how they look! I also edited two photos from our Stamford trip to put up on my Instagram grid this morning (plug plug, check it out) and I am FINALLY going to have an Instagram theme. It’s my time. #blogger #notreallybutI’mtrying

What I’m burning:
I’ve officially broken out the pumpkin candles and I DON’T CARE. I mean, it’s September. So it’s justified. Right?! Matt is actually on board too, they just smell like ~cosiness~ and make us very happy. We’ve been loving the one pictured from Homesense (sorry I can’t find it online but there were TONS in store)! Side note: I wish we had Bath & Body Works here, it’s literally so expensive to get them in the UK. Homesense thankfully have the best pumpkin scented stock around, and I’m sure I’ll pick up a few more over the coming weeks.

What I’m binge watching:
So Matt and I are still watching The Office (we’re onto season three and are pretty much obsessed with it) – I’m still so confused how it took us this long to watch it! We genuinely look forward to snuggling in to watch an episode or two in bed each night. We’ve also been catching up on Peaky Blinders – the new season is already SO GOOD, watching all of the Stacey Dooley documentaries and until Mattgets home, most nights I’ve been binge watching an old favourite show, Chesapeake Shores. I watched seasons one and two a while back, and totally forgot about it. But, I seen on Netflix they’d released new episodes and now I am obsessed with it again! I want to pack up everything Matt and I own and book one way flights for us to Chesapeake Qualicum Beach/Parksville in British Columbia. Hah, Chesapeake is a fictional town but the locations it’s filmed in are real and they’re seriously the most picture perfect places. I love love love the characters too, it’s super cheesy and kinda Hallmark-movie-esque, but it’s great binge-watching TV.

What I’m up to this weekend:
We have such a fun weekend planned, and I’m really looking forward to it! Tonight Matt and I are going to watch the rugby; England are playing Italy and we are SO excited. They’re playing at St James’ Park so it will be super weird to be there for something that’s not football! Matt’s cousins and their partners are visiting this weekend from down South, so we’re spending tomorrow with them and his parents, and we’re all heading for dinner at one of Matt and I’s favourite restaurants in the evening. On Sunday, Matt’s cousin Adam is running in the Great North Run so we’re going to cheer him on; GNR day is one of Matt and I’s favourite days of the year because the atmosphere is amazing! I’m so excited 🙂 I’m also recording a Weekend In My Life post which I’ve had lots of requests about, so you’ll get to see everything from our weekend!

ICYMI: this week’s posts:
Sunday – My Morning Routine
Wednesday – Travel Diaries: Stamford

I’m so happy I was able to get this post up for you this morning, like I said in last week’s post September is SUPER busy for us! (So busy I actually wrote most of this last night when Matt was out at a work party! By the time he got home I was ready to snuggle in and watch The Office – obviously – and I just needed to finish up and edit this morning). I am really trying hard to be consistent with my schedule and I am officially all set for the next week with pre-written posts, YAY. Right now Matt is happily snoozing next to me as he’s off today, but I really need to jump up and get ready for work. I’ll see you on Sunday for a post about CHRISTMAS! Yes, really! Have a wonderful weekend my friends!

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Happy, happy Friday my little love bugs! I’m writing to you this morning at 6.15am, from my snuggly bed… Matt is just getting ready to leave for work and our room is FREEZING! We sleep with the window open no matter the weather (literally even when it’s snowing) because we love the room to be cold when we’re super warm under our duvet and blankets. However it’s not as fun when I’m trying to type up a blog post and it feels like Alaska in here… Anyway, I’ve got lots to talk about, so let’s get into it!

What I’m obsessed with:
So, like I often do, I copied Shay. Again. I seriously love everything I try on her recommendation, so I’m happy to try out new products based just on her reviews! I’d been eyeing up the Dr Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt bubble bath for the longest time but it’s pretty pricey and I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it. A while back I read Amazon reviews, searched for blog posts talking about it and asked my family/friends if they’d tried it, and then kinda forgot all about it. Then, last week I was re-reading lots of Shay’s Fall blog posts from last year (Autumn. is. on. the. brain.) and I seen this mentioned a couple of times, which prompted me to purchase it. Guys, I’m so happy I did because it’s SO GOOD. I love it! I have arthritis which is much worse in my knees/hips, and I’ve heard lots of good things about this helping aches and pains. To be honest, hot baths in general help me so I’m really intrigued to see if this makes a big difference when it starts to get a little cooler over the next few weeks.

What I’m reading:
I’m currently reading The Postcard by Zoe Folbigg, which is the sequel to The Note (one of my favourite books). I always love a book series, and I can’t get enough of this one! Zoe is such an incredible writer; her books feel like you’re right in with the characters, like you know everyone personally. I have read about two thirds of the book so far, and I’m going to be so sad when I finish it, I love love love Maya (the main character) so much, and Nena (her best friend) melts my heart. I am just finishing up a post this week about all the ways I find time to read regularly, which is something I asked if you guys might be intersested in SO long ago. It’ll be up in a few weeks and if you’re struggling with finding the time to read I really hope it helps you!

What I’m watching:
Matt and I started watching The Office! Well, we actually tried Parks and Rec but we just couldn’t get into it, we might go back to it in after The Office. We’re so late to the party, but we needed a funny, easy-to-watch show as we’ve now finished up to season five of Brooklyn 99. I’m still crying about it and I can’t wait for season six to be on Netflix! So far we are loving The Office, it’s so funny and the dry humour is exactly our style, we actually really look forward to watching a few more episodes every night. Baby John Krasinski melts my heart (I’m kinda obsessed with him and Emily Blunt, literally the best celeb couple!)

What I’m buying:
Okay so I kinda teased this last week, but I’m already looking for what I need to add to my Autumn/Winter wardrobe. I’m missing a few very obvious essentials in my wardrobes which was highlighted when I cleared them all out a few weeks ago, so I already have a pretty good list. One of the things on there is a good sweater/fleece that I can wear with jeans or leggings for just any casual weekend, and I found THIS baby. I’m not sure on the colour way I’m going to buy yet, but I already know how much I’ll love it and how much I’ll wear it. Patagonia have brilliant ethics which I fully support, and even though it’s extortionately expensive I’m hoping praying for a 20% discount to be available very soon! I also really wanted a mid-length cosy cardigan that will see me through the last of the Summer and into the Autumn, so I ordered this one, it’s a steal and it looks perfect, I’m excited for it to arrive! I can’t wait to start buying a few staple jumpers, long sleeved tees and I really need some black leather boots sooner rather than later because we have been getting SO much rain!

What I’m happy about:
Last week I had to send my iPad away to be fixed, because the battery ‘swelled’. Like, who knew that was even a thing?! It turns out they couldn’t actually fix the problem so instead they replaced my iPad with a pretty little new one! I was super nervous sending it away to be fixed because I really wanted it back before bank holiday weekend, but it literally took TWO days from when they received it to my new one arriving… Apple’s customer service is SO GOOD. I had just started using my iPad way more because I forgot how easy it is to carry it with me most days, and I can use it to blog on the go! I ordered this cute new case in anticipation of my new one arriving and I’m really happy with it!

What I’m thinking about:
Next week I’m getting my hair done again, and I’m completely undecided on what to do! I’m so torn between going for a darker, brunette balayage or going a little bit lighter with my current blondey balayage. I really just want a low maintenance, easy-to-manage colour as I feel like I get my hair dyed all the time which is pretty costly, not to mention so damaging! I’ve finally figured out how to curl my hair (well, kinda, I’m so bad at doing anything with my hair haha) but I LOVE how curls look in darker hair. I’m confused on what to do; should I go darker for Autumn or go a shade or two lighter? Someone please help me! I’d love for my hair to grow longer and I’m pretty sure the more I bleach it the less it’s likely to grow out.

What I’m working on:
I’ve planned so much new content for my blog, I feel like I’m constantly coming up with new ideas and trying to fit them into my posting schedule. Writing the posts is the easy part; I literally sit down at my laptop and the words just come out (for the most part, anyway) but having time to take photos isn’t always easy, and I hate to feel rushed or put up sub-standard photos. This weekend, Matt and I are taking photos for my first morning routine post, I really hope it all comes together how I picture it in my head, I’m nervous and excited about it!

What I’m up to this weekend:
Tonight we’re cooking, relaxing and snuggling in to watch Stacey Dooley’s new documentary. #Stace4evs. Matt is at work tomorrow on an early shift, so I’m taking the morning to run errands, grocery shop for the week ahead, maybe pop to Homesense and work a little a lot on my blog. He’ll be home around 3.30pm, so we’re spending our evening watching football, grabbing a Chinese takeaway and having the most chilled night, which is our favourite way to spend a Saturday! On Sunday we’re having a chilled morning (and also taking photos as I mentioned above), then heading for date day in town. I’m taking Matt for a breakfast date, we’re visiting the Quayside Market, getting donuts from The Best Place In The North East, browsing the shops and just having a fun little day together, before coming home to probably watch more football. ‘Tis the season! We’re spending our evening snuggled up on the couch with a good dinner, watching a movie before a hectic week.

Our favourite meals from the week:
I decided to start a new segment in my #feelinitfriday posts! I am asked SO often – especially in response to my almost nightly Instagram stories – to share recipe ideas on the blog, and I really want to do it; I’m just not great at taking photos of food. It’s hard because we obviously want to eat when our food is hot, but cooled down food photographs way better (weird, I know). Also, presentation is not our strong point; we literally throw it all together and all we care about is eating it! I’m not sharing recipes (unless I’ve followed someone else’s in which case I’ll link them) but maybe it will give you a little inspiration of things to make for the upcoming week. As I talked about in last week’s post, I was pumped to make this BLT pasta, and it turned out so. dang. good. I tweaked the recipe a little (we didn’t use stock) and we already know it’s going to be something we make all the time; it’s delicious, so easy and pretty healthy, what’s not to love? Another night we made pizza pasta bake which was also very good. Last night I made the easiest, most simple chicken fajita recipe for Matt coming home from work and we loved it. You literally throw it all in the oven for forty minutes on a baking tray, add rice, guac, salsa, sour cream etc and throw it all into a wrap. We had them with garlic potatoes, and we’re so happy the peri peri rice we LOVE is back in stores!

…and that wraps up today’s post, thank you so much for reading! These posts always get the most views on the day they go live, and I’m pretty sure it’s because we’re all nosy and love to know the behind-the-scenes of other people’s lives… just me? 🙂 I’m not sure if you’ll be getting a #feelinitfriday from me next week as Matt and I are going on a trip across the bank holiday weekend (I’m SO excited), we’ll just have to see how busy life is next week! Have the most wonderful weekend!

-G x