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March 22, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Easy dinners

The Lyons Share

We’re now into the fourth week of the trimester; the assignments are probably piling up, and you may be running low on new dinner ideas. With this in mind I’m going to share three very easy dinner recipes, each one extremely flexible to your own likes and dislikes. For the most part I’m not going to be too specific with ingredient measurements—I’ll leave it up to you to add as much or as little of whatever you like best.

Hamburgers

Home-made hamburgers are actually really healthy. Make your own patties by mixing diced vegetables (such as onion, capsicum and grated carrot) and herbs with mince meat. Add a couple of eggs to bind them together. If pressed for ingredients, just flatten a ball of mince meat. If pressed for time and energy, buy pre-made ones.

Cook the patties in a pan until brown. You can also fry onions, eggs and/or bacon, as you like. You’ll know the onions are done when they’re translucent.

Toast hamburger buns in the oven until crispy, with a slice of cheese on top if desired. Add your favourite sauces, seasonings and vegetables—I like tomato, lettuce, capsicum and avocado, but there’s also cucumber, gherkins, grated carrot, jalapeños, pineapple, potato flakes, or coleslaw. This is by no means an exhaustive list—find what you love, or be creative and try something new.

Pasta

Throw your pasta into a pot of boiling water, and turn it down to low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent it sticking to the pot. You’ll know the pasta is done when you throw a piece at the wall and it sticks, or by tasting it: it shouldn’t be too hard, but not mushy either.
Simmer a pre-made pasta sauce (Watties, Dolmio, etc.) at medium heat on a stove element. Add your favourite vegetables—onions, capsicum, peas, beans, etc. Add parsley too if you have it. If you’re a garlic fan throw in about a quarter teaspoon of crushed garlic. Add about half a tablespoon of sour cream to finish the sauce.

Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce. Tip onto a plate, and add grated cheese or sprinkled parmesan over the top.

Ratatouillie

This recipe requires vegetables along the lines of onions, crushed garlic, zucchinis, eggplant, capsicum, and tomatoes (but again you can be creative). Chop up and sauté the vegetables with a little oil until soft (about ten minutes). Season with salt and pepper, and add your favourite herbs and spices—basil and lemon juice go well. Serve with couscous (it makes the dinner go further). Couscous is cooked in much the same way as rice, in boiled water for about five minutes—check the packet for specific cooking times.

If you’re having difficulty dreaming up dinner ideas, Google is a magical resource that can link to you countless ideas.

Food Tip of the Week: Make extra when cooking dinner and use for lunch the next day. Or freeze it—meals like pasta and ratatouillie will keep in the freezer for a couple of months, to be dug out on those days when you’re not up to cooking.

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