So a couple of weeks ago in the middle of one of my food blocks while planning a menu I decided to look for quick healthy fast meals. If you have looked around you know half the time you find meals that sound fast if you have done lots of prep work. I didn’t have that kind of time or energy to be honest. I also wanted meals that didn’t have odd ingredients and that I could easily do when I got home from work and have dinner on the table in 30 mins or less.
Well in my search I popped in Chef Ramsay’s name into google and found a video where he teaches a couple how to throw some things together quickly. Five meals to be exact. Hmmm ,I thought. If I did the five meals on my menu that would take care of a lot of menu planning and it happened to be just the right amount of “after work” meals. Wait did he say they are healthy too? Ok , I thought this would be a great challenge to try.
The menu was honestly easy and I am shocked I didn’t really think of it on my own. Two of the recipe idea were similar to what I would pop in on a “need a fast meal night” anyhow, but it was one of those weeks where I was just dead tired and this menu saved me from working my brain , thus causing smoke to come out my ears.
So below not only are you going to find the menu but the recipes. I had to search around for a few but I mainly went off what I saw in the video and then created my own dish.
- Spinach & Goat Cheese Frittata, with country bread
- Chicken Stir Fry with Rice Noodles
- Linguine Puttanesca
- Fillet Steak Sandwich (we had chips with ours)
- Salmon with mint pea puree
A frittata is something I most likely make at least once or twice a month in my home. I of course have talked about this and how I just change it up by the seasons available vegetables. It’s always fast and easy to do and ready in 20 mins or so. No brainer. I did stray from the recipe below and used some veg I had in the fridge already that needed to be used.
Spinach & Goat Cheese Frittata (recipe found on Real Simple)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 5 ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups)
- 10 large eggs, beaten
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
- 5 ounces mixed greens (about 6 cups)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- country bread, for serving
- Heat oven to 400° F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Cook until the mixture begins to set around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to oven and bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Dividing evenly, place the greens on plates and drizzle with the vinegar and the remaining oil; season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with the frittata and bread
I got home a little later than I hoped the night I was to do the stir fry dish. I was also a little bit frazzled and so spending some time in the kitchen was welcome to me. Like I said I have a number of stir fry recipes I use for a quick night. I have one that I adjust to whatever is at the farmer’s market when I go in the summer. This was simple, delicious and clean up was a snap. Leftovers were great the next day for lunch I have to add. I used Udon noodles when I made this and later the following week used Soba noodles. So use what you like. I also added in some snow peas because they just sounded good when I was shopping.
Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice Noodles (Found on Chef Ramsay’s F-Word site)
- flat, wide rice noodles (similar in shape to tagliatelle)
- chicken breast fillet
- Flavourless oil, e.g. groundnut, for stir-frying (I used coconut oil)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
- broccoli, cut in half lengthways
- tbsp soy sauce, to taste
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Wedges of lime, to serve
- If using dried noodles, soak them in warm water until softened, according to packet instructions. (This will take about 10 minutes, depending on the brand.)
- Meanwhile, butterfly the chicken fillet by slicing through it horizontally, but leaving it joined down one side, then open it out. Flatten it with a rolling-pin, then cut it diagonally into strips.
- Heat a wok over a high heat and add a dash of oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and stir-fry for about 3 minutes until golden brown all over but not quite cooked through.
- Add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the broccoli and continue to stir-fry for a few minutes until tender; add the soy sauce to season. When the broccoli is tender, remove the contents of the wok and set them to one side. Wipe out the wok, add a dash of oil and heat through.
- Drain the soaked noodles. Add the eggs to the hot wok, season and stir over the heat, allowing the bottom of the egg to cook. Add the noodles and toss well, breaking up the egg as you do so. Return the chicken and broccoli mixture to the wok and heat through, stir-frying over a medium heat.
- Serve the noodles immediately with wedges of lime to squeeze on top.
The next dish I admit I had never had. I was never much of an anchovy eater growing up. Actually don’t think I ever ate them but I had them in other things as an adult but this just looked wonderful. It was in fact as fast as it is shown in the video and my son, who wasn’t so sure about anchovies love it. Limited ingredients make this fast to throw together but also make it easy to change-up if you want or add to it. I don’t measure too much when I cook so I never bothered to convert this recipe when I cooked it.
Linguine Puttanesca (from Chef Ramsay’s F-Word)
- 300 g dried linguine or spaghetti
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil plus extra to drizzle
- 2 large cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large red onion peeled and chopped
- 1 red chilli deseeded and finely sliced
- 8 canned anchovies in oil, drained and finely chopped
- 200 g pitted black olives quartered or chopped
- 3 tablespoons capers rinsed and drained
- 250 g cherry tomatoes halved
- Basil leaf shredded
- Add the pasta to a pot of boiling salted water and cook for 8–10 minutes, or until al dente.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a wide pan and fry the garlic, onion, chilli and anchovies for 1–2 minutes. Add the olives, capers and tomatoes, and stir over high heat for a few more minutes until the onions are soft.
- Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning (salt probably won’t be needed because the anchovies, capers and olives are quite salty).
- To serve,divide among warm bowls and drizzle over a little more olive oil and finish off with some Parmesan shavings.
The next item was the fillet steak sandwich. Now I didn’t find a fillet. I even asked my friend at work who works in the meat department about cuts to use but when he showed me a beautiful slab of meat that was a full day’s wages for me I passed. So I can’t say what I made was a fillet steak. I can hear the word “Donkey!” being yelled and I made a joke with my 18 yr old he’d be screaming at us in the kitchen if he saw I used a London Broil but in the end is worked. Sort of. I did follow the directions on how long to cook it and let it rest but what I should have done next is what my son did, slice up the darn thing into easier to eat pieces. Hey at least his girlfriend and I had a good laugh. It still was a tasty meal.
Fillet Steak Sandwich (Chef Ramsay’s F-Word)
- Groundnut oil
- A few cloves of garlic
- Few sprigs of thyme
- 4 100-125g fillet steaks
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Few knobs of butter
- ciabatta bread
- olive oil
- Wholegrain mustard
- For the steak, heat a frying pan to a moderate heat. Add a swirl of oil, with a whole garlic clove and a herb sprig. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and cook for 11/2-21/2 mins on each side. Add a knob of butter to the pan, allow to foam a little and baste the steaks. Cook the rounded edges too, turning to seal them well. Remove steaks to a plate and allow to rest with the pan juices for at least 5 mins.
- Slice the ciabatta in half. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and place some thyme on top. Place under a preheated grill and toast lightly. Rub a garlic clove over the toasted ciabatta.
- To serve, place the steak on one half of the ciabatta. Pour any of the juices that have seeped out from the meat over the steak. Spread mayonnaise and mustard on the other half of the ciabatta and top with some watercress. Bring the sandwich together and eat immediately
The last menu item was the salmon. I got a nice piece and was ready to do this. Even with the dairy. I figured why not. I confess, my first batch of mint puree went down the drain. I totally screwed it up. It was more like pea soup and was not thick at all. I was able to whip up another batch that was less soupy but not like I hoped it would be. It was still really good and worth the tummy ache I later had from the creme fraiche. Even with my puree mistake, this was on the table quickly.
Salmon with Mint Pea Puree (Chef Ramsay’s F-Word)
- 4 Salmon fillets, each about 100-140g
- Olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Large handful of mint (about 6 sprigs), leaves only
- 500 g frozen peas
- A few knobs of butter
- 200 g creme fraiche
- To cook the salmon fillets, heat a non-stick frying pan until hot and add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Fry the salmon, skin side down, for 3 minutes. Flip over and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes. The flesh should be slightly springy when pressed. Season lightly.
- Add the mint leaves to a medium pan of boiling salted water. Bring back to the boil, then add the peas and blanch for 2–3 minutes until they are just tender and bright green. Drain, reserving the liquor.
- Tip the peas and mint into a blender. Add just enough of the reserved liquor to cover the peas and whiz to a smooth, bright green purée. Add the butter and all but 4 tbsp crème fraîche. Season and pulse for a few seconds to combine.
- To serve. Place the salmon off centre and spoon the pea puree next to the salmon. Accompany with a dollop of crème fraîche.
- Preperation time – 10mins.
So minus the pea puree mistake I made and fixed and some minor not mentioned steak issues, this was a hit and a success for our house and for me. I was able to come home, toss my work apron on the chair, put on my favorite kitchen apron and relax and cook but quickly.
Chef Ramsay really does offer great help for people in the kitchen and he inspires me a lot. My 18 yr old son just recently told me he looked up and cooked a Shepard’s pie for his girlfriend and cooked it at her house. She loved it as did her mom and dad, who I get ,were a bit shocked the kids were cooking vs going out to eat. My youngest son, age 13, is on this kick of watching Ramsay and declared that he will be cooking a scallop dish soon. I think I’ll let him post when he does.
Till next time!