Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Five quick lockdown dinners that use just five ingredients

If you are in Auckland then you are looking down the barrel of another long two weeks of level four, no takeaway to be had.

Planning dinner every night is hard enough, but add to that the stress of long supermarket lines, not to mention the spectre of Covid and it quickly feels like too much.

Before you announce to the family “toasties for dinner again guys” check out these five speedy recipes that use just five ingredients.

Green Chicken Curry

(Serves 4)

You will need:
500g skinless and boneless chicken thighs
1-2 Tbsp of Thai green curry paste (see packet for details, some are more potent than others)
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
200g fresh green beans
Fresh coriander

How to make it:

  1. Slice chicken breast into thin strips, then brown thoroughly in a non-stick fry-pan or wok. Remove chicken, cover and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile top and tail the green beans and chop into 2cm lengths. Return wok to heat and add Thai green curry paste, stir-fry paste until bubbling and fragrant.
  3. Add coconut milk, bring to a simmer.
  4. Add green beans, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Meanwhile finely chop coriander stalks and leaves.
  5. Return chicken to wok and cook for 1 more minute, then stir through coriander. Serve immediately over steamed jasmine rice.

Mushroom stroganoff

(Serves 4)

You will need:
300g mushrooms (different varieties if you can find them)
1 packet of Maggi beef stroganoff recipe base
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small brown onion, finely diced
150g-200g sour cream

How to make:

  1. Slice mushrooms. Finely dice the onion and garlic.
  2. Spoon two tablespoons of butter or oil into a deep-sided fry-pan, add the onion, fry for 2 minutes, add the garlic, stir for 1 more minute, then add mushrooms and fry until they are brown and starting to soften.
  3. Add stroganoff flavour base, stirring to combine with mushrooms.
  4. Remove pan from heat, add sour cream gradually, one tablespoon at a time, stirring until you have a nice sauce consistency (you will need around 150-200g), return to low heat, season well with salt and pepper and stir gently until heated through.

Serving suggestion: spoon mushroom stroganoff over al dente fettuccine pasta and top with a sprinkling of fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Chilli, Garlic and White Wine One-Pot Mussels

(Serves 2)

You will need:
500g live NZ mussels
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 cup dry white wine
A drizzle of olive oil

How to make:

  1. Place a large pot on the stove on a high heat, add olive oil, chilli flakes and garlic, stirring until very fragrant.
  2. Add 1 cup of white wine to pot, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add de-bearded mussels to pot, place lid on and leave to simmer for roughly 5 minutes. When most of the mussels have opened remove from heat and serve, discarding any unopened shells.

Serving suggestion: serve mussels in two large bowls with a scattering of chopped parsley and a side of crusty bread for sopping up juices.

Speedy Spinach Quiche

(Serves 4)

You will need:
6 large eggs
350g frozen spinach portions
2 sheets frozen puff pastry
¼ c Milk
100g feta cheese

How to make:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Remove 2 sheets of puff pastry from freezer and lay on plastic baking on bench to defrost a little (approximately 20 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile defrost frozen spinach in microwave and then chop it more finely.
  3. Add spinach to a medium-sized saucepan on med-high heat, rotating spinach with tongs until heated through.
  4. Grease a quiche pan, line pan with puff pastry, either rolling out or cutting/shaping pastry to fit (overlaps are okay), trim edges with a knife.
  5. Place spinach mixture on pastry, season with salt and pepper, then crumble over feta.
  6. In a large bowl crack eggs, add milk and whisk until well combined. Pour egg mixture over spinach.Place in oven and bake for 45-55 minutes or until brown and egg is set.

Serving suggestion: a crunchy green salad works wonderfully on the side of this quiche.

Black Bean Nachos

(Serves 4)

You will need:
170g bag of lightly salted corn chips
1 can of black beans
1 can of diced tomatoes
3 tsp Cajun seasoning
300g grated tasty cheese

How to make:

  1. Preheat grill to 200C. Drain and rinse black beans and place in a small saucepan over a medium heat along with entire can of tomatoes and Cajun seasoning. Simmer until heated through and slightly reduced.
  2. Spread corn chips evenly onto a baking tray lined with tin foil, pour bean mixture evening over and top and sprinkle over cheese.
  3. Place baking tray under grill until cheese is melted and starting to brown (roughly 6 minutes, keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn).

Serving suggestion: divide browned nachos onto 4 plates and top with sour cream, coriander and a few jalapeños for the spice-lovers.

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