Tuesday, 22 July 2014


I found it difficult coming up with ideas for meat accompaniments and tended to just make mash potato and boiled veg.  Easy.  But not adventurous.
I started exploring and trying to come up with fun dishes and alternatives. 
A good nutritious meat dinner does not have to be the typical meat and 2 veg. 

Have a flick through some cook books for ideas or I will have some ideas on my blog.  Don’t be afraid to veer away from the usual meat dinner and try new flavours and techniques. 
Here are some ideas for you….hopeful you will find them helpful.

In saying all this, mash potato is yummy and here’s a helpful tip for mashing:
  • When your potatoes are boiled, drain off the water
  • Leave your potatoes in the pot and cover with lid
  • Let the steam dry off you the potatoes until they are dry
  • Then they are ready to be mashed with butter, milk and seasoning
  • This will ensure you don’t get soggy mash!

I find planning dinners in my head ahead of time is helpful when it comes to shopping and cooking dinners.
Coming up with sides can prove difficult with what you’ve decided to cook.  And if it is a Spud you like, well there are more ways to cook a potato!

Simple Roast vegetables:

  • Slice and dice your veg into an oven dish
  • Season well with salt, pepper and spices of choice
  • Drizzle well with olive oil
  • Roast at 200 degrees for approx 30 minutes,  shaking up half way through

  Mixed Salad:

  • Toss up cos lettuce, wedges of tomato, sliced spring onions, slices of avocado, sliced peppers and some mixed olives (You can really add any thing you want.  Salads are versatile and there are so many ingredients you can add.  You can choose any greens you fancy too)
  • Season with pepper and a little salt for your tomatoes drizzle with olive oil and the juice of half a lemon/lime

Baked potato:
  • Preheat oven 220 degrees
  • Rub potatoes with olive oil, season with salt and pepper
  • Make a couple of holes in the potatoes with a fork
  • Place them directly onto the oven rack (this is key as it helps the heat cook up through the potato)
  • Cook for 24 to 60 minutes until the skin is crispy
  • You can do the same with the potatoes and cook them in a microwave five minutes each side but oven cooked is the best
  • Serve with butter, a season of salt and pepper and sliced spring onion

Green veggies:
When i say green veggies, i mean any green veggies.  I've just picked asparagus here as it's my favourite green at the moment!  You could do broccoli and peas with balsamic vinegar or spinach and green beans.
·        Asparagus is great, done in a couple of minutes and can be made very tasty.  They provide anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant nutrients and it’s a great digestive support food.
·        Trim off the end and tough bit
·        Place in an oven dish, drizzle with olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper
·        Roast in 200 degree oven for approx 5 minutes!

Spicy wedges and oven chips:
  • Prepare wedges or chips by pealing potatoes, chopping them in thick wedges, rinsing them under water and drying them
  • Place in oven tin, drizzle with a good glug of olive oil
  • Season well with salt, pepper, cajun spice and cumin seeds
  • Roast in 220 degree oven for approx 35 minutes, making sure to shake them up regularly
  • Test them by piercing a fork through them

Of course these again can be made with any spice or herb or just basic with salt and pepper. 
      We love wedges in our house…… tasty tasty !

Rice doesn’t necessarily need to just accompany a Chinese!
You can serve rice with chicken or cold with a salad for example.
Here I made brown rice with chopped peppers in it. 
  • Cook rice per packet instructions
  • To the water add a stock cube/pot and some diced peppers
We ate it with chicken skewers one night and then had leftovers in a cold salad.

 Sautéed garlic potatoes:
  • Boil your baby potatoes as normal
  • When they are cooked drain them and let the steam in the saucepan dry them
  • When they are dry, over a low to med heat, add a spoon of butter, crushed garlic, chopped fresh parsley, salt & pepper and some olive oil
  • Saute them for a coupe of minutes for the flavours to infuse and coat the potatoes beautifully
  • (Delicious with steak!)

Mixed beans:
These are great and so versatile. 
You can add them to casseroles, pastas, rice dishes or salads.
You can buy each bean type in a bag, which requires soaking over night and then pre cooking.  Or you can buy them in a can ready prepared.  

You can have them as a side by:
  • frying on med heat some garlic and chopped onion
  • Add chopped tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, chopped fresh coriander and a little mild spice (don’t have sauce to runny; you just want this as a side not a soup!)
  • simmer on low for couple minutes
The salad version can be made by combing the following in a bowl:
  • can of mixed beans, drained
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 deseeded mild chili, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tblsp olive oil
  • wedges of tomatoes
  • freshly chopped coriander
  • chopped scallions
  • salt & pepper

Potato au gratin / diced garlic potatoes:
These are definitely a treat…..lots of cream but very yummy!
Potato au gratin is sliced potatoes layered up in an oven dish, with cream and crushed garlic and baked.  I found cutting the potatoes into very small cubes, made it easier as the dish is cooks more evenly and you can mix it up during the cooking time. 
So here’s what I do:
  • Prepare you potatoes by pealing, cubing, washing and drying them
  • Place them in an oven prove dish
  • Pour flowing cream to just about covering them
  • Add a couple of cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Season well with salt and pepper
  • Cook in preheated 200 degree oven for approx 40 minutes or until potatoes cooked through
  • Make sure to stir every so often during the cooking making sure to cook the potatoes evenly and prevent burning
  • With about 10 minutes to go, add some grated cheese

And there you have it….some different dinner accompaniments.  

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