We've all been there. The fridge and freezer are full but you're struggling for inspiration around what to cook. Or they're empty but we don't know what to buy when we go to the shops. Save yourself some cash and avoid the impact most takeaways will have on your waistline with these easy recipe inspirations.
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Chicken is one of the most versatile meats and makes a great base ingredient for some super simple lunch and dinner ideas.
Lesley Negus from Thrifty Lesley shared this tip for Age Times readers: "After roasting a chicken, simmer the carcass for 2 or 3 hours for a mineral and essential fatty acid enriched broth that will add a lot of flavour to your next soup making session."
Chicken breasts are ideal cuts of meat for quick and easy meals. They’re the perfect starting point for stir-fries and even Mexican meals!
Vegetarian pasta is the perfect option for weeknight dinners. Veggies are full of flavour and super versatile. Plus, pasta dishes make the perfect weeknight meal as it's the ideal comfort food!
Chicken thighs are loaded with flavour and make the ideal base for one-pot casseroles. There are loads of delicious recipes you can use chicken thighs in.
Who doesn’t love a classic spaghetti bolognese? While there are plenty of easy dinner recipes you can use with ground beef and other meats, you can also enjoy loads of bolognese-inspired vegetarian recipes.
Chicken curry is a great go-to meal, especially if you're all about the flavour and want something quick to make on the hob on busy weeknights. Curry can be anything from wholesome and substantial to light and fresh!
Meatballs may seem like children's food, but they're dead easy to make, and if you're in a rush, you can buy them in your local grocery shop. Stick them with a tomato sauce for your classic spaghetti and meatballs, or let Mediterranean cuisine inspire you.
Air fryers are the ideal appliance for a busy household, and there are loads of recipes you can make using them, especially if you’re only cooking for one or two people!
Butternut squash is one of those vegetables that make an excellent base for any veggie meal and gives you several options for a stunning side dish. Healthy, delicious and nutritious, it's a perfect ingredient for easy cooking.
Sweet potatoes are the ideal form of starch if you're thinking of laying low on the carbs. They’re delicious and versatile!
11. Pesto recipes
I love pesto as an ingredient! It's easy to make yourself, but store-bought pesto can also spice up any dish.
Pork chops are the unsung hero of convenience cooking. They’re great to fry up with some seasoning or for simply baking in an oven on a sheet pan.
Few people can make just the right amount of rice for any meal. Egg fried rice is delicious and a great way to use leftover rice.
14. Prawn recipes
Prawns are great for starters and mains and contain fantastic nutrients for such small things. You can put prawns into almost any savoury dish to give it a more sophisticated twist.
15. Burrito recipes
Burritos are the ultimate kick of spice, flavour and comfort, wrapped up in a perfect tortilla parcel. These tasty snacks are great for using leftovers, and you can make great veggie alternatives.
16. Chickpea recipes
Everyone should have a can of chickpeas in their pantry. They’re cheap, packed with protein and simply yummy. Cooking with chickpeas will make meals go further, and they are also great on their own.
Eating tuna is a great way to get your omega-3 levels up, and tuna recipes are easy to make. You don't have to cook tuna to death. It's even tastier when it's raw in the middle, which is considered the proper way to cook tuna. You'll never look back once you start throwing together dishes with this decadent fish.
18. Taco recipes
There's nothing better than the taste of a perfectly filled taco! If you buy the taco shells or tortillas ready-made, these Mexican classics don't require much prep work, making them an ideal quick snack.
19. Gnocchi recipes
Gnocchi - what’s not to love? It’s pasta mixed with potatoes! You can now buy perfectly good gnocchi from the shops, but making it from scratch is fun - and satisfying!
20. Broccoli recipes
Broccoli is one of the best superfoods you should add to your regular diet. It’s also great veg to add to bakes, pasta and side dishes.
21. Tortilla recipes
You can do so much with tortillas, from stuffing them with delicious ingredients to baking them and even making your own tortilla crisps! Nachos anyone?
22. Fennel recipes
Fennel has become a trendy ingredient to work with and gives you a stunning aniseed flavour that freshens up ay dish.
Chicken fajitas are a great meal when you need something quick and easy to throw together. You just need one frying pan with chicken, onions, peppers, and whatever else you want to make delicious fajitas!
24. Stir-fry recipes
Packed with veggies and a protein of your choice, stir fry requires minimal effort with loads of culinary rewards! If you want to make your life even easier, buy pre-sliced up stir-fry mixes from your local supermarket. These packs are inexpensive and can save you loads of chopping time!
A great tomato sauce can be the base of some exquisite meals. From casseroles to pizza toppings, tomato sauce is a must-have go-to for your cooking repertoire.
26. Tuna recipes
Some cuts of tuna can be pricey, but they are delicious - and not every tuna recipe has to be for a tuna steak, as we shared earlier. For a cheaper alternative, there is absolutely nothing wrong with canned tuna! There are plenty of meals you can knock together with tuna in any form.
27. Thai recipes
Thai cuisine is one of the most complex in terms of spice and flavour. A classic Thai green curry is healthy, comforting, and all doable in one pot!
28. Feta recipes
Many of us already have feta in our fridges and as a regular item in the weekly shop. Feta can bring a savoury kick to any salad and is a crucial ingredient in many Mediterranean or Italian inspired meals.
From chicken stews to casseroles, there are heaps of delicious one-pot recipes you can explore with chicken. Most recipes allow you to pop all the ingredients in one pot with your chicken and leave it alone until it's cooked! It’s that easy.
30. One-pot recipes
One-pot meals don't have to contain chicken - other one-pot ideas are perfect if you don't want to take too much time out of your day to do dishes! You'll love the range of meals you can create when you only have to use one pot - and how easy it can be to do. It really will change the way you prepare food forever.
31. Asian recipes
Noodles, dumplings, curry, and sushi are just a couple of the delicious dishes that spring to mind when you think about Asian recipes. There's so much more to experiment with within the cuisine, and many are to die for.
32. Scampi recipes
There’s nothing better than takeaway scampi and chips with mushy peas and a tartar sauce. It's the perfect Friday night dinner! But scampi as an ingredient has so many more options for you to try out that are only a little more effort than a cheeky takeaway.
Vegetarian cooking does not have to be boring. There are loads of quick and easy vegetarian meal ideas that you'll fall in love with immediately. Vegetarian options are great for mid-week dishes.
34. Italian recipes
Italian recipes do not have to be limited to pizza and pasta. The cuisine is centred around simple, fresh cooking that will blow you away.