Weekday Meals A.B.C. Let’s get together for this month’s family meals – all for less than $100!

organic mushroom salad

This delicious salad makes a lovely vegetarian – indeed vegan – main course. Or use it as a side dish for grilled meats or fish.

Watch this video to see how to cook mushroom salad

Serves 4 to 6

Prep time 15 mins

Equipment Sharp knife; large mixing bowl; small jug or bowl; tongs

400g button mushrooms, stems discarded, caps sliced finely

150g red radish, trimmed and sliced finely

50g fl at-leaf parsley, chopped roughly

3 green onions (shallots), cut into julienne

1/2 cup finely shredded mint leaves cup organic extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup lemon juice

2 tbsp organic tamari (Japanese soy sauce)

1/2 tsp sea salt flakes Pinch ground white pepper

1 Combine salad ingredients in bowl. Mix together oil, lemon juice, tamari, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss to combine. Serve.

tandoori lamb cutlets with dahl

You could use the tandoori marinade on pieces of ocean trout or chicken breast then, just before cooking, thread onto skewers.

Serves 4 Prep time 15 mins

Cooking time 25 to 30 mins

Ingredients Large glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl; sieve; cling wrap; large heavy-based saucepan; grill pan, oven or barbecue

Tandoori cutlets

Juice of 1 lemon or lime

2 heaped tsp tandoori paste

12 lamb cutlets

Dahl

1 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, chopped finely

1 garlic clove, crushed

3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled & grated

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground tumeric

1/2 tsp hot chilli powder

2 tsp ground coriander

250g dried red lentils, washed in sieve until water runs clear, drained

875ml vegetable stock Salt & freshly ground black pepper Juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime

organic mushroom salad is ready to serve
organic mushroom salad is ready to serve

To serve

1 cup freshly chopped coriander Mango chutney & naan, roti or rice

1 Marinate cutlets Mix juice and tandoori paste in bowl. Add cutlets and mix well to coat. Cover with cling wrap and place in fridge – the longer the better, especially if cutlets are fatty as the citrus will break down the fat and flavours will infuse the lamb.

2 Prepare dahl Heat oil in saucepan and fry onion and garlic until softened. Add ginger and spices and cook for 1 min until fragrant. Add lentils and stock; cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are soft, approx 20 to 25 mins.

3 Cook cutlets While dahl cooks, fry, oven-bake, grill or barbecue lamb cutlets to your liking. When dahl is cooked, remove from heat. Add seasoning, lemon/lime juice and coriander just before serving.

4 Serve lamb cutlets and dahl with breads/chutney/rice.

spaghetti & meatballs

Make extra meatballs to freeze.

Serves 4

Prep time 20 mins

Cooking time 20 mins

Watch this video to see how to cook spaghetti and meatballs

Equipment Food processor; large mixing bowl; baking tray; frying pan; large saucepan; colander; tongs

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

1 stick celery

1 carrot

500g mince (preferably half pork, half veal)

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1 egg

1 cup grated parmesan, Salt & cracked black pepper, to taste

1 cup chopped fresh oregano &/or basil, or dried herbs to taste

400g jar tomato puree or passata

400g tin chopped tomatoes

Olive oil

Spaghetti

spaghetti & meatballs
spaghetti & meatballs

Shaved parmesan to serve

1 Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan). Place onion, garlic, celery and carrot in bowl of food processor and process until chopped finely.

2 Make meatballs Place half the vegetable mixture into bowl with mince, breadcrumbs, egg, parmesan, salt and pepper, and herbs. Mix together well with clean hands. Roll into small meatballs. Place meatballs onto lightly oiled baking tray and bake for 10 mins or until just browned, so they don’t fall apart when added to sauce.

3 Make sauce Put some olive oil in frying pan and gently fry other half of onion, garlic, celery and carrot mixture. Add puree/ passata and chopped tomatoes and cook on medium heat for 10 mins. Transfer meatballs to sauce and cook for 20 mins on low to medium heat. Keep stirring to make sure sauce doesn’t catch on bottom of pan.

4 Cook spaghetti & serve Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in lightly salted water according to packet instructions; drain. Top spaghetti with meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

nasi goreng (indonesian fried rice)

You could cook the rice well ahead of time and store in the fridge until needed.

Watch this video to see how to cool nasi goreng

Serves 4 to 6

Prep 15 mins

Cooking time 30 mins

Equipment Whisk; non-stick frying pan; wok; wooden spoon

2 cups white rice (to make 6 cups cooked rice)

2 eggs (to make omelette) Salt & black pepper, to taste

3 tbsp peanut oil

2 medium brown onions, sliced finely

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp belachan (dried shrimp paste)

3 tbsp mild chilli paste or red capsicum paste

200g chicken fillets (thigh or breast), cut into strips

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp butter

To serve

1 cucumber, sliced

1 tomato, sliced

1 Cook rice and set aside.

Are you ready to try nasi goreng
Are you ready to try nasi goreng

2 Make omelette Meanwhile, whisk eggs and season with salt and pepper. Pour egg into a lightly oiled frying pan and make omelette. Set aside.

3 Bring wok to medium heat and add peanut oil. Fry onions and garlic until light yellow in colour. Add shrimp paste, some salt and chilli/capsicum paste. Fry until red chilli oil appears.

4 Add chicken and keep stirring until it changes colour. Add cooked rice and stir to combine with onion mixture, then add soy sauce and butter. Stir well until rice is hot and evenly coated. Season to taste.

5 Serve immediately, with sliced omelette as garnish and cucumber and tomato on the side.

What ‘s For Dinner? 5 Family Meals For Under $115; Slash your grocery bill with our weekday meals that are easy to make, and even easier to eat!

Lamb shoulder with herbs

Roasting lamb shoulder with a homemade herb butter results in wonderfully flavoured meat. This hearty roast makes the perfect springtime dish.

Serves 6

Prep time 20 mins

Cooking time 50 mins

Equipment Food processor; jute string; roasting tin; chopping board or wire rack; foil; scissors or sharp knife (for cutting string); carving knife

1 French shallot (eschalot), peeled

1 garlic clove, peeled

50g butter

3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked

6 sprigs rosemary, cut into

3cm lengths

2 boneless lamb shoulders (see “Tip”) Salt

Cracked black pepper

1 garlic bulb, skin on

Olive oil

Oven-baked potatoes, to serve (optional)

1 Make herb butter Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan). In food processor blitz shallot, peeled garlic clove, butter and thyme leaves until well processed.

2 Prepare lamb Spread herb butter all over lamb, scatter with rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Roll lamb up and tie firmly with string. Place in roasting tin.

3 Roast Cut garlic bulb in half and arrange around lamb. Drizzle olive oil all over. Bake for 40 to 50 mins.

4 Serve Remove lamb from oven and transfer to chopping board or rack. Cover loosley with foil and leave to rest for about 15 mins. Remove string, carve into thick slices and serve with oven-baked potatoes on the side.

Stir-fried cuttlefish with garlic

Stir-fried cuttlefish with garlic
Stir-fried cuttlefish with garlic

Flambeing pastis in the wok adds drama to the cooking of this dish, and it heightens the flavour, too. If you can’t find cuttlefish it’s fine to substitute with calamari.

Serves 6

Prep time 20 mins

Cooking time 10 mins

Equipment Sharp knife; large wok; wooden spoon; 6 plates 600g cuttlefish hoods, cleaned thoroughly (for instructions, search for “cuttlefish” at Sydneyfi shmarket.com.au)

1 tsp curry powder

6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced finely

3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked Vegetable oil

4 French shallots (eschalots), sliced

1 tbsp pastis (aniseed-flavoured liqueur; or use Pernod)

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 bunch coriander, leaves picked Steamed jasmine rice, to serve

1 Prepare cuttlefish Finely slice cuttlefish into rings and make incisions (to tenderise the cuttlefish) all along external side of each slice. Roll in curry powder.

2 Stir fry Saute garlic and shallots in wok for few mins, until golden. Add cuttlefish and sear quickly (see “Tip”), then pour in pastis and flambe (“burn off” alcohol). Add soy sauce and coriander to wok and stir well.

3 Serve Arrange stir fry on plates and serve immediately with steamed rice on the side.

Cod with witlof

This healthy fish recipe uses the French technique of cooking en papillote (“in parchment”) – sealing in the flavour and goodness by baking in parcels. The kids will love ripping open their dinner! It makes a great dinner party idea, too.

Serves 6

Prep time 15 mins

Cooking time 15 mins

Equipment Zester/juicer; small bowl; baking paper; baking tray

2 lemons

2 oranges

1 tbsp soft brown sugar (see “Tip”)

3 witlofs (Belgian endives), ends trimmed and sliced finely

6 thick blue-eye trevella fillets (cod)

1 tbsp dried herbes de Provence (Provencal herb mix; see Gourmetshopper.com.au)

120g butter

Salt & cracked black pepper

1 Make sauce Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan). Zest and juice lemons and oranges. Mix together in bowl and add brown sugar. Combine witlof with citrus juice and zest.

2 Make parcels Cut baking paper into 6 squares (generous enough to make roomy parcels for fish). Place mound of witlof on 1 square of paper and top with fillet. Add pinch of herbs, 1 tbsp butter and drizzle over a little orange and lemon juice. Season. Repeat for remaining fillets.

3 Seal parcels Bring edges of paper up over fish, fold together and crimp to seal.

4 Bake Place fish parcels on baking tray and bake for 15 mins.

5 Serve Remove from oven and transfer to plate. Serve fish immediately in its parcel.

Spinach & ricotta lasagne

A quick, easy and very tasty vegie dish the whole family will love. It’s also a great meal to make extra of as it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, or you can freeze in portions.

Serves 6

Prep time 20 mins

Cooking time 35 mins

Equipment Sharp knife; 2 saucepans; medium bowl; gratin dish; wooden spoon

80g butter

80g plain fl our

1L full-cream milk (cold)

1 dash ground nutmeg Salt

Cracked black pepper

3 onions, peeled and sliced Olive oil

800g fresh baby spinach, washed (or use frozen, see “Tip”)

200g ricotta cheese

200g fresh or instant lasagne sheets Mixed salad or crusty bread, to serve

1 Make bechamel sauce Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan). Melt butter in saucepan, add fl our and cook for 5 mins. Pour in cold milk (see “Tip”) and bring to just barely simmering, stirring well. Add nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

2 Make ricotta filling Heat olive oil in other saucepan and cook onions until soft. Add spinach and allow moisture to evaporate. Add ricotta and combine well.

3 Assemble lasagne Cover base of gratin dish with single layer of lasagne sheets (trim to fit if necessary). Spoon over about onethird of spinach and ricotta filling, top with another layer of lasagne sheets and thin layer of sauce. Repeat layering until all filling has been used. Finish with lasagne sheet topped with bechamel sauce, ensuring sheets are completely covered.

4 Bake for 30 mins, until golden and pasta is soft. Serve with side salad or crusty bread.

5 Family Meals; With the warmer weather almost here it’s time to whip up some healthy and delicious dishes for spring. And all for a shopping bill under $100

crispy fish with peas & broad beans

Broad beans and peas are at their seasonal best in spring, but you can substitute frozen for convenience.

crispy finish and bean
crispy finish and bean

Serves 4 Prep time 15 mins

Cooking time 18 mins

Equipment Sharp knife; large bowl; colander; large saucepan; paper towel; large frying pan; fish slice

2 cups podded broad beans

60g butter

1 leek, trimmed & sliced finely Salt

2 cups fresh or frozen peas

11/2 tbsp water Handful fresh mint leaves Cracked black pepper

11/2 tbsp olive oil

4 x 200g gem fish fillets with skin on (or flathead, ling, dory)

1 Prepare broad beans For fresh beans, remove beans from outer pods. (Frozen beans are already podded.) Place individual beans in bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for 15 secs. Drain. When cool enough to handle, shell beans by pinching ends to slip tender bright green bean out of skin.

2 Cook greens Melt butter in saucepan over medium to high heat. Add leeks with generous pinch of salt and cook for 5 mins. Add broad beans, peas and water and cook for further 2 to 3 mins, until tender but not coloured. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and stir through mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3 Cook fish Meanwhile, heat oil in frying pan over medium to high heat. Dry skin of fish with paper towel and season. Cook skin side down for 4 to 5 mins, until skin is crisp and fish is almost cooked through. Turn fillets over and cook for 1 min, until just cooked. Remove from heat.

4 Serve Place fish on serving plates and top each fillet with broad bean, pea and leek mix.

cooking tip | The fresher the fish, the more it will curl up when cooking. To keep fillets fl at, place in pan and press down on the fish with a spatula or fish slice for about 15 secs.

spring risotto

Risottos are like love in a pot. A labour of love yes. Worth every minute? Absolutely!

Serves 4

Prep time 10 mins

Cooking time 30 to 35 mins

Equipment Sharp knife; grater; medium saucepan; large saucepan; wooden spoon; ladle

4 cups vegetable stock

2 cups water

11/2 tbsp olive oil

70g cold butter, cubed

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 zucchinis, grated

3 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups arborio rice

1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces

11/2 cup fresh or frozen peas

1 cup finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve Sea salt & cracked black pepper

1 In medium saucepan, bring stock and water to simmer. In large saucepan, heat oil and half the butter over medium to high heat. Add onion, garlic, zucchini and thyme to pot; cook for 8 mins. Add rice and cook for 2 mins, stirring to coat each grain with the buttery pan juices.

2 Add wine to rice and cook for 2 mins to burn off alcohol. Add hot stock a ladle or two at a time. Stir regularly. When each lot of stock is absorbed, add another, and stir. When there’s about about 11/2 cups stock left, about 17 mins cooking, add asparagus spears and peas. Continue to cook for a further 5 mins.

3 Once all stock has been added and rice cooked, remove from heat and stir through parmesan and remaining butter. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into serving bowls and top with a little extra parmesan.

cooking tips | Different brands of rice have different cooking times, so if you find you are a little short on liquid, simply add ladles of boiling water from the kettle until you have the correct consistency. | Traditionally risottos should be oozy, not firm and stodgy, but cook to your desired taste.

chicken breast with green olive & rocket tapenade

Adding chunks of lightly toasted, good-quality sourdough bread to the salad gives this dish extra crunch and crispiness.

Serves 4

Prep time 12 mins

Cooking time 12 to 14 mins

Equipment Food processor; frying pan; large mixing bowl; toaster or grill (for sourdough); carving knife

100g stuffed green olives (pimento or capsicum filled)

1 garlic clove, minced

60g baby rocket leaves

5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Cracked black pepper Sea salt

11/2 tbsp olive oil

4 x 200g chicken breast fillets

3 thick slices sourdough bread

2 Lebanese cucumbers, sliced

1 large green capsicum, seeded & chopped roughly

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 Make tapenade Place olives, garlic and rocket in bowl of food processor and blitz until chopped finely. With motor running, drizzle 31/2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil down spout to form a chunky paste. Season with pepper to taste and set aside until required.

2 Cook chicken Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium to high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 6 mins each side or until golden and cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 2 to 3 mins.

3 Make sourdough salad Meanwhile, toast sourdough. Tear into pieces and place in mixing bowl with cucumber and capsicum. Drizzle with vinegar and remaining extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Season and place on serving plates.

4 Serve Slice chicken breast and lay on top of salad. Dollop with generous spoonful of tapenade (see “Tip” below) and serve.

cooking tip | You can serve the tapenade warm by gently heating in a small saucepan over medium heat for a few mins.

chorizo, rocket & pecorino salad

For such minimal effort this dish packs a real flavour punch.

Serves 4 to 6

Prep time 10 mins

Cooking time 10 to 12 mins

Equipment Large saucepan; colander; large frying pan; kitchen spoon; vegetable peeler Salt

500g shell pasta

4 tbsp olive oil

3 chorizo sausages, halved lengthwise & sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

11/2 tsp lemon zest

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

1 bunch rocket leaves, chopped roughly

150g pecorino cheese, shaved (see “Tip” below)

1 Cook pasta Bring large saucepan of salted water to boil over high heat. Cook pasta for 10 to 12 mins, or according to packet instructions. Drain.

2 Cook chorizo Meanwhile, heat olive oil in frying pan over medium to high heat. Cook chorizo for 5 mins to brown on all sides, then add garlic, zest and chilli flakes. Continue to cook for 1 min.

3 Serve Toss drained pasta in frying pan with chorizo and coat in flavoured oil. Stir through rocket and divide among serving plates. Top with shaved pecorino to serve.

tip | Pecorino is the name given to all Italian cheeses made from pure sheep’s milk. As the pecorino ages, it becomes darker in colour with a firmer texture and a saltier flavour. We used an aged variety, pecorino Romano, which is a hard cheese that’s salty in flavour. Toscano pecorino is creamier in texture with a slightly nutty flavour. Choose a cheese that suits your palette.

Greek-style mini spring lamb roasts

Mini lamb roasts are a great alternative to a large leg as they’re much faster to cook and carve.

Serves 4

Prep time 15 mins

Cooking time 1 hour

Equipment 2 non-stick baking trays; medium mixing bowl; spoon; tongs; foil; carving knife

1kg baby or chat potatoes, halved

12 unpeeled garlic cloves, bases removed Handful oregano leaves

3 + 11/2 tbsp olive oil

11/2 tbsp chopped oregano

2 tsp chopped rosemary

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

2 x 400g lamb mini roasts Green salad, to serve

1 Roast potatoes Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan). Place potatoes on baking tray and scatter over garlic cloves and a little oregano. Drizzle with 3 tbsp oil and toss to coat. Place on top rack of oven for 30 mins.

2 Marinate meat Meanwhile, place rest of oregano, rosemary, minced garlic, zest, juice, 11/2 tbsp oil, salt and pepper in bowl; stir to combine. Put mini roasts in bowl and coat with marinade. Place on second baking tray.

3 Remove potatoes from oven, turn and crush lightly using back of spoon, and return to top rack. Roast lamb with potatoes for 20 to 25 mins for medium, or until cooked to your liking.

4 Rest lamb Remove lamb from oven, cover loosely with foil and rest for 10 mins. While lamb is resting, increase oven temp to 250C (230C fan) to crisp up potatoes for 10 mins. Remove potatoes from oven and season with salt and pepper.

5 Serve Carve lamb and serve with roast spuds and green salad.