7 Days of Cozy Simple Dinners

Roasted Vegetable Salad

I am a girl with a massive sweet tooth, but one cannot live on desserts alone. That’s why I started my Simple Dinners column – sharing some of my favourite savoury dishes too!

Yes I love cooking, but I often struggle with what to make for dinner and being organised with meal planning and groceries. I often feel like I’m on a Masterchef mystery box challenge, trying to make something tasty with whatever I have on hand with the ingredients in my fridge and pantry!

I’ve put together a week’s worth of delicious (and yes, simple) dinners that are perfect for cold evenings and easy enough to tackle on a weeknight. I think winter is a great time to get cozy and try something new. If you try any of these, tag me on Instagram and let me know!

Pumpkin Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Day 1 – Pumpkin Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

I am a total mac and cheese lover. If I see it on any restaurant sides menu, there is a 100% chance of me ordering it. I’m even partial to a packet version every once in a while, but this is my healthier take on this comforting classic. I swapped out some of the macaroni for cauliflower florets and made a really yummy pumpkin béchamel sauce.

This is a dish that grownups and kids can both enjoy. I love the rosemary breadcrumbs for some crunch on top, but it has 2 sneaky servings of veggies hidden inside. You can serve it as a meat free main meal or as a side dish to any kind of protein.

One Pot Moroccan Chicken

Day 2 – One Pot Moroccan Chicken

I love a one pot meal with minimal washing up! This dish looks fancy and dinner party worthy, but it’s actually super easy for weeknights. If you have the time, you can marinate the chicken in the spice paste for a few hours or overnight, but I usually forget to do this and it still tastes amazing.

This Moroccan chicken packs a huge flavour punch with fresh and preserved lemons, olives, spices and herbs. I like to serve it family style in the same pot it was cooked in with a scattering of fresh herbs, a green salad on the side and everyone can help themselves.

Ottolenghi Spinach, Ricotta and Fetta Pie

Day 3 – Ottolenghi’s Spinach and Herb Pie

Don’t let all the beautiful greens you bought at the farmers market on the weekend go to waste! I like that this recipe can be easily adapted – use whatever greens (silverbeet, baby spinach, kale, chard, etc) and cheeses (ricotta, fetta, goats cheese, cheddar, parmesan, etc) that you have on hand.

The flaky filo pastry really makes this dish for me. This pie is a great way to use up the various half bunches of herbs sitting in the fridge. Food waste is such a big issue for the environment so click through to the original post for some great ideas on how to use up leftover herbs.

Spicy Pork and Tahini Noodles

Day 4 – Spicy Pork and Tahini Noodles

I just had to include this recipe because my housemate and I make this dish more than anything else. It’s one of our weeknight staples for any time of year and we always keep the main ingredients on hand in case the craving strikes.

This dish comes together so quickly and easily. The flavours of pork, tahini, Szechuan peppercorns and chilli are balanced out by the acidity of the fish sauce and lime juice. And of course there are loads of herbs, spring onions and grated cucumber to give it freshness.

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Day 5 – Roasted Vegetable Salad with Quinoa

I often make this kind of dinner on nights I’m home alone and just cooking for myself. In winter, like making big batches of roasted vegetables every few days and using them in different dishes to make a bunch of quick and easy meals – including this salad!

The turmeric and tahini dressing makes anything it goes on delicious. This hearty salad can be served as a satisfying main meal or a great side dish to grilled chicken, fish or lamb.

Pumpkin Turmeric Soup

Day 6 – Pumpkin & Turmeric Soup

Why yes, I did post a pumpkin soup earlier this month but this one is from the archives and still a good-for-you favourite. I make this all the time when I get a cold or feel one coming on. I love the addition of turmeric, ginger and honey to this soup for an immunity boosting kick.

Creamy Chicken Pesto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Day 7 – Creamy Chicken Pesto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Sometimes, a girl just needs a big bowl of pasta, am I right? I’ve been making this dish for more than a decade, so I know it’s good. The pesto sauce comes together in the time it takes to cook your pasta, so this is one of my absolute favourite quick and easy meals.

PS – If you don’t have time to roast tomatoes or they aren’t in season, you can use sun-dried tomatoes or just omit them.

Chocolate Whisky Pudding with Passionfruit Ice Cream

Bonus Dessert! Chocolate Whisky Pudding with Passionfruit Ice Cream

Puddings are my favourite comfort food and this one is no exception. If you’ve got the oven on, it just makes sense to make dessert as well! Self-saucing puddings are a little bit magical – the boiling liquid that goes on top somehow becomes the rich sauce under a layer of cake-like pudding.

This recipe has a good hit of whisky and a homemade passionfruit ice cream but you can use your favourite – anything that goes well with chocolate would be perfect here!

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