Sometimes those long busy days call for a meal in a flash.
Let’s face it: With a 3 month old baby, every day is long and busy which can make dinner time just one more problem to be solved. That’s on top of figuring out whether little one is just grouchy to test your nerves, or if they’re genuinely coming down with something; or remembering to refasten your nursing top before answering the door to the postie. But avoiding dinner-stress doesn’t mean that meals have to be a take away or ready meal.
One of my favourite go-to’s is pasta. Obviously because it cooks fast but also because it’s so versatile and you can pretty much chuck in whatever you have and make a meal.
Pasta is low maintenance, so even when you’re long overdue a shop because you just couldn’t face pushing a screaming child around the supermarket, nodding gratefully back at the sympathetic/judging smiles from other customers, pasta is an option. You can add as few or as many ingredients to it as you like and if you don’t have much in the way of a sauce, simple olive oil will do the job.
The other evening called for just such a dinner and I found myself concocting linguine with prawns and spring veg.
Raiding the fridge I found courgette, orange pepper and leek. The prawns were quickly defrosted from the freezer to provide some substance to the dish. Perfect!
I put the linguine on the hob to boil away while I chopped the veg into bite-sized pieces. I wanted everything about this meal to be easy, even the eating part, so that if little F decided that he needed holding/feeding just as I was tucking in, I could still devour it one-handed.
The ingredients alone weren’t enough to make a mouth-watering offering, so I marinated the prawns in sweet chilli sauce from the cupboard. A half empty tub of cream cheese was pilfered to balance out the spiciness and add a creamy consistency when mixed with some of the pasta water.
Then I picked out cayenne pepper from the spice rack and gently heated a tablespoon of chilli infused olive oil in a frying pan.
When the oil was hot enough I chucked the veg in to fry until soft.
Then I was struck by veggie inspiration: I’d bought some fresh pea pods from the greengrocers a few days earlier so I rooted them out and podded them into the pan.
I swirled the cream cheese around the pan until it melted and coated the veg. In went the prawns to heat through, and before you could say I’m Hungry, I was draining the pasta and dishing up. I even managed to get half way through it before F started making his presence known, a real achievement!
Tasty, relatively healthy and quick – definitely a great midweek go-to recipe.