Easy Meals – any ideas?

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    Now I’m not working, getting the dinner is my job. Generally OK but on a flare-up, high-pain day I need to find some tasty meals that are easy to prepare and don’t involve too much standing at the cooker stirring. I’ve got the 4 below, but I don’t want to end up serving the same 4 meals on the bad days (particularly if I get several bad days in a row), so has anyone got any easy to prepare meals that they use?

    1) Schwartz garlic and herb wedges mix – wash the potatoes,
    cut into wedges, mix in a bowl with a little oil, sprinkle on some of
    the mix (I use far less than they say, a packet does me for 12-16 servings) and stir in, put in oven and leave.

    2) Schwartz for veg mix for roasted root vegetables, use as
    for wedges mix. I have also used the wedges mix on the veg and the veg mix on the wedges to get some variety!

    3) Tesco Fish Pie Mix (from the freezer cabinets) very easy
    recipe on the packet, the hardest bit is mashing the potatoes and
    grating some cheese. It also looks a bit odd mixing frozen peas with the mash, but they are cooked by the time the pie is ready.

    4) Take a small joint, seal the outside by a few seconds of frying each surface, put in a large Pyrex dish with a lid. Skin some medium sized onions (I use one per person) and put round the joint. Fill the dish with batton carrots and batton parsnips. Make up some gravy using gravy powder and herbs. Pour over the joint. Stick in the oven until the joint is cooked.

    Any ideas welcomed.


    buy a jar of onion marmalade from M & S or a jar of caramalised onions from the supermarket its tasty used in home made beef burgers etc.

    Mini meat loaves

    Packet of Lean steak mince
    porridge oats (few spoonfuls)
    Large spoonful onion marmalade/caramelised onions
    1 egg beaten
    Swig of Worcester sauce
    Swig of brown steak sauce

    Mix all in a large basin with clean hands until thoroughly mixed. Shape a handful into smallish rounds, then, squeeze slightly to resemble an oval. Put them on an oven proof dish and cook in a hot oven until cooked through turning over once. These are good to freeze once cooked. you can then reheat whatever you need in a microwave once defrosted. You could also shape them into beef burgers. You can make the above sitting down, and as there’s no chopping etc its easy.

    You could make home made soups by putting a packet of ready peeled vegetables into a food processor until finally chopped. Then transfer the vegetables into a pan and cover with chicken granules and water cook on high, then simmer until the vegetables are soft . Add herbs and seasoning to taste. If you like smooth soup use a hand held blender on the vegetables. You can also thicken the soup by adding potato. Carrot and coriander is a favourite.

    I love cooking, its one thing things I miss greatly since my spine decided to pack in. Lea


    Got to say Dave, Im very impressed with your recipes! For me cooking is an utter nightmare, so its ready meals, pasta, soup, toast if Im on my own. Any standing to make meals is agony and this time of the day is my hideous time. Be nice to qualify for meals on wheels, but dont think they would feed my kids as well as me which is always the problem. I feel terribly guilty that they aren’t getting lots of nice home cooked meals, but if my husband is here, he tries to make sure they get their fresh veg and stuff.
    Would love to be able to employ someone to fill my freezer with meals and help out with cooking etc!
    Hows the work appeal going? Hope you got something resolved. Take care, Steph xx


    Hi Steph. The case is still dragging on. I’m waiting for ACAS at the moment (they have to try to get an out of court settlement), and I’ve been told the case will probably get to court in June.

    Jan Sadler

    Spread out some halved peppers, aubergine slices, red onion slices, mushrooms, courgettes, tomatoes, garlic, sweet potato slices, carrots on a baking tray, season, add herbs/spices – anything you like really. Sprinkle with olive oil and bake until done.
    Cook some pasta twirls or linguine and toss in the veg. Top with grated cheese or some nuts. Easy peasy!


    Something that I do is brew a cauldron of stew, and then freeze portions in Chinese take away tubs for later use. But it gets boring having stew every other day.

    I did the same thing when we got a lot of free apples. We defrost a tub to have with cream or ice-cream, so it is just a quick zapp in the microwave to get a nice dessert.


    Quickest meal I know of..

    300g pack of Quorn mince
    1 large jar of pasta sauce
    Quick cook spaghetti

    Fry the mince in a spoonful of oil for about 3 minutes, then add the pasta sauce and heat through. Add some veg if you like.
    Cook the spaghetti as per pack Ta dah!

    Takes me about 7 minutes in total, we halve the mince mixture and freeze for another time. We usually have this on Friday after a week of made from scratch meals!


    sweet potatoe wedges brushed with a mixture of sweet smoked parprika and olive oil served with veggie burgers or you could cut up the veg jan mentioned then mix em in a bowl with two tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp harrisa paste the roast them for around twenty mins at 150c then leave on side soak some coscus in some veg stock with a bit of a cinamon stick and lemon juice then once coscus is softened mix it with some olive oil and stick in a bowl with the roasted veg and half a tin of chick peas mix together and then serve with warm pitta and yoghurt. If you like chicken then a easy tasty one is chicken breast marinaded for half an hour(or longer if you like)in your fave marinade or spice mix ie cajun spice mix, jerk, or a parrika mixed with olive oil. It’s yummy fried in olive oil and served with jucies from the pan and rice and veg.


    Hi Dave,

    Now this is a subject which interests me a great deal. The problem of providing a hot tasty meal with minimal effort. Well I have come up with the idea of using a slow cooker which I bought a few years ago for about £10 and it is absolutely worth in gold. I also purchased an inexpensive slow cooker cookery book but now that I know what I’m doing I can adapt most recipes. This week I have cooked up a batch of bolognese sauce, one to eat and another two portions go in the freezer. Then when I’m having a particularly bad day all I have to do is get a portion out of the freezer and cook the spaghetti, so it really couldn’t be easier. I use my slow cooker throughout the year and have even done puddings so I highly recommend getting one. Hope this is of help and/or interest to anyone struggling with cooking. Once the preparation is done it all goes in the pot and that’s it !!


    Hi Everyone
    Very interesting topic as i think we are all in the same boat and also get sick of what I call “TV” dinners and with all their additives I don’t think they are any good for our already poorly systems. On a bad day I just do jacket potatoes in the oven having done them for approx 10 mins in the microwave first to shorten cooking time and then topped with cheese or some chilli out of a tin.
    Cheese and potatoe pie as you just need to grate the cheese and mix it with mashed potatoes and then pop under the grill to make it brown on top, Slicing a few tomatoes on the top makes it more exciting and you can have some tinned baked beans or frozen peas with it. Happy cooking everyone.


    A slow cooker is defo worth forking out for. My father has arthritis and found cooking really hard ,but once he brougt a slow cooker he became a master chef .


    Baked apple. Run a knife round the centre of the skin; take out the cores and stuff it with sultanas, cinnamon if liked and golden syrup. Bake for half an hour or microwave for about 5 or 6 minutes.

    Fruit crumble. Pack of crumble mix sprinkled over any frozen fruit and baked.

    Instead of standing to cook fish, wrap it in foil and sprinkle with lemon juice and herbs and bake it


    Lamb cobbler.

    Throw diced lamb in a pan and fry for a few minutes. Sprinkle on 1 tbsp flour. Add carrots, baby oniions, diced potato and tomatoes . Add worcester sauce and 1 tbsp tomato puree, fresh mint and half a pint of stock and half a pint of cider and put in the oven with a lid .
    Mix 8 oz flour with 3 oz suet, mix with water to make several balls. 20 minutes before taking the casserole out, lay the balls, slightly flattened on top of the casserole without the lid. Cook until browned. Easy to do as apart from a few minutes browning the meat you don’t have to stand over it and you can pretty much forget it. Just don’t let it boil dry. Top up with cider if needed.


    hi all,

    i love cooking, but it’s very difficult with the pain in my spine all the time.

    but we have a system where i prepare the evening meal as far as i can in the morning when my pain/tiredness levels are at their lowest – and my partner cooks it in the evening.

    it works – mostly! annie x


    Hi Dave,

    This may not be for you, but Delia Smith has a Cookbook out called “How to Cheat at Cooking” and it provides easier ways to prepare meals, most are nutritous. All recipes involve the minimum of preparation time and would be ideal for days where you are in flare up. My other suggestion would be that when you are feeling ok to cook, make double portions and stick one in the freezer which can be reheated when you are bad.

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