Every dinner should be a delicious experience. But sometimes, especially during the week, it’s hard to muster the energy to even think about what to cook. We want something a little bit different, but not too challenging. Something easy and flavoursome, but not laborious to make. And we don’t want to buy loads of expensive, specialist ingredients that we probably won’t use again.


Instead of turning to same-old dishes or a ready meal, let us help you decide what to cook for dinner tonight. From clever ways with chicken breasts to pasta dishes that make the most of flavoursome ingredients, we’re sure you’ll find something inspiring.

1. Spaghetti puttanesca

Spaghetti puttanesca in one pan

It’s amazing how much flavour a tin of anchovies can add to dinner. Their salty, umami goodness turns tomato spaghetti into an intense and deeply savoury dish, ready in just over 30 minutes. Add juicy black olives and a handful of fresh parsley for authenticity.

Head here for more quick pasta recipes, ways with tinned anchovies and our favourite spaghetti dinners.

2. Carrot biryani

Carrot biriyani in a pot with a spoon

Everyone has a few carrots sitting at the bottom of their salad drawer. Make them the star of the show with our veggie biryani, which sees grated carrot, rice pouches and simple storecupboard spices like turmeric blended together into a creative, colourful dinner. Don’t skip the roasted cashews (for crunch), the coriander (for colour) or the yogurt on top (for creaminess).

Discover more ways with carrot, plus our best biryani recipes and the health benefits of turmeric.

3. Chorizo chilli pepper pasta

A white bowl of chorizo pasta with a napkin on the side

Guindillas (long green chilli peppers, readily available from supermarkets) are so versatile – it’s well worth keeping a jar in the fridge. Here they’re tossed with basil, cooked chorizo and a can of cherry tomatoes to make a quick, exciting sauce for penne. We like ours with a mountain of grated parmesan on top.

Have you tried one of our best chorizo recipes? Or discover our favourite penne recipes and ways with canned tomatoes.

4. Paneer korma

Paneer korma in a large pot

All it takes is 30 minutes to make a creamy, aromatic veggie korma, featuring cubes of golden paneer, fresh spinach and ground almonds. Use shop-bought korma paste for ease and extra crushed cardamom to crank this dish up a notch. Serve with rice or warm naan breads.

More like this

Discover more ways with paneer and our best korma recipes.

5. Lemony tuna pasta

Rigattoni with tuna, tomatoes and capers in a white bowl

Tuna pasta, but not as you know it. This fancy all-in-one version adds capers, mascarpone and cherry tomatoes to the mix, plus a little parmesan and lemon zest. Despite the sophisticated taste, it’s a budget-friendly recipe – and there’s only one pan to wash up.

Find more canned tuna recipes, or try our one-pan pasta recipe and veggie pasta one-pot.

6. Pork noodle stir-fry

Pork mince stir-fry with vegetables and noodles

Stir-fries are a great shout for when you want something quick, easy and healthy – but they can be boring, too. Make yours sing by using pork mince as a base, cooking it alongside garlic, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce. Tip in your usual stir-fry veg and egg noodles, toss everything together and serve with extra sauce.

Check out more stir-fry inspiration, plus our best pork mince recipes.

7. Fish fingers & mushy peas

Fish fingers & mushy peas

It’s so easy to make your own fish fingers. Slice any firm white fish (we like pollock or hake) into chunky fingers, then dip each one first into seasoned flour, then whisked egg and finally breadcrumbs – pick the panko type, if you want a really crisp coating. You can fry the fish fingers or oven-cook them. Serve with new potatoes and quick mushy peas for a family-friendly tea.

Find more fish finger options, then check out our smashed minted peas recipe.

8. Chinese chicken curry

Two bowls of Chinese chicken curry with chopsticks

Transform chicken breasts into a flavour-packed (and healthy) dinner for four. This recipe calls for the simplest ingredients and just a little bit of prep – whizz caramelised onion and garlic together with stock and storecupboard spices until smooth, then use that as the base for your curry. Serve with plenty of fluffy rice.

Discover more Chinese-style recipes, plus what to do with chicken breasts.

9. Sweet potato & peanut curry

Sweet potato and peanut curry on a white plate with a fork on the side

You can do so much with a jar of peanut butter. Add a large spoon to a quick curry base (Thai red curry paste, onion, garlic and ginger), then simmer with coconut milk and sweet potato chunks to make a main that’s scored nearly 1,000 five-out-of-five reviews on our website. Don’t forget a squeeze of lime juice to finish.

Find more recipes that make the most of peanut butter, then check out our more vegan curry recipes.

10. Chicken piccata with garlicky greens and new potatoes

Chicken piccata served with new potatoes topped with capers

Chicken, veg and potatoes – but done properly, with plenty of olive oil, stock, capers, lemon zest and parmesan for maximum flavour. It’s easy to prepare chicken breasts piccata-style (slice through the centre lengthways, so you can open each one out like a book), and you can tip parboiled new potatoes into the same pan, frying until they’re both golden. “Easy and delicious” and “it went down a storm” are just a couple of the comments left for this dish.

Find more quick chicken breast recipes and best ways with new potatoes.

Like this? Find more dinner inspiration:

Quick dinner recipes
Healthy dinner recipes
Family meals
80 dinner recipes for two
Budget dinner recipes


What recipes do you usually turn to? Leave a comment below...

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