Debi's Recipe Pages


 2. Here's One I Made Earlier

I love cooking, but like to prepare as much as possible in advance, so I can produce a meal quickly and with minimum effort once Eddie gets home from work, or if we have guests.

In this section I have included, not only dishes that can be prepared in advance and finished later, but also things that are simply quick to cook and those that re-heat well.


Lasagne al Forno (For Six)

6 oz oven-ready lasagne sheets

1 lb minced beef

4 oz streaky bacon, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 x 14oz can of tomatoes

2 tblsp tomato purée

1/4 pint beef stock

1 tsp sugar

2 tblsp fresh chopped oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper

2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated

Olive oil

For the bechamel sauce:

1 oz butter

2 oz plain flour

1 pint milk

8 oz Ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese, sieved)

Salt & black pepper




Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and fry to golden. Add the garlic and bacon and fry to crisp. Add the mince and fry until browned, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée, stock, oregano, sugar and pepper to taste. bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then lower the heat, cover and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes.

In a second saucepan, melt the butter, stir in the flour to form a roux*, lower the heat then gradually add the milk, stirring vigorously. When all the milk is incorporated, bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat, add the seasonings to taste and simmer gently for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, leave to cool, then stir in the ricotta cheese.

In a shallow baking dish, assemble layers of meat, then pasta, then sauce ending with a layer of bechamel sauce. Cover the top layer of sauce with the Parmesan cheese.

At this stage you can cover the dish in clingfilm or foil and refrigerate for a day or two, until you need it.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375ºF, 190ºC for 30 minutes. Allow to stand for five minutes before serving.


If you have trouble with the bechamel and can't get rid of lumps of roux in the milk - chuck the lot in a blender and whizz for a minute to smooth it out before bringing to the boil ;-)

 * Or, ROO as our little friend insists!



Beef Casserole (For Two)

1 lb chuck steak, cut into cubes

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, in thick rounds

1 tblsp oilve oil

1 tblsp plain flour

1 beef Oxo (stock) cube

1 bottle brown ale

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp dried thyme

1 bay leaf

Salt and black pepper to taste


In a large stovetop-safe casserole or oven-safe pan, heat the oil and sear the meat until brown. Remove the meat and put to one side. Add the onions to the pan and fry until turning brown at the edges. Lower the heat and return the beef and any juices to the pan. Stir in the flour, then add the ale and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the carrots, stock cube, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Cover and transfer to an oven, pre-heated to 275ºF,140ºC.

Leave it there for two and a half hours while you go and do something fun. It'll be very very hot when you take it out of the oven, so let it stand uncovered for a few minutes before serving. Don't forget to take the bayleaf out! Great served with mashed potatoes to mop up all that lovely gravy.



Lamb Casserole (For Two)

1 lb stewing lamb cut into large cubes

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, in thick rounds

6 new potatoes, halved

1 tblsp olive oil

1 tblsp plain flour

1 pint low salt beef stock

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 sprigs rosemary (in muslin)

Salt and black pepper to taste


Same as for Beef Casserole (above), substituting the stock for beer and cooking for only one and three quarter hours. You add the potatoes after the first hour. Doesn't need to be served with anything as its all in there!






Ann's Chicken & Chorizo Bake (For Two)

4 chicken thighs (skinned and boned, if you're fussy)

A handful of chopped chorizo sausage

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

2 courgettes, thickly sliced

1 tin of tomatoes

1 tblsp tomato paste

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil



Fry the chicken thighs in a little olive oil to seal all over. Place in a shallow oven proof dish along with the sausage and vegetables..

Fry the onions and garlic until turning golden, then stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree and season to taste. Pour over the chicken and vegetables and bake in a pre-heated oven at 300ºF, 150ºC for about 2 hours. If it looks like drying out, stir in a little water.


You can chuck in any vegetables you fancy. I added some black olives, Herbs de Provence and finished with a chiffonade of fresh basil.


Chicken and Prosciutto (For Two)

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, fillets removed

4 slices of Prosciutto (Parma ham)

Olive oil



Wrap each chicken breast in two slices of ham, brush with olive oil and place in a baking dish. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400ºF, 200ºC for 35 minutes.


Chicken with Spicy Mango & Coconut Sauce (For Two)

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes or strips

1 mango, cut into small cubes or slices

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 medium tomato, skinned and chopped

1 green chile, de-seeded and finely chopped

1 small red, orange or yellow pepper, de-seeded and sliced

1 can of coconut cream plus 1/2 can water

1/4 tsp each of paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, salt

1 tblsp lemon juice

1 tblsp sugar

Olive oil


In a large frying pan, saute the onion in oil until golden. Add mango, tomato, chile and pepper and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Stir in the coconut cream, water, salt, sugar, spices and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to reduce the sauce.

Now, you can allow the sauce to cool,put in a covered dish and refrigerate until needed, or carry on if you're ready to eat! To finish, saute the the chicken quickly in a little oil until the meat is sealed and just beginning to brown. Pour over the sauce and simmer on medium heat for another 10 to 12 minutes. Serve with rice.


This recipe can be made with strips of pork instead of chicken.


Salmon Fillets with Soy & Ginger Sauce (For Two)

Two skinless salmon fillets

1 15oz bottle of low sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 tblsp minced fresh ginger

1 spring onion (scallion), finely chopped



Combine the soy sauce, sugar and ginger in a large frying pan. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to medium. Add the salmon fillets, cover the pan and simmer for ten minutes. Remove the salmon and put onto plates in a warm oven. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce it until its quite thick and syrupy. Drizzle some sauce over each salmon fillet and garnish with the spring onion. Serve with plain boiled rice and a green veg, like mange touts, sugar snap peas or french beans.


Herb Crusted Salmon (For Two)

2 skinless salmon fillets

2 slices of olive ciabatta bread, crusts removed

1 shallot, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tblsp fresh basil, chopped

1 tblsp fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 tsp anchovy paste

Freshly ground pepper

Olive oil


Break ciabatta into pices and put into a blender with the shallot, garlic, herbs, anchovy paste and pepper. Pulse to coarse crumbs. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the two salmon fillets and place in an overproof dish. Drizzle with olive oil, then place in a preheated oven at 400ºF, 200ºC for 15 minutes.



Smoked Salmon & Spinach Crepes (For Two)

2 large or 4 small crepes (buy ready made if you're lazy)

1/2 lb fresh spinach leaves, washed twice

2 oz Ricotta cheese

2 tblsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper






Put the spinach leaves and a little salt into a saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally until it has all wilted. Drain in a colander, pressing out the liquid with the back of a spoon. Put the spinach onto a board and chop finely, then place in a bowl with the ricotta and parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

Place a strip of smoked salmon across each crepe about a 1/3 of the way down. Spread the spinach mixture on top of the salmon, the put another strip of spinach on top of the spinach. Roll up the crepes and place in an oven proof dish. ou can refridgerate them until needed.

To finish place in a preaheated oven at 375ºF, 190ºC for about 20 minutes, or until warmed right through.

Serve brushed with melted butter, or a dollop of sour cream or with Hollandaise sauce.


Grilled Tuna with Pineapple Salsa (For Four)

4 tuna steaks

1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored & cut into small chunks

1 small red pepper, de-seeded and chopped

2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped

1 serrano chili, de-seeded and minced

1/2" fresh ginger, peeled & minced

1 tblsp lime juice



Salsa: Mix all the ingreditents together in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Brush the tuna steaks with some lime juice and grill for 3 minutes each side for rare or 6-7 minutes for well done.


This is nice with swordfish instead of tuna.


Wiener Schnitzel (For Two)

2 veal escalopes (about 4oz each)

2 oz dried breadcrumbs

1 egg, beaten

2 lemons

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Butter for frying






Remove any membranes from the edges of the veal escalopes. Place each escalope between two sheets of polythene (or into a sandwich bag) and beat with a mallet on both sides, until very thin. Sprinkle the escalopes on both sides with the juice of one lemon and salt and pepper. Place the escalopes on a plate, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Dip each escalope into the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs, ensuring they are coated all over, then refrigerate for at least ten minutes. This is the stage where you can leave them alone for a few hours!

Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan until foaming. Fry the escalopes over a high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until tender and golden-brown. Drain on kitchen paper. Quarter the remainig lemon to serve with the schnitzel.


Good served with Ratatouille.

Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce (For Two)

2 servings of pasta

1 tblsp pesto sauce

4 oz creme fraiche

Fresh parmesan, shaved

Freshly ground black pepper





Cook your pasta according the directions (slightly less time than they say for a nice al dente pasta) and drain. Meanwhile, warm the creme fraiche in a large saucepan. Stir in the pesto until mixed well. Tip all the pasta into the sauce and stir in well over a low heat. Serve sprinkled with pepper and a generous amount of Parmesan shavings.


Yes, pesto is meant to be served "as is", but it does make an excellent base for a creamy sauce too.

You can add cooked bacon, prosciutto, cooked chicken strips, asparagus tips, artichokes, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes or whatever you fancy.


Saffron Risotto (For Two)

1/2 cup Arborio rice

1 small white onion, finely chopped

1 pint hot chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 glass dry white wine

1/4 tsp powdered saffron

2 oz butter

2 tblsp Parmesan, grated

Salt & freshly ground pepper




In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the saffron Then add the onion and cook gently to soften. Add the rice and cook gently for a minute or two, then stir in the wine and season to taste. Add the stock a little at a time while simmering over a low heat. Stir regularly to prevent sticking and keep adding the stock until it has all been absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Mix in the grated parmesan and allow to stand for five minutes before serving.

You can make this in advance, then reheat in the pan over a medium flame, stirring constantly.


You can serve this risotto as a side dish or add other things to make a main course. My favourite combination is cooked chicken, bacon and petit pois. You can also stir in rocket or arugula leaves at the last minute - this version makes a good accompaniment for salmon fillets.


Souvlakia (For Two)

Lean lamb, cubed (two double handfuls)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cup fresh oregano (or 1 tblsp dried)

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tblsp olive oil

Salt & freshly gound pepper


Put the garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil into a bowl and mix together. Add the lamb and mix to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Thread the lamb cubes onto skewers if putting under a grill or for a BBQ. Don't bother if grilling in a griddle pan as they make things awkward. Cook on a high heat, turning occasionally until dark brown on the outside and pinkish in the middle. Serve with rice, or green salad, or in pita bread.

Spicy Lamb (For Two)

Lean lamb, cubed (two double handfuls)

1/2 white onion, halved and finely sliced

1 tblsp olive oil

1/4 tsp each of cayenne pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, paprika and salt

1/2 lemon




Combine all the spices with the olive oil in a bowl. Add the lamb and mix in to ensure its all well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Pre-heat a griddle until very hot, then add the lamb. Separate all the chunks and turn over occasionally, so they cook evenly. Add the onions when the lamb is sealed all over and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the lamb is dark brown on the outside and (hopefully) still slightly pink in the middle. The timing will depend on how big your pieces of lamb are of course! Sprinkle with paprika and serve over plain rice with a lemon wedge for squeezing.


Mix diced cucumber into natural yoghurt for a refreshing side dish.