We’ve been thinking outside the usual ‘serving suggestion’ square – because as well as being delicious and nutritious, a Dinner Ladies dish is also versatile. Here are a few of our favourite ideas. And we know you’ll have clever suggestions of your own for twists on your Dinner Ladies regulars – please send them in!
If you’ve enjoyed our boeuf Bourguignon with mash, roasties, rice, pasta… why not turn it into a delicious pie filling? And if you want to make clever home-made sushi from a leftover schnitty, or turn lamb shanks into a pasta feast for an unexpected crowd, or magic a side of mash into a cosy comfort dinner for when you can’t be bothered to go to the shops, read on…
BOEUF BOURGUIGNON – make it into pies
Dinner Ladies boeuf Bourguignon
Puff pastry – shop-bought is easy and works well, but a huge shout-out if you make your own
Egg wash (egg yolk, lightly whisked)
Fully defrost the boeuf Bourguignon and microwave it for 30 seconds before starting, to make it easier to spoon out. Preheat your oven to 200C.
You need a large-hole muffin tray or cupcake tray if you want to make small pies, or a pie dish for one large pie. Lightly grease the tray or dish (we use spray oil).
Cut your puff pastry with round cookie cutters or a glass, to make pie bases and lids to fit your tray. Line the tray with the bases and spoon the boeuf Bourguignon into the pastry bases – make sure to get a good mix of beef, carrot, onions and a little sauce in each. Don’t add to much sauce or it tends to bubble out.
Top with the pastry lids and seal the edges by crimping with your fingers or a fork. Poke a small hole in the top of each pie to let hot air escape. Brush the tops with a little egg wash.
Bake for 45 mins (longer if you’re making one big pie) until the pastry is golden and crisp. Cool in the tray for 5 minutes and then pop them out with a knife. Serve with a great chutney or just good ol’ ketchup!
CHICKEN SCHNITZEL – make your own lunchbox sushi
1 cup sushi rice (Japanese white short-grain rice)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Dinner Ladies chicken schnitzel
Sheets of nori seaweed
Avocado, cut into slices
Soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi, to serve
Cook the sushi rice following the packet instructions and leave to cool. Once cooled, stir in the rice wine vinegar.
Cook your schnitzel as per the instructions. Cut into thin strips.
Lay a nori sheet on the work surface and spread a little sushi rice at one end. Add a strip of schnitzel and avocado. Roll up your sushi roll. Slice or eat whole – whichever you prefer – with soy, ginger and wasabi.
SLOW-COOKED LAMB SHANKS – turn them into pasta sauce to feed a crowd
Dinner Ladies spiced, slow-cooked lamb shanks
Butter, parmesan and maybe black olives
1 jar shop-bought tomato pasta sauce or passata, if you have any
Heat the lamb shanks as per the instructions on the pack (this takes just a few minutes in the microwave). Shred the meat from the bones and discard the bones.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water. Drain the pasta, keeping 1 cup of the cooking water, and return to the pan. Add the shredded lamb shanks and the cooking water to help the sauce coat the pasta.
Toss together with a knob of butter, some grated parmesan and black olives if you have them. If you have a jar of pasta sauce or tomato passata in the pantry, heat and add that too to help the sauce stretch further.
BUTTERED MASH – magic it into a leek and potato soup dinner
3 large leeks
1 tablespoon olive oil
500 ml vegetable or chicken stock
300 ml full-cream milk
Dinner Ladies buttered mash
Thoroughly wash and finely chop the leeks. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the leeks for about 5 minutes until golden.
Add the stock and milk to the pan and bring almost to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the leeks are very soft. Cool a little and then puree with a hand-held blender.
Heat the mash as per the instructions (in the microwave for a few minutes). Stir into the soup in the pan, adding as much as you like for your preferred consistency (we like a thick and hearty soup so we add all the potato).
Reheat a little if necessary and season with salt and pepper. You can serve with a dollop of crème fraiche and even make toasted croutons from day-old bread if you want to push the soup boat right out!
Shop here for all the dinners and enjoy getting creative!