It’s not important to be proper at dinner – just to have a proper dinner.
We live in a fast paced world where everyone’s idea of eating dinner is different (when was the last time it was in front of the TV in your trackies?).
Whether you are planning a romantic, candle-lit affair, or a noisy one with kids screaming, dogs barking and the radio blaring, the important thing is you don’t have to be fancy, or go to a lot of trouble: just have a nutritious, balanced meal with beef or lamb and plenty of veggies.
Packed full of nutrients, beef or lamb 3-4 times a week turns your evening meal into a proper dinner.
But how do you know if a meal is healthy and nutritious and where can you get recipe inspiration? Look no further for we have the answers.
Healthy is far from boring
The days of believing that healthy food has to be boring and bland have thankfully long since passed.
Meals will be naturally healthy and enjoyable when you use:
- mainly fresh, unprocessed ingredients
- flavour with herbs and spices
- fruits and vegetables that are in season
- high fibre, wholegrain or lower GI carbohydrate foods (such as whole grains, pasta, basmati rice, brown rice, noodles and sweet potato)
The key to a healthy, proper dinner is BALANCE!
There is a simple rule to apply to any meal to ensure it is balanced, healthy and delivering you and your family the vital nutrients we all require.
When plated or combined (as in a stir fry) aim for your meal to have:
- ¼ beef or lamb (trimmed of fat, unless already purchased lean)
- ¼ carbohydrate (e.g sweet potato, brown rice)
- ½ vegetables (at least 3 different types of vegetables)
You don't need to change a lot to have a proper dinner
Using the principles of balance outlined above, you may find that with little or no change, your current dinner repertoire is brimming full of healthy and delicious recipes.
If not…here are some delicious, nutritious meals that are truly easy to cook from scratch and solve the “What’s for dinner tonight” dilemma!
A little help – what to buy, what to cook and how to turn it into a healthy dinner success
Here are a range of proper dinner recipes using beef and lamb and we’ve also included tips and links to help take the worry out of which cut to buy and how to cook the beef and lamb to perfection.
Restore the right balance to your plate with these stir-fry, roast and barbecue beef and lamb proper dinner meals
- Brush beef/lamb strips lightly with oil instead of adding oil to the wok.
- Ensure the wok is hot before you begin to cook beef/lamb or vegetables. It should be hot enough to evaporate a bead of water on contact.
- Cook beef/lamb in small batches (about 250g).
- Set beef/lamb aside and return to the pan with sauces once the vegetables are cooked.
- Preheat the oven in line with the type of beef you are roasting (see our suggested cooking times chart). Also determine the weight of the roast.
- Place the roast on a rack in a roasting dish. Brush it lightly with oil. Season with your choice of flavourings.
- Different cuts of beef require different cooking times per fixed weight. For ease and accuracy use a meat thermometer.
- Remove roast when cooked to desired degree. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with foil and rest for 10-20 minutes before carving. Carve the roast across the grain to ensure tenderness.
BBQ, pan-fry or chargrill
The quick dry-heat techniques of barbecuing, pan-frying or chargrilling are building blocks for many great balance beef and lamb meals.
- Coat the beef/lamb in oil instead of adding oil to the barbecue grill or pan. If the beef/lamb has been marinated lightly pat it dry with paper towel.
- Ensure the barbecue is hot or pan moderately-hot before you cook; the beef/lamb should sizzle as it makes contact with the hot surface.
- Let the beef/lamb cook on one side until moisture appears, then turn once only. Use tongs (rather than a barbecue fork) to turn.
- With practice you can judge the beef’s readiness by touch. Rare is soft, well done is very firm. Rest the beef for a few minutes before serving.