Minimum Effort – Maximum Results

There are times when the freezer, followed by the microwave just wont do! Nothing impresses more than a swanky cooked meal! But there is no need to go out and buy swathes of cookbooks, employ the internet and with minimum effort and cooking knowledge you can prepare an impressive meal that will ensure she is convinced you are the next Gordon Ramsey!

We have trawled and tried and tested and found our top three – Minimum Effort: Maximum Results recipes! 

Easy Paella 

If you only ever use one cooking and recipe site – make it the BBC's good food site, its rammed to the brim with excellent, easy to follow recipes, and this Paella is no exception,  It has just two stages to it, few ingredients, it uses frozen seafood which is all ready prepared and easy to use.  The only effort needed is to stay with the dish and keep stirring!  You don't need a paella pan, a large frying pan, a saucepan or even a non-stock wok will do the job perfectly.  Serve this Paella with some fresh crusty bread and a green salad, plus a large glass of crisp white wine and you simply cannot go wrong!   

If you or your dining partner are not huge fans of seafood, simply replace with chicken breast and chorizo sausage for a equally delicious meaty version. 

Jamie Oliver's Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Crispy Posh Ham

You cant really go wrong with chicken!  Well you can, overcooked dry chicken is not what you want!  But, if you follow this recipe carefully that wont be happening, the ingredient list is not too huge and nothing too exciting is needed, however the end result is impressively tasty.  Try and buy good free range chicken breasts, the taste really will be better, and if its a special occasion hopefully worth the extra few pence!  Remember to grate your parmesan cheese on the smallest side of your grater (or simply buy ready grated parmesan cheese (if you cant find parmesan, pecorino will do the trick just as well) – what wont however is that horrible dried grated parmesan cheese, avoid that at all costs!). 

This dish goes deliciously with new potatoes and buttered steamed green beans, or just a green salad and the never failing crusty fresh bread!

Two Tone Chocolate Mousse

No meal is complete without a delicious impressive dessert, and one you can make hours in advance, and just whip outta the fridge when needed is even better.  This recipe is extremely easy to follow and contains the all important chocolate!, and plenty of it.   Bear in mind the recipe is for a large quality (serving up to 8) so either make up lots and pig out testing it! or employ your calculator and cut the recipe down for two!  You don't need serving glasses, this mousse looks great served in a tall wine glass!   I made the mistake when I first tested this recipe, of not allowing the mousse enough time to chill before serving, it really does need at least six hours, or you could well have a splodgy mess.  Make this recipe at the start of the day, giving yourself plenty of time to chill it down before you add layer number two! 

Buy the best quality dark chocolate you can, it really does make a difference.  If either you or your dining partner has a nut allergy, replace the Toblerone with a good quality milk chocolate!  For extra wow, add a few chopped strawberries and a sprig of mint on the top as a garnish.


There is no need for huge culinary expertise or a kitchen full of gadgets, all of the above recipes are easy to make and have requisite wow factor. 

Have your own easy special recipes?  Let us know below. 


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