Three dinnertime shortcuts for busy summer nights

Everyone wants to make the most of those long, balmy days, right? These simple, nutritious evening meals are super speedy, so you can spend more time al-fresco with the family.

When you have young children (and busy grown-ups) keen to make the most of beautiful summer days, keeping up with everyone's schedule can prove hectic.

Dinnertime is a chance for everyone to come together and share their day, but with sports clubs, exercise classes and the new school year to prepare for, it can all start to feel like a bit of a whirlwind.

Easy one-pot or no-cook dinners are perfect for this time of year, and are made extra appealing by the fact there's less to clean up afterwards.

Leave any dishes with stubborn grease or baked-on food soaking in Fairy Original Washing Up Liquid so you can spend time with the kids before bed - it really guarantees an easy clean later on as Fairy cuts through it all, meaning you can wash, rinse and dry... no scrubbing required.

1. Make it in one pot

A light summer risotto is both tasty and filling. Although this dish requires attention as you add the liquid, it's happy simmering for 25 minutes while you sort sports kit or back-to-school admin.
Here's how to do it...
Serves six

  1. Melt 2tbsp of butter in a large pot. Add one small onion and one small fennel bulb, chopped, and stir until soft, then add 395g of Arborio rice.
  2. Slowly stir in 175ml of dry white wine and 1.8 litres of chicken stock, a bit at a time, adding more liquid as it's absorbed, stirring continuously.
  3. Simmer for 25 minutes, then add 450g of large raw shrimps, peeled, and cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Stir through another tablespoon of butter, 30g parmesan cheese, season and serve.

2. Happy campers

Why not turn the evening meal into a sociable, al-fresco occasion with a casual barbecue? Nothing says summer more than tasty frankfurters in finger rolls or sliced buns, served with ketchup, mustard and mayo - and using recyclable paper plates means less washing up.

Serve with a big bowl of coleslaw (throw in some red and purple cabbage alongside the green, and some crunchy yellow peppers), so there's no mum guilt about them not getting enough veggies...

For four more ways to enjoy mealtimes outside, click here.

3. Bake it great

Salmon baked in the oven will look after itself pretty much. Because it's cooked with olive oil and a mixed herbs coat on top, it's protected from the heat and is less likely to overcook.
Here's how to do it...
Feeds four

  1. Heat the oven to 250°F, then pour 4tbsp olive oil into a reasonably deep baking tray or pan and lay as much salmon as you need to feed the family on top, skin side down. Season well.
  2. Finely chop (or pop in the food processor) one large shallot and equal amounts dill and parsley. Add at least two tablespoons olive oil, then spread over the top of the salmon.
  3. Bake for around 25 minutes (if the fish flakes easily then it's done - if not, pop it back for another five minutes). Serve with warm ciabatta and a big green salad - delicious.

Got a speedy supper idea that's never let you down?We'd love to hear it - please add your comments below.

And for more family-friendly dining ideas visit our Fairy page.