After a busy day at work or with the family, the last thing most of us feel like is spending hours preparing and cooking an evening meal.
Unless you want to live on ready-made supermarket dishes (an expensive and not always healthy option), the solution is to have a few simple recipes up your sleeve which, after a practice session or two, you can whip up in no time at all.
The beauty of these recipes is that you won't need to spend ages shopping for them either. Most of the ingredients are store-cupboard items, meaning that all you need to do is grab a few fresh extras when required.
And although all the recipes serve two, they can easily be increased to serve four or more.
I've also tried to keep the cooking part really simple - which, of course, cuts down on the washing up, leaving you more time to relax and wind down after a busy day.
2 strips/120-150g of dried medium egg noodles
2tbsp sesame oil
1/2-1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2-3cm piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
200g raw, peeled tiger prawns
100g tenderstem broccoli, cut into smallish pieces
1/2 red pepper, cut into strips
2 handfuls of sugarsnap peas
1 small courgette, cut into thin pieces
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into thin pieces
4 spring onions, cut into 2cm lengths
3tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
1 1/2tbsp dark soy sauce
1 1/2tbsp runny honey
1tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions and drain. Heat 1tbsp of the sesame oil in a wok on a high setting and add the chilli, garlic and ginger. Cook for 30 seconds before adding the prawns. Stir-fry the prawns until they are pink and then remove them from the wok and keep to one side.
Add the remaining 1tbsp of oil to the wok over a high heat, and add the broccoli, red pepper, sugarsnap peas, courgette, carrot and spring onion. Stir-fry for a few minutes, until the vegetables are starting to go tender but retain some crunch.
Add the rice wine or sherry, soy sauce and honey. Turn the vegetables in the wok, cooking for a minute, return the prawns to the pan and add the cooked noodles. Toss around until the noodles are heated through. Scatter on the sesame seeds and serve straight away.
Thin strips of chicken, beef or pork can be used as an alternative to prawns.