Super easy tomato pasta bake

If you have been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I’m a strong believer in making easy food that tastes good every day of the week. And you will know that midweek meals don’t have to be a hassle. This recipe, which is based on a Co-operative Food Magazine recipe that I ever so slightly tweaked, is perfect when you fancy some tasty comfort food but don’t want to/have time to spare. It’s ready in 30 minutes and it requires minimum effort. If you are feeding a family, you can just double the ingredients.

While the Co-op recipe only uses four ingredients, I took the liberty to add and change a couple of things to make this even tastier! I swapped the cheddar for creamy mozzarella, and added olives and fresh basil to add more flavour to the dish.

Super easy tomato pasta bake

Pasta Bake 2

Serves 2 | Prep 5 minutes | Cook 30 minutes
Easy | Vegetarian

Tip: If you like it spicy, add a few pinches dried crushed chilli to the tomato soup before adding it to the pasta.

You’ll need:

  • 150g fusilli pasta (or alternative pasta shapes such as penne);
  • 100g green beans, trimmed and roughly chopped;
  • 600g tomato and basil soup;
  • small handful pitted black olives;
  • 1 mozzarella ball, drained;
  • small handful fresh basil leaves, to serve;
  • grated parmesan, to serve.

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/Gas 6. Cook the pasta according to pack instructions. A few minutes before the end of cooking time, add the green beans to the pan. Drain the pasta and beans and put into an ovenproof dish.

Add the soup and black olives to the dish and mix. Shred the mozzarella over the pasta and bake for about 15 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan and a few shredded basil leaves.

Original recipe from Co-operative Food Magazine, available online here.

Now a short Food Notes story. Completely unrelated to the recipe, something fantastic happened today. For the first time since I’ve opened Food Notes, I met someone who reads the blog that I didn’t know! Thank you, David, for making my day – hearing that someone enjoys the recipes I put on really meant a lot and makes running Food Notes all the more special!


Previously posted on this date (Jan 14th):

== 2018 ==
* Pan-roasted ling with clams, perry & curly kale

Steak & Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Quick dinners are a necessity in our house during the week and there are a few quick recipes coming to the blog. Starting with a healthy steak salad to recharge the batteries for the week ahead. Check out the recipe below from BBC Good Food April 2018 issue.

Steak & Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Serves 2 | Prep 15 minutes | Cook 10 minutes | Easy
You’ll need:
  • 85g brown noodles;
  • 1 tsp rapeseed oil;
  • 250g fillet steak;
  • 2 carrots, peeled into ribbons;
  • 1/2 Chinese cabbage;
  • 4 spring onions;
  • 20g pack coriander, roughly chopped
For the dressing:
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed and thinly sliced;
  • 1 lime, juiced;
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar;
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar;
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped;
  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce.

Make the dressing. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together in a bowl with 1 tbsp water until the sugar has dissolved.

For the salad. Cook the noodles following pack instructions then plunge into a bowl of cold water to cool completely. Drain the noodles, then add the carrot, cabbage, spring onion and dressing and toss to combine.

Cook the steak. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Season the steak, then cook to you liking: 2-3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, then slice.

To serve, divide the salad and steak slices between bowls and scatter over some coriander to serve.

Original recipe from BBC Good Food issue April 2018, available here.

Chickpea, pepper and tomato curry

I found this recipe in an old Olive Magazine, issue March 2015, and have been meaning to try it for a while. I have a soft spot for quick curry recipies which use a lot of veggies and are perhaps a bit healthier and lighter than heavier coconut based or meaty curries. This particular recipe only took me about 30 minutes from starting to chop the vegetables to serving and it’s therefore another great midweek dish. It will go well with rice, naan, chapati, or my personal favourite – paratha, breads. It’s also perfect for a leftover lunch the following day so you can easily double the recipe.

Chickpea, pepper and tomato curry


Tip: The original Olive recipe also contains spinach which will go really beautifully with it. If you want to add spinach, just add about 260g at the end of the cooking time and stir until it’s wilted.

Serves 4 | Prep: 15 mins | Cook 15 minutes | Easy | Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free

You’ll need:

  • 1 green chilli, halved;
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled;
  • thumb sized piece ginger, peeled;
  • rapeseed oil;
  • 1 onion, chopped;
  • garam masala, 1 tbsp;
  • turmeric, 1/2 tsp;
  • cumin, 1 tsp;
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained;
  • 3 peppers, chopped,
  • 440g can chopped tomatoes.

Whizz the chilli, garlic and ginger in a blender to make a paste. Fry in a 1 tsp rapeseed oil until fragrant before adding the onion. Cook for 2 minutes before adding the garam masala, turmeric and cumin.

Add the chickpeas, peppers and chopped tomatoes. Fill the empty chopped tomatoes can halfway with water and add to the curry. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Season and serve with naan, chapati or rice.

Original recipe from Olive magazine, issue March 2015.

If you want to serve it as a bigger meal, you can also make the carrot and ginger bhajis and/or paneer featured in this post.

Smoked salmon & cream cheese linguine

I won’t claim this pasta dish to be an Italian classic or anything, but it certainly hits the spot for me. Pasta dishes should be simple, easy and quick to cook, which makes this dish perfect for a mid-week dinner. This pasta dish includes one of my favourite combinations – smoked salmon &  cream cheese. Though you’d usually find me eating this on a bagel, it works really well as a pasta sauce. My inspiration for this was another Waitrose recipe, but I changed it up a bit as you’ll see.

Smoked salmon and cream cheese linguine


Serves 2 | Prep 5 minutes | Cook 15 minutes | Easy

What you’ll need:

  • 1tbsp olive oil;
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped;
  • 150g  linguine;
  • 50ml white wine;
  • 75g cream cheese;
  • 100g smoked salmon;
  • Handful chopped dill

To make:

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently saute the onion for 6 minutes or until it soft and starting to turn golden. Season. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the linguine and simmer for 9 minutes.

Drain the pasta reserving 100ml of the cooking water. Add the white wine to the onions and let it bubble for a couple of minutes. Add the cream cheese, cooking liquid and seasoning, stirring to combine over a high heat. Take off the heat, toss the linguine through the sauce, then stir in the salmon and dill. Serve!



Speedy Pepper & Black Bean Chilli

This week is all about quick mid-week dinners which also double as perfect lunches the following day. As it happens, the second recipe this week is also vegetarian and if you don’t add the cheese – can be vegan too. I got the recipe from a Waitrose recipe card and it’s packed with flavour, slightly spicy and counts as one of your five a day. Serve with rice, sour cream, guacamole and pickled jalapenos for a delicious mid-week dinner.

Speedy Pepper & Black Bean Chilli


Serves 4 | Prep 10 minutes | Cook 15 minutes | Easy | Vegetarian, Gluten-Free

You’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil;
  • 200g Mixed Romano peppers, deseeded and sliced;
  • 1 red onion, sliced;
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only, chopped;
  • 400g can black beans, drained and rinsed;
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes with basil;
  • 2 tsp chipotle paste.

To serve:

  • 50g grated Cheddar;
  • Cooked rice or baked potatoes;
  • Guacamole;
  • Pickled Jalapenos;
  • Soured cream.


1. Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan and cook the peppers, onion and rosemary for 5 minutes until softened.

2. Add the beans, tomatoes and chipotle paste, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

3. To serve: Spoon the chilli into bowls with cooked rice or baked potatoes. Sprinkle with the cheddar, and top with guacamole, jalapenos and soured cream.

Original recipe from Waitrose.