8 Apr 2024

Nicole Maguire: specialist in simple family dinners

From Nine To Noon, 11:30 am on 8 April 2024

Tired of the "never-ending cycle of one wondering what to make for dinner", Nicole Maguire went on a mission to set herself up for meal-making success.

The Aussie food blogger shares easy, low-cost dinner recipes on her website and in the new cookbook The Simple Dinner Edit.

Nicole Maguire and book cover

Photo: Supplied: Macmillan

As a way to share the dinner recipes that were working so well for her family, Maguire she first created "a basic little website".

"Fast-forward four years, we've got a beautiful, amazing community which has just been such a positive space for me personally," she tells Kathryn Ryan.

On a day that her kids have after-school activities, Maguire plans for a one-pot dinner to take the pressure off.

One Pot Greek Chicken and Rice is one that her family especially enjoy.

"Minimal chopping, you sear off the chicken and then you saute some onion and garlic, popping the rice and chicken stock and all those lovely flavours with oregano and lemon go into that, as well. Then the chicken is popped in, it all cooks in one pan with the lid on and that's it. There's a little bit of spinach thrown in at the end. Everyone's happy and satisfied."

One Pot Greek Chicken and Rice

One Pot Greek Chicken and Rice Photo: Nicole Maguire / Simple Home Edit

If you want to commit to a new dinner regime, decluttering the kitchen is a great start, Maguire says.

"Keeping items that you actually use and love on the daily is key to being most efficient in the kitchen."

The cupboard under the kitchen sink is a space which commonly becomes a dumping ground, she says, and not that pleasant to visit.

"You've made this beautiful meal and then it's time to clean up and you open up that under sink area and plastic bags come flooding out, you've maybe got cleaning supplies in there ... it can be quite overwhelming."

People tend to "underutilise" the freezer, Maguire says. She likes hers especially for sliced sourdough bread and cooked pasta.

"Cook an entire bag of pasta and then freeze any leftovers so you avoid half-opened packets in the pantry ... If I'm making lunches for the kids in the morning. I can make a nice tuna pasta."

Another easy and "absolutely delicious" dinner recipe Maguire recommends is Easy Curry Laksa.

" It rivals any takeaway restaurant and I'm not just saying that, it is really, really, really good ... I think there's nothing wrong with purchasing really good-quality curry paste from the supermarket. In this particular recipe, I use red curry paste, which is what gives that really punchy flavour to the soup."

Easy Curry Laksa

Easy Curry Laksa Photo: Nicole Maguire / Simple Home Edit