January 23, 2015
Ever get bored of eating the same old thing or sit for ages wondering what on earth to feed the children with this week? Wonder no more. Here I'm sharing some of my favourite recipes, that I make pretty often and serve up to the whole family - that's my 1 year old, my 3 year old and my husband and I.
They're all easy to make, some are super quick and some take a little longer - I've made a note of which are which.
I enjoy to cook, but I'm no qualified chef so most of my recipes are at least based on ones I've found in books or online. I've posted direct links so you can enjoy them too, click on the titles to go directly to the relevant page.
QUICK AND EASY
Perfect recipes for the afternoons you come in late from soft play or have been at work.
1. Hob to table moussaka
I tried this when my eldest daughter was going through a super fussy eating stage, I thought it looked a bit like the much loved bolognese and so I hoped I'd get away with it. Yippee, it worked! It is so easy to make and sooooo tasty!
The jarred aubergine makes this super fast to prepare, but it can be difficult to find (I'm able to get it from a 'big' Sainsbury's but not seen it elsewhere). You could either use a fresh one and bake it first or *shock horror* substitute it for something else. In a rush at the weekend I used jarred red pepper. It still tasted as good (although could not really be called moussaka anymore). I don't bother with the mint unless I have some in and crumble on only as much feta as looks right - the amount specified I think is a bit overpowering.
2. Pasta with a creamy bacon and pea sauce
Something that tastes this good, should not be this easy. It is done in the time it takes the pasta to cook. Use any type of pasta and I shortcut by using cubed pancetta. I also tend to use full fat creme fraiche as it's better for the kids and the mint really enhances this dish's flavour (but again I leave it out if I have none to hand).
3. Curried coconut courgette couscous
Yes, couscous can be a bit messy for little ones - but this is really tasty and something a bit different from the usual pasta/rice scenario. As suggested in the method, I serve it with some pan fried fish (salmon or trout) but I also chuck on some diced cucumber mixed with natural yogurt to avoid it becoming a bit of a 'dry do'. If you wanted to, you could smear the fish that's for the grown ups in curry paste too before frying and chuck some chopped chilli in the yogurt for extra kick.
4. Super Easy Homemade Roasted Veg Pasta Sauce
You'll never buy it in a jar again. Bung a load of roughly chopped Mediterranean veg like peppers, courgettes, red onions etc into the oven with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and white wine/cider vinegar and roast for about 20 mins or so. Blitz with a tin of tomatoes and some basil and serve with pasta of your choice! You can make the sauce ahead of time and pop in the fridge for the evening, or freezer if you're using up veg ready for another time. My husband likes me to pop some chicken with it too but the girls and I are just as happy as it is.
5. Slow roasted pork ragu
Oh wow. This is ridiculously tasty. For it to be super quick and easy, you need to be using left over slow roast pork (see recipe number 13 lower down in this list). You can find this recipe in Jamie Oliver's Save With Jamie book, or by clicking on the link above. Note the link is to the recipe I found on another blogger's page. I don't think the pictures he shows do it justice, plus ignore what he says about serving it on pasta - while that's perfectly great (and what I often do), it is just as lovely on a jacket potato or piled on toast.
6. Leeks, mushrooms and pancetta pasta
Based on a recipe by Gordon Ramsey, here's my version:
EASY BUT A TEENSY BIT MORE TIME REQUIRED
Don't groan! If you are in and around home you can save time on these recipes by prepping veg and so on earlier on, which means it'll take less time to cook. Plus, many of these recipes will leave you with leftovers which you can either freeze for another day or have as a lunch etc. So they are well worth the effort.
Risotto is so versatile and soooo tasty, I love it for its ability (like good old spag bol) for getting lots of veggies into the little ones without them realising. You can pop in all sorts of meat and veg, I've laid down my basic recipe below. You'll need about 45 mins for this one roughly.
Home made is so much better and you can do it with the children too! We often use this Jamie Oliver recipe. I make enough sauce to use the whole jar of tomatoes and then freeze what I don't so it's even easier next time! Sometimes we shortcut the base and buy ready made, but this really is easy enough to do yourself too....
9. Saucy Seasonal Greens
Yum, yum, yum. Gorgeous tomatoey sauce with green veg and sausage over pasta. I reckon 45 minutes start to finish, but you can save time here by prepping your sausages and veg earlier in the day and then it should only take you about 20-25 mins to cook.
10. Fish pie
It does take a little time this one, but you can make it ahead of time. I often prep the pie in the morning (make the mash for the topping and get the ingredients mixed together then combine in the pie dish and refrigerate) then just pop it in the oven when we want it, so it can actually become a quick meal if you have chance to prep early. Plus, we always we have enough left over for another meal too - happy days!
11. Chicken and chorizo paella
Oh wow, this is simply deeeeeelicious. Super easy, but takes about an hour. An indulgent, nutritious weekend treat for the whole family.
12. Cuban Ropa Vieja
Cuban what? This is a shredded beef recipe that we serve with either rice, tortillas or on nachos (usually the leftovers with the nachos). It is really simple and if you have a slow cooker then at point 4, switch to that (I use the low setting for about 5-6 hours) and you can just forget about it until later.
13. Slow roast pork
How comforting is a hot pork roll? My eldest loves them! Great when you're short on time or are entertaining. Here's my recipe:
14. Easy Cheesy with Griddled Greens
Think posh mac n cheese, but with veggies. Your kids will eat their greens cooked like this! Prep your almonds, veg and breadcrumbs in advance to make it super quick.
15. Chicken and Mushroom Pie
If you have Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals, you'll find this recipe in there. I couldn't find it on his website, but the link will take you to another site where the recipe is featured. This pie filling makes enough for us to have twice (since the girls don't have a full portion each) so I make the whole amount and freeze half to save me time another day. I often make the filling ahead of time and pop in the fridge until tea-time. Then, simply pop on the pre-bought, pre-rolled pastry and in the oven!
16. Yummy Red Thai Curry
Another scrummy Saturday night family tea, this one is by Nigella. I tend to use either the squash or the sweet potato but not usually both and leave out the mango (not keen on fruit in my main courses!). I've also used pumpkin in this one at Halloween as a seasonal alternative and it works great.
17. Marrow Spaghetti Olivnaise
Super, duper healthy and ridiculously tasty! This is one I made and how good does it look (even if I do say so myself!). Girls loved it too (as you can see by it being shovelled into Martha's mouth!). Basically, you're swapping the pasta for marrow (you can also use courgette). Not a bad one time wise either.
18. Inside Out BLT
Very tasty and only takes about half an hour to make. A lovely light lunch for the weekend perhaps. Add in any other bits of salad your lot love, for me that's cucumber and more tomato in addition to the sauce...
19. Good Old Spaghetti Bolognese
If you usually use a jar of sauce, then pleeeaaaase try this recipe. Yes, it takes a little time to cook but most of the time it's left to its own devices simmering away. There is loads so you can freeze half or more for another day and it's taste is the best.
20. Sea Trout with Baby Leeks and Crushed Potatoes
Finally, a show stopper. Definitely one for the weekend, it doesn't take forever but there a few stages so you need a little more time than a weeknight. Increase the quantity according to how many you're cooking for. You might curse when you write the kitchen off prepping it but trust me, it's so worth it. Enjoy!
There's not much I find more satisfying than serving my children something I've made from scratch and then seeing them devour it. I also love that this food is nutritious and good enough to please the whole family - I'm too lazy to cook for the girls and then for us later! I'd love to hear if you plan to try any of them and indeed what you thought.
If you enjoyed this blog, then 'get social' with me and be sure not to miss out on forthcoming posts. My next blog will give tips on how to cook at the witching hour (otherwise known as tea time) without your baby/toddler trying to climb up your legs! Click the links below to go straight to my page on your preferred site!
For Facebook, click here (the first place I post my blog links, plus new product info, offers and more)
For Twitter, click here (blog links, useful info, product info, offers and more)
For Pinterest, click here (related mood boards, blog posts and more)
For Instagram, click here (first looks on new designs, behind the scenes snaps and more)
See you there!
February 16, 2018
I always think buying gifts for Mother's Day is harder than for a birthday; there's a little more sentiment behind it. The months and years seem to roll around so quickly these days and each year seems to get a bit harder!
I've actually started a kind of present diary now, I make a note of what I get people (mainly family) so that I can refer back to it; I can also make notes of gift ideas I think of throughout the year. It helps avoid repeating presents too!
With Mothers Day just around the corner, I've put together a list of my favourite gifts for Grandma (or Nanny, Nana, Granny, whichever name you use!).
February 02, 2018
From doughnut walls to abstract masterpieces, wedding cake trends continue to evolve, but what will be big in 2018?
I've got the low-down together with some gorgeous examples to get those creative juices flowing!
January 15, 2018
I don't know about you, but I always feel like a Valentine's gift has to hit the right tone. Somewhere there has to be some kind of meaning or romance to make it worthy of being presented on the day of love!
Well, I've spent hours exploring ideas to fit the bill (and the budget) and assembled my ten favourites here.