I plan to write a series of ‘Healthy in a Hurry’ posts, sharing quick, easy, nutritionally balanced meals and ideas that we have found, adapted, tried and tested. I’ve really only got into cooking since having the kids as J loves cooking, and he did it all, until they came along. Now, he’s away on business a lot, so it’s down to me! Being a working mum, I sometimes need to have dinner prepared for someone else to finish and serve -that’s when I’m organised! Or it’s all last minute, where most of these came from!…….
Weekday dinners have to be quick to prepare, preparable in advance and/or eatable on the run. Stews, curries and bolognese are great if you have time in advance to prepare and perfect for freezing left-overs. However, there are many days where I just don’t have the time, so prep has to be quick, with dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less!
Our Favorite Quick Dinners:
- Pasta with peas and/or sweet corn, ham or crispy bacon and cheese (bacon pieces fried and drained in advance)- All dressed in a little olive oil, so simple!!
- Home made fish fingers– Simply dip pieces of (kitchen towel dry) fish into flour, then beaten egg, then crushed cornflakes, drizzle with melted butter and bake at 180C for 5mins each side. Serve with steamed veg.
- Veg and bacon fritters– To a pancake batter add grated, squeezed courgette & spring onion, steamed, squeezed, chopped spinach, sweet corn and crispy bacon pieces. Fry in large dollops until golden (about 3-4mins each side). Serve with salad. These are also great served cold for an out-and-about lunch or dinner!
- Pasta with roasted veg sauce– See below for sauce recipe. Add grated cheese.
- Chorizo and veg pasta.- Chopped, fried, drained chorizo can be added to any pasta dish and it is suddenly ‘their favorite’!! So quick and easy!
- Chinese salmon– Place salmon filets on tin foil and sprinkle with Chinese 5 spice and soy sauce. Wrap the tin foil into a loose fitting bag around the salmon to keep in the steam. Bake for 10-15 mins at 180C
The other great thing about most of these dishes is that the kids can help prepare them- mine love making fish fingers. If they make it, they are more likely to eat it! Win, win!!
Essentials for the freezer, to make quick dinners, quicker:
- Roasted veg sauce– Roughly chop carrots, peppers, aubergine, onion, courgette, squash (some or all) into 1 inch chunks and put into a roasting tray. Add whole cloves of garlic, sprinkle mixed herbs and olive oil. Roast at 160C for 50mins, stirring twice in that time. Whizz with tinned tomatoes when cool and freeze in portions. Use on pasta, as a dip for root veg chips or as a base for bolognese.
- Frozen veg– peas, sweet corn, corn on the cob, soya beans, spinach- frozen spinach is my latest great find! All frozen veg hold their nutritional content well and spinach is blanched before freezing so once defrosted, it’s ready to use (hide!), and saves you having to steam and prep.
- Bolognese (I used to freeze it with the pasta all mixed in when they were younger)
- Frozen fish– salmon and hake (any white fish- hake is really cheap)
Dinners on the run:
This is so hard!! Especially as the kid’s school does not currently offer hot food for lunch. The easiest meals on the run involve bread (sandwiches and wraps) that I would prefer they didn’t have twice a day. It always ends up being some sort of pasta salad with cold meat, salami, cheese or smoked salmon. Any ideas??
Please let me know if you try any of these recipes and how they went down with your family.
Have you got any ‘quick dinner’ favourites to add to my list?
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