Great question huh?! If you’re anything like me, or many of my friends, you will dread this question! The constant search for quick, easy, healthy meal ideas for a big family can be just exhausting and so repetitive!
It reminds me of this picture I once saw:
So, partly for your benefit, and partly for mine, I reached out within my community and asked some other, busy Mums what are their go-to Quick and Easy Dinners for the family.
I got a lot of replies with similar suggestions including Chicken Fajitas (served in lettuce wraps for those avoiding breads for whatever reason); Thai Green Curry; Salmon with garlic and rosemary cooked in foil parcel served with vegetables; stir fry with chicken or prawns; chicken or fish tray baked with various vegetable combinations – you may be familiar with some or all of these, and most of them are definitely in my repertoire somewhere!
One other very popular and recurring suggestion was the use of the beloved Slow Cooker! I love mine, and with a family of 7 to feed, it is a saviour – especially when kids have activities at all different times of the evenings and eating together in one sitting is near on impossible! You can’t go too wrong – soups and stews of all varieties – or whole joints of meat or whole chickens come out so deliciously soft and tender. Chuck it all in in the morning, turn it on – gorgeous smell when you walk back in the house and little to do at dinner time!
Lots of people like to take inspiration from cookbooks – the most popular currently seeming to be Joe Wicks – Lean in 15 series. Melissa Johnson says “Joe Wicks Lean in 15 books have literally changed my life!! I do an online shop once a week with those cookbooks by my side, plan every night, come home, open the book and cook – it has revolutionised my life!”
So, in a round-up of the specific dish suggestions that were very kindly shared, here’s a little selection of other people’s favourites:
“My easy-peasy fish one-pot. I slice up loads of winter vegetables – anything goes (but I love broccoli, sweet potato and savoy cabbage) and onions – put them all in a large pan, cover with fish stock and bring to a simmer. Lay cod fillets on top, cover and steam until the fish is flaking and falling apart. Finish with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of fresh coriander – yum” by Evie Whitehead.
“I love my slow cooker. I put chicken thighs in (with bones in for flavour), which normally I fry off with onions), and then I add veg and vary the flavouring – sometimes curry powder and sultanas; or tomatoes and passata and some Mediterranean flavours” by Helen Brumby.
“For busy family life I find something called an Instant Pot best – it is an electric pressure cooker and slow cooker in one. As a family we love things like this smoked salmon kedgeree: http://www.jennytschiesche.com/recipe/instant-pot-kedgeree/
Jenny Tschiesche supplied this recipe. She is a Nutrition Guru and published author. She also told me “as a family we do a lot of all in one sheet pan recipes too. And here is a link to Jenny’s own book with such easy family recipe’s – check it out, I will be!!
“Baked root veg (carrots, sweet potato, butternut, pumpkin, red onion, beetroot). You can add protein of any sort – but whole grains or quinoa with harissa is perfect”!
This dish was provided by Jen Roach who runs Fearless In The Kitchen – in her beautiful Berkshire premises she shows you how to get inspired, creative and cook amazing, healthy family meals with produce grown in her own garden!
For anyone interested check out: www.fearlessinthekitchen.com
Shirley Goodgroves said: I do a Spiced Mince recipe that all our family love:
500g extra lean mince
1 celery stick finely chopped
1 med onion finely chopped
1 med carrot as above
1/2 tsp ground corriander
1/2 tsp ground cinamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
3 level tbsp tomato puree
salt & pepper
400g can chopped toms
1 beef stock cube
pre heat deep frying pan until hot. add beef, celery, onion, carrot – cook over med high heat for 5 mins. Add spices and tom puree. Season to taste and stir. Add chopped toms, stock cube and 300ml boiling water. Bring to simmer. Partially cover with lid and cook for 30 mins.
Top with regular mash or if you’re looking for low carb then top with mashed sweet potato or sweet potato & swede mixed mash. Serve with green beans or other veg if desired. If you’re not on a health kick then my kids like a sprinkle of grated cheese on the top to make it extra cheesy crispy (their words not mine!). Serves 4.
[blockquote text=”pre heat deep frying pan until hot. add beef, celery, onion, carrot – cook over med high heat for 5 mins. Add spices and tom puree. Season to taste and stir. Add chopped toms, stock cube and 300ml boiling water. Bring to simmer. Partially cover with lid and cook for 30 mins. Top with regular mash or if you’re looking for low carb then top with mashed sweet potato or sweet potato & swede mixed mash. Serve with green beans or other veg if desired. If you’re not on a health kick then my kids like a sprinkle of grated cheese on the top to make it extra cheesy crispy (their words not mine!). Serves 4.” text_color=”#f1b430″ width=”80″ line_height=”undefined” background_color=”” border_color=”” show_quote_icon=”yes” quote_icon_color=””]
A variety of new and interesting options! I’m particularly intrigued by the Instant Pot that Jenny talked about, and I’m always a fan of anything that goes in one pan and requires just “chucking it in and leaving it”!
My own addition here is that my family love a Greek salad night now and then. I basically make a big Greek salad with tomatoes, feta, tomatoes, red onions and buy some falafels, houmous, pitta and olives – chuck it all on the table and everyone tucks in.
Happy meal prep!