With the new school term in full swing, your evening meal routine is also well underway again. Whereas before you’d be grabbing your main meal at any time of day – the relaxed six-week holidays meant you might pick up food on the go – a 9am to 3pm regime pretty much means you’re all sitting down at a similar time.
But while the kids may be back in the classroom – and as a result you’ve managed to reclaim a bit of your time – we know you won’t want to spend your additional hours in the kitchen. With that in mind, we’ve found five quick and healthy meals you can whip up any night of the week with minimal fuss. And if you’ve got a baby, there are plenty of great recipes available online you can try alongside your usual family dishes, too. Here goes…
Spaghetti and Meatballs – Providing you’re not a veggie, this traditional spaghetti and meatballs combo via BBC Good Food is choc-full of nutrients. What’s more, it’s also a relatively simple meal to throw together. Of course, that means you won’t be slaving over a hot stove all night, but it also means you can rope your kids in to help you make it, providing you watch over them at all times. The key here is to use good quality pork sausages (the best you can afford) and lean beef mince to ensure the healthiest evening meal possible. Plenty of veg also helps towards their five-a-day and a minimal amount of cheese is all that’s required to offer added flavour. Filling but not-too-fatty, this is the perfect weekend or post-school evening meal – and we pretty much guarantee there’ll be clean plates afterwards, too.
Superhealthy Pizza – Another BBC Good Food staple, this ‘superhealthy pizza’ is a must-try when time is limited and you’re looking for something that’s simple to whip up. Featuring plenty of veg, this simple pizza will have little mouths watering as soon as you open the oven door. Like the meatballs, it’s another one you can get the kids involved in making. Chop up the ingredients in advance and give them the job of layering on the various toppings – they’ll love it!
Courgette Boat – Smaller kids will love the idea of this – a boat made from a courgette! Ideal as a main course, when paired with a small jacket potato or other accompaniments, this can also be served up as a small starter during a weekend meal with family. Like many of the other recipes featured in this piece, this is ridiculously easy to make – and if you’re not much of a cook, there’s little chance of you getting it wrong too.
Grilled Veggie Pitta – Another recipe which makes the most of the good old courgette, this grilled veggie pitta is packed with nutrients. The really great thing about these pittas – which contain low fat cream cheese and leftover veg – is they can be made in advance to serve as quick snacks, too. Try them at a weekend when time isn’t so limited and think about grilling some extra veggies at dinner time to ensure you have some additional ones on hand for salads and sandwiches.
Easy Chicken Pie – Pie is perfect for this time of year, when evenings are getting colder and darker and all you want to do is snuggle up in front of the fire with something delicious. This chicken pie via Sainsbury’s website is so simple to put together – but it’s tasty too! It’s a little on the spicy side, so not ideal for really young kids, but teenagers will love this one.
We hope these deliciously simple recipes have inspired you to get in the kitchen this autumn!
Jess, is a professional nanny with 17 years experience. Her many years experience as a live-in nanny for multiple families has provided Jess with a wealth of parenting knowledge and expertise.