Week 1 Family Meals

Week 1 Family Meals

Welcome to Week 1 of my family recipes.


The first batch of recipes are below, there’s also a PDF link to these at the end of the post.
During the 4 weeks there will be a range of basic family favourites, some nice options for batch cooking and work lunches and perhaps some new ideas for you to try.  I hope you enjoy them.


Chicken Jambalaya

 This recipe contains herbs and spices that are common cupboard staples.  I use cayenne pepper on sweet potato wedges, bean chillies and even sometimes salad dressings and thyme oregano and bay leaves are used plenty in soups and sauces.  Dried herbs are fine but fresh are even better, grow your own (a pot on your windowsill is fine), you can even freeze fresh herbs for further use.
 If you don’t like kidney beans, then replace with chickpeas or any other pulse.
 This dish can be frozen if you like or will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

2 tsp olive oil

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

450(1 lb) chicken cut into cubes

2 tsp each dried thyme and oregano

1 tsp chili powder

1/+tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

500ml (1 pint) chicken stock

2 cartons (2x400g) tinned tomatoes

1 carton red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

170g (6oz) brown rice

1 bay leaf

Some chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook celery, garlic and onion for about 5 minutes or until softened.  Add chicken, thyme, oregano, chilli powder and cayenne pepper and cook stirring for 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth, green peppers, tomatoes, kidney beans, rice and bay leaf.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to low, cover and simmer stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf and discard.  Stir in parsley before serving.

Baked Penne with Vegetables

 A simple meat free meal and veg packed version of a pasta bake.  Here’s where you can use your batch cooked tomato sauce

 1 tablespoon of olive oil

250g wholemeal or spelt pasta

Packet of mushrooms sliced

1 red pepper cut into strips

1 small head of broccoli cut into florets or use some bagged spinach instead

2 courgettes sliced

2 crushed garlic cloves

A batch of homemade tomato sauce

50g grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 180 celsius

Grease a casserole dish with a little butter or oil

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute the veg and garlic.  Add pasta sauce and heat through

Add 1 layer of pasta to the dish, then 1 layer of veg mix and and so on until all is used up.

Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 30 mins

Cheesy Potato Bake

 Grated veg can be a godsend for hiding in dishes!  Having a son with sensory issues means I struggle sometimes with getting the necessary range of veg into his diet so grating them is a good option.  This is good served with homemade chicken or fish goujons.

1 courgette grated

1 head of broccoli finely chopped

2 medium potatoes grated

2 carrots grated

2 celery stalks

130g strong cheddar cheese grated or use cheddar and parmesan

225g plain flour

6 eggs lightly beaten

1 tsp dried thyme or rosemary

Sea salt and black pepper

Put all ingredients into a big bowl and mix really well.  Pre-heat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan assisted.

Pour into lasagne dish and cook in the oven for 1- 1 1/4 hours

Chicken Goujons and Chips

 A healthier version of chicken and chips.  My kids love this dinner and I often make it on a Friday and make enough goujons for 2 days.  Then on the Saturday, they might have them in a wholemeal pitta bread  for lunch.

 Chicken fillets (as good quality as you can)

Rooster potatoes

A beaten egg


Breadcrumbs (panko breadcrumbs work well)

Sesame seeds (optional)

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Peel your potatoes, slice into chips and toss in a large bowl with olive oil.  Lay on a baking tray and put in a pre-heated oven at 200C for approx 30 mins.  Give them a shake after 15 minutes to prevent them from sticking and turn them over.

Combine the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds if using.  Cut your chicken into strips, dip each one first in flour, then in egg and then in the breadcrumb and sesame seed mixture.  Fry gently on the pan with olive oil.

Serve your chicken and chips with steamed carrots and peas.

Spicy Turkey Burgers

 Everyone loves a burger, kids in particular.  These turkey burgers make a nice change to beef burgers and turkey is a much leaner meat.  The garlic and spices give these burgers a lovely kick.  Make double this amount and freeze for next week.

Makes 4 small burgers

250g turkey mince

1 egg yolk, beaten

4 spring onions, finely chopped

1 mild red chilli, finely chopped with seeds removed

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

Freshly ground black pepper

Mix the turkey mince with the rest of the ingredients and leave to sit in the fridge to marinate for at least an hour.

Shape into burgers and grill under a medium heat for 10 minutes, then turn and grill for a further 7-10 minutes.

Serve with a soft wholemeal bap with lettuce, red onion rings and cucumber or if you prefer with sweet potato wedges and a good dollop of guacamole or hummus.

Roasted Chickpea and Lemon Taboulleh

 I always have quinoa and a carton of chickpeas in the cupboard.  I love the zesty, refreshing flavour of lemon too.  Chickpeas are a rich source of fibre and contain iron , folate and manganese.  Legumes (beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils) are what’s termed as a starchy protein, they contain both carbohydrates and proteins.
 Leftovers make a handy work lunch.   For the record – it’s pronounced keen-wa!

140g of quinoa, rinsed and drained

400 ml water

1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder

1 carton of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp ground cumin

1 clove of garlic, crushed

Finely grated zest of half a lemon and the juice from a full lemon

1 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 4.

Cook the quinoa by putting it in a pan with the water and bouillon powder and bringing all to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa grains are soft and fluffy (see my note on quinoa below).

Meanwhile, toss the chickpeas in a tablespoon of the oil and the cumin, garlic, lemon zest and juice and the sesame seeds.

Tip the chickpea mixture into a roasting tin and cook for 30 minutes, shaking halfway through, be sure the sesame seeds don’t burn, they should just turn golden.

Mix the chickpeas into the cooked quinoa with the parsley, black pepper and the remaining tablespoon of oil.

Quinoa: on some packs it says to cook for 20 minutes, I find this far too long, you’ll end up with a gloopy mess!  Keep an eye on the quinoa and add a little more water if you feel it needs it.  When cooked, stick the lid on the pot and let it sit on the draining board to absorb any excess water.

Shepherds Pie with Cheese-Crusted Leeks

 Pies are a  lovely comfort food.  Warming, homely and delicious.  This recipe can be made with either minced beef (cottage pie) or minced lamb (shepherds pie).  The cheese and leek crust gives a lovely finish but you can leave those out if you wish and just use regular mash or potato and cauliflower mash.  This dish also freezes well.

Serves 4

1lb minced beef or lamb

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium onions peeled and chopped

75g carrot peeled and chopped very small

75g swede, peeled and chopped very small

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon plain flour

275ml beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato puree

Salt and freshly milled pepper

For the topping

50g mature cheddar coarsely grated

2 medium leeks cleaned and cut into 1cm slices

900g potatoes

50g butter

Salt and pepper

Start by taking the frying pan or saucepan and over a medium heat, gently heat the olive oil.  Fry the onions in the oil until they are tinged brown at the edges – about 5 minute.  Add the chopped carrot and swede and cook for 5 minutes or so, them remove the vegetables and put them to one side.

Now turn the heat up and brown the meat in batches, breaking it up and tossing it around to get it all nicely browned.  Season the meat with salt and pepper, then add the cooked vegetables, cinnamon, thyme and parsley.  Next, stir in the flour which will soak up the juice, then gradually add the stock to the meat mixture until it is all incorporated.  Finally stir in the tomato puree.  Turn the heat right down, put a lid on the and let it cook gently for about 30 minutes.

While the meat is cooking you can make the topping.  Peel the potatoes, cut into even sized pieces and steam or boil until they are completely tender.  Pre-heat your oven to 200C.

When the potatoes are done, drain, return to saucepan and cover with a clean tea towel for absorb the steam and leave them for about 5 minutes.  Add the butter and mash to  puree, don’t add any milk.  The mash needs to be firm.

When the meat is ready, spoon it into a baking dish (about 7.5 inch square and 5 cm deep)) and level it out with the back of a spoon.  Spread the mash evenly all over.  Now sprinkle the leeks on top of the potato and scatter the cheese over the top and bake on a high shelf in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the top is crusty and golden.

You can download recipes from here Week 1 Family Meals



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  1. Some really lovely family meal ideas Ciara. I’m really looking forward to trying them out.
    Would you have a receipe for banana bread which you could send onto me please, thanks.

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