In my head, I have this vision of lovingly preparing a fabulously healthy meal from scratch each day using the very best produce and ingredients that I’ve shopped carefully for that morning. Then, myself, my husband and our 3 children sitting around the table together each evening with an array of lovely dishes in the middle and everyone digging in and telling me how wonderful the meal is……
As much as I would like it to be the case, very rarely is this vision a reality:) I live very firmly in the real world with a husband on shift work, juggling running my own business with running a home, trying to fit in exercise, kids who won’t necessarily eat what you want them to eat and a budget that doesn’t stretch to an all organic diet.
Which brings me to Week 2 Family Friendly recipes below including shopping list
Mediterranean Style Baked Fish with Vegetables
This is a great combo of baked fish, herby roasted vegetables and basil-flavoured tomatoes. I make this dish quite a lot and vary the veg, using whatever is to hand. White fish is a lovely, easily digested source of protein and has good levels of the B12, B6 and B3.
You could always make a little extra roast veg to use the following day to top off a salad or mix the leftover veg with a little pesto and stuff into a pitta pocket. This dish isn’t suitable for freezing.
1 sweet potato or you can use waxy new potatoes
1 large red onion
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 dessertspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
2oz/55g pitted black olives (optional)
2 thick cut pieces of fish e.g. cod, haddock
Tin and a half of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil and basil leaves to garnish
Heat oven to 200 degrees/Gas 6.
Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces, the onion into 6 pieces and the peppers into large chunks. Press the garlic cloves and toss these, the thyme and the veg in the olive oil.
Place the veg on a baking tray and cook, uncovered, for approx 30 mins or until the veg begin to soften and turn golden.
Place the veg in a shallow ovenproof baking dish and mix in the black olives. Place the fish pieces on top of the veg.
Mix the basil and chopped tomatoes and pour over the fish.
Bake for another 15 mins or until the fish is just cooked. Serve immediately, garnished with a few basil leaves.
Spinach, Feta and Sweet Potato Frittata
I’m a big fan of eggs and it’s worth paying that bit extra for organic or from hens that are fed a natural diet and are free to roam. You will gain in terms of nutrients and taste. One of my absolute favourites, this dish keeps really well for a few days in the fridge and can be eaten
cold or at room temperature. Good for work lunches too! Have one day with a mixed salad and the next with some steamed or roasted veg. The feta cheese gives it a lovely tangy taste.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium to large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1cm dice
8 medium eggs
200g feta (a packet)
1 tbsp grated parmesan (optional)
Freshly ground pepper
Half bag baby leaf spinach
Heat grill at its highest setting. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in large frying pan over medium to high heat and gently fry the sweet potato for about 10-15 minutes or until tender and golden all over. Remove from heat
Break eggs into a bowl, add the remaining tbsp oil and whisk. Crumble the feta into eggs and stir in the parmesan if using. Season with pepper.
Return the sweet potatoes to the heat and add the spinach to the pan in handfuls stirring through each time until just wilting. Pour over the egg mixture, stir quickly to distribute ingredients evenly and cook undisturbed for 5/10 mins or until eggs start to set. Place pan under grill until eggs are golden and cooked throughout.
Serve warm or at room temp for brunch, dinner or lunch. No need to add salt as feta is salty enough.
An old favourite for many and one of the few dishes that all my family love! I often make the sauce in batches and sneak in further veg blended up into the sauce. Unlike white pasta, wholemeal pasta contains fibre which helps digestive function and helps us feel fuller for longer. If you haven’t yet made the switch go half and half initially and move gradually to all wholemeal. These dish freezes well and will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Why not have the leftovers piled on top of a baked potato.
600g good quality mince
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot finely diced or grated
3 cloves garlic – minced
½ small leek – finely chopped
½ small red pepper – finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 fresh bay leaf
2 rounded dessert spoon tomato puree
1 tin chopped tomatoes (no salt)
500 -600 mls beef stock
Wholemeal or spelt spaghetti
Fry off onion first in a little oil for approx. 5 minutes or until softened.
Add carrot, leek and red pepper and keep cooking for approx. 5 mins; add garlic and herbs, cook 2 -3 mins more. Remove from pan and set aside
Brown minced beef on pan until cooked and crumbly. Add back veggie mixture and stir for 2 -3 mins. Stir in tomato puree and cook for 1 minute; add chopped tomatoes and beef stock, stir and gently simmer for 20 -25 minutes.
Serve with wholemeal spaghetti or pasta.
Thai Lamb and Vegetable Curry
This recipe uses lamb but this works well with chicken also so vary it up each time you make it. If you’re in a hurry, you could always use a good quality shop bought curry paste. This dish freezes too so it’s a good batch cooking option.
For the curry paste
4 cloves of garlic
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
2 lemongrass stalks
4 green chillies
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 bunch of fresh coriander
2 tablespoons fish sauce
Blitz all ingredients in a blender to make your paste.
1 red pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb lean stewing lamb
½ tablespoon soy or tamari sauce (optional)
240ml canned coconut milk (I like Thai Gold or Biona)
2 tbsp chopped coriander
Salt and pepper
Set oven temp to 190 degrees. Roughly chop the onion, carrot and red pepper and sweat these in the olive oil until they begin to soften and brown, if you are pushed for time you can leave out this step and simply transfer directly to casserole dish. Put lamb, curry paste, stock, vegetables, soy sauce and coconut milk in a casserole dish. Cover the casserole dish and cook in the oven for just under 2 hours or until lamb is tender. Mix in most of the coriander, saving a little as garnish, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with remaining coriander.
Stir fry with Eggy Fried Brown Rice
A quick and healthy dinner, great for using up veg from your fridge. Brown rice is a good source of B vitamins, needed for make energy from the food we eat, and contains the minerals magnesium and manganese.
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 medium red pepper
1 medium yellow pepper
4 spring onions or 1 small onion
1 clove garlic
Handful green beans
½ cup frozen peas
1-2 eggs – whisked and cooked separately
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1-2 tablespoons of tamari or soya sauce
Options: Chicken, turkey, prawns, bamboo shoots, beansprouts, carrots, bok choy, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, baby sweetcorn, cashew nuts etc.
Pour egg onto small pan and lightly cook for approx. 1-2 mins. You will notice the sides of the egg turning a paler colour, egg should move on pan when you shake it. Turn over and cook on other side for 1-2 mins. Remove from pan, allow to cool slightly and roll into cigar shape, cut into thin ribbons and set aside.
Heat oil in wok, add chicken/ prawns if using, add onions, garlic and peppers. Add other veg and cooked rice and peas, stir all together.
Finely add the soya sauce and egg ribbons. Taste and serve.
Mixed Vegetables with Peanut Sauce
This recipe is made using a pressure cooker. I don’t have one personally but I’ve been hearing great things about them particularly for quick cooking. However, you can make this using regular stovetop. This is a vegan friendly dish. Thanks Marie for the recipe!
3 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon tamari or soya sauce
2 teaspoons grated or minced ginger
2 to 3 cloves of garlic minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or ½ teaspoon Chinese Chilli paste
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup diced sweet potato
1 cup sliced carrot cut on the diagonal
1/3 cup of vegetable stock or water, plus an additional quarter cup if needed 1.5 cups broccoli florets
Chopped coriander to garnish
Mix the peanut sauce ingredients and set aside.
To cook the veg, heat a stovetop pressure cooker over a medium heat and set the pressure cooker to saute. Add the onion and dry saute for 2 minutes. Add the sweet potato, carrot and the 1/3 cup of vegetable stock. Lock the lid on the cooker, bring to high pressure and cook for 2 minutes. Quick release the pressure. Remove the lid, carefully tilting it away from you. Add the broccoli and a 1/4 cup more stock if there is no liquid left in the cooker. Stir. Lock on the lid. Bring to low pressure, cook for 2 minutes. Quick release the pressure, carefully turning it away from you. Stir in the peanut sauce. Transfer the mixture to a plate. Garnish with coriander and serve.
Herby Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
A nice way to include the all important cruciferous veg like broccoli and cauli which are great for liver health. If you can’t get hold of fresh herbs, dried will do, just use 1 tsp though. For a more starchy carbohydrate meal, you could serve this with roast potatoes.
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
4 carrots, chopped into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
4 cups rocket
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Spread the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots on 2 baking trays.
Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and lemon juice.
Toss the vegetables in the dressing to coat them. Roast in the oven for 20/30 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.
Meanwhile, mix the rosemary, tarragon and thyme in a small bowl.
Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and coat with the herbs.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large pan over a medium heat.
Place the chicken in the pan and cover.
Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through.
Serve the chicken over the rocket and serve with roasted vegetables.