Sometimes it's really hard to think of a whole weeks worth of recipes that the whole family will eat, and that you have not eaten hundreds of time already!
I always start my week off by making a list of the recipes I intend to cook that week. This meal planning saves my time, money and effort.
This also means that we do not eat the same thing every week, really important when feeding children! Variety is definitely the key to ensuring your children do not become fussy "I do not like that" kind of kids.
So here is a typical week's worth of family meal ideas:
Roast Ham with Sweet Potato Mash and Cauliflower Cheese
Buy a gammon joint and roast according to instructions.
Boil, or steam sweet potatoes until soft then mash with a little milk and butter. Season well with a little salt (leave out if feeding under-1s) and pepper.
To make Cauliflower cheese melt 20g of butter in a saucepan then stir in 20g of plain flour and a pinch of English Mustard powder. Cook for 5 mins over a low heat, stirring all the time. Take off the heat and pour in 1 / 2pint of milk stirring well. Return to heat and stir until milk comes to the boil. At this point the sauce should have thickened. Add 150g-200g of strong grated cheddar cheese and a dessert spoonful of Dijon Mustard. Season to taste.
Steam or boil cauliflower florets (a small head of cauli should yield enough for a family of 4) until fork easily goes into a stalk.
Place cauliflower into an ovenproof dish, pour over half of cheese sauce and bake in oven at 180C for 20 minutes or until light golden brown and bubbly. Keep other half of cheese sauce for tomorrow. Just cover with clingfilm and store in the fridge.
Mix together leftover ham and cheese sauce and heat well. You can add extra milk, or cream, if the sauce is too thick Pour over favorite pasta shapes. Experiment with different shapes, kids love shells and mini-macaroni. You could add some peas or sweetcorn, or cubes of carrot too.
"Homemade" Pizzas – either buy ready-made pizza bases or packet mixes to which you just add warm water.
Spread tomato passata over the base.
I get out some small bowls, and put each of these possible toppings in and let the kids choose their own toppings.
Ham cut into cubes, or strips
Sweetcorn (defrosted, or from a tin)
Cubes of red and yellow pepper
Chicken cut into cubes or strips
Cubes of cooked carrot
Use your imagination and let the kids go crazy, if you get them involved they'll eat more!
Quick and cheap chicken casserole
In a large casserole dish add chicken thighs *, finely chopped shallots, crushed garlic, slices of mushroom (chestnut is nice), dried tarragon, a tin of condensed mushroom soup, and 200ml of chicken stock (or water). Bake in a 180C oven for around 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Serve with basmati rice or mashed potato
* you could use chicken legs, and if you choose to you can brown the skin off first. Or use skinless and do not bother to brown!
Use turkey rather than breast, you get more for your money and kids love turkey-lurkey!
Cut your turkey into thin strips.
Cut into thin strips: carrots, baby sweetcorn, mange-tout and spring onions
Crush one garlic clove and an inch of ginger
Heat a dessert spoonful of vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet / frying-pan until smoking hot
add the carrots and spring onions and cook for two minutes, then add the garlic, ginger and other vegetables fry for another 3 minutes, stirring all the time.
Add the turkey and cook for another 5-6 minutes, until cooked through (take a piece out and cut in half and make sure it's cooked through).
Add a dessertspoon of light soy sauce and if your kids like a bit of spice, add some sweet chilli sauce.
Serve with noodles (you can always add the noodles right at the end and mix all together).
Serve in bowls with chopsticks – kids love a challenge!
Happy cooking – and visit my blog for more great family cooking ideas.