Feeding a growing family on a budget can be a challenge with the rising cost of popular food and differing tastes. Factor in the time it takes to make some dishes, it can put off even the most motivated parent.
So what would you say if we could show you easy delicious and healthy meals that the whole family can enjoy? We knew you’d be intrigued.
Remember, if you have a picky eater in the family, or allergies, simply omit or swap any ingredients you don’t like!
Slow Cooked Chicken Casserole
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook: 4 – 7 hours
Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan, cook the onion for 8-10 mins until softened and starting to caramelise. Meanwhile put the flour and a little salt and pepper in a bowl and toss the chicken in it. Add the garlic and chicken to the pan and cook for 4-5 mins more until the chicken is starting to brown.
Transfer to your slow cooker, along with the rest of the ingredients, including the soaking water from the porcini mushrooms. Give it a good stir. Cook on Low for 7 hours or High for 4 hours. Remove the bay leaves and serve with Dijon mustard on the side.
Remember, if you have any left over then you can portion up and pop in the freezer for later use!
Child-friendly slow cooker chilli
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook: 6 – 7 hours
Batch-cook this chilli and freeze for healthy dinners when you’re pushed for time. It’ll soon become a family favourite with hidden veg to nourish fussy eaters.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan. Cook the onion for 10 mins until softened and starting to caramelise. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further 1-2 mins.
Transfer to a slow cooker, along with the diced vegetables, mince, chopped tomatoes, stock cube and tomato purée. Stir well. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. About half an hour before serving, take off the lid and use a stick blender to blend in the vegetables (if you’re children aren’t keen to eat veg) or leave chunky. Stir through the lentils and flageolet beans. Replace the lid and heat through for a further half hour. Stir and serve with rice or tacos, soured cream, grated cheese and sliced avocado.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Kids will love this quick supper. Experiment with different toppings such as sweetcorn and ham.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and put a baking sheet inside to heat up. Spread each pitta with 1 tsp purée. Top with the tomatoes, shallot, chorizo and cheddar.
Place on the hot sheet and bake for 10 mins until the pittas are crisp, the cheese has melted and the chorizo has frazzled edges. Scatter with basil, if you like, and serve with a green salad.
Peanut Butter Cookies
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
With just three ingredients, these simple peanut butter cookies will delight kids and grown-ups alike – and they’re gluten-free, too.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment. Measure the peanut butter and sugar into a bowl. Add ¼ tsp fine table salt and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the egg and mix again until the mixture forms a dough.
Break off cherry tomato sized chunks of dough and place, well spaced apart, on the trays. Press the cookies down with the back of a fork to squash them a little. The cookies can now be frozen for 2 months, cook from frozen adding an extra min or 2 to the cooking time. Bake for 12 mins, until golden around the edges and paler in the centre. Cool on the trays for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Store in a cookie jar for up to 3 days.
What are your tried and tested family meals? Let us know!