Tag Archives: family meal ideas

Bacon, Chard and Rosemary Pasta

Swiss chard is such an easy veggie to grow and it gives you back time after time. Plant a few seeds, water and care for a few plants lovingly and you will find you always have bountiful supply. 

Some interesting chard facts.

  • Swiss chard was discovered by a Swiss botanist – hence it’s name.  
  • It is a member of the goosefoot family, called this due to the leaves looking like a goose foot.
  • Chard is packed with nutrition including vitamins A,C, K plus magnesium, potassium, iron and fibre.

So the question is what to do with it? The great news is it goes in virtually everything. I’ve added baby leaves to smoothies, savoury muffins and scones. Then use it like you would spinach in dhal, stir fry and omelette. Or wash it and freeze, I’m totally up for an easy life and don’t cook it before freezing. I find it works fine to add to casseroles and other meals where you add as it cooks.

One of the easy summer recipes I sometimes pull out the back of my mind when the chard patch and my mind are overflowing, and I need to cook but also need a break – this chard and pasta dish. It works so well. The rosemary gives it a warm lift and the bacon adds the saltiness, plus it means my children eat it. Now my boy isn’t a fan of his greens, but will eat this meal all up. It goes to show sometimes it is what a food is paired with that matters.

I let my children decide their own portions of this meal and eat according to appetite. My eldest girl after a busy day at school had seconds, my boy cleared his plate and was satisfied. My toddler ate off my plate too! 

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Bacon, Chard and Rosemary Pasta

Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 150 g bacon chopped into bite sized chunks
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200 g chard leave it whole
  • 150 g mushrooms chopped
  • seasoning
  • 300 g pasta

Instructions

  1. Chop up the bacon, remove the fat and heat a non stick pan. Then cook the bacon for a few minutes.

  2. Add the rosemary and garlic, stir round to release the the flavours.

  3. Next add the chopped tomatoes and allow to come to a simmer.

  4. Cook the pasta.

  5. Wash the chard, chop any huge leaves. Place into the pan and allow it to wilt down.

  6. Chop the mushrooms and add these to the pan, allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and put the lid on. 

  7. When the pasta is ready mix the sauce in and serve.

Easy Peasy Paella

With parents who reside in Spain, paella is something my whole family loves, my mum has been taught how to cook it by the locals. This weekend with my mum in the UK at my home I decided to cook her my version. It’s probably not a true paella but hey, it’s tasty family food and a one pot meal that you can put in the middle of the table so everyone helps themselves. 

Of course you could totally add chicken, fish or your own favourite vegetables to this, I used what I had in my kitchen. Make your own version and let me know how it goes.

Easy Peasy Paella
Serves 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
490 calories
70 g
105 g
13 g
23 g
4 g
335 g
736 g
5 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
335g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 490
Calories from Fat 114
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
20%
Saturated Fat 4g
18%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 105mg
35%
Sodium 736mg
31%
Total Carbohydrates 70g
23%
Dietary Fiber 5g
21%
Sugars 5g
Protein 23g
Vitamin A
88%
Vitamin C
27%
Calcium
9%
Iron
14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 tsp tumeric
  2. 1/2 tsp paprika
  3. 1/2 tsp cumin
  4. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  5. pinch of saffron (optional)
  6. 1 tbsp olive oil
  7. 100g chorizo, chopped
  8. 3 cloves garlic
  9. 450g basmati rice (you could use paella rice)
  10. 1 tsp Italian mixed herb mixture
  11. 2 dried lime leafs (optional)
  12. 450ml chicken stock (mine was homemade or use a stock cube and water)
  13. 2 large carrots grated
  14. 2 medium courgetes grated
  15. 100g mushrooms
  16. 100g peas
  17. 450-600ml water approx, judge it on the rice as it cooks
  18. dash of lemon juice
  19. 250g frozen prawns
  20. large handful of fresh herbs, chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the spices in a large wide based pan on a medium heat, add the boil and cook for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the chorizo and allow it to release its oils.
  3. Next add the garlic and rice, cook for 2 minutes. Then add the stock, dried herbs and lime leaf.
  4. Allow this to simmer whilst you prep the veggies, you could use any veggies you like!
  5. Add in the vegetables one at a time and stir in.
  6. Add the water and place the lid on the pan. Allow it to simmer until the rice is cooked.
  7. Finish with the lemon juice and prawns, allowing the prawns to cook in the pan with the rice for a few minutes.
  8. Finally add the herbs, taste and season.
beta
calories
490
fat
13g
protein
23g
carbs
70g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/
Check out a little video of us cooking it here. My 7 year old girl was on “sous chef” duty tonight and she totally enjoyed helping out. Her tasks were to measure the rice using the Carb Spoon, to cut the chorizo up, grate some vegetables, add them and stir the pan. She added the stock, picked the herbs and chopped them too. Plus she got the prawns out of the freezer and added those for me.

I’m trying to get my children to each cook with me once a week, making it a scheduled activity and time with mummy all at once. It slows me down and means more planning is needed but it is also teaching them valuable skills.

 

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Family friendly “not a chicken curry”

Usually my children are not so keen on curry, however being half Sri-lankan this is not an option for me! My oldest girl used to eat a lot of spice, in fact at 22 months in Sri-Lanka she was eating curry off my plate. She went off spice and is now age 7 working back onto it. My boy has never been into anything spicy and so he is definitely a work in progress.

So this time I went at it from another angle. A fragrant but mild curry served with rice and optional naan on the side. However I sold it as “it’s not a curry, it’s chicken with naan”.  It worked. WIN.

The beauty of this meal is it can either be made in the slow cooker/crock pot or on the hob.

Here is the recipe:

Family Friendly Chicken and Naan
Serves 4
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504 calories
39 g
115 g
17 g
48 g
7 g
454 g
363 g
14 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
454g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 504
Calories from Fat 147
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
26%
Saturated Fat 7g
33%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 115mg
38%
Sodium 363mg
15%
Total Carbohydrates 39g
13%
Dietary Fiber 12g
49%
Sugars 14g
Protein 48g
Vitamin A
192%
Vitamin C
141%
Calcium
7%
Iron
25%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  2. 500g chicken on the bone, skinless
  3. 2 onions
  4. 2 cloves garlic
  5. 2 peppers
  6. 3 carrots
  7. 500ml chicken stock (mine was homemade)
  8. 50g sachet creamed coconut
  9. 1 tsp tumeric
  10. 1 tsp cumin
  11. 1 tsp coriander
  12. 1/4 inch fresh/frozen ginger, grated
  13. 1/2 cup dried lentils
Instructions
  1. Brown the chicken in a pan. Add the onions and garlic to soften them.
  2. Then either place all ingredients in a slow cooker/crock pot and place on high for 8 hrs.
  3. Or cook in a large pan on a medium heat for 40 minutes.
  4. Serve with rice and naan if wanted.
beta
calories
504
fat
17g
protein
48g
carbs
39g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/
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When your 4 year old cooks dinner…

One of the best things about having kids is knowing that one day they will cook you dinner… well tonight it kinda felt like that happened. The J-boy just got stuck in and took me by surprise. I’m pretty sure this boy is going to be a great cook.

So if you need some encouragement to get your littlies in the kitchen helping you cook, here it is. He has been helping me cook since he was able to stand from his cooking “tower” and he seems to have picked up some tips along the way! My children have all loved helping me cook, at times I’ve certainly wished they didn’t want to help me – it can take twice as long, be noisy and messy, but it teaches them a great life skill and a love of good food. I’ve also found it a good way to get them trying foods too.

Fish fingers are one of the ways my family do not just eat, but really enjoy oily fish. I like to get a portion a week into our meals. Oily fish are good sources of the omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) as well as providing vitamin A, Vitamin D,  iodine, selenium, protein and calcium.  If you don’t like salmon other oily fish includes:  mackerel, pilchards, fresh or frozen tuna, trout, crab, whitebait, herring, sardines.

 

Omega 3’s benefits include:

  • Reduction in the risk of heart disease. May protect the heart and blood vessels from disease.
  • Supports healthy development of  baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Brain function – may help  maintain good memory and also for the prevention and treatment of depression.
     

     

 

Vegetarian Moussaka and going meat free for a week.

This week we went Vegetarian for National Vegetarian Week. As a family we always have at least 3 meat free meals a week, so this was a good chance to unleash some new recipe ideas. To be honest I don’t think the family really noticed the lack of meat, though they would do if carried this on for a few weeks. I love vegetarian meals and would probably be one if I wasn’t cooking for the whole family. Eating more plant based meals is better for the environment, a more sustainable way of eating and has some fabulous health benefits too.

Our week of vegetarian meals:

Vegetarian Moussaka, Leek and Stilton Risotto, Courgette and Lentil Lasagne, Vegetable egg Stir fry rice, Quorn Bolognaise and Roasted Veggie Pasta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The moussaka is something I’d seen a variation on in a gluten free recipe book that I’ve had hanging around for ages. I used soya milk to make it lactose free for my boy – omit the cheese to make it dairy free. A few adaptations made this a super simple meal that is going to stay on our meal list.

 

Vegetarian Moussaka
Serves 4
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
494 calories
81 g
19 g
12 g
15 g
4 g
509 g
124 g
13 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
509g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 494
Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
19%
Saturated Fat 4g
21%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 19mg
6%
Sodium 124mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 81g
27%
Dietary Fiber 7g
29%
Sugars 13g
Protein 15g
Vitamin A
30%
Vitamin C
35%
Calcium
24%
Iron
10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 tsp olive oil
  2. 1 large aubergine
  3. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  4. 1 medium onion, chopped
  5. 2 tbsp white wine
  6. 150g mushrooms, chopped
  7. 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  8. 1 tbsp tomato puree
  9. 1 tbsp chopped chives
  10. 1 tsp paprika
  11. 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice
Sauce
  1. 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  2. 1 tbsp cornflour
  3. 400ml soya milk
  4. 40g grated cheese
Instructions
  1. Slice the aubergine, onion and garlic.
  2. Saute onion and garlic in the olive oil on a medium heat.
  3. Add 2 tbsp white wine and the mushrooms, cook for a few minutes to soften.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, puree, chives, paprika and rice.
  5. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes whilst you make the sauce.
  6. Heat the oil, add cornflour and turn the heat low.
  7. Add 1/3 soya milk and stir well, add the rest of the milk and increase the heat to medium, carry on stirring as the sauce thickens.
  8. Layer the rice mix with the aubergine, then the rice and the aubergine.
  9. Top with the sauce and sprinkle the cheese.
  10. Cook in the oven at Gas Mark 5 for 30 minutes.
beta
calories
494
fat
12g
protein
15g
carbs
81g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Heathy Pasta Carbonara

Carbonara is one of those meals that my husband adores, but being full of cream, (which I don’t like and it doesn’t like me), I never make it.  Then I felt inspired. Somehow in the midst of sleep deprivation these idea pop into my head. It was a pile of spirallised courgettes and carrots that gave me the idea. I had prepared them ready for a stir fry but they started talking noodles to me, which led to carbonara. It may have been due to eating out and reading a pasta/pizza style menu the night before 😉

With a well stocked kitchen this was a literal doddle to make. It took 10 minutes from start to finish as I had the veggies prepped already. One of those meals you can prep ahead and then cook in a flash. Even better I had a little toddler helper who really enjoyed all the beating of the eggs, the stirring and big bonus, he ended up eating a fair bit of carrot as we cooked.

Dietitian UK: Toddler cooks Healthy Spag carbonara

I used rice noodles because I fancied them and they are so quick to cook! You could of course use spaghetti. I didn’t add the parsley to this batch but it would make a great addition, as would bacon!

Dietitian UK: Healthy Spag carbonara

Heathy Pasta Carbonara - Gluten free
Serves 4
A healthy take on spaghetti carbonara
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
309 calories
40 g
198 g
10 g
14 g
4 g
261 g
445 g
5 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
261g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 309
Calories from Fat 88
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
15%
Saturated Fat 4g
22%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 198mg
66%
Sodium 445mg
19%
Total Carbohydrates 40g
13%
Dietary Fiber 3g
13%
Sugars 5g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A
134%
Vitamin C
30%
Calcium
22%
Iron
11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 large courgette
  2. 2 large carrots
  3. 60g mushrooms
  4. 100g green beans (I used purple ones)
  5. 150g Rice noodles
  6. The sauce
  7. 4 eggs
  8. 2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  9. 1 tbsp cream cheese
  10. 50g parmesan
  11. plenty of black pepper
  12. bunch of fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Spiralise the courgette and carrots.
  2. Chop the mushrooms and beans.
  3. Cook the noodles, in the last 3 minutes of cooking add the veggies.
  4. Whilst it cooks, whilst the eggs, add in the yoghurt and cream cheese.
  5. Drain and turn the cooker off.
  6. Quickly add the sauce to the pasta and stir in, the eggs will cook in the residual heat. Stir for a few minutes.
  7. Add plenty of pepper, the parmesan and the parsley.
  8. Serve with parmesan if wanted!
beta
calories
309
fat
10g
protein
14g
carbs
40g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Salmon and Spring Vegetable Risotto.

Risotto, it’s a staple in our house. I love the way you can reinvent it each time you make it. Weaning baby 2 has also remined me how it’s completely suitable for everyone in the family. He has been loving risotto from his first taste of it at 6 months old. So if you want a meal you can cook that everyone will enjoy, try this out. This is real food and tasty food.

Dietitian UK: Baby Eats Salmon and Spring Vegetable Risotto

Today’s variation includes salmon for extra omega 3 goodness and monounsaturated fat. I always pack whatever we cook with plenty of veggies. The courgette was grated as my toddler “is not keen on courgettes mummy”…. but it also adds extra vegetables without you really noticing they are there.

Here is the 3 1/2 year olds portion… she like risotto alot.

Dietitian UK: Salmon and Spring Vegetable Risotto: toddler portion.

And the husbands portion – hence all the cheese, the man is a cheese monster…

Dietitian UK: Salmon and Spring Vegetable Risotto

 

Salmon and Spring Vegetable Risotto
Serves 4
Packed with vegetables and omega 3's, a super healthy, tasty dinner suitable for the whole family.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
414 calories
31 g
75 g
15 g
36 g
4 g
455 g
537 g
8 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
455g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 414
Calories from Fat 134
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g
23%
Saturated Fat 4g
20%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 75mg
25%
Sodium 537mg
22%
Total Carbohydrates 31g
10%
Dietary Fiber 4g
16%
Sugars 8g
Protein 36g
Vitamin A
306%
Vitamin C
48%
Calcium
27%
Iron
15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 carrots
  2. 1 onion
  3. 1 tbsp olive oil
  4. 200g risotto rice
  5. 50ml white wine
  6. 300ml chicken stock
  7. 400g salmon fillets
  8. 1 courgette, grated
  9. 50ml semi skimmed milk
  10. 50g parmesan
  11. 40g quark
  12. 200g spinach
  13. pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop the carrots and onions.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and sweat the onions and carrots for a few minutes.
  3. Now add the rice and stir to coat in the oil, leave for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the wine, and stir, bring to a simmer on a medium heat.
  5. When most of the wine has been cooked out add the stock, about 100ml at a time. Stir frequently whilst it cooks as this helps release the starch from the rice and stops it burning on the bottom, plus it gives you a good arm workout 😉
  6. About half way through the stock additions add in the cubed salmon and grated courgette.
  7. When you have added all the stock, it's time to add the milk and let it cook out too.
  8. Now add the quark and grated parmesan.
  9. Finally stir through the spinach and allow it to wilt, and season.
beta
calories
414
fat
15g
protein
36g
carbs
31g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/