Tag Archives: one pot meals

Saving my sanity by meal planning – simple family meals.

One of the things I am passionate about is making food simple. If you have time and can afford to be fancy with your meals then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Go for it. Normal life for my family in the week involves basic range ingredients, plenty of fresh and frozen veggies and quick meals.  So that is what I am sharing with you today.  Trust me, as a working single mum to 3 wonderfully active, inquisitive, helpful kids (you could read that as noisy, full of questions and chatter, like to stick their fingers where I don’t want them to) I need fast food. However I am wheat intolerant (the proper kind where eating wheat upsets my digestive system for several days) and my boy is lactose intolerance – which quite frankly sucks for him. So we have to cook from scratch. 

I aim to plan at the weekend. This sometimes involves a bit of “get ahead cooking” where I cook a few meals for Monday and Tuesday in advance, or it just comes down to a vague plan. Either way without a rough plan my head gets super stressed.

Family meal ideas for busy parents from a dietitian

“What am I cooking today? How will I fit it into my day? Do I have the ingredients?  Do I have time to get to the shop?”  These are questions that will float around my head taking up valuable time and energy. With a plan I’m part way there and will prep a bit throughout my day. That could mean I prep the veggies or even just get the ingredients out on the worktop so I can cook after the school run. It all helps.

So here is an example of our weeks meals and some of the recipes I cook. Simple things my children eat and that work with our dietary needs. I hope it gives you some inspiration.


One Pot Pepper Pasta:

This is one of those meals which I love to make as it is so easy, there is minimal washing up and my kids love it. WINNER.

It’s also a vegetarian, plant based and vegan recipe. So if you are looking for simple ways to increase your vegetable intake here you go. Of course you can totally make this your own and add in any veggies you like.


One Pot Red Pepper Pasta

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 large red peppers Thickly chopped
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium courgette grated
  • 1 tin sweetcorn
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • pinch paprika
  • pinch dried mixed herbs
  • 300g dried pasta
  • 750ml boiling water
  • 50g grated cheese


  1. Heat the oil in the pan, add the garlic and gently cook.

  2. Add in the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes

  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs and spices. Bring to a simmer. 

  4. Add the pasta and water, stir well and bring to a simmer.

  5. Lid on and simmer 12-15 minutes until the pasta is cooked.

  6. Season and serve with grated cheese. 

Fish Pesto Parcels:

These are so simple that I like to get my kids to make their own. That way they can’t moan about the veggies I’ve put in! 


Fish Pesto Parcels

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • 400 g white fish (can be frozen and defrosted)
  • 2 carrots, chunkily sliced
  • 1/2 broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 courgette, chunkily sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thick slices
  • 4 tsp pesto
  • 12 small potatoes (if they are too large they will not cook in time so slice up using large potato)


  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7

  2. Lay out a square of foil big enough to pop everything in and seal up. About 1.5 times your dinner plate. 

  3. Place a selection of veggies and potatoes on the foil, top with the fish and spread 1 tsp pesto on top.

  4. Fold the foil parcel up so everything is covered and pop onto a baking tray.

  5. Bake for 20 minutes

Lentil Bolognaise:

A regular favourite for us and so versatile. You can use up your odds and ends of veggies, and make this into lasagne, cottage pie of as a bolognaise. It freezes super well too.

Recipe here.

Salmon and Broccoli Risotto:

Perfect weaning food and a great meal to get veggies into! I usually grate a courgette in to boost the veggies up.

Recipe here.

Pizza Wraps:

Literally the easiest thing on a Friday after school. I give the kids a wrap, squirt tomato puree on, they pile on toppings from a selection on a chopping board and we cook them for 10 minutes at Gas Mark 5. Do keep a close eye on them as they cook very quickly! 

Chicken Satay Stir Fry:

You can’t beat a stir fry for ease. My kids love peanut butter so satay is usually a winner. Totally use a frozen veg mix or a stir fry pack for ease if you want to. Serve with noodles or rice.

Recipe here

Sausages and wedges:

As much as I like to have some plant based meals in our week my kids are firm fans of sausages. I’ve been using some meat free variations out and they have been largely successful, plus easy to cook straight from frozen – so do think about the meat free range. No recipe as I literally cook the sausages in the oven, along with potatoes cut into wedges with olive oil and garlic on them. Serve with veggies! 

I hope these are helpful and give you some ideas on how to keep meals simple in your week. I’d love to hear your ideas too as I always need inspiration.

Sausage and Roasted Tomato Bake

This week my Archchi came to visit. This is my  Sri-lankan grandmother, fondly known to the whole family as Archchi (granny in Singhala). She lives in London and has the greenest fingers of anyone I know. Years ago she had 2 allotments, now its just her garden that produces mainly vegetables, lots of vegetables. From her recent visit I ended up with 3kg cherry tomatoes, 3 red cabbages, a large carrier bag full of apples and a pile of greens plus coriander. Lush.

The cherry tomatoes were at the stage of needing to be eaten so I decided to roast them with garlic, rosemary and balsamic vinegar. Top this off with sausages and you have a super simple, yet tasty meal. Went down very well with the family and I got the comments of “succulent, tasty and satisfying” from the husband, followed but mmmmmm from the toddler. Praise indeed.

Dietitian UK. Cherry tomatoes ready to roast
Dietitian UK. Cherry tomatoes ready to roast

I used gluten free sausages for ours and served it with rice but you could serve it with pasta, polenta or mashed potato.

Sausage and Roasted Tomato Bake
Serves 4
A simple to make but super tasty one tray sausage and tomato bake.
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
364 calories
15 g
69 g
26 g
18 g
9 g
410 g
626 g
9 g
0 g
15 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 364
Calories from Fat 237
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26g
Saturated Fat 9g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 69mg
Sodium 626mg
Total Carbohydrates 15g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 9g
Protein 18g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1kg cherry tomatoes
  2. 8 sausages
  3. 2 peppers chopped up into chunks
  4. 4 cloves garlic
  5. balsamic vinegar
  6. olive oil
  7. fresh rosemary
  8. 2 tsp dried oregano
  9. Black pepper
  1. Place the tomatoes in a baking tray, in a single layer.
  2. Chop the garlic finely and add to the tomatoe.
  3. Add a good glug of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, top with the oregano and some sprigs of rosemary.
  4. Season well with black pepper.
  5. Place the sausages on top and stir to coat it all in the seasoning, then place the sausages back on the top.
  6. Bake at Gas Mark 5 for 30 minutes, then turn the sausages and bake for another 15-30 minutes depending how well done you like your sausages.
  7. Remove the sausages and keep warm.
  8. Place the baking tray on the hob and gently simmer the sauce, squish some of the tomatoes and reduce it down a little.
  9. Serve potates/rice/pasta/polenta topped with the tomatoes, with 2 sausages per person on top.
  10. Add a green salad for extra vegetables, colour and crunch.
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/