When it comes to serving my family dinner, there are some meals that just work. The kids are familiar with the ingredients and will actually eat what’s on their plate rather than turning their noses up and stating “mum, this is disgusting.” Everyone sits down; everyone shuts up; everyone eats. These meals are what I call staples.
We all have them. Shepherd’s pie is a big hit.Spag bol always goes down well. Chicken rice casserole is another one my kids actually enjoy. And below are a few more healthy hearty home cooked family favourites to try. If you are getting a little tired of your staple meals, then consider adding these simple and incredibly healthy family favourites to the menu.
All of these meals can be found in Once a Month Cooking, the new cookbook by author and founder of Stay at Home Mum, Jody Allen. The great thing about these family favourites is that they are all healthy, packed with veggies and they can be made ahead of time and frozen for later. Once a Month Cooking shows you how to cook in bulk and freeze for later. Spend a weekend buying the ingredients and cooking the meals to freeze for the rest of the week. To learn more about Once a Month Cooking, grab your copy of the book online through Bookworld, at BigW or in book stores Australia wide.
Mustard Chicken Casserole combines a great number of flavours to come up with a beautiful dish that the whole family can enjoy.
- 2 x chicken breasts, sliced in halves, lengthwise
- 3 x carrots, sliced into rounds
- 1 x head of broccoli, cut into small florets
- 1 x 400gm tin of condensed cream of chicken soup
- 1 x can of milk (measured using the soup tin)
- 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 1/2 cup grated, tasty cheese
- oil, to seal chicken
- salt & pepper
In the bottom of an oven-proof & micro-safe dish, layer your veggies, cover loosely with glad-wrap & zap in the microwave until just tender. Season chicken with salt & pepper & seal each piece in a frypan, with a drizzle of oil, on med-high heat, for 1 min each side or until just browned. (you could skip this step, if really pushed for time)
In one layer, place the sealed chicken breasts evenly over the veggies. In a jug, whisk together the tin of soup, milk & mustard. Pour soup mix evenly over the chicken & veggies. Top with grated cheese & bake in a 180 degree oven for 20-30mins or until golden & bubbling.
Get those extra veggies into your kids with Bean and Veggie Quesadillas:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 large carrot, peeled, grated
- ½ capsicum, seeded, finely chopped (any colour)
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 400g can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained, roughly mashed
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
- 10 flour tortillas
- Grated cheese
- Sliced avocado (optional)
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often. Pop in the garlic, carrot and capsicum and continue cooking for 2–3 minutes or until everything starts to soften.
Mix through the tomato, then add the beans, sugar, cumin and barbecue sauce. Cook for another couple of minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
Warm the tortillas in the oven or microwave according to packet directions so that they separate easily. Spread some of the bean mix over one tortilla. Top with cheese and avocado. Place another tortilla on top and slide into a warm non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
When toasted on the bottom, slide out onto a plate, place your hand on top and flip over. Return the tortilla to the pan until both sides are golden. Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas. To serve, cut into quarters.
Alternatively cook the tortillas on a sandwich press and toast. Then lift off onto plate and cut to serve.
This one is fast, fresh and fueled with protein.
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 1 medium green capsicum chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 ½ tablespoons curry powder
- 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
- 400g can tomatoes
- 600g canned chickpeas, rinsed
- 3 medium potatoes, diced
- 1/3 cup yoghurt
Heat oil in large saucepan, cook onion, capsicum, garlic and curry powder, stirring until onion is soft. Add vinegar, undrained tomatoes, chickpeas and potato, simmer, covered, about 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir occasionally. Served with yoghurt to neutralise the curry flavour, this filling vegetarian meal will warm you from inside out as the nights get cooler.
The good thing about taking a break from meat every night for dinner is that it will save you plenty of money!! Try this one for Meatless Mondays – made with refried beans mixed with lentils rather than mince. Tricky tricky.
- 1/2 cup dry red lentils
- 1 tin refried beans
- 1 tablespoon Italian herbs
- 1 tin crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup grated cheese
- 1/2 packet lasagna noodles (125 grams)
- white sauce
Open the tin of refried beans and pour into a bowl with the crushed tomatoes, lentils and Italian herbs. Mix well and set aside. Make your cheese sauce as per the Stay at Home Mum recipe. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and use canola oil to very gently grease the bottom of a deep baking dish.
Using a large spoon, layer enough of the refried bean mix to just cover the bottom of the baking tray. Add the lasagne noodles to cover without overlapping. Layer the cheese sauce on top. Keep stacking the layers in that order until you run out of ingredients. Top with the cup of grated cheese and bake for 40 minutes or until cooked through and golden on top.
You can’t go wrong with Irish Stew, a healthy and hearty family favourite:
- 1/4 cup plain flour
- 1.2 kg lamb neck chops, trimmed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 carrots, peeled, sliced
- 1 kg Desiree potatoes, peeled, cut int 2 cm pieces
- 6 cups beef stock
- thyme sprigs and crusty bread
In a plastic bag place flour and chops, than shake and make sure lamb is coated well. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and onion and thyme. Set aside. Add half the lamb, cook for 4 mins. Cook in two batches, making sure lamb is brown on all sides, this insures that the lamb is sealed. Put to one side. Start layering with the lamb then onion mixture and potatoes repeating layers.
Pour over the stock and bring it all to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 30 mins. You can skim the fat off the top as the cooking process goes along. Take the lid off and let it simmer for another 30 mins, until the lamb is nice and tender and the sauce should be a little thicker. You can serve the Irish stew with some yummy crusty bread.
End the week with something super healthy and super simple. Soup!
- 45 grams butter
- 1 leek (or brown onion)
- 1/4 cup plain flour
- 5 cups water
- 2 vegetable stock cubes
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
- 1 potato, peeled and chopped into chunky pieces
- 1/2 cup cream
- 2 zucchini, chopped into rings
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan melt the butter until bubbling. Add the leek (or onion) and cook until soft. Stir in the flour and cook the mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until thick. Add the water and the stock cubes and the potato. Cook for about five minutes before adding the remaining vegetables. Simmer for 10 minuets or until the vegetables are cooked through. Stir in the cream, season to taste and serve immediately.
Once a Month Cooking features hundreds of healthy home cooked recipes for you to try. Regardless of how fussy your kids are and what your monthly meal planning budget is, with Once a Month Cooking, you can reduce the time, effort and costs that go into cooking.