5 Super easy family meals that your kids will love

In this crazy forced quarantine period, our life as mums has become even more challenging…

Make sure the kids are not bored, learn something every day, do exercise, don’t kill their siblings (if any), clean the house, cook… the list goes on…

For this week’s post I wanted to share 5 super easy recipes for family meals that we absolutely LOVE!!! They are very simple, quite quick and I hope they will take some of the pressure off your shoulders when it comes to: “What shall I cook for dinner???”

All the measurements are for 4 people (2 adults and 2 children) and possibly a bit more… 😉 Remember to add some lovely veggies to your main to make it go further and be more healthy!

Here they are:

  1.  Mac and cheese

This is one of my favourite recipes -ever-!!! And it’s so simple to make!

Ingredients: 700 ml whole milk, 450 ml of water, 400 grams of small pasta (macaroni works best, hence the name Mac and cheese… 😉 ), 1 teaspoon of salt, freshly ground black pepper (to taste), 2 cups of freshly grated strong cheddar, 1 teaspoon of dry mustard powder (optional)

Method: Add the pasta, the milk, ½ of the water, salt and pepper to a pan, put on a medium/low heat and stir often to avoid the pasta sticking to the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil and cook for about 8-10 minutes. As the pasta cooks, it will absorb the water, if needed (during the 8-10 min.) add more water a very small amount at the time. Once the pasta is cooked, remove it from the heat, add the cheese gradually, stirring after every addition and making sure the cheese is melted thoroughly. Add the mustard powder (if using). Enjoy immediately!

2. Hidden veg burgers

This recipe is great as it adds vegetables to a classic -burger- without losing its charm…

The same recipe works also as “egg free” I have modified as my son suffers from eczema and eggs are one of his “reactor food”

Ingredients: 500 gr of minced beef, 50 gr of breadcrumbs (either pre-packed one or you can wizz one of the top/bottom slices of a loaf of bread rather than throwing them in the bin or giving them to the birds…), 1 grated carrot, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of onion powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ cup of milk OR 1 egg (my son has eczema and eggs are one of his triggers, so I have substituted the egg for milk, the recipe works either ways with one ingredient [milk] OR the other [1 EGG] don’t use both… 😉 )

For serving: 6 buns (white or brown), lettuce, sliced cheddar, sliced tomatoes, sauces (tomato ketchup, mayo etc…) of your liking

Method: Wash your hands and mix all the ingredients in a bowl, making sure everything is thoroughly combined. Still with your hands, get small amount of mixture, the size of a golf ball and shape them in a circular shape, like a burger. Don’t worry if they are not perfectly round, they won’t be!!! Get a pan nice and hot, put some seeds oil (or coconut oil or Frylight) and place your burgers in it. Turn the heat down to low so the burgers will cook and not burn. Turn them often, the size will dictate how long will they take to cook. To check if they are ready, take one and cut it in the middle, if the mince is still pink it will need longer. They should take around 15 minutes to cook.

Serve them in your bread roll with your favourite garnishes and sauces.

3. “Magic Potion” slow cooker chicken

I have actually invented this recipe… I have named it “Magic Potion” as I just mixed some of the ingredients I had in my cupboard, chucked them in the slow cooker and hoped for the best… and it did work!!!

Ingredients: 4 chicken legs, 50 ml of reduced-salt soy sauce, 3 tbsp of Worcester sauce, 2 tbsp of honey, 2 tsp of sundried tomato pesto, 2-3 garlic cloves (either leave them whole so you can remove them at the end or cut them small so they will disappear but still give flavour ), 2 celery stalks cut in small chunks, 2 tbsp of frozen onion, a handful of frozen peas.

Method: Put all of the ingredients together in the slow cooker and cook on High for 3 hours or on Low for 6 hours. That’s it 😉!

4. Fish pie -the easy one-

I absolutely LOVE fish pie!!! And this is my favourite one!!!

Ingredients: 1kg of potatoes peeled and cut in big chunks, 400 ml of milk plus a splash, 25 gr of butter, 25 gr of plain white flour, 2 tbsp of frozen onions, 1 pack of frozen fish pie mix (normally they are around 300-400 gr), 1 tsp of Dijon mustard, a handful of frozen sweetcorn, a handful of frozen peas, a handful of grated cheddar.

Method: Turn your oven on to 200 C. Put the peeled and cut potatoes in enough cold water till they are covered. Bring them to boil and cook till tender. Once soft drain them, mash them and keep them aside. Whilst the potatoes are cooking start preparing your roux sauce (don’t worry, it’s a fancy name but it’s very easy!). Put a saucepan on low heat, add your butter, the frozen onion and half of the flour, mix with a whisk, add the rest of the flour and start adding the milk slowly. Stir constantly so that you incorporate the milk with the butter and flour forming a lovely sauce (your roux!). Once you have used all the milk, keep cooking it for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid sticking to the bottom. Your roux should be nice and thick, don’t worry about any lumps. Remove from the heat and add the frozen fish, frozen sweetcorn, frozen peas and the mustard. Mix them well and transfer to an oven proof dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the fish and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Transfer to the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

5. Chocolate salami

This one is a classic memory of my childhood! By the way, it’s a dessert, nothing to do with meat! It’s called “salami” because of its “salami like” look and shape…

Ingredients: 200 gr of biscuits (any plain white biscuits will work, Nice, Rich Tea, Malted, etc…), 150 gr of sugar, 150 gr of butter (needs to have been out of the fridge for a few hours so it’s nice and soft), 1 egg, 2 tbsp of cocoa powder, 1 to 2 tsp of chocolate spread.

Method: Crush the biscuits to medium/small bits. The children can help with this step. Our favourite “crushing method” is to put the biscuits in a clean tea towel, hold the 4 corners (so the all the biscuits are inside) and whack it with a rolling pin!!! Add the sugar, egg, butter and mix with a spoon or with washed hands! Add the 2 tbsp of cocoa powder, the chocolate spread and and mix again. As you mix, the butter will melt a bit and will help incorporate all of the ingredients. Take a long piece of cling film, put your mixture in, and start giving the mixture the shape of a salami (a longish shape, like a sausage). Close the ends of the cling film folding it on itself and put the chocolate salami in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. Remove from the fridge, discard the cling film and dust with icing sugar. Enjoy!!!!

I hope you will give these recipes a try and I hope you and your family will enjoy them! Let me know in the comments!

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Love

Alessandra

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