I’ve done a post previously on how to get a relatively healthy dinner on the table in about a half hour so this post on family dinner ideas assumes a bit more of a time luxury in the evenings to prepare. I thought I’d put together a post on the meals I’ve done in the past week. Some evenings I’ll go for quick and some evenings I’ll go for broke and try something new altogether. In general though, I try and use different meat everyday and a different starch, so pasta one day potatoes the next. I keep threatening to introduce one veggie meal a week but thus far my husband has resisted the suggestion.
There are a few cookbooks I keep going back to, three to be exact – Jamie Olivers 30-minutes meals, The Dairy Book of Home Cookery and Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook. The Mary Berry book is my absolute favourite, I’ve mentioned this several times on my Snapchat (come find me for more up-to-date family dinner ideas – username thetwodarlings) because it such a simple, practical book with delicious ideas – it has a huge range of easy starter, soup, dinner, veggie dishes, deserts and puddings. Firstly I love that I can get every ingredient easily, either in the local shop or I more than likely have them anyway and secondly the book provides little side hints with pictures on a huge range of cookery and baking techniques. Anyway, onto the dinners – technically this is five dinners but I’ve only pictured 4 because one was a Sunday roast and to be honest we were too hungry to be bothered with taking nice pictures but everyone knows what a roast chicken looks like anyway. Ours was stuffed with a lemon halved which adds a really nice refreshing taste to the chicken during the summer. We used a medium chicken so there was plenty leftover for another dinner so I went to Jamie Olivers book Save with Jamie which honestly isn’t a great book, I have it about a year and this is one of the few things I’ve done from it. This was a really easy and tasty chicken pie – I put the chicken, whatever veg I had (including a sweet potato which was yum!), about 700mls of chicken stock and a good heaped tablespoon of plain flour. I left it simmer for the guts of an hour then popped it in a dish, covered it with (shop bought) filo pastry and while it was cooked I steamed some baby potatoes. It took a while but it didn’t require any attention which is what you want when you’ve got two small ladies under your feet! Another handy piece of meat to buy is a piece of ham – first things first I always boil the bejaysus out of it to get as much salt out of it as possible. Then you can either slice it and drizzle honey and wholegrain mustard over it and stick it under the grill until it’s crispy which is what I did. If you get a big enough piece you’ll have plenty of ham left over for lunches or for a pasta dinner dish another evening (see below!). I served this with all steamed veg, I use our steamer a lot, it’s so handy and much less messy than boiling vegetables and better for you! I was in Aldi and spotted manchego cheese which I knew was the ingredient in a Jamie Oliver carbonara dish from his 30-Minute Meals book that I could never find despite loving the dish itself with other cheeses. This is so easy, just cooked all the elements (I used rashers instead of chorizo as suggested by the recipe) and then the sauce has lemon, cheese, cream or yogurt and an egg. It’s really nice I must say and I’ve made this dish a good few times previously.I had some manchego cheese leftover and I had bought an aubergine in Aldi as it was on special offer and it’s something I hadn’t used before much and I’m always trying to open the girls up to new foods. So I decided to do a simple spaghetti bolognaise around these. Another easy dish, don’t think it needs any directions or instructions but the aubergine I just sliced, drizzled with olive oil and roasted for about 20 minutes before adding the cheese at the end and putting back into the oven until the cheese was melted and crisp. These were absolutely delicious I have to say and were gobbled up!
So there are some tips from the last week of family dinners for us – you’ll see that nothing is complicated and I try to use something a little bit different each week just to open the girls up to new foods. Every one of these meals were eaten up by the ladies too so these are family dinner ideas that work for us. I hope you like this post and if you do let me know in the comments below here or on Facebook and I can do another one like it with any other hints and tips I may encounter along the way!