Here are some dinner ideas for when your kids sport is eating up your time and you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry.
Oh, you knew I’d go here first, don’t lie! I won’t rabbit on too much about the slow cooker, as I’ve already done so here, here and here. It’s hard to beat for ease and convenience, and a bit of prep will make your dinner time a lot easier. If your mornings are as chaotic as mine, make it the night before and put it in the fridge, so all you need to do is pop it on before you leave for work.
- Spaghetti Bolognaise is a lovely warming carb fest to come home to when you are tired and need something to fill you up. I’d normally cook the sauce on the stove-top but at least with the slow cooker I can leave the house and know it won’t be burnt down on my return. 15 mins to cook the pasta while you have a much needed glass of wine and the children have a shower.
- Spanish Chicken. I’m cooking this tonight actually! Saute some onions, garlic, smoked paprika, cumin and thyme in a fry pan, deglaze with a cup of red wine, add some chopped tinned tomatoes, then pour over some chicken legs and a few chopped red capsicums and maybe a scoop of olives if you don’t mind picking them out of your children’s dinner. I’ll be having mine with cauliflower mash, the boys will have mashed potato, both of which can be prepped, sitting on the stove ready to go.
- Taco Night! Put your favourite taco mince recipe in the slow cooker (Barack Obama Chili is a favourite round here), have all other ingredients prepped and ready to go in the fridge (lettuce, grated cheese, sliced tomato, sour cream, what ever you like) and then when you get home, all you need to do is put everything on the table and stand back.
- Pasta Bake. Easy peasy! Use your favourite recipe, or use this one for Big Arse Salmon Pasta Bake, or Google a recipe and find one you like. So simple, and it doesn’t take much time to make in the first place, let alone heat in the oven when you finally get home.
- Lasagna. OK technically this is another pasta bake, but it’s easy to make and whack in the oven. It’s not hard, it’s just bolognaise and pasta sheets, with a bechemal sauce on the top.
- Lemon chicken and potato bake. In a lined baking dish, place some thyme or rosemary, cover with chicken pieces (thighs are good, but wings or legs work well also) and quartered potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt; then cover with glad wrap and pop in the fridge until you get home and are ready to pop it into the oven for about 45 minutes.
- Moussaka! If your children (or you) don’t like eggplant try making it with thick slices of steamed potato instead. Perfect with a green salad.
- Shepherds Pie. I like to pretend the shepherd in question was a kiwi, and cover it with mash made from kumera. Apparently this is healthier, so feel free to have a second glass of wine.
This is not quite take away, and not quite home made; it can be a healthy alternative though. Go to the supermarket and buy things to assemble on your dinner plate. Try to stay away from the frozen section *note to myself*
- BBQ chicken, a bag of salad, some nice crusty bread. Just like Grandma makes!
- Creamy pasta sauce and pasta from the chilled section, fancied up with some cooked prawns and baby spinach leaves.
- Fresh pizza from the chilled section, which is nicer than the ones in the freezer that look like they’ve been run over by a truck. Add some extra toppings from the deli section – olives, feta, salami, marinated seafood, cooked prawns, proper cheese….what ever you like. Goes great with a glass of wine.
Shop your own freezer
Next time you make a batch of something, make a double batch and freeze it, and life will be a little easier. It might take 30 minutes to nuke in the microwave, and that is enough time to make some pasta, rice, salad or veggies to go with it. Wouldn’t it be lovely to find any of the following in your freezer?
- Any thing listed above that you cooked in the slow cooker.
- Anything that you pre prepped, like pasta bake.
- A large chicken and potato curry
- A hearty minestrone soup, and maybe some garlic bread to go with it
- A big batch of meatballs in tomato sauce