Here are some tried and tested family meal ideas and recipes. I’m always in need of more, so please comment on this post with your full-proof family dishes and I’ll add them.
Family meal recipes and ideas
Really cheap and easy to make, turkey burgers are a healthier alternative to beef burgers (though we love those too). I use frozen chopped onions for extra speed and less tears. I also make up extra patties to put into the freezer. Turkey Burgers recipe.
Pork, Chorizo and Cannellini Bean Stew
This is a great winter warmer. It’s really cheap and easy to make, but requires a couple hours of cooking.
Light Chicken Korma
This Korma recipe uses fat-free Greek yogurt instead of cream for a healthier family meal option. It’s quick and very easy to prepare and doesn’t require much cooking time. We omit the sugar and it still tastes great. Here’s the recipe: Korma
These mini puff pastry pizzas make a great snack/canapé or light lunch.
Quick Chicken Stew
A great one pot meal that’s easy to do and as the name suggests doesn’t take an age to cook. For a family meal for five, I add two extra chicken breasts and an extra carrot. We do tend to have quite big portions though! Here’s the recipe.
Oven Baked Salmon
This is ludicrously easy and makes two meals if it’s just for the children (I’ll explain later).
- Pre-heat the oven to 175c (fan oven)
- Use four boneless salmon steaks and put two steaks onto two pieces of foil
- Score the steaks, squeeze some lemon juice over them, stick knobs of butter in the scored bits and add one chopped shallot over the top
- Season and then parcel up and put in the oven for 25-30 mins (just check to see if cooked through)
I always make too much, so the next day I flake the cold leftovers and mix into couscous along with broccoli or peas (whichever I haven’t used the day before).
Winter Vegetable Soup
This is a really nice, smooth but thick winter warmer. I use less parsnips than the recipe details (replacing with an extra carrot) as I find them a little overpowering.
Here’s the recipe: Winter Vegetable Soup
Cheat’s Jacket Potatoes
A quick way to get tasty crispy-skinned potatoes.
- Prick the potatoes several times with a fork
- Microwave at 900W for three minutes, turn the potatoes and microwave for a further three minutes
- Brush with oil and season
- Put in an oven pre-heated to 230c (fan) for 25 minutes
Taco Rice and Bean Boats
These are super easy to make and the children absolutely love them. They’re more a quick mid-week dinner for the children than a big family meal. Here’s the recipe: Taco rice boats
Spaghetti Carbonara (serves 4)
This is a perennial favourite and really easy to do. I use the recipe from the bible of Italian cooking: The Silver Spoon cookbook. There is NO cream in carbonara by the way 🙂
- 25g butter
- 100g cubed pancetta
- 3 whole peeled garlic cloves (recipe says one clove but even three isn’t very strong)
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 40g Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
- 40g Pecorino (freshly grated)
- Salt and pepper
- Melt the butter in a pan, add pancetta and garlic cloves and cook until garlic turns brown. Discard the garlic
- Meanwhile cook the spaghetti for a minute less than packet instructions say in a large pan of salted boiling water
- Drain the pasta and add to the pancetta
- Remove pan from heat and pour in the eggs – my children prefer the egg to be better cooked so I usually leave on the heat for a few seconds longer
- Add half the Parmesan and half the Pecorino and season to taste with pepper. Mix well, add the remaining cheese and mix again. Serve
Chili Con Carne
A classic family meal favourite.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 400g lean beef mince
- 400g chopped tomatoes (tinned)
- 1 tsp chilli powder (to taste)
- ½ tsp cumin, ground
- black pepper (to taste)
- 400g kidney beans
- Heat the oil in a large high-sided frying pan and fry garlic and onion gently for a couple of minutes
- Put in the mince and cook until lightly browned
- Drain in colander to get rid of excess oil
- Add tinned tomatoes, chilli powder and ground cumin and season with pepper
- Bring to boil and then simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stir occasionally
- Drain and add the kidney beans and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Serve with rice
This should actually be made with veal escalopes, but they aren’t always that easy to get hold of so I use chicken breasts instead and it’s still really tasty.
- Five chicken breasts
- Pack of prosciutto slices/Parma ham
- Fresh sage leaves
- 50g butter
- 100ml of dry white wine
- Cocktail stick
- Flatten the chicken so that it’s the thickness of an escalope (no need to do this if you’re actually using veal escalopes)
- Place half-one slice of prosciutto on each escalope followed by one large sage leaf (or two small) secured in place with the cocktail stick
- Melt butter in a frying pan and cook meat on both sides over a high heat until golden brown
- Season with salt, pour in the wine and cook until the wine’s evaporated
- Remove cocktail sticks and serve
Sausage and Bean Casserole
I use cannellini beans and 12 sausages instead of the eight it says in the recipe. If there’s any left over I serve it on top of rice the next day.
Salmon and Gruyere Quiche
Although this is fine in winter, it’s a great thing to make in summer when you can serve it cold with a salad.
Just five ingredients in this family meal. I serve with pita breads, cheese, cucumber and tomatoes for the girls and my husband and I have them with a feta salad (that he makes with radishes, cucumber, onion), pitas and tzatziki.
Here’s the recipe.
Pan-Fried Lemon and Garlic Sea Bream
A new edition! My husband and I like sea bream but hadn’t tried it with the girls. However, when it was on offer in Sainsbury’s I had to give it a go. This was a surprise hit!
The below served four. It was meant to be five but the kids ate so much it didn’t! I serve with peas or broccoli (top tip: always have a stock of frozen veggies in the freezer).
- 6 boneless sea bream fillets (skin on)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves (minced)
- Juice of 1 and a half lemons
- Black pepper
- Place the fillets in a bowl and rub salt (to taste) on both sides
- In another bowl mix the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice well. Pour this over the fillets and rub in well
- Grind the black pepper over the fillets, cover and set aside to marinade for about two hours
- Add a little oil into a non-stick frying pan and place on a medium high heat. When hot, put the sea bream in skin-side down and cook for 2-3 mins (until the skin is crispy).
- Turn the fish over and cook for a couple more minutes until completely cooked
Serve with peas or samphire (we had that) and small roasted potatoes or wholegrain rice for a healthier alternative.
* Please comment below with your family meal favourites.