I love cooking, trying out new recipes and making well loved dishes. One of the highlights of my month is the meal planning and food shopping, sad I know but it’s true! Despite my love of cooking and my mission to ensure we get a healthy balanced diet sometimes working, doing mum stuff and all the other things that come with a busy life just leaves little in the way of spare time. On days like this I need something quick, easy and 5 year old friendly for us for supper, enter my easy midweek meals! These dinners have been vetted and approved by Harry and they are some of my favourites too!
All of these recipes can be made with things you are likely to have in your fridge but if not all of the ingredients can easily be bought from any shop.
So first up is ‘Sausage and Roast Vegetable Tray Bake’. I love this one because it is a one pot wonder! You want to get some delicious pork sausages, you can use as many as you like depending on how many hungry mouths you have to feed. I have some great local farmers markets where you can get hold of some really unusual varieties like black pudding and pork sausages and a personal favourite caramalised onion and pork sausages.
Put all your sausages in high sided baking tray that has been lightly greased with olive oil. Next roughly chop up new potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, celeriac and whole plum or large cherry tomatoes. To be honest you can add any veges you have leftover in the fridge or even veges that you have in the garden. I like to mix my veg with some flavoured olive oil before adding to the tray but you can also just used extra virgin olive oil with black pepper if you want to keep it simple.
Pop the tray uncovered in a 180 degree C preheated oven for about 30 minutes until the sausages are cooked and the vegetables have started crisping. You might want to turn the sausages and veges half way through cooking. Serve with quinoa, cous cous or pasta and voila easy peasy!
Next is a comfort food classic… ‘Macaroni Cheese’. Anyone who knows me will know that Mac n Cheese is my absolute favourite, shameful but so true! There’s a top 10 macaroni cheeses you can experience in London that has been on my bucket list for forever! if you have eaten any of them please do share!
We try to change up our mac and cheese recipes for a bit more interest but the classic is always a winner. For a simple no frills version try this from Gail Richards BBC Good Food (pictured above) … Or if you are feeling brave and you want to push the boat out this recent discovery from the Pioneer Woman was a big hit… We tend to add in chicken or bacon to the mix with salad or mixed vegetables on the side too. I feel a Mac and Cheese blog coming on!
Finally is another pasta dish but a showstopper. ‘Easy carbonara with bacon, courgette and peas’. This is such an easy dish to make but one that will wow people guaranteed. I agree that buying a jar sauce is certainly easier but once you have made your own carbonara sauce at home you will fall in love with the flavours and never go back.
You are going to need (healthy eating gurus look away now) 300g penne pasta, 140ml cream, 50g parmesan, one pack of bacon lardons (about 125g), 3 eggs, 1 courgette cubed or sliced mushrooms, a few handfuls of frozen or fresh peas, salt and pepper. Put your pasta on to cook in salted boiling water for as long as the packet suggests, don’t overcook as soggy pasta is just a tragedy. Put your bacon lardons in a pan and start to fry, when they are almost done add the cubed courgettes and cook until they are both golden. Whilst this is cooking get a mixing bowl and add the cream, parmesan, 2 whole eggs and one egg yolk and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk all these ingredients together until they are combined and set aside. Once your pasta is cooked (al dente) drain it whilst conserving a small amount of the cooking water in with the pasta. Add your bacon mix and then immediately mix your sauce into your pasta and keep stirring so it is well cooked, the heat from the pasta will cook the egg. You want to keep stirring for a minute or so so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs! I know it sounds complicated but honestly once you have done it once you will wonder why you have never done it before. (You’ll have to forgive the photo, I literally threw this together with what I had so the ingredients shown are not exactly what is in the recipe. Having said that though all of these would work fine too!)
These are just 3 of my favourite mid week meals, I would love to hear from you about which recipes are your go tos when you are struggling for time so please email me or comment below.