Not every family meal has to be a big production. Midweek you don’t have time to juggle three different meals for each fussy eater round your table, so here are three ideas for that should be easy to adapt to get everyone eating.
Mince – such a lifesaver! Keep a pack of beef or lamb mince in the freezer. Along with an onion, a bit of stock and a few potatoes you can have shepherd’s pie in less than 30 minutes. According to your family’s tastes, customise by adding a 200g tin of chopped tomatoes, sliced carrots or courgettes, or even a 200g tin of baked beans to the mince. If you have younger children who find mashed potato hard work, either grate cheese onto the top and grill before serving, or slice the uncooked potatoes and layer them over the mince, drizzle with oil and allow to slow cook in the oven.
Hearty and comforting whether your family likes bangers, hot dog sausages or veggie options. Go for quick roast potatoes as an upgrade to mash. For a change from quick-fix granules, make your own 10-minute gravy by sautéing a handful of chopped mushrooms, an onion and garlic in butter, stir in a tablespoon of flour, then stir in a pint of hot stock. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes then blend it to make a rich sauce to really set your meal off.
Make this popular side dish into the main attraction by chopping ham or cooked bacon into the cauliflower cheese once it’s all mixed together and you’re ready to warm it through in the oven for 15 minutes. If your family aren’t big fans of cauliflower go with broccoli or sliced potatoes. (If you go for sliced potatoes add a little extra kick with just a splash of Tabasco.)