As a mother of two, I know that feeding the family can be expensive. After welcoming my second child into the world and seeing how much our weekly shopping expenses began creeping up plus hearing that every year in the UK, 18 million tonnes of food end up in landfill, I made it my mission to cut costs by minimising food waste, buying in bulk and batch cooking. Being as the weather is getting cooler, it’s the perfect time for big hearty and healthy dishes that fill you up and keep you going through the colder months. So cozy up, give these a read and let us know what you think!
With the cold nights fast approaching, your family is going to need something to keep their bellies warm and soup is the perfect meal for this, whether it is for lunch or a light dinner. Soup is a versatile choice and can be tailored to incorporate your families favourite ingredients and are also a great way to sneak in lots of hidden veggies! Mix up your soups by adding some roast chicken, lentils, canned beans for some extra protein (my favourites are borlotti or cannellini beans), pasta or noodles and your favourite vegetables. Tis the season for affordable and plentiful root vegetables such as butternut squash, which are especially great when roasted first.
Here are a few of my favourite soup recipes:
Cooking For Busy Mums: Roasted Pumpkin & Cannellini Bean Soup
Life As A Mom: Chicken Noodle Soup
Scottish Mum: Vegetable & Lentil Soup
Pasta is one of the cheapest and most flexible cupboard staples and is always a welcomed dinner in my household. It is a quick, easy and affordable option to make on busy weekdays whether it be a one pot spaghetti with a simple tomato and basil sauce or a easy tuna pasta bake. Like soups, you can create pasta dishes with your families’ favourite vegetables, I have started to half the portion of spaghetti I use and replace it with either courgetti (courgette “spaghetti”) or boodles (butternut squash “noodles”) and, once the sauce is on, they can rarely tell the difference! Red peppers, courgettes and onions can be blended into a tomato sauce for extra hidden veg and, if you’re a fan of a creamy sauce, blended avocado or asparagus can really enhance the flavour and richness of the cream.
These are a few of my favourite affordable pasta recipes that can save you are in a hurry:
Jamie Oliver: Easy Tuna Pasta Bake
Mumzilla: Sneaky Veg Sauce with Spaghetti
The Recipe Rebel: One Pot Pasta Primavera
Eggs! What can I say, you can eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A very underrated and versatile ingredient, in my opinion, and my little ones love them. From an early age I got my kids into the habit of having eggs for breakfast and ditching the sugary cereals. It’s obviously a healthier choice, we can add in a variety of toppings, and it keeps their hunger at bay. They have their own favourites, which obviously differ! Max loves egg and soldiers and, as Abigail is only 18 months old, she has scrambled! After a bit of experimenting, I have found that vegetable frittatas and omelettes always go down a treat too (though tomato sauce sometimes helps). Serve it with a nice salad and you’ve got a quick, cheap and easy dinner idea.
Here are some great ways to use eggs:
Penny’s Recipes: Fully Loaded Vegetable Frittata
My Fussy Eater: Spinach & Bacon Egg Muffins
The Kids Cook Monday: Shakshuka Baked Eggs
4. One Pot Wonders
After a long day with the kids, sometimes making big, elaborate meals just isn’t on the cards. The time, effort and dishes necessary can be too much to bare and that’s when it’s time to bust out a fabulous one pot wonder! The best part is that there are actually so many options! Curries, stews, chilli, pastas and pies! At this time of year they are always very filling and hearty and as you are able to bulk cook them you can keep costs low and freeze some for another day when you’re just not up for cooking. You may not think that curry and chilli are staple kid friendly dishes but I am a firm believer that if you introduce your kids to various types of food from an early age, they will be less likely to be fussy eaters as they grow up. Experiment with a variety of different spices, herbs, beans and pulses to create exciting flavours and textures that the family will love.
Here are my hero one pot recipes:
Well Worn Whisk: Child Friendly Chick Pea, Spinach & Squash Curry
A Girl Called Jack: Chilli Con Carne
Skint Dad: Shepard’s Pie
What are your family favourites or go-to’s when time is not on your side? We’d love to hear them!