Every week I meal plan so I know what we’re going to eat for the week, and most importantly what we need to buy. There is always a degree of flexibility or we might swap what days we are having things but we try to stick to it. I factor in what our plans for the weekend are – are we at a friends, out with family, or is one of the kids are a party? Then I also factor in what we have on during the week. Do I have an evening physio appointment, or is Matt working away and home late one night? On those days, I am all about the quick meals. Our children are usually in bed for 7pm, and if we are cooking afterwards, we like it to be done in less than 30 minutes so that we still feel like we have an evening after we’ve eaten. They eat their main meals at lunchtime three days a week, so on those days Matt and I eat something different to them once they’re in bed. So I thought I’d share with you some really quick and easy mid week meals. They won’t win any awards for creativity, but they fill a hole, and we enjoy them!
Our top 10 quick and easy mid week meals
1. Stir fry
Stir fry is so versatile which I why I love it. We have it with king prawns, or quorn pieces mostly, but you can have chicken, beef or pork. We very rarely buy the ready made sauces, instead we put in some lazy ginger, garlic, sesame oil, sweet chilli sauce (or fresh chilli if we have some leftover) and soya sauce. This is something we eat without the children once they’re in bed.
2. Quick pasta
I really love fresh pasta and sauce, or if we are being very lazy, a good dollop of pesto, and sun dried tomatoes. I know dried pasta takes all of about 10 minutes to cook, but we also buy fresh gnocchi or tortellini every now and again. It seems more indulgent, and is cooked in about five minutes!
3. Omelette and salad
Again, very versatile. Throw in whatever you have – ham, cheese, mushrooms, frozen peas, sweetcorn, peppers. A good protein dinner that I used to have religiously every night before weigh in when I did Slimming World!
4. Grilled Bacon, Avocado and Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes.
This is really really tasty, and yet only a few ingredients. Usually we have with green salad on the side.
5. Baked Salmon and veg
Pushing the 30 minute mark if you have with potato wedges, but only just. Plus it’s healthy and easy peasy. You can cook salmon with your topping of choice, sometimes we go just with sliced lemon, sometimes lemon and chilli flakes, a teaspoon of pesto, or we have a couple of seasoning “shakes” you can get in the herb aisle in the supermarket. (Though watch the salt in these if you’re giving to children). Pop it in the oven on some foil, and put your veg on. We tend to have ours with sweet potato or potato wedges, but when we’re in a hurry we also have grains like Quinoa you can buy in a pouch and microwave. They are so quick and tasty and I’ve not nailed cooking my own Quinoa from scratch as well yet. (Give me time..) Alternatively we have plain cous cous with some herbs or lemon juice in.
6. Grilled Chicken and veg or salad, with cous cous or grains
Again, just add seasoning, or, we also use the lime, garlic, ginger and soy marinade that works with salmon too. You need five minutes mid afternoon to make the marinade but that can easily be done whilst the kids are eating their tea, if you’re cooking a few hours later.
One for the grown ups because of the salt, but perfect for the days our eldest has eaten her main meal at nursery.
8. The good old Jacket Potato and salad
Ok not quick because I cannot bear a microwaved potato (it’s a crime!) so I do pop it in the oven, however, that takes all of about 5 seconds. I’ll pop it in when the kids are finishing their tea at about 5.45 and they’ll be done by the time we’ve finished bedtime. Again the topping choices are endless… our favourites include coleslaw and feta cheese, tuna mayo and cheese and beans (obvs). Plus if you have any Chilli or Bolognese portions in the freezer that are a bit smaller, these work great too. Top with cheese, naturally!
9. A freezer special!
I.e. something from the freezer we have cooked last week. Very often if we are having something like Spaghetti Bolognese or Chilli Con Carne, I will cook enough for four adults. I always pad it out with hidden veg so sometimes get a couple of extra portions for the children to have mid week too if they’re eating on their own and we’re eating later. I then freeze half for us to have on a night when we’re short on time. This way it feeds our family at least twice and it takes no time at all to reheat. Perfect when you’re knackered and want a quick meal!
10. Something from the slow cooker
The king of the quick meals.. because you already put it together! Sometimes we will prep ours the night before if we’ve cooked something more timely and are in the kitchen anyway. Then it’s simply cover and put in the fridge, just remember to take out and switch on in the morning! We tend to make Spaghetti Bolognese, Chilli, Beef Stew or Pork and Apple stew. I’ll be sharing more of our favourite slow cooker recipes soon as we’ve been using ours more over the winter.
So there you have our go to quick and easy midweek meals. Like I said, they’re not exactly inspirational, but, I think, pretty realistic for busy parents. Do you have similar meals or anything more exciting? Let me know your favourites in the comments, it’s good to share!
Until next time…
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