Family Cooking

Quick Family Meals

If you’re in a hurry at dinner times (and who isn’t on midweek evenings?), but you also need to prepare a tasty and healthy meal for both adults and kids, you’ll always be on the lookout for new ideas that tick all of the above boxes.

Busy parents looking for inspiration for quick family meals might enjoy any of the recipe ideas we’ve outlined below. Both of them are delicious, satisfying, and healthy - moreover, they’re all wonderfully speedy (30 minutes or less), and very simple to cook in the oven when you’re pushed for time.

SMOKED PAPRIKA FISH, CHICKPEA AND TOMATO BAKE

Serves 4

Cookies

This is a brilliant recipe for busy weeknights - it’s punchy, robust, healthy, and delicious. Best of all, you only need one baking dish to make it in, saving you masses of clean-up time afterwards.

Serves four. Pairs very well with a peppery rocket salad or some pan-seared green beans.

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh white fish fillets (approx. 125g each) - cod is great, but you can also use basa, hake, pollock, haddock, or any reasonably firm-fleshed variety
  • 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 300g baby plum tomatoes, halved
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (or a pinch of dried chilli flakes)
  • A good handful of flat-leaf parsley, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced into wedges
  • A crusty loaf or baguette

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F, Gas Mark 5. For fan-assisted cookers, reduce the heat by 10-20 degrees.
  2. Pour the olive oil and paprika into a good-sized baking dish, then tip in your garlic, chilli, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Toss everything around lightly to give a good even coating of oil and spice, then roast for 8-10 minutes, until the garlic has softened but not overly browned (this tends to make it bitter).
  3. Pat dry your fish fillets and arrange them on the chickpea and tomato base. Season lightly, adding one or two small dabs of butter on top of each fillet.
  4. Return the dish to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the fish has cooked through and is nicely flaky. Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread to mop up any tasty tomato juices.

SPICY ‘BUFFALO’ CAULIFLOWER WRAPS

Servers 4

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Wraps

Zingy, moreish, and surprisingly filling for a dish based entirely around a single head of cauliflower, this vegan treat is fantastically healthy too. Most of the work here is simply chopping and slicing - you can do that while the cauliflower is roasting away in the oven, meaning this all comes together very quickly, but looks and tastes amazing.

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower, leaves removed
  • 8 small (or 4 large) wholewheat tortillas
  • 1 avocado, stone removed
  • 1 stalk celery, finely sliced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • ¼ red cabbage, finely sliced (you can use a jarred pickled version if you’re rushing!)
  • A handful of sliced jalapeño peppers (again, use jarred ones if you like)
  • 4 tbsp hot sauce - choose your favourite, but stick to American style ones more akin to a spicy ketchup, rather than a red hot Tabasco type)
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder or granules
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted (or ½ tsp ground cumin)
  • A small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to season

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F, Gas Mark 6. For fan-assisted cookers, reduce the heat by 10-20 degrees.
  2. Chop or divide the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, and tip into a large bowl with the garlic powder/granules and half of the olive oil. Toss everything around to get it nicely coated, then tip onto a baking tray and roast for 10-15 min until just starting to colour at the edges. Return to the bowl along with the hot sauce, give everything another toss to coat, and return to the oven to crisp up for another 10 min or so.
  3. While the cauliflower is roasting, mash or blend the avocado with the juice of one lime and a pinch of seasoning. Aim for a consistency that enables you to drizzle it, but that isn’t too runny - add a small splash of water if you need to.
  4. Toss together the red cabbage, celery, jalapeños, and cumin with the juice of the remaining lime. Wrap the tortillas in foil and pop them in the bottom of the oven for a minute or two, just to warm up slightly.
  5. When the cauliflower is nicely crisped around the edges, spoon it out onto the warm tortillas and drizzle with the avocado-lime dressing you made. Spoon over some of the spicy jalapeño, lime, cumin, and cabbage mixture, and sprinkle a few chopped coriander leaves on the top.
  6. You can roll up the tortillas into wraps yourself - or, for a bit more visual impact at the table, serve them open for people to assemble their own. Don’t forget the napkins!

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