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Paris Kitchen: Week Night dinners

Time is just flying by around here at the moment. I can’t believe we’re already half way through September. Time definitely ran away with me last week, resulting in zero posts (sorry!) but I’m back with a vengeance this week with some kitchen focussed posts (can you tell I’m missing work already?!) and next week some thoughts on blooming where you’re planted. 

For tonight I’m writing about week night dinners. I am the proud owner of a two year old. As any other mother of any other two year old will tell you, meal times can be…interesting. Week night dinners in particular for most families tend to be somewhere in between mayhem and bedlam. Between getting in from work and school, getting housework and homework done, getting ready for the following day and everyone in to bed at a decent hour – we can all agree that quick week night dinners are the way forward. 

Unfortunately quick doesn’t always equate to healthy, filling meals but with a little bit of research & meal planning – it definitely can. With that, I give you my list of healthy week night dinners that can be cooked within 45 minutes and enjoyed by everyone, including picky toddlers and husbands.

  • Fishcakes are a huge favourite. We make them ahead for the week on a Sunday and pop them straight from the freezer into the oven. With a side of whatever veg you have on hand, they are usually demolished pretty quickly.
  • Baked breaded chicken strips and sweet potatoes. This recipe is from the amazing book « Lizzie loves healthy family food. » by Lizzie King and is totally gluten free, but you can bread your chicken using whatever kind of coating you have to hand. 
  • Tuscan baked beans on toast. This is another Lizzie King recipe that we’ve adapted slightly. We make a tomato sauce packed with veggies, mix in white beans and serve it on toast. It’s baked beans on toast….without all the sugar and guilt. And it’s bloody delicious. Who says dinner has to be fancy? 
  • Pasta pesto will forever be our go-to pasta dish. Quick & easy, pesto is fantastic to make ahead of time, roll up like a sausage and pop in the freezer. The great thing about this dish is how easy it is to chop up masses of green veg and « hide » it in the already deliciously green pesto. Camouflage veg is always a good idea! 
  • Left over stir fry or curry. When you’re a family of three, you always end up buying a bit too much veg. Generally at the end of the week I have a look to see what’s left; half a butternut squash, a sweet potato, some sugar snap peas, green beans and a couple of tomatoes..maybe some already grated carrot. Depending on what we have in our cupboards it all gets thrown into either a stir fry (with garlic, ginger, soy sauce and buckwheat noodles) or a quick curry (spices, garlic, coconut milk/tomato sauce and basmati rice) Sometimes a risotto can be scraped together from trailing veg and parmesan too! 

Often there’s so much worry associated with family meals and meal times. It’s totally reasonable to crack out store bought pizza sometimes or serve scrambled eggs on toast twice in a week for dinner because you just can’t. be. bothered. to cook again. Most of the mums I talk to just want reasonably priced, quick to make meal ideas that their kids will eat and that will be good for them. 

If you’re looking for great resources for healthy family eating, I absolutely love Jamie Oliver’s book « Superfood Family Classics » – it’s the most battered and stained book in my kitchen and Lizzie King’s book « Lizzie loves healthy family food. » is fantastic – every single recipe I’ve made from it has been a hit. 

None of my five meal suggestions above are groundbreaking or even very exciting (and it’s nowhere near my full list, but rather my crisis meals that I know get eaten every time!) but sometimes we need to look at other people’s go-to meals to get inspired for our own. Share some of yours with me? 

 More fishcakes...
More fishcakes…
 Lizzie King's Tuscan baked beans. SO comforting. 
Lizzie King’s Tuscan baked beans. SO comforting. 
 Baked chicken and sweet potatoes
Baked chicken and sweet potatoes
« Fish & Chips » 
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