Feeling bogged down with the back to school routine? Do you need some inspiration on getting you and the kids into a healthy routine food-wise, especially in that first month back? Here are 8 super quick and easy back to school dinner recipes that are a doddle to make and will save you time.
#1. Stir-fried Chicken with Ginger
Stir-fries are the perfect easy midweek meal that can be quickly prepared with whatever you have in the fridge but here are my suggestions:
You will need:
- 4 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 2 tablesp. olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 400g fresh vegetables, thinly sliced e.g. peppers, mange-tout, celery, mushrooms
- 4cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablesp. soy sauce
- A few drops of sesame oil, if available
- A little salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
- Heat a wok or large frying pan until really hot, add a tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes until golden.
- When cooked remove to a plate. Reheat the wok or pan and add the remaining oil.
- Add in the garlic, vegetables and ginger and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until they just begin to soften.
- Add back in the chicken, the soy sauce, a splash of water, sesame oil and some black pepper. Continue to stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
- Taste for seasoning. You may need to add a little salt. Sprinkle over the coriander and serve with noodles or rice.
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#2. Spicy Beef Pittas
This is a really simply, wholesome meal that can be ready in minutes. Irish Pride have put together a really simple recipe of mince meat, some tomato and chilli salsa and some cajun spices for an additional kick.
With some fresh pittas breads and a side salad this is a real winner midweek meal.
#3. Meatballs with Spaghetti
These meatballs from Bord Bia are just so versatile. Delicious and nutritious and easy to prepare. All you will need is some lean minced beef and lamb (optional) with some basic store cupboard ingredients: garlic, onion, seasoning, passata and tomato puree.
The great thing about these is that you can prepare the meatballs in advance and make your sauce and spaghetti to serve. They can also be used American style and stuff the leftovers into a roll the next day for a delicious lunch.
You might also like Aubergine Meatballs Recipe or 9 simple pasta recipes for kids to prepare in no time
#4. Spicy Turkey Pasta
A nice alternative to chicken and did you know that Turkey is actually a healthier option!
You will need:
- 300g of turkey mince
- 400g chopped tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 0.25 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp chilli powder
- 80g olives (cut in half)
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 350g pasta
- 100g semi-dried tomatoes
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat and brown the turkey mince, breaking up any large chunks.
- Add onion and garlic and cook for 4 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Add semi-dried tomatoes, water, olives, dried chilli flakes and tomatoes. Season to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until sauce has thickened. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to packet directions.
- To serve, toss pasta with sauce and divide evenly among 4 bowls.
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#5.Tortellini with Spinach
This is a great vegetarian pasta meal from realsimple that’s super easy to make. Some tortellini, spinach and frozen peas, tomatoes, lemon and seasoning means you can whip up this meal in minutes and have very little wash up to do!
A great one for evenings where the kids have activities on.
You might also like Leftover lamb pasta recipe
#6. Butternut Squash Risotto
This recipe takes about 20 mins to cook so is a great one for those early back to school days. It’s easy and is deliciously warming. This was even one of the first meals I cooked for my sons as babies.
You will need:
- vegetable stock
- roasted garlic paste
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 350g butternut squash, diced
- 150g arborio rice
- 40g Parmesan, finely grated
- 30g pine nuts
- 40 g butter
- 4 slices of prosciutto, torn into strips (optional)
- 100ml white wine (optional)
- Bring 750ml of water to the boil in a saucepan and then add the vegetable stock. Keep warm on a low heat.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a heavy-based pan or frying pan and fry the onion and roasted garlic paste on a high heat until soft.
- Then add the spice blend and stir-fry for another minute.
- Add the rice and half of the butternut squash and fry for 4 minutes making sure all the grains are coated in the spice blend and translucent.
- Add the wine (optional) to the rice mixture and cook until completely absorbed. Then start adding the warm stock (2 ladles at a time), stirring regularly and cooking until absorbed each time before adding more. This process should take approximately 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in another pan or frying pan add 1 tbsp of oil and bring the pan to high heat. Fry the remaining butternut squash for approximately 5 minutes, until lightly coloured. Add the pine nuts and prosciutto strips (optional) and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Finish the risotto by stirring in the butter and half of the Parmesan. Serve on plates with the fried butternut squash, prosciutto, pine nuts and remaining Parmesan.
#7. Goan Fish Curry
Why not do a twist on your normal curry and replace your chicken with fish! This recipe from Simplycook is a simple use of white fish and can be prepared in about 20 minutes. A warm and satisfying meal as the autumnal evenings approach.
You might also like Tried and Tested fish pie
#8. Smoked Haddock Kedgeree
This might seem like a blast from the past but this kedgeree is a great way to have a wonderful wholesome meal for the entire family and ready in about 20 minutes!
You will need:
- Fish stock
- Lemon and pepper seasoning
- 300g smoked haddock, skinned
- 100g frozen peas
- 150g basmati rice, rinsed
- 2 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- 25g butter
- small bunch coriander (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.
- Bring 250ml of water to the boil in a suacepan, add the fish stock and mix well. Once mixed, turn the heat off.
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy based pan (make sure it’s oven proof) and fry the kedgeree spice blend for just 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and peas. Add the fish stock, bring to a simmer, then lay the fish on top, gently submerging it under the surface. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 3 minutes without removing the lid.
- Take off the lid, add the lemon and pepper seasoning, spring onion, butter and eggs. Gently flake the fish and mix everything together well.
- Serve with the optional coriander sprinkled on top.
Over to you! Let us know how you get on and share your recipe ideas in the comments box below.