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One of the most common questions I get asked is how I get my children to eat veg. And this is definitely one of those ways; adding it to their favourite dishes. Here I‘ve used half vegetables (lightly steamed cauliflower and broccoli) and half pasta as the base with a little cheese sauce on top. This way it’s not heavy, full of good stuff but still so tasty and satisfying. We like our veg chunky but if you’re worried your littles won’t eat it like this, chop up the veg into small pieces. Cauliflower is especially easy to hide in this dish because it’s the same colour and when cooked it’s a similar texture to pasta. I don’t know about your family but mine are always arguing over the crispy bits!
Thai Green Curry Paste
I love making this stuff! My family love it too and it’s so versatile. Cook in a little coconut oil, add coconut milk & veg/ meat/ fish to make a curry; add coconut milk and veg stock to make a soup with whatever noodles you like, add oil to make it a salad dressing ... and for bonus points it freezes beautifully too. This is the basic recipe but play around with it to suit your tastes.
Red Pepper Pesto Pasta
Peppers are a funny one with my children... they both love them raw (yay!) but only the red ones. They don’t like them cooked when the pieces are visible but they love them when blended into a sauce. Sooo ... red pepper pesto is a regular in our home. It’s also delicious as a dip, over grilled chicken or fish, potato salad.... and it freezes beautifully so I often double up and freeze a portion.
Pea & Prawn Risotto
Risotto is one of those dishes that seems difficult but is actually so easy. The best tips I have for making risotto are:
Prepare your ingredients before you start cooking. This makes it much easier rather than scrambling looking for things whilst you are cooking
Stir continuously, this helps release the starch from the grains and gives the lovely creamy texture we want
Make sure the stock is really tasty, as this is where a lot of the flavour comes from, and is kept hot during cooking
Growing up, Monday was legumes day and this dish was -and still is- an all round favourite. The rich tomato sauce is perfect for dipping crusty bread into and both my children save that bit for last because it’s their favourite. For me its all about the chickpeas; soft and delicious while my dad loves it with loads of black olives. It’s really easy to make, the recipe is adaptable so you can adjust to suit your tastes - you can add potatoes, spinach, peas... It also freezes really well. To reheat from frozen, leave it to defrost and then gently simmer to bring to temperature.
Chilli con carne
There must be 1,000 chilli recipes out there and for good reason. Comforting, hearty and full of flavour! This is my version and my family love it. I usually serve it with sweetcorn rice but it’s delicious over a jacket potato or with a big spoonful of Greek yoghurt. Here I’ve used a mix of lean beef and beans to minimise the meat and get extra fibre in there, but I often make it just with beans for an equally delicious vegan version. It also freezes beautifully so I always make more and freeze for another day.
Mushroom Ragu Linguini
I absolutely love mushrooms and linguini might be my favourite pasta so this dish is definitely my idea of eat happy! This amount of sauce is for 500g of dried pasta and serves 4 - 6. It’s a very flexible recipe, if you really like garlic add more, if you don’t like thyme you can replace with parsley or leave it out. The only important thing is to use mushrooms with some flavour
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