Mums & Dads: evening meal inspiration

When it gets to that time in the evening when you feel desperate for a meal, often a dilemma arises of not knowing what to cook quickly enough to satisfy your hunger. On such occasions I spend ages agonising over what to cook and end up grabbing anything I can find, or ordering a takeaway. The process of deliberating and agonising takes far longer than cooking any of the recipes I have written, and they will leave you feeling far more satisfied than that slice of toast, Chicken Balti or bowl of cereal you resorted to eating.

I think that many of us like variety in our evening meals, and often struggle for inspiration to try a new meal due to the pressures of family life and time constraints. When you are a parent there isn’t time every evening to find inspiration to cook something new, and we get bored of cooking the same meals using the same ingredients week after week. There are always staple comfort dishes that families love to eat, for example spaghetti bolognaise or shepherds pie. I often wonder why these dishes are included in recipe books because many people can make these without the need to look at a recipe, and will probably make the dish slightly differently each time. I want to save you the time thinking of something different to cook, and will not make you labour long and hard in the kitchen to produce it.

When you first become a mum or dad you are thrown so suddenly into a whole new way of life and thinking that it doesn’t take long to realize you no longer have much time to look after yourself. In the first few weeks with your new baby it is helpful to have meals in the freezer that you, or your family and friends, prepared when you were pregnant. Once the stream of visitors and extra help has stopped, and you are well and truly in the grind of parenthood (i.e. facing the harsh reality you will never again have lie-ins at the weekend), you can turn to these recipes for a tasty nutrition boost and know you will spend little time and energy (and face little washing up) preparing them.

Whether you have a very young baby, or several school age children, the recipes will help you produce a tasty and nutritious meal in very little time. The majority of the recipes have been written to produce 4 portions because they freeze well, and it makes sense to freeze half and have it another night. Being a parent is exhausting, and regardless of whether you have been at home looking after your child/children all day, or coming home from work to your family, I find from 6 pm onwards I lose the capability to think about much at all. This incapacity to function, mixed with hunger, is a bad combination. I hope you can use some of my recipes to save you the effort and brain ache at the end of your day deciding what to cook, and enable you to experience a tasty meal that you can enjoy and unwind with at the end of the day.



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