I only have to plan two meals a week for the kids now I’m back at work, one of which we all eat together. Nursery has an excellent menu, with a range of fish, red meat and veggie options across the week, so I don’t really need to fill any gaps, so it’s all about trying new things and making my life easy. April’s horrible weather has meant more comfort food than I’d normally cook at this time of year, though.
These are a great alternative to hamburgers. Turkey is high in iron and zinc, and it also contains tryptophan, which produces serotonin – I’d say we all could do with a few more happy hormones at dinner time. Thigh mince is cheaper than breast, and stays moist.
Mix turkey mince with a beaten egg and breadcrumbs. You could add sliced spring onion if the audience permits. Form into patties and refrigerate for at least half an hour, til firm.
Shallow fry, griddle or bake till cooked through.
These have been a regular for years on our meal planner, so it’s great the kids will now eat them as well. They are great for lunch the next day, so make some extra. You can also freeze the filling if you make too much. I use pork mince but you could use beef or chicken instead, or Quorn for a veggie version.
Mix together mince, a beaten egg, finely chopped onion and grated carrot and courgette. I’ve been known in the past to add tinned sweetcorn, frozen peas or leftover rice. This time, I had a leftover baked sweet potato so I mashed that and added it.
Fill each pepper half with the filling. Pour half a tin of chopped tomatoes into a baking tray so the bottom is covered, then pack the pepper halves in. Cover with the remainder of the tomatoes, cover with foil and bake at 180C for 45 minutes. 5 minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil and sprinkle over some grated cheese.
Serve over cous cous, rice or mashed potato with some green beans on the side.
Sweet potato and savoury mince
An updated version of mince and mash. Lots of lovely iron and vitamins, too.
Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and microwave on high for 10 minutes. Then roast in a hot oven for 45 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, fry off beef mince, minced garlic and finely chopped onion. Crumble over a stock cube and add some water – you can also boost this with some gravy granules. Simmer until reduced.
Serve over the halved baked sweet potato.
Beef and mushroom stroganoff
This is just so easy to make and is very tasty. The strips of mince are particulaly good for little hands that are self-feeding.
Rapid fry beef strips and sliced onion. Add sliced mushrooms, then sour cream, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and some paprika.
Simmer for a couple of minutes and serve over rice or mash with a side of green beans or peas.