There are two things that can work against a busy Mum; time and the size of her freezer. Planning ahead is all well and good, in fact, many household units spend their weekends preparing an array of heatable meals for the week ahead, significantly poor on spare hours as Monday rolls around. Mums (and Dads) have the added pressure of producing nutritious, tasty alternatives on every day ending in y, as the anti-obesity drive picks up and a harshest light over what we eat and what our kids eat is cast. Quick and easy doesn’t automatically mean you need to sacrifice a balanced diet for convenience; be inspired by these five meal plans and take a load of pressure of yourself – food should be fun!
Soup – It’s a Meal Too!
Soup is an easy and long-lasting staple in kitchens Australia wide; it’s versatile enough to be served as a starter, can be full-bodied and filling as a main, and satisfies cravings without the heaviness of pasta quick-fixes. Take two kilograms of pumpkin, one cup of grated parmesan, one half a cup of thickened cream and two cubes of chicken stock. Pan-cook the pumpkin for ten minutes, until soft, while bringing one litre of water to the boil, combined with the chicken stock and pumpkin, simmering down for another ten, before adding cream and parmesan. Let simmer and meld, before stirring into a smoothly blended consistency. Serve with heated bread and freeze the leftovers.
Nothing Tastes Better Than Chicken
Unless you don’t like the often-devoured bird, chicken is a classic protein and highly versatile. Chicken Alfredo, borrowed from a growing list of Continental pasta recipes, is a fast favourite with little and big kids alike. Take a skinless chicken breast (you’ll need around 500g to serve four), 310ml of reduced fat milk, 250ml of searing water, two sliced zucchinis, a punnet of cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of cashew nuts. Simply heat chicken until it’s golden, add milk and water, stir in an Alfredo sauce pack and bring to the boil. After simmering for a few minutes, throw in vegetables and cook until the zucchini is tender without being soft. Add cashew nuts for a moment and remove from heat, mixing with your choice of pasta!
Now, for Something Sweet!
You deserve dessert, even if you don’t have a spare three hours to plate up a gastronomic sensation. This Lemon and Strawberry Cheesecake is sure to be a crowd pleaser without sending the caloric intake into overdrive. Table up 500g of lemon yoghurt, 200g of cream cheese, a few table spoons of castor sugar, crumbly biscuits and a punnet of strawberries, washed and de-stalked. Crush the biscuits (ask the kids to help here) and distribute into dessert glasses (these can be any glasses on your shelf); soften cream cheese and combine with yoghurt and sugar, beating until the mixture takes on a smooth peak. Add sugar according to taste. Stir 200g of the strawberries through the batter (you can add blueberries or raspberries too!), crushing them slightly to create a juicy run-off. Spoon top of your biscuit layer, add a whipped cream garnish and finish with remaining strawberries. Refrigerate until dinner is over!
Do you have a favourite, time-saving recipe you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!