Back in March in the PWK weekly newsletter, I shared my go to meals for making week day meal time easier. I actually do like cooking and baking and I like being able to spend time putting together wholesome food I know the family will like. Weekday cooking though doesn’t always come with the luxury of lots of time. It tends to come with:
- Competing food preferences
- Differing schedules with after school activities
- Tired kids needing to be refueled
- Competing demands of homework help, requests for play and catch up chatter
Weekday meals for those reasons at our house tend to be pretty basic. Many meals will be served once a fortnight, sometimes once a week if needed. While I love variety and want the kids to learn to eat a varied diet, there is something to be said for an easy to cook, nutritious meal that all the kids eat without complaint.
There are two main categories of the staple meals that appear on our weekly menu plans. I have listed them below, along with links to recipes for each category.
Most of these meals tend to be wrap or self serve based. My kids love any meal that is wrap based. I will use lettuce as my wraps and the kids like to mix it up too.
- Sang choy bow
- Sweet chilli chicken wraps
- Sausages and salad
- Chicken sticks and salad
- Pan fried fish and salad
- Beef stir fry
- Chicken, cashew and ginger stir fry
- Tuna rice
- Moroccan beef
- Baked penne with bacon
- Chicken pasta recipe
- Quick and easy beef curry mince
- Chicken with mint lime sauce
Meals to cook ahead
These are meals that I can make in the morning which reheat well at dinner time. They are usually also meals that have good left over potential.
- Chicken lasagne
- Roast vegetable lasagne
- Slow cooker Bolognese with zucchini noodles or pasta
- Chicken and pumpkin pasta bake
- Beef Stroganoff
- Fried rice
- Slow cooker beef stew
- Creamy chicken and sweet potato stew
- Pumpkin and spinach vegetarian curry
- Shepherd’s pie
- Slow cooker butter chicken
- Pumpkin soup
- Tomato soup
- Beetroot soup
- Slow cooker risotto
- Slow cooker satay
- Slow cooker rogan josh
Reader suggestions and recipes
Please note that ones marked with an * were suggested by a reader and I searched online to find the best recipe I could for that type of meal, these are not my recipes and I have not tested them out.
Some readers very kindly sent me recipes too, they are marked with ^ and I haven’t tested them out either yet!
- Vegetarian nachos* reader suggested using this recipe from Quirky cooking (Thermomix) one but blitz the beans at the end – kids don’t realise it has beans then. You could easily make veg nachos without a Thermomix though.
- Easy risotto recipe* (stock is added all at once)
- Baked potatoes*
- Savoury mince and potato wedges*
- Meatball soup*
- 3 sisters salad from Leon cook book *
- Chicken taco*
- Nigella’s Spanish chicken with chorizo and potatoes*
- Jool’s pasta (Jamie Oliver recipe)*
- Cheeseburger rice bake
- Slow cooker pulled pork (reader suggest serving in wraps)*
- Oven baked chicken Biryani*
- Tuna rice bake*
- Slow cooker corn beef*
- Crispy chicken tenders (reader also suggests serving in wraps)*
- Asian chicken (whole chicken pressure cooked with soy and hoisin sauce)
- One pot baked sausages with roasted veg*
- Chicken winglets with smashed potatoes
- Quick chicken quiche*
- Vegetable pancakes*
- Many readers suggested making bulk bolognaise sauce then using it in different ways – with pasta, with rice, on baked potatoes, shepherd’s pie, nachos as a pie filling, etc
- Kim’s DIY rice paper rolls^
- Bec’s sticky chicken^
- Anne’s tuna potato cakes^
- Lauren’s herbed beef and macaroni^
- Lauren’s macaroni bake^
Kim’s DIY rice paper rolls
The kids can make it themselves and I just cook chicken breast and prepare the vegies that go into it. Too easy!
Bec’s sticky chicken
Mix together 60g soy sauce, 60g peanut butter and 30g sweet chilli and marinate chicken for as long as possible – then cook for 30-40 minutes. Serve with veg.
Anne’s tuna potato cakes
I steam and mash potato with butter but no milk, stir in about 3/4 of a tin of smoked tuna, shape into patties, coat with bread crumbs and fry in a little oil. Served with veggies.
Lauren’s herbed beef and macaroni
- 500gm minced beef
- 2 medium onions
- 2 rashers of bacon
- 470g tin of tomato soup
- 1 cup small macaroni
- 1 ½ cup water
- 1 beef stock cube
- ½ tsp mixed herbs
- Salt & Pepper
- Peel and chop onions, dice bacon.
- Sauté bacon in pan, add onions.
- Stir in mince, cook until browned. Add undiluted soup, water, stock cube, herbs, salt and pepper.
- Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20-25 minutes.
- Cook macaroni in boiling water until tender. Drain well. Stir hot macaroni into pan and allow to heat through.
- 1 ½ cups small macaroni
- Big pan boiling water
- 4 rashers bacon
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 x 440g can tomato soup
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup grated cheese
- Boil macaroni for 8 mins
- When cooked, drain well and place in a casserole dish
- Chop bacon. Fry gently with onion till cooked.
- Drain and stir into macaroni.
- Stir in soup, milk and grated cheese.
- Bake it at 190°C for 45 mins. Serve hot with a tossed salad and French bread.
Want to make feeding the family easier?
To help families kick start their weekly meal prep habit, I have created an online course called Meal Prep Primer! Meal Prep Primer shows you how to effectively plan your time in the kitchen over the weekend, and prep food that will make your week days easier.
To keep on top of feeding the family, many years ago I started spending some time on the weekend, prepping food for the week ahead. Even if it is was just one or two things, the difference this made during the week was huge.
As I was rewarded each week for my efforts in the kitchen on the weekend, I began increasing the food I prepped. And the more weekly meal prep sessions I did, the better I became at it. The better I became at it, the less time it took me to do the sessions and the better we ate – win-win all around!
In my Meal Prep Primer course I will teach you the process I have developed over these years. The course will:
- save you time
- save you money
- save you stress through the week days
- ensure your family eats well
- allow you to enjoy meal time more with the family
For three weeks you will receive:
- A plan – the plan outlines what you will be cooking and when. You can tailor this plan to suit your family’s needs and the time you have available. The plan also has clickable links to all the recipes you need to cook for the weekend.
- A shopping list – as you may tailor the plan to suit your family’s needs, the shopping list is broken down into items per recipe. That way you can easily cross off items you don’t need to buy, but make sure you have all the ingredients for the recipes you do intend to cook.
- The recipes – a PDF of all the recipes you will need to cook for the week.
- Plus there is a detailed video and other resources on the course website and further support emails to keep the habit going after three weeks.
You can read more and sign up for the short course here.