Tag Archives: family cooking

Three Meat-Free Monday ideas from Goodlife Foods

As the head chef in our house, it falls to me to put dinner on the table most nights. I’m a vegetarian, but the boys aren’t and I like to have a balance of meals through the week which suit us all. Maybe three nights a week they get something meaty and the rest of the time they will happily tuck into something we can all eat. I’m always on the lookout for meat-free Monday ideas to keep things interesting for us all.

This week we’ve been trying out some of the vegetarian meals from Goodlife Foods and in the process discovered some great Meat-Free Monday ideas.

Meat Free Monday ideas from Goodlife Foods

We loved this wholemeal pita stuffed with lovely crunchy salad and chickpea falafel with a side of slaw. These Moroccan style chickpea falafel from Goodlife are packed with spices and are just 39 calories each; making them perfect for a light meal. I always think falafel are really versatile, my freezer is rarely without a packet.

Meat Free Monday ideas from Goodlife Foods

Another favourite from the range was this Mushroom and Spinach Kiev. The Kiev is packed with mushrooms and spinach which hides an oozing creamy garlic and cheese sauce, and is coated in a crunchy seeded breadcrumbs. Although it’s not a stunner on the plate, it is absolutely delicious and just garlicky and cheesy enough. Served with some of our favourite veg – sweet potato mash, French beans and chantenay carrots, this was a cracking meal we could feel virtuous about. Each Kiev is 290 calories, so this was a good meal we didn’t need to feel bad about.

Meat Free Monday ideas from Goodlife Foods

My own personal favourite was the French Bean and Spinach sausages. They are so flavoursome, even my pork sausage loving boy tucked into them and demanded seconds. The sausages are filled with French beans, petit pois, fresh spinach, a pinch of nutmeg and a mild crumbly Wensleydale cheese. 

They are incredibly versatile. I served them with buttery mashed potato, French beans, garden peas and veggie gravy. They’d be fantastic in a wrap or sandwich, or thrown in with some creamy pesto pasta and they’re only 86 calories per sausage. They have lots of other sausage flavours too, I need to track down their beetroot and feta for a start!

Three Meat Free Monday ideas from Goodlife Foods

Goodlife Foods have been creating vegetarian sausages, vegan burgers, vegetable based kievs and falafels in the UK for over 25 years. They work with framers across the UK to sow, grow and harvest the best vegetables at their peak, so they know that their veg is fresh and tasty.

Whether you’re having a Meat-Free Monday, feeling flexitarian or you’re committed to a full-time vegetarian diet, Goodlife have a really interesting and tasty selection of frozen foods to help you mix things up and create great family meals.

Three Meat-Free Monday ideas from Goodlife Foods

I’ve been buying Goodlife products whenever I’ve seen them for years. You can find them in the freezer section in Booths, Waitrose, Ocado and Iceland, amongst other places. I’ve tended to keep them just for me; but now I’ve seen my boys tuck into them with gusto, I guess I’m buying them for the whole family now. It’s lovely to see such dedicated carnivores tucking into a very obviously veggie sausage and asking for more!

You can find out more about Goodlife Foods including finding your local stockist and their full range on their website.

Note: I was sent these products for review purposes, all images and opinions are my own.

Books: Easy Indian Supermeals for Babies, Toddlers and the Family

I’ve always been a cook from scratch kind of girl, I love cooking and creating in the kitchen and my shelves heave with cook books. Despite all this sometimes my well of culinary inspiration runs dry. I was sent a copy of Easy Indian Supermeals for Babies, Toddlers and the Family by Zainab Jagot Ahmed to review, which is just as well, it was high time I spiced things up in the kitchen!

This colourful, hard-backed book contains 65 easy, nutritious recipes “inspired by” Indian cuisine for children aged 7 months to 5 years. We have a four year old, so we’ve well and truly passed the weaning stage, however Easy Indian SuperMeals contains a good 20 or so informative pages all about family nutrition and weaning.

Quite often I’m put off cooking Indian food because the list of ingredients is intimidatingly long, this isn’t really the case with this book, the recipes seem to be simple in both ingredients and method, they’re also quick, easy and nutritious. Each recipe introduction highlights the nutritional benefits of the meal. We’ve never been big fans of cooking different meals for different family members, what we cook we all eat, so having this nutritional information is beneficial.

Easy Indian SuperMeals

One of our favourite home made Indian recipes we cook quite often is Matter Paneer, so we chose this recipe to see if it met our usual standards. The recipe seemed slightly easier, with fewer ingredients, most of the recipes suggest leaving out salt and any spice and adding it to the adult food at the end of cooking, which we largely did, though at 4 he likes a little kick to his food.

As you can see from the pictures above, our meal looked like the picture in the book and it was a very good curry, better than our usual version. The recipes in Easy Indian SuperMeals do seem to contain lots of healthy vegetables, which is great for me as a veggie and I look forward to trying a few more recipes, such as the Bhindi Masala Curry and the Super Quick Bombay Potatoes.

My only criticism really is that I’d like each recipe to state how many of the five portions of fruit and vegetables a day they contain per portion. I know it’s fairly easy to work out, but an at-a-glance indicator would be useful to me as a mum.

It’s a great book for families who want to tantalise their toddlers taste-buds as well as for those wanting to spice up family meals. It’s the kind of book I’ll use every week, experiment with, lend to friends and splatter the pages with bits of my cooking. Recommended.

Note: I was sent a copy of Easy Indian Supermeals for Babies, Toddlers and the Family free of charge for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.

What’s your “can’t be bothered” tea?

As the clock struck 5pm, two hungry boys looked at me expectantly. They wanted feeding and I had neither an array of exciting ingredients, nor the motivation to throw them together to create a delicious and nutritious meal.

I am largely a cook it from scratch girl, but with a lazy streak. I’ll cook double the amount of chilli and freeze half for a lazier day. Tonight I was all can’t be bothered, so I threw together a pan of pasta and pesto and we all chowed down. There are worse things to eat, but it was a meal of fuel rather than fancy, but that was fine.

Afterwards I sat down with my iPad and tweeted this…

Can't be bothered

I was interested because I can’t remember a time before pasta and pesto, it kind of arrived on the culinary scene just as I toddled off to uni and formed the basis of many, many meals there. So much so I couldn’t eat it for about three years after I left. My tweet brought a small flurry of responses…

Can't be bothered

Can't be botheredimageimageimageimage

There are some pretty interesting responses here. Easy stuff on toast and pasta six ways seems to be the order of the day. I wonder if it’s just me who feels a bit of parental guilt about not providing a meal containing seven vegetables and an organic, free-range source of protein. Sometimes a family with full bellies is all that you need to call a meal time a success.

It’s hard to make time to prep and cook a from scratch meal every night, it doesn’t matter what Jamie Oliver says, I defy him to cook a meal with a child clinging to his leg screeching “but I’m hun-grreeeeee”. A mid-week can’t be bothered meal is nothing to feel bad about. Honest.

What’s your favourite can’t be bothered meal? I am genuinely interested.