After a long day of work, and perhaps a quick sweat sesh at the gym, the last thing you want to do is pick up groceries and prep dinner. Even more so if you have kids, and have to squeeze in their dinnertime, bathtime, bedtime, homework-time, after-school-extracurriculars-time.
If you’re childfree, or flying solo, there’s nothing worse than when you want to cook yourself up a good, satisfying meal is to discover that all those ingredients — that somehow are always too much for one single person to consume before their expiry date — have gone bad.
It’s no wonder why HelloFresh found that not only do 30% of Australians desire to be more organised in the kitchen to make meals quicker, but 37% of us also want to reduce food waste.
They also told us their top five recipes ordered by family customers last year were: Mexican Beef Enchiladas; Beef Koftas & Couscous Tabbouleh; Chicken & Creamy Peppercorn Sauce; Beef & Spinach Cottage Pie and Chicken & Creamy Chive Sauce.
As someone currently living with their family, I had to give them a test run. I am, in fact, the child in this scenario so I chose some of the above family-friendly recipes. I also picked a few I wanted to try; all of them take 35 minutes to make.
Full confession: I did not make any of these, my parents did, so all below feedback belongs to them (in particular, my dad, who scrawled feedback on each recipe card).
Here are two of the best family-friendly meals along with two of my family’s favourites that your kids will love:
☆ Chicken & Creamy Chive Sauce
“This was easy to make. It was very popular. I should have added rosemary for the potatoes.”
- 4 potatoes
- 2 broccoli heads
- 2 carrots
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 punnet raspberries
- 1 bunch chives
- 1 large packet of chicken breast
- 2 x 300ml packets of light cooking cream
- 1 cube chicken stock
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 240°C/220°C fan-forced. Cut the potato (unpeeled) into 1cm chunks. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast until tender, 20-25 minutes.
- While the potato is roasting, cut the broccoli into small florets. Thinly slice the carrot (unpeeled) into rounds. Finely chop the garlic. Finely chop the chives.
- Place your hand flat on top of each chicken breast and use a sharp knife to slice through horizontally to make two thin steaks. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken until cooked through, 3-5 minutes on each side (depending on thickness). Transfer to a plate.
- Return the frying pan to medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil if needed. Add the broccoli, carrot and a splash of water and cook until tender, 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate.
- Return the frying pan to medium-low heat and add the light cooking cream, chives and crumbled chicken stock (1/2 cube for 2 people / 1 cube for 4 people). Cook, scraping up any meaty bits from the pan, until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes. Season to taste.
- Slice the chicken. Divide the chicken, roasted potato and garlic veggies between plates. Drizzle the creamy chive sauce over the chicken to serve.
☆ Beef Koftas & Couscous Tabbouleh
“This was easy to make and was quite popular. I generally find couscous too dry. I made a small amount of broth with the pan drippings and it worked well.”
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 packet couscous
- 2 punnet cherry tomatoes
- 1 bag parsley
- 1 lemon
- 1 packet beef mince
- 1 packet fine breadcrumbs
- 2 cube chicken stocks
- 2 packet currants
- 2 packet walnuts
- 1 packet Greek-style yoghurt
- 2 sachet chermoula spice blend
- olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 40 g butter
- 1 egg
- Finely chop the garlic. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the water and crumbled chicken stock and bring to the boil. Add the couscous, currants and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir to combine, cover with a lid and remove from the heat. Set aside until all the water is absorbed, 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork and set aside.
- While the couscous is cooking, halve the cherry tomatoes. Roughly chop the cucumber. Roughly chop the parsley leaves (reserve some leaves for garnish!). Roughly chop the walnuts. Cut the lemon in half. In a small bowl, combine the Greek-style yoghurt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste.
- In a large bowl, combine the beef mince, chermoula spice blend, egg, fine breadcrumbs (see ingredients), salt and the remaining garlic. Season with pepper. Using damp hands, roll the beef mixture into koftas. You should get 3 koftas per person.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and toast, tossing, until golden, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Return the pan to medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook the koftas, turning, until browned and cooked through, 10-12 minutes (cook in batches if your pan is getting crowded). TIP: The koftas are cooked when they are no longer pink inside.
- While the koftas are cooking, add the tomato, cucumber, parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice to the couscous and stir to combine. Season to taste.
- Divide the couscous tabbouleh between plates and top with the beef koftas. Serve with the lemon yoghurt and garnish with the walnuts and reserved parsley.
☆ Pulled Pork and Apple Slaw Tacos
“This was really popular. The slaw needed some raisins.”
- Olive oil
- 2 brown onions
- 3 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tbs water
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 2 apples
- 2 cucumbers
- 4 60g tubs of Dijon mustard
- 2 200g packets garlic aioli
- 1 packet pulled park
- 2 sachets of garlic & herb seasoning
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 400g bag of slaw mix
- 12 mini flour tortillas
- 1 bag parsley
- Thinly slice the brown onion. In a large frying pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until softened, 5-6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the brown sugar, water(for the onion) and white wine vinegar cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- While the onion is cooking, finely slice the apple into thin sticks. Thinly slice the cucumber. In a large bowl, combine the Dijon mustard and 1/2 the garlic aioli. Set aside.
- Return the frying pan to medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the pulled pork, garlic & herb seasoning, white wine vinegar (1 tsp for 2 people/ 2 tsp for 4 people) and water (for the pork), cook, stirring occasionally until warmed through, 2-3 minutes.
- While the pulled pork is cooking, add the apple and the slaw mix to the Dijon mustard dressing. Toss to coat.
- Heat the mini flour tortillas in a sandwich press or microwave on a plate in 10-second bursts until warm.
- Roughly chop the parsley leaves. Bring everything to the table to serve. Build your tacos by spreading some of the remaining garlic aioli over a tortilla. Fill with the apple slaw, cucumber and pulled pork. Top with the onion. Garnish with parsley.
☆ Caribbean Jerk Spiced Chicken
“This was very popular. We added a chopped chilli and some garlic to the roast vegetables and the pan drippings to the sauce. Went well.”
- Olive oil
- 1 large butternut pumpkin
- 1 red onion
- 2 cobs corn
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 lime
- 1 large packet chicken thigh
- 2 sachets mild Caribbean jerk seasoning
- 1 100g packet mango mayonnaise
- 1 60 g bag baby spinach leaves
- Preheat the oven to 240°C/220°C fan-forced. Cut the butternut pumpkin into 2cm chunks. Cut the red onion (see ingredients) into 2cm wedges. Cut the corn cob in half. Place the pumpkin, onion and corn on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread in a single layer and roast until tender and slightly charred, 20-25 minutes.
- While the veggies are roasting, roughly chop the tomato. Zest the lemon to get a good pinch, then slice into wedges.
- In a medium bowl, combine the chicken thigh and mild Caribbean jerk seasoning.
- Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, turning occasionally until browned and cooked through, 10-14 minutes (depending on thickness). Remove the pan from the heat.
- While the chicken is cooking, combine the garlic aioli, lemon zest and a small squeeze of lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside. When the corn is cool enough to handle, slice the kernels off the corn cob. In a large bowl, combine the roasted veggies, corn and tomato with the baby spinach leaves. Season to taste.
- Slice the Caribbean chicken. Divide the veggies between plates and top with the chicken. Drizzle over any resting juices. Serve with the lemon aioli and any remaining lemon wedges.