I love family meals; when everyone is sat down altogether, chatting and tucking into a meal. The family meal is really important to us and we don’t get to have them altogether everyday due to work, sporting commitments and clubs. So at the weekend and during the holidays, I insist that we all sit down together and it is a time when we can relax and enjoy some time together as a family without any distractions.
Last weekend was the Bank Holiday and I was lucky enough to be chosen to be a Morrisons Mum and Morrisons sent me £80 vouchers to do a shop for the weekend and blog about our experience. I do shop in Morrisons quite regularly and even though our local shop is quite small, I do find Morrisons to be be good value with a great selection of good money-saving offers and I am a huge fan of their deli counter and bakery for a nice range of fresh products.
Whilst writing the all important list for this shop, I was thinking about our favourite family meals and we all quite a debate about it and I have compiled our top five family meals.
The absolute favourite meal for everyone is lasagne. We all love it and it is one of those meals that the kids come in and sniff the air and immediately know what is in the oven. My recipe is a combination of recipes that I have tried over the years and I make a big one that usually leaves some left over for the next day.
- 8 rashers streaky bacon finely chopped
- 500g carton tomato passata
- 525g lean pork mince
- 700 - 800 g lean steak mince
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 2 carrots grated
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- dried oregano
- lasagne sheets
- 600ml milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- half a teaspoon mustard powder
- 200g cheddar cheese grated
- Worcester Sauce
- Add bacon to a large heavy based pan with a some olive oil and a teaspoon of oregano and cook until the bacon starts to brown.
- Add the onions, carrots and garlic and cook gently for five minutes.
- Add the steak and pork mince and brown gently stirring all of the time.
- Once browned, add the tomato passata and tinned tomatoes along with a few dashes of Worcester Sauce. Add salt and pepper to season along with a pinch of sugar.
- Mix well and simmer for around 30 minutes.
- To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter gently in another pan, add the flour and mix well. Warm the milk in the microwave and start adding the milk a bit at a time and keep mixing well.
- Simmer the sauce on low for around ten minutes, season and add the mustard powder followed by 100g of the grated cheese.
- Leave to cool and if it hasn't done already, it will start to thicken as it cools.
- In your lasagne dish put a layer of the meat mixture on the bottom. Place pasta sheets on the top and put a layer of sauce with a sprinkling of cheese on top of that. Repeat three times and make sure that the top has a good coating of sauce and lots of grated cheese on the top.
- Preheat the over to 180c and cook the lasagne for 35 - 40 minutes.
- Serve with garlic bread and salad
Lasagne works out at about £2.50 per person based on 6 – 8 servings
The ‘Everything on the Table’ Lunch
This is a meal that has been on our menu for many, many years. It came about when the teen was a toddler and in order to try and get him to try different foods, I would put different things out on plates and encourage him to try different things; cold meats, crackers, bread sticks, bread, cheeses, vegetables, fruit, dips and pretty much anything we had in the fridge. All these years later, he still loves the everything on the table lunches and so does everyone else. It is lovely but there is the temptation to eat far too much if you’re not careful.
We do sometimes have the hot variety of these lunches too with pizza, wedges, dips, meats and vegetable. I find that it is a really good way of getting children to try new foods and they can help themselves to things rather than having something put on their plate that makes them feel pressured into eating it.
Whilst I love barbecues and barbecued food, my hygiene obsession hasn’t really allowed me to embrace the barbecue culture, so we have ‘indoor barbecues’ which is whatever barbecue food we fancy done in the oven or the grill. I adore fresh burgers and sausages with fresh soft baps, a nice salad and my favourite potato wedges. It might not be proper barbecue food, but I don’t get any complaints.
The nice thing with this meal is that you can add different things to it if you want to and it is another meal where you can put everything out for people to help themselves. Potato wedges are a favourite of mine and I do them a lot as they are easy to prepare and taste lovely. I simply cut four or five potatoes into wedges, par boil them for about ten minutes, drain and dry them, sprinkle with salt and then toss in olive oil. Pop them into the oven for 40 minutes until they are golden brown (turn them halfway through the cooking time) and serve. We love them, especially with tomato sauce.
Our indoor barbecue works out at around £2.70 per person for hotdogs, burgers, potato wedges and salad.
Sunday is usually our roast dinner day and chicken is the favourite although pulled pork is a close second. I have recently discovered that cooking a chicken in the slow cooker gives you the most amazingly succulent chicken. I chop an onion and place it at the bottom of the slow cooker, put in around 500ml of chicken stock, season the chicken and then pop it in for 7 – 8 hours on medium and it is delicious. It does look a little sunken when it comes out but it is well worth a try and even the kids have said how much nicer it is.
Our roast dinners always have vegetables and roast potatoes and I’m sorry to say that our Yorkshire Puddings are Aunt Bessie’s as the children prefer them to mine. The children don’t have gravy but I do, I love it. Nothing gets wasted either as I use any left over chicken or vegetables to make chicken risotto or bubble and squeak the following day.
Whilst I do try and cook meals from scratch, there are always those days when you don’t have time or you have to produce a meal quickly before you rush out to the next thing. Those nights, we have pasta. All of the children love pasta but they all absolutely adore fresh pasta with tomato and mascarpone sauce with garlic bread. I buy the plain pasta for them and tortellini for the adults with a tomato based sauce. It is a great meal if you are in a hurry and takes a few minutes to cook.
A meal with fresh pasta and sauce with garlic bread works out at about £1.20 per person based on five people.
So those are our favourite family meals, what are yours?
We were sent £80 Morrisons vouchers for the purpose of this post. All images and opinions are my own and the costs per serving were based on the prices at time of publishing this post.