School’s out for summer! If you’re going to have the kids around a little more than usual over the next few weeks, mealtimes might look a bit busier. Finding a balance between food that fussy eaters will eat, and meals that grown-ups enjoy too, can be the key to a stress-free summer.
It’s never ideal to have to make more than one option at mealtimes, so we’ve got you covered with crowd-pleasers that’ll save you spending the whole of the holidays cooped up in the kitchen. With a meal plan full of these family-friendly dinner ideas, it’ll be easier than ever to get the whole clan gathered around the table.
Classic kid-friendly grub
When you need to feed the family quickly and with minimal fuss, there are certain staples that always result in clean plates. There’s nothing wrong with reaching for freezer-favourites for an easy midweek win, but it’s simpler than you think to make homemade versions (and you can even get the kids involved with the prep work).
We love to make our own chicken nuggets – they turn out so juicy, and you know they’re free from hidden nasties. These BBQ Chicken Nuggets are coated in a delicious smoky marinade, before being covered in breadcrumbs and baked (or air-fried) to crispy perfection.
For a more sophisticated (yet still super-easy) take on chicken nuggets, we always recommend our Chicken Goujons recipe. The magic is all in the zesty, herby breadcrumbs with this one. We’ve whizzed up our own wholemeal breadcrumbs, before combining them with fresh lemon zest and a punchy seasoning mix.
Use them to coat the strips of succulent chicken and bake them until they’re golden. Trust us, you’ll want your favourite sauce on standby for these – they’re perfect for dunking and dipping!
A side dish that goes with everything, there are so many meals you can build around these Air Fryer Rustic Potato Wedges. They go from prep to plate in just half an hour, and they come out of the air fryer basket seriously crispy on the outside, and fluffy in the middle.
If you don’t have an air fryer, you won’t have to miss out – we have an oven method of this recipe right here.
It might be summer, but that doesn’t mean that the British weather can be trusted to bring the sunshine. If you need a little comfort food to get you through the next few weeks, our Fish Finger Pie is reliably stodgy and satisfying.
Bringing together all the family-friendly classics, it’s layered up with frozen fish fingers, baked beans and cheese-topped mashed potatoes. What more could you ask for?
If you’re feeding a wide range of ages it can be tricky to please the little ones and keep the grown-ups’ taste buds happy too.
Most kids go crazy for a good Spaghetti Bolognese, but if you’re after a recipe that’ll deliver similar flavours in a fancier way, you need to give this Beef Ragu Fettuccine a try. We make it with lean-yet-tender chunks of beef and loads of nutritious veggies chopped up nice and small, so that they stay well hidden in the tasty sauce.
Talking of hidden vegetables, our Sneaky Mac and Cheese ticks all the boxes when it comes to putting food on the table that looks and tastes like an indulgent treat (but is packed with healthy veggies).
If you don’t tell the family that the creamy, cheesy sauce is made from blended cauliflower, they’ll never know! We’ve used cubes of courgette for extra green goodness, but you can also throw in any other veg that you know everyone will happily eat.
An Indian-inspired fakeaway night always goes down a treat, although everyone has their own preference when it comes to curries and spice levels. This All in One Baked Korma is the ideal middle ground – and the fact it’s all cooked in one dish means it’s easy and mess-free to make too.
This simple curry is nutty and mild enough for little ones, while still being full of delicious flavour that’ll have adults going back for a second helping.
If your family is more likely to ask for a trip to the drive-through than a dish from a fancy restaurant, they’re guaranteed to be obsessed with our KFC Zinger Burger Fakeaway. This is another recipe that the kids will love to help make – set them to crushing up the tortilla chips and enjoy a moment of peace while they’re busy!
Feel free to play around with the spicing that we’ve used in the coating for the chicken, so that it only has as much of a kick as you want it to.
With the kids off for summer, it can be an expensive few weeks keeping everybody entertained. The last thing you need is a hefty food shopping bill when you’re trying to feed the family healthy, tasty food. These next few recipes are so affordable that we put them in our new Budget cookbook – it’s ideal if you want to carry on eating all the food you love, without it costing the earth.
You only need a few ingredients to put together this hearty Cottage Pie, which makes it the perfect midweek meal. Flavourful mince, topped with creamy mashed potatoes, it’s a family-friendly classic for good reason.
It’s great for batch cooking, and it keeps really well in the fridge so you can make it in advance and head on a fun day out, knowing dinner is sorted when you get home.
Flick to pages 114-115 of Pinch of Nom: Budget and you’ll find these mouthwatering Enchilada Sliders. Filled with Mexican-inspired chicken, peppers and melted cheese, they look impressive, and far more expensive to make than they really are.
In fact, if you’re eagle-eyed, you’ll spot that this is a ‘Super Saver’ recipe, which means it’s especially good value for money. We’ve kept the cost low and the flavour big on this one!
A one-pot wonder that cuts down your shopping bill and cuts down on washing up, this Sausage Traybake deserves a spot on your school holiday meal plan. It’s so easy to make with any sausages of your choice (we use low-fat but you can swap these if you’re not counting calories).
The honey and mustard sauce is the perfect balance of sweet, savoury and sticky, bringing all the flavours together and helping the vegetables to caramelise as they roast.
Even when it feels like you’re running low on ingredients (and dinner inspiration), you’ll be surprised what you can throw together in a pinch. With some minced beef, a tin of beans, a few veggies and some store cupboard staples, anyone can serve up our Baked Bean Chilli.
Chop up your vegetables nice and small, and just remember to go easy on the chilli powder if there are little mouths to feed.
You can only find the full recipe on pages 124-125 of Pinch of Nom: Budget.
What are your go-to family-friendly recipes?
We’d love to hear from you! As well as sharing your ideas and stories over in our Facebook group, you can also upload photos and tips in the Pinch of Nom Gallery. All you need to do is sign up for a FREE website account, and then you can start sharing your pictures! Psst…did we mention there’s swag up for grabs?
If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget there’s more where this came from! Our blog is brimming with all kinds of handy recipe roundups, kitchen kit lists and slimming tips that you won’t want to miss.