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Back to school meal plan

During term-time, that daily rush of the school run, clubs and homework deadlines can mean that finding the time to get a home-cooked meal on the table is a bit of a challenge. But weeknight dinners don’t have to mean a last-minute dash to the shops or ordering a takeaway, try our recipe ideas for a week of easy family suppers using frozen ingredients and store cupboard staples. These healthy midweek meals ensure hassle-free cooking, and tasty meals for the kids, too.

  1. Monday: Mum’s ‘all from frozen’ sweet potato pie

    After a busy day, a hot, steaming pie fresh from the oven is sure to satisfy the whole family, and this healthy twist on a chicken pie uses frozen ingredients so is hassle-free, too. Ready-made frozen sweet potato mash makes a quick and easy topping for a veg-packed filling all cooked straight from the freezer. Simply poach the chicken while preparing the mash and the sauce, then it can be quickly put together and chucked in the oven for just 30 mins. Poaching the chicken first ensures you have lovely tender meat and you can chop up the chunks as big or small as you like to suit the little ones, too.

    Monday: Mum’s ‘all from frozen’ sweet potato pie
  2. Tuesday: Pea and ham soup

    Pea and ham is a tried-and-tested combination of ingredients, and kids will love the colour of this vibrant green soup; it’s also a great way to use up any leftover bits of ham you might have from their packed lunches. Ready in just 30 mins, this easy soup uses peas straight from the freezer, and you just need a few sprigs of mint to add a burst of fresh flavour. All cooked in one pan then blitzed together, this is a soup that you can make as smooth or chunky as you like, too. 

    Tuesday: Pea and ham soup
  3. Wednesday: Prawn paella cakes

    These tasty prawn paella cakes are a perfect pick-me-up during the week. Using frozen rice, prawns and peas, there’s no fiddly cooking and the kids can even help shape the mixture into cakes ready for cooking. These make an exciting change from usual fishcakes and are lovely served with a crunchy salad, although you could substitute your favourite veg, depending on what you have in the fridge.

    Wednesday: Prawn paella cakes
  4. Thursday: Healthy pasta with butternut squash and crème fraîche

    Pasta is always a firm family favourite, and this healthy, veg-packed version makes a comforting treat. A thick butternut squash purée mixed with a little low-fat crème fraiche makes for a rich and indulgent sauce – you can add some cheese for an extra treat if you’ve got any leftover in the fridge. With the frozen butternut squash and spinach already prepared for you, there’s no chopping involved at all; all you need are two pans and to do a bit of mashing and stirring.

    Thursday: Healthy pasta with butternut squash and crème fraîche
  5. Friday: Healthy fish and chips

    Celebrate the start of the weekend with a Friday fish and chips, without the cost or calorie blow-out of a takeaway. Ready-prepared sweet potato wedges make an easy, and tasty, alternative to chips, while frozen fish fillets are budget-friendly, too. Everything is cooked in the oven and the fish is simply topped with an easy, crunchy breadcrumb mix – no messy frying involved. Serve with some boiled peas (straight from the freezer) and lemon wedges on the side – a low-effort meal that gives you more time to spend your Friday night relaxing.

    Friday: Healthy fish and chips
  6. Freezer essentials

    To get prepped ahead for these midweek meals, stock up the freezer with the following key ingredients:

    Diced onion and chopped garlic – the base of many recipes and without the chopping (or watery eyes…)

    Fish fillets, prawns and chicken breasts – much more economical than fresh and quick to cook, too

    Ready-prepared veg – sweet potato mash, wedges and butternut squash chunks make a healthy alternative to your normal chips and potatoes, plus all the prep is done for you

    Mixed veg packs – great for stirring into fillings or serving on the side, there are plenty of mixes available, too, so you can choose your favourite combinations

    Green veg – from spinach, to peas and beans, frozen varieties are economical and long-lasting

    Rice – perfectly fluffy rice ready in minutes, these handy packs can be microwaved from frozen