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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: Chicken fajita rice bowl

    Who can say no to a chicken fajita? In this rice bowl version, we use frozen vegetables and chicken fajita mix for ease: simply tip them into a saucepan for 10 mins until soft. Our frozen rice is perfectly fluffy and can be microwaved within minutes. Finish with some crumbled feta and chopped coriander (fresh or frozen). Serve with tortilla chips and salsa for dipping – kids will love this one!

    Tuesday: Chicken fajita rice bowl
  3. Wednesday: Quick veggie curry

    This speedy curry is packed full of veg and made in just one pan. Frozen diced onion is a great shortcut ingredient and saves you chopping. Chuck frozen sweet potato chunks into a gently spiced tomato sauce with tinned chickpeas. This recipe is super-versatile and you can use whatever veg you have in your fridge or freezer to bulk it out. You can serve with frozen rice if you have it, or a warm naan bread.

    Wednesday: Quick veggie curry
  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: Fish finger hot dogs

    Friday night calls for a treat and these fish finger ‘hot dogs’ are just the ticket. Try something different with that pack of frozen fish fingers in your freezer and load them into soft rolls with a crunchy homemade coleslaw. Serve with frozen oven chips for a dinner that the whole family will love.

    Friday: Fish finger hot dogs
  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 fingers 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 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