Call them first world problems but...
Being a parent is hectic. The day goes by so quickly, you’re so excited to have a moment to yourself, but it’s time for you to eat now. You need to eat.
So to help make this diminishingly important decision of the day a bit easier, we’ve got some practical suggestions for you.
These are top repeatedly tried, tested and eaten ‘minimal prep’ meals, straight from the mother tribes of Milk Tops and their associates, all with easy to find ingredients from your local shop. They also coincidently happen to be vegetarian or pescatarian.
This post extends out beyond parents. The recipes here bear no connection to having a child, they’re for all us busy this and that’s who occasionally want to ditch the ready meal but still get food on the table (or lap!) quickly. Let’s face it, no one’s a culinary saint all week 😊
Minimal prep please
Ranging from freezer food delights to “Voila look at my masterpiece”, here are 5 healthy meals to get you fed in no time.
- Green Baked Eggs “from Waitrose”
A relative newbie to our favourites list, but so wonderfully fresh and delicious that it deserves a place here. In a nutshell, the ingredients require some rough chopping but the rest is all about the hot pan. Fresh, zesty, leafy and green it’s an all-day-er - bet you’ll alternate serving it for dinner, breakfast, brunch and lunch.
The full recipe and ingredients list can be found here at waitrose.com dah-ling.
- Roman Balcony Beans and Eggs
This is the best “already in the cupboard” meal this side of 2018. A home-grown recipe, made lovingly for the first time in Rome, with local corner shop ingredients and a bunch of sage, pinched from the plentiful bush growing on an Airbnb roof terrace.
Serves 2 adults
- 2 tins of beans (butter and cannellini are just fine, but flageolet will add touch of colour)
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin measure of red wine (use the empty bean tin as a measure)
- Smoked paprika
- Fried Eggs on top (however many you like)
Strain both tins of beans into a colander and keep one of the tins (for the wine). Add chopped garlic and sage to a saucepan with heated olive oil, let it cook for a minute or two. Add a tin measure of red wine, let it boil down a bit until all the harshness of alcohol is burnt off, then add the two tins of beans, plus the tin of tomatoes.
Add one heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika, depending on your love of spice, bring to the boil and simmer away for 20 mins until some of the liquid has evaporated and you're left with a lovely, rich, red saucy pot of beans.
Salt and pepper to taste. Delicious served with fried eggs on top and extra sage. Again, for breakfast, brunch, dinner or lunch.
- Fish Fingers and Petite Pois
There is no shame in having a regular diet of fish fingers -sustainably sourced of course - this is real life people!
Did you also know that this meal can be made in 12 minutes? We’ve done it, several times a week on occasion.
Not for everyone, but even after having experimented with the posh ones (not worth it in our opinion), 6-8 regular crispy little fish fingers on top of a big bowl of lemon juiced petite pois is just wonderful. (Microwave the peas in a bowl for up to 4 mins with a plate covering to prevent the moisture escaping).
A cheat meal perhaps, but 12 mins is hard to turn down.
- Baked sweet potatoes, Goats cheese/feta
We’re generally, a huge fan of the oven. Once prepped, an oven dish goes in and you’re hands-free again for nursing, storytelling or playtime! This meal, however, is a virtually no prep meal.
Place sweet potatoes in the oven and cook for 30-40 mins at 180-200c depending on size. They’ll come out piping hot, then all you need to do is slice open and add some goats or feta cheese to the top and some spinach on the side.
This one may seem overly simple, but with no processed ingredients, plenty of slow releasing good carbs from the sweet potato and a total of three items for the shopping list, what could be better when you really just don’t have the time for a long list of ingredients.
Should time permit, then treat yourself to a salad with it.
- Pappardelle with mushrooms and thyme
The absolute key is to keep your pasta water and not pour it all down the drain.
Serves 2 adults
- C250g Dried Pappardelle / Tagliatelle or more if you’re really hungry (Giuseppe Cocco Pappardelle is really lovely)
- 200-250g of mushrooms – shitakes, portobello and oyster are luscious, but chestnut are perfectly nice
- A lemon (for juice and zest)
- Crème Fraiche
Start boiling the pasta.
Fry mushrooms in garlic and thyme. When golden and tender add a good squeeze of lemon juice, add the zest and a generous dollop of crème fraiche.
When pasta is al dente, strain water but save a cup or two.
Add the creamy mushroom mix to the strained pasta, season with salt and pepper, then add the retained pasta cooking water until the mix looks quite wet. The pasta will soak up some of the liquid so the extra water keeps the sauce nice and silky.
That’s the five. Fuel up well and happy eating. If you liked this post then please forward on to a friend, parents and non-parents alike.
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Also on our new mum blog:
- 12 best organic nipple creams for breastfeeding mums
- When and where to buy nursing tops and maternity wear