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Back to school: a meal plan to get you through the first week of term

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The summer holidays are coming to a close, new school shoes have been bought, pencil cases re-stocked and uniforms ironed. It can all only mean one thing: back to school for the new academic year.

That first week back is always a shock to the system – for parents and kids! – as we ease ourselves not so gently back into a full-time school routine.

So we thought we’d offer a helping hand to mums and dads out there by selecting our best family friendly meals that are guaranteed to make that first week go a little bit smoother.

These tasty tea-time meals are a hit with fussy youngsters with hungry tums, and they are either super fast to make, or if they take a little longer to cook they are at least really easy to prepare.

You got this, folks!


Monday: casserole

Piquant Porc Casserole

Rating: super easy
Prep time: 15 mins / Cook time: 2 hours
Easy to double up and enjoy for a second time later in the week? Absolutely
Easy to double up and freeze for later on? Absolutely

The real beauty of this dish is that it requires only one pot; you just pop everything in and then simply leave it in the oven to work it’s magic while you get on with other things. What could be simpler? You can cut down on the cooking time by making double and eating the rest as leftovers re-heated in the microwave later in the week.


Tuesday: pasta

Spicy Baked Porc Meatballs with Arrabiata Sauce and Orzo Pasta

Rating: easy
Prep time: 15 mins / Cook time: 50 mins
Easy to double up and enjoy for a second time later in the week? Absolutely
Easy to double up and freeze for later on? Absolutely (meatballs only)
Who doesn’t love a hearty pasta dish? Use this recipe to give your go-to pasta bake a boost by using orzo pasta instead of fusilli or penne. Making this sauce from scratch means you know it doesn’t contain any hidden nasties and it is much easier than you might think. Again, this one is perfect for leftovers later in the week and the sauce will take on even more flavour when eaten the second time around.


Wednesday: sausages

Porky Tails

Rating: easy
Prep time: 10 mins / Cook time: 25 mins
Easy to double up and enjoy for a second time later in the week? No
Easy to double up and freeze for later on? No

Guaranteed to make everyone smile, these fun bread-crumbed sausages are really simple to make and add a real mood boost to tea-time that will help get you through that mid-week slump.


Thursday: Chinese

Oriental Style Porc Stir-Fry

Rating: super easy
Prep time: 20 mins / Cook time: 10 mins
Easy to double up and enjoy for a second time later in the week? Absolutely
Easy to double up and freeze for later on? No
This colourful stir-fry is a brilliant way to pack loads of healthy veggies into tea-time, and if there are any your child doesn’t like you can just switch them out. Using rice instead of heavy egg noodles helps keep this stir-fry feeling light and fresh too.


Friday: rice

Porc, Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Rating: super easy
Prep time: 10 mins / Cook time: 35 mins
Easy to double up and enjoy for a second time later in the week? No
Easy to double up and freeze for later on? No
Risotto has a bit of a reputation for being tricky, but this recipe keeps it really simple. The result? A super indulgent, creamy rice dish that has Friday written all over it. Comfort food at its finest, this feels like a hug on a plate.


Saturday: steak night

Creamy Pepper and Mushroom Porc Steaks

Rating: super easy
Prep time: 10 mins / Cook time: 10 mins
Easy to double up and enjoy for a second time later in the week? No
Easy to double up and freeze for later on? No

The weekend’s finally here! Treat yourselves to a classic steak – you’ve earned it! Taking just ten minutes to prepare and another ten to cook, this eight-ingredient dinner couldn’t be much easier but the result is a real Saturday night treat for the whole family.


Sunday: life-saving leftovers!

Well done, you made it! Now’s the time to kick back and take advantage of those leftovers from earlier in the week – porc casserole, meatball pasta or stir-fry, the choice is yours. Perhaps the kids could even be in charge of the ‘cooking’ (ahem, microwaving!) tonight while you put your feet up…?


For even more recipe inspiration, visit the recipes page.

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