Friday, 27 January 2012

Dinner Time Cheats!

When I'm short on time or have had a disorganised day for whatever reason (yes, it happens to the best of us!)  and the grumble-tums overcome my family, I need to be able to put together a quick meal that will satisfy even the hungriest of my children.

In this post I will share with you my secret weapons, that have a meal on the table in around 30minutes!

Cheats Casserole and Dumplings

I always keep a bag of 'casserole' vegetables in the freezer (cubed onion, celery, turnip, swede, and carrot) and a bag of pre-made dumplings.

Place the frozen vegetables in a pan on the hob with some gravy or sauce/stock of your choice, bring to the boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through and the liquid thickened.
Meanwhile the dumplings bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, then are added to the top of the casserole for the final 5-10 minutes of cooking time.

For a meat version:
If I have left over meat in the fridge I will add this to the casserole or add a couple of cook from frozen chicken breasts.

Sausage Pie

The children love this and will happily eat a big wedge on it's own, but it can be served with mashed potato, or whatever you prefer.

I always keep some sausage meat in the fridge to make meatballs/sausage and bacon wraps and, of course, this pie (which is a regular on our meal plan!)

I line a pie tin with short crust pastry, add the sausage meat and top with another layer of pastry.
Pierce the top with a steam hole and bake in the oven for around 20-25 minutes.

Pasta Bake

This one really is simple as I use a jar of Homepride Pasta Bake poured on top of some dried pasta and bake it in the over for around 30-40 minutes.

We eat it how it is, or with added veggies, such as carrot, green beans and sweetcorn, and/or meat/tuna, whatever we have handy at the time.


I keep a box of mini pre-made pizza bases in the cupboard for when I am too busy to make my own (I have also used chunks of  baguette cut in half length ways and pitta bread etc in place of pizza bases)
Some tomato puree or ketchup and then whatever toppings we have to hand, pre-cooked veggies, and/or meats and bake in the oven for around 10 minutes.

What meal time 'cheats' do you have up your sleeve?


  1. This is such a great post. I would have to say you would be lucky of I did meals like this on non busy days. The frozen veg in recipe one are they what you cut up and freeze ??? @innocentcharmer

  2. I have bad days too when everything goes to pot and its oven chips and spaghetti hoops!

    The frozen vegetables in the casserole recipe above are whatever I have handy!

    I do buy veg in bulk at the market and chop and freeze, but depending on the weeks meals, and how much I have purchased, I don't always have enough, should this not be a planned meal.

    The alternative is supermarket brought frozen casserole vegetables (most supermarkets sell a pack of these in the frozen veg isle) I always have them on stand by, they work just as well, and taste great!

    1. Thanks sweetie, I always have veg that I am having to chuck away cause it's going off, so if I chop and freeze it should last, do I have to cook 1st or freeze uncooked, sorry to go on just trying to be more frugal xx