The point of meal planning is to make life easier, but there are some nights when no recipe could possibly be simple enough. On nights like these it is tempting to order take out, or dig a frozen pizza out of the freezer, but I’d love to share with you a few other options that are healthy, fun, and require zero cooking!
[This post is sponsored by Little Dish who make easy and nutritious meals for kids, but I am also sharing some other fun quick dinner ideas, so please read on!]
I know how to make a beautiful Spanish tortilla and can even bang up a delicious gazpacho, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m really just talking about pulling all the olives, gherkins, cheese, lunch meats, dips, crackers, breads, and any other snacky item lurking about your kitchen and plating them. We love this type of meal so much around here, it often shows up on my meal plans for the week (though if I’m planning ahead I’ll add some trickier bits such as falafel or this as well)! Throw some raw veggies into the mix or a salad on the side and you are good to go. The kids love being able to snack their way through dinner, and I love the fun, casual vibe of an easy night. (The pic below is from a playdate tapas dinner with Charlotte’s good friend Jonah.)
I am bad about using up leftovers as it is rarely enough to feed the family a second time around. But a “potpourri” dinner isn’t just leftovers from last night’s dinner: it is leftovers from the entire week! My husband’s mum used to do this and is the one who gave the meal its catchy title. It doesn’t matter if the dishes don’t compliment each other. That is all part of the “potpourri” charm. (And bonus points for cleaning out the fridge!)
You know what’s just as easy to cook (and generally more nutritious) as a frozen pizza? Frozen anything else! Haha! Next time you cook up a freezer friendly meal (bolognese, meats, etc.) make an extra batch to pop in the freezer. My grandma used to do this religiously with her vacuum packed freezer bags, but it works just as well with a freezer-safe container (though not nearly as kitschy and 80’s). Pinterest is full of “freezer meals” to explore, but surely many of your favourite recipes will hold up in the freezer as well. You will thank yourself later!
On the occasions where you go for a prepared meal (I love a good pie or tinned soup for me!) it is smart to serve a kid-friendly option to your children as the salt content in most prepared foods is ridiculously high.
I have long time been a fan of Little Dish who have sponsored this post. Little Dish make a variety of easy, all natural, and perfectly nutritionally balanced meals for kids such as “Fish Pie” and “Chicken Risotto” (all of which use sustainably sourced fish and British meats) that kids love the taste of and parents love the ease of. Though these dishes are aimed at toddlers, I like to doctor them up a bit for my bigger kids with herbs and/or cheese, sliced olives, etc. My kids especially love getting to choose their own meal as that is usually only an option for them when eating out!
You can find the Little Dish meals in the refrigerated section (not on the shelf!) of grocery stores such as Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, and Asda, or online via Ocado. Find out more about their meals here.
Do you have a favourite “no cook” meal? I’d love to hear about it below!!