Easy weekday meals for back to school

It's back to school time, and we'd got some clever weekday meals to whip up as you get back into your routine.

It's all change in September when the kids go back to school and we have to start thinking about quick and (hopefully) healthy meals to serve up at tea time. We've all slipped into the routine of eating the same things on rotation and it's nice to try something a bit different, but we don't have unlimited time on weekday evenings. Instead, we've put together a list of quick crowd-pleasing dinners that include our favourite healthy meal helpers.

Champion traybakes

Filling a roasting tin with fresh ingredients and then popping it in the oven can yield a delicious fuss-free meal. What you include is up to you, but we're partial to:

  • Chicken breast strips with sliced onions and peppers, sprinkled generously with Chili Rub for Chicken. Pile high in warmed flour tortillas for easy chicken fajitas.
  • Cauliflower, potatoes, butternut squash, and any other root vegetables lingering in the veg drawer. Coat lightly in oil and sprinkle over Veggie Rub No. 1. It packs a spicy punch, so serve with a cooling raita sauce.
  • Our BBQ Rub for Pork is also great with chicken. We love to use it on oven-baked chicken drumsticks, served with coleslaw and potato wedges.

    Faster pasta ideas

    Pasta is popular with kids and adults alike and only takes 10-15 minutes to cook on the hob. Shop-bought sauces can contain a lot of sugar and salt, and it's surprisingly simple to put together innovative pasta meals with what you've got at home.

    Tomato-based sauces are always popular, and if your family is a little bit wary of vegetables, it's a great place to hide them. You can give them all of their five-a-day in one meal and they'll be none the wiser!

    If you have tried our home curing kits, your artisan bacon or salmon can bring a new depth to your pasta dishes. Both work extremely well in creamy pasta sauces with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper.

    Meal prep for success

    Instagram and Youtube are packed with industrious people who manage to prep a week's worth of meals on a Sunday afternoon, but you don't need to hit that level of productivity to use meal prep to make weekday dinners a bit easier. Putting together a lasagna or a cottage pie at the weekend, ready to pop in the oven on a weeknight, is definitely worthwhile but there are other quick fixes that can help.

    • Roast a chicken and the cold meat can be used in soups, salads, sandwiches, risottos and much more.
    • Precut veggies and store them in an airtight container in the fridge until needed.
    • Some pulses such as dried kidney beans and chickpeas require lengthy cooking - having a batch readymade in the fridge will speed things up!

    We hope these tips have helped, and check out our shop for more culinary inspiration all week long.